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
  • 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
  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.
Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt, if desired.
This recipe will not crisp very welll in a non-stick pan, so use a big cast iron skillet (#8 or bigger) if you have one.
I like to serve this over wilted spinach. Brown rice is also good in a pinch.



Keeping House While Homeschooling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay At Home Parents are Moochers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teach Them Diligently 2015

I just registered!

Teach Them Diligently 728X180

See you in Atlanta?

Origami Owl (Giveaway)

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


And Origami Owl has earrings:



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A Thought on Chores and Consequences

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




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

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

Cleaning your room is punishment.

Emptying the dishwasher is punishment.

Taking care of the family pet is punishment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year!

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

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

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

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

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

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



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.


Jon-Lorond Saves the Day

Update: We did it! Jon-Lorond is fully funded! Thank you so much, those who shared, and especially those who contributed. I’ve drawn the winners, and will be emailing them shortly. Congratulations Michelle W., Liz, and Christine! 


Listen, people. My friend Hanna (lives right in my same town and goes to my same church and everything!) is a very gifted gal, and she has this book. It’s about an adventurous little boy named Jon-Lorond who, get this, saves the day! I know! Who’d have guessed?

Just like her main character, Hanna is an adventurous type, so she’s doing this whole publishing thing on her own. The story is written. It has pirates. The pirates are not the good guys. (I know you Christian people will like that. I do, anyhow. Pirates are scum.) She’s got an amazing artist named Luke Flowers to draw up colorful characters like this guy:


I’m not sure, but I don’t think that’s an ordinary pirate. I think that’s a hillbilly pirate. But I’ll never know if we don’t get this book published.

All that’s left to do? Money. Hanna is just a few measly thousand dollars from her goal!

Just as I did for the first Kickstarter campaign, I have pledged my financial support. Sadly, I don’t have ten grand just lying around so I’m asking you all one more time to pitch in with me. Buy a book, y’all? Just one? Maybe just add a few dollars to the pool, even if you can’t buy a whole book. Whether you can pitch in yourself or not, you could at least share it with your wealthy (heh) friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Giveaway! What I’m going to do is this: If Jon-Lorond Saves the Day gets fully funded, I will have a giveaway on this here blog. I’m on the hook for four books of my very own, so I will give away three of them, to three readers. I might even be able to get Hanna to sign them for you, if you ask real nice. But this giveaway will ONLY be open to people who comment on THIS post, BEFORE the funding deadline is reached, telling me where you shared this link to the Kickstarter campaign. It ends in 48 hours, so get to work!

How to enter: I need to see the link Forget the link. Just share and let me know where you shared it. I completely forgot about Facebook’s privacy settings. Just be honest with me. Leave a reply in the comments, one entry per comment, as many shares as you like. The more you share, the more chances you have to win. I can’t give extra entries for buying a book or more, because that would be legally iffy, but your backing would be greatly appreciated.

I must read this book!

Details: This (potential) giveaway will be closed for entries on November 5, 2014, at 11 p.m. The winner will be chosen by And the Winner Is… WordPress plugin. You can leave as many comments as you like, but follow the rules: One comment per social media share, with a link to the page you shared on. I will draw 3 winners, who will then 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. I will be personally responsible for delivering your prizes. Estimated delivery will be sometime in Spring of ’15. Be patient. Good luck! – 

Disclosure: I have not received any compensation for publicizing this campaign. I just happen to think Hanna is the bee’s knees, and her kids are pretty awesome, too, and maybe some of hers might marry some of mine someday, so I want to be super helpful. Just in case. (Really, I just think it’s a neat book.) 😉 

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.


Iplanner1 know what you’re thinking. Another planner? It’s like an addiction or something.

I know I must seem like the scattered, disorganized, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type on this blog (right?). Well, I kinda am. That’s why I love to plan. If I was naturally organized and efficient, I wouldn’t need these things, right? If it weren’t for planners, I’m pretty sure my kids would be bathed once a year, and eat macaroni and cheese three times a day. NTTAWWT.

Fortunately, people keep sending me planners to try, and I get to use them and tell you about them. This one is known simply as The Daily Planner, published by Sue Hooley of Homemaker’s Friend. I have a copy of the 2014 (of course), and a copy for next year, too.

Unlike my own DIY planner, this book is for homemakers, not necessarily homeschoolers. It pays to have your plans separate, sometimes. Among the features of this planner are:

  • weekly and monthly views
  • a full year calendar with notes for each month
  • perforated, tear-out shopping lists (love these!)
  • notes sections for tasks and projects
  •  info section for phone numbers, address, etc. (paper still beats smart phones)

monthviewBuy: I think this planner will be a handy addition to anybody’s scattered (or not-so-scattered) lifestyle. If you’d like to buy one, they’re currently $13.99 plus shipping, with free shipping if you buy three.

Win: Sue has graciously offered to send a copy of her 2015 Daily Planner to one GAH! reader.

How to enter: Just drop your name in the hat by leaving a comment.

Details: This giveaway is open to anyone in the US. This giveaway will be open until midnight, October 30, 2014. The winner will be chosen by And the Winner Is… WordPress plugin. You can leave as many comments as you like, but only the first comment will be considered a valid entry. If you have been flagged as a troll in the past, I will rescue this comment, and this comment only, from the spam folder. We don’t want to be unfair, even if you are. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email. If there is no response after 48 hours, I’ll have to choose another winner. Please use a valid email address in your comments so that I can contact you if you win! Please use one email address per entrant, per household, per IP address. The giveaway provider (not Get Along Home) will be responsible for prize fulfillment. Good luck!

Disclosure: I received a free 2014 and a free 2015 Daily Planner to review. No other compensation has changed hands. There are no affiliate links in this post. Here’s your mommy blogger grain of salt.

No Time Like the Present

…to start preparing your Advent activities.

If you do that sort of thing. I do. Here’s one of my favorite things to do with the little beings:



That’s an affiliate link. Of course!

A Conversation

Would you counsel your child to date an unbeliever?

Mom: Hey, sweetheart, I saw that handsome young man…um, Cody? Is that his name? I saw his mom yesterday!

Daughter: Yeah, that’s his name. What about him?

Mom: Well, you know…he is a really popular kid, lots of trust fund money and a wonderful future in politics. All the other parents are trying to get their daughters into his social circle. Would, um…would you like to date him? Maybe even marry him? It would be such a step up for you to really understand the way his world works, be a part of it.

Daughter: No, Mom! He’s popular, and cute, and I guess it would be a lot easier on you if I wasn’t home every weekend while the rest of the kids are out necking, but weren’t you trying to raise me to be a Christian? Don’t you want me to marry a Christian?

Mom: Of course I do, honey! I want you to marry a Christian very badly! So you get out there and make Cody a Christian! Doesn’t he deserve to hear the word of God?

Daughter: Mom, I don’t think I’m prepared for that. I’ve only been a believer in my own right for a couple of years. What if he wants to teach me some of the things he’s been doing? Like having sex, doing drugs (just a little weed, nothing serious). What if I don’t yet have the understanding required to resist his arguments? If I give him my heart, don’t you think I might compromise? Aren’t we supposed to keep from being unequally yoked? And won’t he, being the person of higher social status, be the leader of our relationship? So won’t I be the one who ends up learning from him?

Mom: Yes, honey, but I just know that your light in his life will change everything. Your mere presence is enough. I’ve arranged a date with him Friday night. He says he’s bringing condoms and a pack of Camels, but I’m telling you, just say no. I know you’ll be strong enough. And sweetheart, do make sure you learn everything about his point of view on the subject. Be respectful when he pulls you into the backseat of his car. You don’t want to be narrow-minded!

Daughter: Don’t you think…maybe you could just tell his mom about Jesus? Or we could send them a tract? Talk to them together?

Mom: Oh, no, honey. Your presence is required, in this way. Sorry. That’s just the way it has to be. Nothing else will work.

Daughter: Hm. OK, Mom. I guess you know what you’re doing. You really do care about Cody’s soul! So much that mine is of almost no account at all! Thanks so much for that!


And that, my friends, is why we don’t send our children to public schools as missionaries. It’s not about what’s popular, or what makes social sense, or spreading the gospel (seems we could do that without sending our precious daughters to the drive-in with Cody, doesn’t it?), but about protecting those things which are valuable. World-view matters. Understanding matters.

If you don’t believe in missionary dating, why do you believe in missionary education?

Who’s in charge matters. 

Do not become partners with those who do not believe, for what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever? And what mutual agreement does the temple of God have with idols? –2 Corinthians 6:14-16

A Day in the Life

Lessons and life are keeping us pretty busy here at the GAH! household. So busy, in fact, that I kinda forgot I had a blog. Sorry about that.

I thought it might be fun (for me, if not for you) to give a play-by-play look at our day. The problem with that is that I can’t decide whether to do this on a day that is going well (to show how good it can be), or a day that is going poorly (so you’ll know that you’re not alone in your fallen state). Since I’m not sure which to do, I’m just going to live blog today, starting now. You never know what you might get!

9:13 a.m. Breakfast was over half an hour ago. The children are supposed to be cleaning up their zones. I divide the living areas into smaller chunks and give each child responsibility for keeping that area clean for the day. When Mama hollers “ZONES!”Everybody immediately hops to and starts to tidy up, laughing gaily and helping one another along as needed. ROFL. When I give the signal, everyone wanders around aimlessly for a moment, a couple of kids fight about who was assigned which zone, and then, eventually, after I’ve reminded them a time or two (or ten) more that they shouldn’t stop until they are finished, we have a clean(ish) living area.

9:15 Scratch the “live” part of “live-blogging.” I can’t update on the fly. I’d lose track of things. I’ll just post this all at once. Tomorrow. Maybe. (OK, it turned out to be next week. Busy.)

9:20 I’m off to transfer some laundry to the dryer. Started it before breakfast. Only one load today! Then we will pray, sing, and read for our morning meeting. I’ll have my computer handy to take notes. Hark! What song is that? Why, daughter is crying. Mommy to the…oh, OK, now she is laughing. I guess I’ll just let them work it out amongst themselves, whatever it is.

9:30 Baby needs his nap. Nurse him while we read and sing. We usually have this done by now. Today’s reading is a chapter in Genesis. The seven year-old boy narrates, though not well. He needs prompting. Lots. Was he even listening? No, but the five year-old girl was, and big brother was, so they add what they know. We sing Draw Me Nearer, and then do our memory box.

9:45 Put baby in his bassinet. Good grief, the little boys are so LOUD! “Please don’t follow me. You’ll wake up brother.” And, miraculously, they don’t, and he goes down without waking up.


9:50 Listen to a couple of scenes from Hamlet. Those who can, sit and listen. The rest go play quietly. My desk is a tangle of wires, books, kleenexes, etc. I think I’ll straighten that while we listen. I say “Hush.” A lot. I guess the “quietly” part didn’t go so well. I pause it, send the tots out of the room, and start over because no one was listening. There is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Finally, the three oldest children are sitting and ready to listen. We listen. I do a little bit of my jigsaw puzzle while we listen, then David narrates. Mommy re-explains some things. They enjoy the Shakespeare mornings. ‘Tis true!

10:20 Tot school. I read a story and give the two little boys some undivided attention while the older ones do some copywork and spelling practice, maybe even get started on their reading lists. Then the littles play on the porch on this beautiful fall morning. Rice play, anybody?

Rice play

Sometimes tot school is a song and a book. Sometimes we play playdough or color. Baths are good for this time, too. Sometimes they wander off and do things alone, but I don’t let that happen very often.

This isn’t a time to just get them happy so they’ll be out of the way (though it does work out to that effect), so much as it is my time to fill up their hearts with the knowledge that they are loved and I am interested in them. I remember feeling like no one was very interested in my goings-on when I was a child, and it was pretty lonely feeling. I don’t want to do that to my babies. (I still feel that way sometimes, actually. What are you doing here?) I don’t want my kids to feel that way. Once they’re taken care of, I can devote more attention to the big kids, who are ready for…

10:50 Math. Start with the oldest and work my way down while the little boys do whatever it is that little boys do when mommies aren’t looking. It’s going to run long, due to whining. Hopefully, we’ll still have science. If not, we’ll push that up into our margin time after lunch.

11:30 There are men in my kitchen now. That’s because my cabinets started coming down off the walls a few weeks ago. All by themselves! Old house. Glad it’s not ours. They’re finishing up the replacements, and distracting the kids. I am done. Done. DONE. But we can fit in science now because I can’t make lunch anyway.

11:35 That part about doing science? Scratch that. There are men in my kitchen. It’s very distracting. Tomorrow is another day. Everybody is free to play or read.

12:00 The men didn’t take long, so we clean up after them and eat lunch. It’s just leftovers. Quick and easy.

1:30 “Zones!” They do better in the afternoon. I clean up the kitchen and dining room. Then we make beds, tidy rooms. Most of us, anyway. I’m nursing the baby and directing the little boys in picking up their messes. I send the two big boys to fold that load of laundry. There’s a baby in all of this somewhere. He’s just along for the ride. Not much to say for himself, I guess. He just hangs out with whoever.

Hanging out with sister

2:00 Littles go to naps. Time for me to clean the bathrooms. As soon as the boys finish their laundry, I’ll have them work on their reading lists, narrating as they go.

2:45 Reading lesson for the 5 and 7 year olds. She’s catching up to him fast.

3:00 Handicrafts. We’re doing basket-weaving (using this book to learn). Sadly, I failed to buy the flat oval reed, so I have to order that before we can continue. We only made it to the third row.


But that’s better than nothing, right? Since we can’t do that, now’s a good time to pull out a new picture to study. AO has us doing Fra. Angelico. After that, the boys and girl will play until dinner time. Sometimes, though not today, I’ll play our composer study song for the week during this time, too.

Between now and dinner, I will nurse baby, check in on Facebook and Twitter, read my feeds, and finish this post. Then I’ll make dinner, and whatever is left undone after that will wait until tomorrow. Before I go to bed, I put the next day’s plan on the whiteboard, and we’ll do it all again tomorrow.

So, there you have it. A day like this is possibly boring to read about, but it was very busy and productive and fun for us. And I guess that’s what matters.



Speak for Those Without a Voice #IAmYourVoice

If you’re like me, you’ve been watching the unfolding chaos in Iraq with a stomach-churning anger and sadness, not knowing what to do, other than pray. I happen to think that praying is the very best and most useful thing a Christian can do, so at least we can do that. God is their help, and our prayers are effective! However, if our prayers spoken in faith don’t spur us to action, what good are they?

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. –James 2:14-17

My friends from Planet Mommyhood have taken action, and they’re asking us to join them in helping our fellow Christians in this time of need.

Watch this:

Then visit I Am Your Voice to find out what you can do to help our brothers and sisters in Christ. Or you can go directly to Food for the Hungry and donate to help feed and sustain the families who are fleeing ISIS, often with nothing more than the clothing on their backs.

Another ministry you may want to consider donating to is RUN Ministries. I’m told that they have refugee facilities set up and are risking and sometimes losing their lives in order to give a safe place to fleeing Christians and Yazidis. I have not checked into this ministry myself, but it’s another option.

Jon-Lorond Saves the Day

Support a budding children’s author.  Jon-Lorond

I want to introduce you to a friend of mine, Hanna Rasco. Hanna is a dreamer, and a writer, and (most importantly) a mother with a heart for her kids. Watch:

Now, I have noticed the same problems with children’s books that Hanna has. Boyish themes are hard to find in this culture, unless by “boyish” you mean “gross, icky, rude, and stinky.” It seems that all the adventurous and heroic writing is done to encourage girls to be more like…well, boys. Then boys end up with books full of fart jokes and sensitivity training. That is simply not good enough!

I hope some of you will consider joining Hanna’s Kickstarter campaign.  (I will be pledging my financial support, too, of course.) The book looks wonderful, and some of the perks for backing this project are pretty enticing, as well. Hanna is offering everything from superhero capes to secret family recipes.

Click here to find out what you can do to help this creative mama give her sons (and yours) some heroes in their stories.

Excuses, Excuses

My dad’s a preacher. Y’all knew that, right? Well, he is. And he’s the kind that likes to get out and knock on doors to see how the people are doing. Naturally, that means he has a lot of stories about the excuses people make to avoid Sunday morning (or any other time) worship.

I don’t keep transcripts of conversations (that would be weird), so what follows is a composite of a couple of anecdotes of both his and mine.

Christian (Chx): Do you believe in Jesus, God’s son?

Unchurched person (UP): Oh, absolutely, yes!

Chx: Oh, good! Well, if you don’t have a church to attend, we’d love to see you at ours!

UP: Oh, no. No, I couldn’t do that. You see, my neighbor, who very conveniently attends a church you’ve never heard of, is a very bad witness. She gossips and curses and probably does worse than that.

Chx: Oh, so you’re saying she’s a hypocrite?

UP: The worst!

Chx: Well, why don’t you just get in church and show her how it’s done, then?

UP: Yes, but…well…I just can’t feel good about worshiping with a bunch of hypocrites. I can’t believe Jesus would ask me to do that.

Chx: Tell me, where do you think hypocrites go when they die?

UP: Hell, of course.

Chx: Well, do you want to spend eternity with them, or just Sunday mornings?

UP: But I don’t have to go to church to be saved!

Chx: You’ve got an interesting definition of “saved” if you think that. If you are a believer, you will want to be in fellowship with other believers so you can learn and grow. The Bible tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. We’re also told that there will be fruit in the lives of those who are saved, and one of those fruits is love for the rest of the Church–even those that are failing miserably at the moment. There’s no such thing as a one-member church.

UP: But those people aren’t really Christians!

Chx: Really? Do you believe I’m a real Christian?

UP: Of course! I know you are because we’ve been friends for so long. You mean it. I’ve seen the way you treat your wife. I know you’ve never cheated anybody in business. You know the Bible better than anybody I’ve met!

Chx: Well, why not come on down and worship with me, then? I’ll sit right beside you!

UP: Oh, well, you see, there’s this lady at that church across town who gossips. And besides, I don’t really have anything to wear…

Dear unchurched person (the one who claims to love God. We’ll deal with the admitted unrepentant some other time):

If you continue to live a life apart from Christ, when you stand before God, you’re going to stand there alone, unprotected from actual Judgment. I’m not talking about the “judgment” that you think Christians are heaping on you when they tell you that you need to repent of your sins (something we all have to do). I’m talking about Judgment with a capital J, the kind that sends you to Hell.

Please understand that God is not going to ask you how such-and-such down the road made you feel about your lifestyle. In fact, He wants that “judgmental” person to make you aware of your sin so that you can be forgiven of it. He won’t care much whether you liked the demeanor of the man who greets (or fails to greet) you on Sunday morning. He won’t care if the people in your local church suited your personal taste.

Of you, and of those whom you revile as hypocrites, He will only ask one question:

“Did you repent and worship my Son?”

Repentant people seek to worship Christ. They seek to learn more about him. And they seek each other. When a Christian is cut off from the Body, for whatever reason, he feels it keenly, and he wants to remedy that situation as quickly as possible.  Anyone who claims to want Jesus, while excusing his distaste for worship with invectives about those “Christians” is fooling himself. While he pretends to be “hurt” at all the “judgment”, what he’s really doing is judging Christians in general to deflect awareness of his own sins.

I can tell you from my own experience that when I became a believer, my formerly “judgmental” “stuck up” Christian neighbors suddenly looked very different to me. They looked sincere to me, where before I had seen hypocrisy. I thought I saw anger in them because they made me angry. But they seemed concerned now, where before I had thought them judgmental. I saw them as judgmental because I was heading for Hell, and they knew it, and they didn’t pretend otherwise.

Excuses will not save you, friends. Only Christ will. Only repentance will. No matter what the failings of the individual in the next pew, you must face Him one day with your choice. So what’s it gonna be? Are you going to continue to cut off your own nose to spite your face, or are you going to start seeking a place to worship him?

Why People Are Leaving the Church

Seems to be a hot topic right now, so I thought I’d tell you the real reason. I can do it faster than those other articles I’m reading, too:

People are leaving the church because they don’t want Jesus.

If they did, they’d find their place in His body, then stay and serve him there.

You’re welcome.

Have a simple, uncomplicated, and obvious day!

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. –Ephesians 4:32 

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. –Colossians 3:13

Homeschool Survival Tip

Whew! We’re already at the end of two weeks of our first Ambleside Online term of the year! I’m not sure if you all noticed (I assume you have better things to do than sit around noticing things like this), but I have not written a single useful word in months. Sorry. We’ve been busy. But I do have a word for you. You ready for it?:


There you have it. That’s all you get from me, and I won’t charge you a dime for it. (I’m trying to be like Dan Phillips says, and not be too wordy. Bye, now!)

OK, I’m kidding. Recovery is a very good word, but requires a bit of explanation, doesn’t it?

It’s a homeschool planning word, so if you’re not a planner, maybe skip this tip. I’m going to be full of tips, among other things, from now on.

If you want your homeschool to be successful, not stressful, plan a recovery day into your week. A recovery day is not a day of rest. That would be the Sabbath. Recovery Day is still a work day, but it’s an unplanned work day. You know, for all that stuff that you planned, or forgot to plan, or wish you hadn’t planned, but still have to do, that didn’t quite happen on the other days of the week.

When I first started teaching these kids (formally), I had five days a week marked out in beautiful, permanent pen. It was so pretty, so inspiring, to look at my planner. But then by the end of the first week, my planner had been brutally marked up and scribbled out and only half accomplished, not because we hadn’t worked hard enough, but because I hadn’t planned any margin time. There was no room for mistakes and surprises. Being lamentably human, I can’t help but have a few of those, but I was a noob, and this fact had somehow not occurred to me yet.

Now, though, we have a recovery hour during the little kids’ nap time every afternoon, and then the whole day on Friday is for catching up on whatever fell by the wayside throughout the week.

Maybe you’re not like me. Maybe you actually do everything you plan, when you plan it. If so, hats off to ya, and please don’t laugh at me. But for the rest of us, this is one way I’ve found to build flexibility into the school plan.

What about the rest of you homeschool parents? How do you recover your unfinished plans?

How’s This?

Redesign! I might tweak it a little bit, but I think I like this. You like this? Should I put back the dark background?

Pardon the Mess

We (OK, Jesse) got the spammy stuff out of the blog, but my blog design got caught in the crossfire. Oh, well. I was thinking of a redesign anyway. Try not to notice all the ugly going on around here for a few days (or weeks). Thanks!