Till We Meet Again

For the last year or better, I’ve made quitting blogging a permanent feature of this blog. I quit every time I post! I like to write. I like to read comments. I like having an archive of the things I’ve written in the past. I like you, my faceless, nameless correspondents, the emails I get, and the knowledge that there are people out there who have been affected (for better, I hope) by the writings of a plain old housewife with nothing special to recommend her.

On the other hand, I also like living my daily life without the interruption of a thousand stray thoughts, all bloggable, all fascinating (at least to me), and all of which vie for attention with my husband and children. I like not checking stats. Quit that two years ago, actually, so the only way I know there’s anybody even looking is if you comment. I like not seeing incoming links and feeling that I should respond to every one of them. Haven’t checked those in years, either. My heart just isn’t here right now.

But I can’t walk away without saying thank you, my friends. For reading, sharing, and talking back. Thank you especially for talking back. You’ve given me much to think about, taught and encouraged me. Many of you are very real to me, though I don’t even know your real names, and I hope we’ll meet again, whether on this side of eternity or the other.

Will I ever blog again? Probably. Right now, I have a lot of posts in rough draft form, and I will hang on to them until I feel ready to be a blogger again. I will probably continue to write new ones, just leaving them unpublished for now. I will probably even maintain software updates and broken links. But I won’t be publishing anything new for a long time, if ever.

Get Along Home will be here as long as I feel like I might return someday, if the funds for keeping the lights on don’t start to feel burdensome. I’ve deleted all but the content that I still want out there, just in case there’s one more person who might benefit from reading it.

Besides, I’m kind of attached to my little apple tree. It’s mine, and I love it.

I have been touched beyond words by emails from people telling me that their latest little blessing probably wouldn’t exist if they hadn’t been encouraged by my blog or my ebook to view their families in the light of eternity. I don’t think it’s overly ambitious of me to hope that it will continue to serve that purpose, so I’m going to keep it all right here. I’m glad it is of some use. I like being useful.

What I don’t like–hate so much, in fact, that I can’t seem to stick to them–are goodbyes. Hating them the way I do, I’ll just say “Until we meet again…”

Because I know we will.

Happy trails, my friends!

Deceived: Little Lies the World Tells to Keep Christian Families from Growing

.

How, Then, Shall We Parent?

Warning: This post contains no formula for raising “good” kids who won’t embarrass you in front of your church friends. 

So, I guess the people who like character “training” and systems of behavior reinforcement just don’t care to chat about it, because the comments and emails about my last assault on this homeschooling stronghold went mostly positive, with an asterisk. (Actually, it’s more likely that they just don’t read this blog. Few do.)

While those of us in this community of, like, fourteen readers plus me seem to be in agreement that score-keeping is not the way we should show our children how to follow Christ, some readers were feeling hung out to dry, as if there were a great, blank space behind the curtain we just ripped down, with nothing to replace it. There’s no need to feel abandoned, though I guess I understand how we might. Here we’ve been thinking that great results are ours for the obtaining, and now we’re starting to see that, while we might through rigorous effort teach our children to feel good about acting good, we can’t even regenerate a wilted piece of lettuce, let alone the souls of our babies.

We knew that, of course, having our Bibles handy like good Christians ought to, but we had been behaving as if it weren’t so.

It was kind of surprising to me how many mothers said something to the effect that “I see what you mean, but I don’t know what to replace this kind of training with. I don’t know how to lead my children without relying on these outward things.” It surprised me, because the answer is contained within the question.

It’s not up to you to make your kids holy, so quit meddling!

Hold on a minute, though. We have instruction from scripture to discipline our children, and teach them not just what not to do, but what to do. So I’m not suggesting that being a spiritually involved parent is the same thing as meddling. The difference is in what scripture says is the right way to teach them, rather than systems and traditions that satisfy our fleshly desire to prove that we and our children are getting it right.

And what does scripture say? The same thing it has always said, teach your children to follow the Way, not as a school subject, or a means of gaining favor with God, or a way of obtaining earthly reward, but as Truth, which must not, even in the absence of approval or reward from others, be abandoned. Teach them only that

“…thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.–Deuteronomy 6: 5-9″

These words shall be where? In thine heart. Let your focus be in your own heart, parents, not your children’s hidden selves, the motives of which your eyes can’t discern. We can teach our children the truth without manipulating their behavior by simply following what scripture has given us to do.

Read them the Word.

…Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. –Romans 10:17

But they’re so small they can’t understand the Word, you say? Oh, ye of little faith. Of course they can’t.

They didn’t understand their names, or the words “I love you” the first time you said them, either, but you still used them until they did. You used these words because they are true, not because they could understand them! Likewise, read them the Word every day. Keep reading until they do understand it. There’s no magical moment at which it is now, finally, at long last useful to rely on God’s Word to teach them. Lean not to your own understanding in this, waiting for the day that you’re able to see that they can understand it.

Saving faith comes through the hearing of the Word. So do that.

Apply the Word. Again, even when they don’t understand–or when you think they can’t understand–everything you are doing with the Word in your daily life will grow them. Of course, this requires you to be knowledgeable in the Word yourself. No one else, and certainly no character curriculum, can do that for you.

Building a foundation is a brick-by-brick process, and you will not see the whole wall built all at once. That doesn’t excuse delaying the laying of the first lonely brick, just because you don’t know when the next one will be ready. Apply the Word early, and daily, and with faith that it will accomplish its purpose.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. –Isaiah 55:11

Discipline them. Yes, progressive parents, even in the New Covenant, we have both the authority and its attendant duty to punish wrong-doing in order to model the eternal truth of God’s wrath toward sin. What is the most common argument against the love of God? The one I hear most, or at least very near the top, is “A loving God would never send someone to Hell over something so paltry as (insert sin of choice here).”

I suspect that people who can’t believe that love has anything to do with punishment do so because they have so rarely experienced consequences for sin from their own parents. At this stage of our dying civilization, I think that applies to a huge percentage of American “Christians”, as well as unbelievers. Because their parents were so reward-oriented, self-esteem building, works-encouraging, and extremely unwilling to punish (or even look for) wrong-doing in them, they remain unconvinced that there could even be any consequences if God really loves them. This is also the reason they so gleefully usher sinners into Hell, not only failing to warn them, but instead applauding them for embracing the sinful nature which “God gave them”.

They don’t believe in the reality of Judgment. Is that what you want for your children?

Disciplinary correction is not meant to be “behavior modification” or negative reinforcement, but is symbolic of the eternal wages of sin. We don’t discipline to get “results” or for revenge, but so that when the bad news of Hell and Wrath is presented, the Good News that Christ has made a way to save us from it will be believed as well.

(This is also why, if you’re feeling vengeful at the moment of offense, you shouldn’t discipline yet, but run away to your prayer closet and get clear of your own sin before you confront your child’s. Discipline must be cool-headed and fair, because it is not against us that our children sin, but against God. But it must not be neglected for the same reason. We have no right to overlook our children’s wrongs just because we are sinners ourselves. We’ve been placed in a position of authority, and that’s not for our own sake, or our own ends, but for His. But that’s another blog post.)

Finally, and most importantly, simply and without anxiety trust the Lord for your children’s salvation. The thing I think some are really having the most trouble grasping, is that this anxiety we have, this need to prove holiness is the leaven of the Pharisees that Christ warned his disciples about. It is failure to trust the Holy Spirit to provide not just physical bread, as the disciples were wont to do, but the Living Water that regenerates.

The trouble with this “trust” thing, for those who walk by sight, is that it seems so pitifully, helplessly passive. But it’s not passive. It’s an active waiting and hoping for the good that God has promised us. It’s a prayerful watching, and dutiful teaching, day after day.

The answer to misbehavior and sin is not to hover over our little ones, nervously trying to either catch them in sin or find them acting, for once, in good ways so that we can reinforce every positive or negative action, but instead to simply trust God to soften their hearts, and to clean the insides of those little cups, so that then the outsides will be clean also. Whether He does this before they turn all your hairs gray is–I’m sorry to break this to you, my friends–not within your control.

But don’t worry. Instead, believe.

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household. –Acts 16:31

Now, I have seen regenerate parents produce heart-breakingly unrepentant children, but as long as there is life, there is hope. So keep praying and hoping, no matter how old they are. Just Christ, and nothing more, is your hope for that child.

Despite all of our worry, the Gospel is sufficient to replace the dead letter of the Law that we had been teaching, and that many of us had been raised on ourselves. The hearing of the Word is sufficient to raise our children’s souls from the dead, just as it has done for all of the other saints. Your daily attention to the truth is sufficient. Don’t let the simplicity of the Truth trip you up. Pharisees are the ones who like to complicate things, and I think we all have a little bit of that inability to believe that it could possibly be that simple. You don’t need to add anything to the Word–no charts, stickers, badges, records, journals, rewards, or any other kind of proof that the Holy Spirit is working. He just IS. Believe this, and have peace.

So, to make a very long blog post short, we should parent the way same we should live. By faith. And if you have none of that, then this is going to seem like some woefully scanty advice, in which case, I guess you should go buy a character curriculum to fill in the gaps.

Honesty. Integrity. Kindness. Generosity. Humility. Strength. Charity.

Look at all those pretty rows of tangible returns, gained through your loving and diligent teaching of “the Way” to your children. You’ve seen so much improvement in your child’s behavior over the months since you started training your child in Holiness. Where he had once stomped away in irritation from his crying little brother, he now stoops, with a glance over his shoulder to see if his ever-watchful Angel Mother is witness to his deed, to help Brother from his fallen condition. Where he used to grab greedily for the biggest piece of garlic bread, he now shifts his gaze, first to your hopeful face, and then to the smaller portion, leaving the larger for someone else.

It’s thrilling to see this child doing so much good! What can it be but the repentance that you’ve tried to teach him? Well, the chart is certainly helping, isn’t it? Now he knows he can do good, and you have bright, attractive displays to really remind him every day how good he can be, if only he will be mindful.

But don’t relax just yet, Mom. I’m impressed with your results, truly, and sometimes my children’s behavior is certainly more embarrassing to my carnal self than that which yours is displaying, if only by dint of our having no record to prove to you all the times that my child didn’t smack his brother in the head over a stolen five-cent piece of plastic named Lego.

You’re making me look bad, Lady.

In spite of all these results, though, there’s another step to all this character training. As far as I’ve perused these systems (which is to say, only far enough to sniff out the flaw in them), I’ve found them all lacking in one vital step which must not be skipped if you really want your child to learn to please God, rather than Mom, who is, after all, just Man with an apron and cookies.

If you do it this way, it might just work:

The next time you find your child in, not just childish rowdiness or disorder, but blatant sin, take that beautiful chart off the wall (or whatever record you had been keeping of all his good works). Don’t just take it down, mildly. Rip it down, angrily. It helps if you are a good actor, because it is unlikely that you, a sinner yourself, are going to be anywhere near as angry about your beloved child’s sin as Almighty God is about even the smallest perversion of his Goodness. Be wrathful, OK? It’s accurate.

Now, go outside. I hope it has been raining, because you’re going to need mud, the thicker the better. Lay…no, slam that poster down into the muck and mire. Jump on it with both feet (helpfully shod in your own nicest, holiest shoes) and really grind it in deep.

Now pick it up. Show your child what his works have accomplished.  “This, son, is all your righteousness. This is your record of good deeds and attitudes. This is every good behavior at which I’ve caught you in the course of training you how to display character. You’ve spoiled it. Go clean it up and put it back on the wall in the same condition it was before you sinned. Go ahead!”

But that is impossible. So when he cries with the shame of what he’s done (or maybe with his unrepentant anger at you for ruining all his visible virtue), you can then give him the Gospel you should have been giving him all along. “Son, the wrath of God is on all of us, the same way I vented my wrath on your ridiculous works-chart. But he sent his own Son to take all of that punishment I just dealt out to you. He died so that your chart might hang on the walls of Heaven, not marked out in individual good works or intermittently cheerful attitudes, but in the Blood of the Lamb, which covers every stain.

My child, I’m sorry I taught you to tote up your good deeds, rather than storing up your treasures in Heaven, to be cast down at the feet of the only One who is worthy of praise. Forgive me. And seek Christ’s forgiveness with me. This chart can’t save you. It can’t even help you look saved for any length of time, for “God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” All this chart can do is make you feel like you’ve made gains against your own sin, and that is a lie. You can’t do that. I’m sorry I lied to you.”

Now, does this all seem too cruel to you, dear Reader? Too nitpicky and overly spiritual? After all, we’re just trying to avoid misbehavior and get better kids for our efforts! We’re not claiming that this will save them. Are we?

But children are very easily misled, just as we are.

And the disciples came to the other side of the sea, but they had forgotten to bring any bread. And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

–Matthew 16:6

It only takes a little yeast to leaven that little lump. I’m not being cruel or poking needless fun at your charts. What I just suggested you do with that record of your child’s visible “holiness” is nothing compared to what I’d have written if I’d really dug in and fully reflected Scripture.

“We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. –Isaiah 64:6”

Polluted? Those are our righteous deeds?

Do you know what that “polluted garment” refers to? It is not just a skirt with some mud on it, mamas. The prophet here (I am informed by one who has a lot more book-learning than I do) refers, quite shockingly, to used menstrual cloths. Based on this, I had considered a much more dramatic and bloody suggestion for what you can do with your child’s proudly-tallied righteousness.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?

“Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”

“It is written, none is righteous, no, not one.”

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

“When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.”

How much of the Bible do I need to quote to convince you, Dear Reader, that character training is not just a potentially useful tool, or a help, or at the worst, a waste of time and resources, but an actual hindrance to the Gospel? Moms, stop pointing your child to these inadequate, self-righteous, works-driven “clean” spots on the outside of their cups. Give your children only the Living Water that can clean the inside and fill it so that it overflows and then washes the outside.

If, after this, you still think that “training in righteousness” by rewards and stickers is useful, or at least no harm, then tell me why. Not by your own result–that adorable, chubby-cheeked, compliant little cup of wrath you’ve been raising–nor by quoting the sellers and users of said devices, but by scripture itself, tell me what basis you have for teaching your child this way of becoming “holy.

I’ll wait here, but not with bated breath, because you don’t have anything like that, and I don’t like what happens after I’ve held my breath for too long.

Seven Times the Sons of Hell

There are a lot of hypocrites out there, aren’t there? Some of the cleanest-looking, most proper-sounding Christians have been caught in the very sins they’ve railed against the most vehemently. What makes them hypocrites is not that they proclaim sin to be sin, but that they hold so tightly to their own sin while doing so, proving that they don’t in their hearts believe what they are preaching.

Hypocrites are worse than honest unbelievers, because they attempt to profit from the truth without ever letting it touch their own hearts. The most recent of these public humiliations is neither the first, nor the last, nor even the worst. The lowest blow of these revelations (again, there are many examples besides Josh Duggar, who I’m sure is foremost in our minds, because he’s foremost in the news) is to the reputations of those who sacrifice their social status and financial comfort for the sake of Christ, as it casts doubt on their sincerity, too, and leads many unbelievers further astray. That there are people who claim Christ not because they love him, or even believe in him, but because they can get an easy career or social boost out of it is indisputable. That everyone who claims Christ is equally hypocritical and opportunistic is unearned guilt by association, and it causes further persecution of those who worship Christ in spirit and truth.

Now, I can’t tell you how not to raise a hypocrite, because hypocrisy is found in the heart, and you can’t change your children’s hearts. Only God can do that. Nor can I tell you how to raise a for-sure Pharisee, for the same reason. But I do detect some patterns that seem to have led many professing Christians into the rankest hypocrisy.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” Matthew 23:15

If a new convert is just twice the son of Hell, what can you make of your very own, hand-raised child, if you do it just right? Here are some things that I see among those who are producing converts who are perhaps not just twice, but seven times the sons of Hell that they are:

Give your kids a character chart instead of a living Christ. No matter what the behavioral problem presented to you by your children, instead of finding the answer to it in repentance, and in the Gospel of Christ’s blood shed for our sins, find the solution in behavior modification. I don’t like to get personal about these things, so I won’t say that one should never, ever follow a character curriculum, but…well, yes I will. One should never, ever follow a character curriculum. Not only is it unnecessary, it is a hindrance.

That might be the bravest thing I say all week, because I have a lot of friends with character charts proudly displayed on their walls. I don’t think worse of them for it, on a personal level. I believe in their confession of faith, utterly. But I think they’ve got ahold of a very bad, terrible, horrible, no good way of training children, focusing on works and appearances, rather than repentance. If you want your children following Christ, stickers and rewards are nothing more than behavior modification, a Skinnerian stumbling block on the way to repentance.

Teach your kids to follow a pattern, instead of Christ. But be clever about it. Say it’s Christ’s pattern. Gotta get married. Make that young. Gotta be debt free. Gotta have the Christian curriculum. Gotta have lots of kids. Gotta know the catechism by rote. Gotta be involved in politics. Gotta…blog? OK, yeah. Gotta blog. Gotta tithe. Church every Sunday, Sunday night, and Wednesday. Gotta be very much into public witnessing. Street preaching? Sure! Put the fish on your car, at the very least.

These are all things that often naturally and wholesomely result from cleaning the inside of the cup. But these things are all found on the outside of the cup, and can be easily faked. Pharisees never could see that, could they? They even believed their own lies:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

Matthew 23:25, 26 

Downplay the repentance, the “such a worm as I” stuff. It really doesn’t sell all that well in blogs, books, and on reality t.v. I know it doesn’t sell, because I have seen my blog stats, ok? Just live the formula and teach others to do the same. That way people can see how enviable it is to be a follower of Christ, and how much they, too, can benefit from this marvelous deal you have made with God. (Until you get caught in an uneviable position, of course. Then you can lay on about how you’re still a sinner, real thick.)

Assume that your children are, in their hearts, believing Christians just because they can spit out the right answersOne thing that scares me to death in this generation is parents who lead their children to pray a “sinner’s prayer”, rather than waiting for the moving of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. We may guide our children to the Living Water, but teaching that the sinner’s prayer is the route to Heaven amounts to trying to make him drink it. Just teach the truth, and let God do the heart-work. Be patient, parents, or you’ll have false converts on your hands. Even worse, they’ll have harder hearts to convert, because you taught them that they were OK by J.C..

(Disclosure: Not one of my children, the oldest of whom is eleven, has been baptized yet. Not. One. I’m not glad about that, but I have given them the Truth daily, and they have not yet done anything with it. God has this responsibility, not me. So maybe you won’t want to read my blog anymore, if good parenting is about getting early results instead of trusting Christ with your family. But I’ve seen early superficial results–in my own life, no less–end in late, egregious unbelief. I “gave my heart to Jesus” when I was six. But I wasn’t a repentant believer until I was 24. I really liked this Wretched video on the topic. Worth your time, even if you already agree.)

Make your Christianity professional, instead of confessional. That is, instead of living out the Way quietly, and with humility, make yourself the message.

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

–Matthew 6:5

 

I can’t say for sure what happened in anyone’s heart, but this sure looks like what the Duggars did, and it’s what that Doug Philips disaster seems to have been about. Whether they intended to or not at the beginning, they made it about themselves, their way, their methods, their purposes. But it’s not just these very public failures I’m talking about. I’ve seen a lot of people do it in much less public ways, and I doubt that many of them started out with their own self-interest in mind.

There have always been those who glom on to the name of Christ for their own purposes right from the beginning, though. I’ve known personally many people who’ve followed some silver-tongued evangelist or social fad in their community in “asking Christ into their hearts”, and then instead of following the Lord as lowly disciples for a season, they immediately set themselves up as church leaders. Often, they have done it for the sake of their businesses’ reputations (He’d never cheat you, he’s a Christian!), and other times for the sake of making Christianity itself into a cash cow. It seldom took long for these “preachers” and “teachers” to collapse under the weight of their own vanity, though.

Sometimes even earnest believers fall into the trap of using their reputations to gain. It’s just God’s way of blessing them over and over again, they think. I’ve witnessed it. I’ll bet you have, too. It happens to true lovers of Christ, yes. But believers repent when they realize this has happened, and that they’ve set their hearts on things not eternal. Hypocrites keep raking in the praise (and cash) of man until there’s none left to be had. Repentance is for suckers, and they will keep on suckering the repentant, if they can get away with it.

Do these things, friends, and let your child see you doing them. Then sit back and watch with awe as he surpasses you in brazen misuse of Christ’s name.

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Because the inside of the cup is often hard to see, there are a lot of people who profess faith who we will one day see thrown into the lake of fire. My friends, you might see me in that position on the last day, for all you know. I have no doubt about my Savior, but you can’t be so sure of me, can you?

So don’t follow me. Don’t follow Duggars. ( Really, though, I still don’t know that the whole family is a fake. I just don’t know enough about it to know either way.) Don’t follow preachers, or friends, or teachers, or community leaders. Don’t follow a formula or a pattern. Just follow scripture.

Follow Christ.

I don’t expect a lot of happy comments today, seeing how many homeschoolers I likely just irritated with the character chart thing. Leave your comments, though. I can take ’em. 😉  

 

I Survived Roe vs. Wade

Yesterday was the 36th anniversary of my passage into legal personhood. Yesterday was not the 36th anniversary of the beginning of my existence. That was sometime in November of 1978, when I was conceived. I survived Roe vs. Wade because my mother, a sinner who has no right to make such a choice, wanted me in her life. Four thousand unborn children are killed every day whose parents aren’t so kind as mine.

A few weeks ago, my baby in utero grew to a size that qualifies her as prime material for medical research, if only the likes of Planned Parenthood could get their hands on her. But they can’t. Her life is legally protected because I, a sinner with no right to make such a choice, want her and love her. Otherwise, we could still legally find someone to murder her. How can the feelings of her mother, a sinner saved only by Christ’s blood, be the legal measure of whether her life is worth protecting or not?

Yesterday was a good birthday for me, until the Center for Medical Progress ruined it. Yesterday, they released the seventh video in their series exposing the gruesome truth about abortion. I had prayed earlier this week that the next video would be released, that nothing would hinder it. I know that Satan doesn’t want this out there, and his legal and media minions are doing everything they can to prevent the truth from coming out. But I have not watched any of the videos before this one. I haven’t wanted to look at it. This time, though, I felt an irresistible tug at my heart.

You have to watch. We all have to watch, because these babies’ mothers would not suffer them to live. Because they have not mourned them, you must. You can’t keep turning away.”

So I watched it. I watched an aborted little baby, not the one discussed in the video as a “tissue donor”, but one every bit as human, lying naked and cold in a little pan, still twitching his little legs. He was alive, and we killed him. America, we killed him with our lawless law. We killed him with our indifference. WE killed him by refusing to fall on our faces in repentance. Our decadence, our comfort, is to blame for this enormity.

I know you want to look away. My heart hurts just thinking of looking. I thought I didn’t need to see it because I was already aware of the crimes against nature being committed every day in abortion mills, under the protection of “law”.

I know you’re already pro-life, dear reader. Most of you, anyway. Maybe you are already doing what you can, and don’t need to think about it any harder. But if you haven’t seen him yet, you have to look at him–this little baby with no name and no mother and no protection under the law.

You have to look at Holly, the technician who has held, and even portioned out the parts of these murdered babies so they could be sold. Look at Holly, who has awakened to this evil and wondered as she held them in her bloody hands what the babies would have become, if only their mothers, sinners who have no right to make that choice, had wanted them to live. Pray for Holly’s healing.

Pray for God’s protection over CMP‘s work. They are doing real, dangerous battle with the enemy. Their very lives are at stake, I am certain.

Pray for the mothers and fathers who didn’t want their babies yesterday, when approximately 4,000 of them were murdered. Pray for the mothers and fathers who don’t want them today, when 4,000 more are being eliminated, one by one. As you read this they are dying. Pray for the mothers and fathers who won’t want them tomorrow, and will have them killed in the thousands every single day until we put a stop to it.

Do you think praying isn’t enough? I think it’s the only thing that’s lacking. We’ve put dollars in. We’ve put time in. We’ve put votes in. But I think the one thing that’s lacking is the thing we think of as too passive: heartfelt, gut-wrenching prayer and fasting. I know that I haven’t spent enough time on my knees about this. Is it even possible to spend too much time praying about this? God inhabits the prayers of His people. So pray!

All of America needs to don sackcloth and ashes. Pray for these mothers; pray for these doctors; pray for every lover of death who clamors for “choice”; pray for every politician with blood-soaked hands; pray for every fornicating man and woman who risks bringing into existence a life that they are unwilling to nurture; for every married couple that wants to have their fun and career, regardless of the consequence to their souls when they reject the natural blessings of their union.

But don’t pray for their destruction, or for God’s vengeance, though it is sorely overdue in this nation. The tenor of my prayers has often been angry, but the anger of man doesn’t achieve the righteousness of God. We need to pray for them in love, for their repentance. Remember that we are all without hope unless we have Christ’s mercy on us.

I wonder if we would have been so ineffective all these years if we had been praying because of our fear of Almighty God, rather than our own anger at having lost so many battles, so many lives. We should be angry. But we should also be merciful. There’s no contradiction in that.

We pray for Christ’s mercy so that justice can be done. 

I’m sorry, little babies. I knew I should look, and I pushed it out of my mind because it hurt to see and I didn’t want to hurt. I didn’t want to lose all this sleep that I’m losing right now. I wanted to enjoy my birthday cake and gifts. I was selfish and wanted to remain materially comfortable, though self-righteously indignant.

But I’m looking now, little babies. I’m praying for mercy. For justice. I’m sorry you had no one to love you while you were in your own mother’s womb. I trust that you are loved by Christ in Heaven now. I’m sorry our nation abandoned you. We are guilty, all of us. The Christian faith has grown so cold that we’ve allowed even our own language to make us complicit in the lie of choice. Forgive us, Lord.

Look at them.

Demand that the president look at them, too, while you’re at it.

Is It Worth It?

Several people I know personally are either trying to get out of debt, or constantly tempted to get back into debt, if only for big ticket items. They often express their doubts about the possibility of ever being free. Like Christians ought to, our family takes to heart the teaching of the Bible on everything, including debt.

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

–Proverbs 22:7

This a simple statement of fact, as most Proverbs are, rather than a per se judgment on the indebted, though. We hate and avoid debt simply because slavery is an unpleasant situation in which to find oneself. Which guy do you want to be? Indebted or free? That’s a no-brainer for us. We truly don’t think that we, as God’s children, need to rely on debt, rather than Him, to supply our needs.

For us, debt is such a repulsive option that we are going to work very hard, even to the point of real pain, to avoid it. Consequently, we still don’t own a house. Secured debt is a very different thing than revolving or consumer debt, so we’re not completely averse to a small mortgage that takes no more of our income than our (fairly cheap) rental would. But a small mortgage has, to date, been out of our reach, so we’ve been saving for an adequate down-payment. And saving. And saving. And the savings have, for good reasons (and occasionally not good, but really not bad either), not accumulated as quickly as we thought they would. So we’re still renting a house that is not…nice.

And I have to admit, I get tired of it. I’m tired of the worn-out carpet that the landlord isn’t interested in replacing. I’m tired of the walls that I have to re-paint in the cheap, unwashable, ugly brand and color specified in the lease. I’m tired of not being able to improve things that need improvement. I’m tired of not having enough storage space to hide all the stuff that sits on the counters.

I am so tired, in fact, that I’m tempted to cut our goal short and go buy a really BIG loan, instead of the smaller one we’d decided long ago was wise. This would not, in all cases, be a moral failing. But where we are right now, I think it would at least lead to moral failures.

It would probably lead to financial irritations. Financial irritations lead to family stress. And family stress so easily leads to family sin. Not only that, but how could we help needier people than ourselves if so much more of our money was tied up than is necessary?

I (and I reckon most people who advocate debt-freedom) do not equate taking on debt with committing sin. Not exactly, anyway. There are a lot of sins that go into the making of debts–the lust of the flesh, pride of the eyes, a desire to impress others, or simple lack of faith in Providence–but we don’t doubt that honest people committing no sin at all can fall into circumstances where they are indebted to, say, anesthesiologists and car loans.

For many newer or poorly-taught Christians, debt is a way of life begun so long ago that is difficult to escape, even after they know better. For them, freedom really seems like a pipe dream. For some, it really is a pipe dream. When you’re seventy and still in debt, the game is pretty well over, isn’t it? If you’re raising kids and they need shoes, and you just got laid off, what are you going to do? Well, I mean, I hope I’d swallow my pride and ask my church or family for help first, but I admit that sometimes these things are a lot easier to cover with a credit card, especially if you think you’ll be back to work soon.

The point isn’t that debt is a great way to solve temporary problems, but that sometimes even God’s people find themselves confused or unsure of what to do, and debt is the thing that they understand the best right now. Sometimes the mortgage is actually the better way, I know. But it takes discernment and some (hard-won, in our case) maturity to tell when this is the case.

However, I do think we often talk ourselves into believing that debt is our only option, when in fact deferring gratification just a little while, or even a lot longer, is the better path to take, not only financially, but morally. Before we go into debt for the must-have item, we need to ask ourselves a question:

What are my heart motivations for taking on this debt? 

Better yet, ask God to search your heart for the answer. You are, after all, not very good at searching your own heart. (Jeremiah 17:9)

I will be as painfully honest as I should be here: My main motivation for wanting to veer off our plan is that I’m just stinking tired of looking at this house.

It has been adequate for our needs. It’s comfortable enough, cheap to heat and cool, convenient to town, almost big enough (if we just keep our possessions to a minimum), a great price in an expensive area, and we have awesome landlords.

But it’s ugly. 

There you have it. Mostly, it’s just ugly.

It’s hard to clean, and old, and needs some serious flooring and wall updating. I don’t have the knack that some ladies do for making things look nice without laying out a lot of money for new stuff, either. Our home is far beneath the status that most people of our income are able to maintain. I don’t know (because it’s not my business) whether that’s because they’re in a whole bunch of debt, or just that they’re that much smarter than we are. Whichever it is, I know what we make, and I can pretty closely guess what other people make, and it seems like we should be in a nicer house by now. They certainly are!

But it is solely the look of it that is tempting me to do what we decided long ago not to do.

Before you take on debt, ask yourself, how much of this discontent is based on what other people might think of you, rather than what you really need? That is pride. Is it based on what your possessions make you feel about yourself? That’s pride, too. And how much less generous to the truly poor would you have to be in order to maintain that beautiful home cumbersome mortgage?

One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.

–Proverbs 13:7

Maybe you’ll never get the thing you’re saving for. I am pretty sure we’re going to get our bigger, nicer house someday. We keep taking two steps forward and only one back, so we’re making progress. But what if we don’t? More than once we’ve reached a comfortable level of savings only to find that we had actually been saving for some other, more pressing need, rather than the house we’d thought we were getting.

But do you have shelter? Clothing? Food?

Does God care what the rest of the world thinks of my carpet? I think he doesn’t care very much about that, in our case. Maybe the carpet does matter in your circumstance! I don’t know your needs. But I know right now, for myself, that it is still worth our freedom to stay in this place, making ourselves content for yet another year or more.

We’ll see where God leads us, rather than running off to the mortgage broker and praying his blessing on our lives.

UPDATE: I wouldn’t feel right about leaving this post here without updating readers on our housing situation. I’m not going to give you our whole financial story, but I want to give an outline, anyway.

Jesse and I are in the process of buying a house, not with cash, but with a substantial enough down payment and enough cash reserves that we feel comfortable taking on the debt. Our motives are simple enough: there is not enough room in this house for another crib, and my baby is rapidly outgrowing her bassinet! It’s either buy now or rent something bigger and save less. That just won’t do. All the bigger rentals are stupid expensive, so it’s now or never.

This is not the way I wanted to do it. I had a little bit of a temper tantrum when I realized this was actually going to happen this summer, whether I like it or not. I wanted to have 30% to put down, and we don’t have that yet. We are definitely not doing anything Dave Ramsey would advise against (and I think his advice on housing is very good), but I’m not as happy as I would be if we’d reached that overly-ambitious goal. God in his wisdom seems to be moving us NOW, despite my not wanting to do this just yet. So, there you have it. We’ll have a mortgage soon, but will otherwise remain debt-free, Lord willing.

Our monthly payment will be more than our rent has been, of course, but it should nestle right down into our budget without causing us any pain. We’ll be able to make principle-only payments, also, and get out from under the debt relatively quickly while still giving just as much as we were before.  (Giving is really, really important. If you can’t give to the poor, you are not the master of your money, but are enslaved to it.) Again, as always, this is “Lord willin’, and the creek don’t rise.”

I’ll update again if things surprise us again.

 

Wait Till It’s Free

How’s your healthcare? If you work for the government, have plenty of subsidies for your premiums, or are just wed to the idea that paying a quarter or one half of your income for health insurance+actual care is the way things ought to be, then you’re in the minority who would answer “Just fine, thanks!”

And then there’s the rest of us. Things are now so bad that only 30% of people with “Obamacare” plans–even those with subsidies–are satisfied. That doesn’t even include those who still have employer-provided plans, or Samaritan Ministries International, like we do.

Me? I’m unhappy, and not just because of the principle of the thing. A good doctor I had relied on retired early, I strongly suspect because of costs imposed by the ACA. I used to be able to get an appointment with a family doctor relatively quickly, and now there’s a couple of months long waiting list. That makes it pretty hard to get a new doctor, even when I really need to. Prices for everything are (I believe, though I have looked for no data beyond my own ballooning budget) higher than they used to be.

But I’m still better off than the people on the government plans. 

I’m actually not unhappy with my health insurance. For one thing, it is not insurance. The amount we’re paying for our SMI membership isn’t a burden, and it isn’t going up with the same breakneck speed that insurance plans are. While our $405 monthly share is more than we were paying before the ACA passed, it is still far less than we would be paying now when you include premiums, deductibles, and co-pays. That’s even with our out-of-pocket well-checks and allergy shots.

The ACA is not done yet, of course. What Obamacare has done to the people who have been forced onto its exchanges will eventually be done to those of us who have thus far escaped its grasp. Social “justice” demands no less than equal misery for all. I mean, equal, unless you work for the government. Some animals must, of course, be more equal than others.

Colin Gunn, producer of Indoctrination (highly recommended) has made a new documentary about the American health care system, Wait Till It’s Free. Samaritan Ministries, a Christian alternative to insurance, is offering a free viewing for the next ten days. I haven’t watched it yet, but it’s Colin Gunn, so I’m sure it will be very entertaining and informative. We don’t have to sit silently by and let the government and insurance industry drain us of every resource in the name of “insurance”. There are free market, ethical solutions.

I’m going to go watch now. You should, too. You have ten days before you have to pay for it.

Watch Wait Till It’s Free while it’s free.

Oh, and if you decide to join Samaritan Ministries after hearing about it from me, please do our family a great big favor and mention that you heard about it from Jesse and Cindy Dyer on your application. We could use the discount to our share. Thanks!

UPDATE: I just watched it. It’s spot on. Also, we got a letter from Samaritan Ministries today and our baby’s birth will be paid for by the time she ( 😀 ) gets here! Our need will be shared next month. That’s neat.

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? Are you jealous yet, 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 a woman attending 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 abominations 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.

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.

 

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.

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.

The Jealous Mom

Jealousy seems to be such an ugly word, doesn’t it? In these undiscerning times, we equate jealousy to its illegitimate half-brother, covetousness. Many times when you see a person accused of jealousy, that person is being defrauded of his rights, often right to his face. As an example, a young man who is engaged to one girl might accuse her of jealousy when she becomes irritated at his attentions to another. By accusing her in that way, he deflects attention from his unfaithfulness by making her ashamed for caring that he is unfaithful.

“Why are you talking so sweetly to my adversary while she twirls her hair in such a fetching manner?”

“What are you, jealous? If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a jealous woman!”

Likewise, our God is a jealous God, and much atheist ink has been spilled over the spurious objection that jealousy is a petty and ugly thing that would be beneath this hypothetical God who, since He doesn’t exist, must take on whatever characteristics the atheist assumes would be fitting for an Almighty God, so they can argue with this Being from their imaginations. But atheists don’t get to define God. He is self-defining, and if He says He is jealous, then we’d better pay attention to what He means by that. Jealousy is not a petty emotion, but a protective and loving one.

There is a distinction between jealousy and covetousness: Jealousy has a right. Envy, or covetousness, has none.

So, what does this have to do with mothering, you ask? Well, everything. One of the most effective tools that Satan has used in our parents’ generation and ours to separate children from the influence of parents is the accusation of jealousy.

You think that a mommy’s kiss on an injured knee would be more fitting than a teacher putting a sterile band-aid on it? Why would you be so controlling? So involved? So jealous?

You don’t want other women raising your children? Tsk-tsk.

You don’t think Sunday School teachers can catechize your children better than you can? What do you think you are, some kind of theologian?

You won’t allow your kids to watch certain “kids” programming because it blatantly indoctrinates children to believe that parents are at best cluelessly irrelevant, and at worst sinister killjoys?

You think that the public school version of sex education, history, and literature will corrupt your children’s morals, misinform their choices, and ruin their lives? That they would be better off learning about, oh, everything really in the context of a loving home?

JEALOUS! You are jealous, like that mean old God of yours!

And we fall for this!

Mom, the World will try to convince you that you are a petty, small, and controlling person, if you think that you are the person to whom your children should turn for their emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs. We’ve been made to feel ashamed of our God-given, natural longing to be our babies’ first and best companions and friends. Why is that? Are we not the possessors of the right and duty to nurture and guide our young? Are we not the ones who know both first and best what our children need? Of course we are!

But Satan is as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. And do you know what prey is the easiest to devour? Unprotected young. They are weak and inexperienced, delicious and tender morsels for a hungry but cowardly Enemy. Moms, especially homeschooling moms, but all Christian moms are belittled as “helicopter parents” for the high crime of demanding to know what their children are being taught, wishing to teach them their own faith, and wanting to control the influences that are brought to bear on those young lives.

This belittling is done for the same reasons, and in the same ways, as the cheating husband: to separate us from our rights and privileges as the rightful participants in that intimate relationship; they intend to usurp our thrones as beloved Guides in our childrens’ lives. While the allegations of jealousy are hurled at our heads, accusing us of “controlling” our children, the truth is that for a parent to willingly give up control of a child’s upbringing to a stranger employed by a godless State is a true dereliction of duty.

A woman who allows her husband to flirt with other women without rebuke is not an open-minded and loving girl, but a dupe and an abused woman. Not only that, but she encourages his sin by winking at it.

A God who doesn’t mind if you worship other gods is a cuckolded husband, not one with the inherent dignity of Yahweh.

So what is a mother who allows the State and its propagandists (these are our children) to make her feel that her interest in her own children’s well-being is somehow dirty, abusive, and petty? They are the abusers. She is being defrauded of her family by a covetous and thieving “society”, and made to feel that she is wrong for noticing.

So, moms (and dads, but I speak to moms), know this: It is not only OK to be a jealous mom, it is a holy calling. Guard your children’s hearts. Guard their minds. Guide their choices. It is a father and mother’s duty, not the state’s, to ensure an education in righteousness. Don’t let the accusation of jealousy put you on the defensive. Do what God has given you to do.

 

Leftist Utopia Cannot Co-exist with the Family

In a speech Friday, President Obama said this:

“Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. That’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”

Plenty of ink (pixel-ink, anyway) is being spilt at the moment deriding our president’s lack of appreciation for parenthood, especially motherhood. That statement betrays a condescending distrust of the ability of Americans to make their own best choices. In my feed-reader this morning, I have all of these:

Thanks for that, Mr. President

Obama’s Feminist Remark: It’s not about choice

Mr. President, Thank You for Your Honesty

There are a few more, too, but those are my best girls, so I’ll just send you there.

I’m more interested in the purpose behind the feminist condescension in the president’s remarks than in the remark itself. If you really think Obama cares about your personal fulfillment, moms and dads, I’ve got some essential oils I’d like to sell you. (Kidding! Please don’t go yet, my oily friends!)

It’s not true that the left believes stay-at-home parenting to be merely financially unrewarding to the parents. Those are just the words they use to try to convince you that you’re being mistreated, underutilized, and forced to do work that is beneath you because it is “unpaid.” They make family relationships out to be not only degrading and unimportant, but detrimental to “the economy” not because they care how you feel about your prospects in life, but because they are materialists, and you, my fellow mere mother, are just raw material to them. Raw material needs refining in order to be used, so get out there and better yourself!

You are not a soul to this man, nor a lover of souls, but a currently useless tool of the State. 

The economy of souls, of course, is also a real economy, but is nowhere to be seen in leftist ideology. Given that the government has no soul, it shouldn’t be at all surprising that they think that nurturing your own children is a waste of time.

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!

It’s the same with motherhood. They want you to believe that you’re not really producing anything, because no one is paying (or taxing) you. But you are producing something, and you know it, moms. You’re producing souls, and souls require nurturing that a daycare worker simply can’t provide. The reward you reap will not be primarily financial (though there’s a lot to be said about the financial value of offspring), but there will be real benefit to you and to the rest of society.

For a leftist, it boils down to control. If they can’t monetize your economic activity, they can’t tax it. And if they can’t tax it, they can’t control it.

Now, I don’t believe for one moment that Obama doesn’t actually know that he’s proposing something that is economically ridiculous: Paying tax collectors, bus drivers, day care workers, food service workers, social workers, and who knows who else to do what a mother can do for mere private pennies on the government-subsidized dollar. I’m sure that he, along with most leftists, is well aware that if it doesn’t make financial sense for one family, it is not going to make financial sense for the whole country to subsidize it, either. Even when you add in the not-at-all-guaranteed larger future earnings due to uninterrupted career activity, it’s doubtful that the amount earned, and taxes paid, by any woman who requires subsidies will amount to nearly enough to over the cost of all the strangers necessary to make up for just one mother gone missing from the home. If those future earnings would be enough, the market would bear that choice without the government forcing taxpayers to cover it.

This is not about opportunity cost, in other words, and the left knows it. They’re lying about their motives. No matter how the president wants to spin it, what this is really about is making mothers resent their children, the poor resent the wealthy, and children resent their parents. Resentful, divided people are easily controlled, and the left knows this. They desire to control your children, but that’s mighty hard to do when you’re home with them all day filling their heads with nonsense like “Jesus Loves Me” and “You are more than a number, more than a statistic, more than a brick in the wall.”

Remember this when you hear these “compassionate” leftists telling you how they will make your life better:

Untaxable economic activity cannot be permitted in a totalitarian state.

Everyone must give to the State, everyone must receive from the State. The State must be God. Every time a mother chooses to engage in the non-financial–yet thoroughly economic–activity of raising children, she does something that the State can’t monitor, tax, or even understand. Her trade is in the economy of souls. The State has no soul, and in its fear and jealousy of our freedom desires to destroy that entire unknowable, uncontrollable economy. While Obama hides this bitter medicine in the syrupy language of personal happiness, it is in truth about separating families into smaller, more manageable economic units of one. It’s like busting up a ten dollar bill at the arcade. Sad, if you liked being a ten, but they need quarters to play the games.

So there’s your warm, fuzzy thought on this cold, harsh morning (we’re sorta snowed in here), families: You owe your usefulness to the State, not to each other.