"We write to taste life twice - once in the moment and in introspection."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Shaping of a Christian Family - Elisabeth Elliot

Do you ever get the feeling that you have grown "weary in well-doing"?  That you have not continued to put forth the efforts you used to in such things as ordering your home, or training your children in courtesy or self-discipline?  That your own self-discipline and priorities have been laid aside?

Well, I was having that feeling for awhile and beginning to make progress in the right direction again when (maybe because I realized I needed it again) I decided to reread The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot.  What an exemplary family!  Now, I know they weren't perfect and I know some of the story beyond the family history which Mrs. Elliot Gren tells, but reading of the discipline and order and love for God's Word and each other that the parents instilled was very inspirational again to me.  I'll share a little of it to inspire you to click on the Amazon link and get a copy (which I hope to do for each of my children).
Love means sacrifice.  Each member of the family, in one way or another, has to learn to give in, give up, and give over, for the sake of the rest.  When the family is planning how to spend a Saturday afternoon it is unlikeliy the vote will always be a unanimous one.  Several will have to give in, and it is nice if they do so graciously.  Love is always gracious.  When somebody needs help with something, somebody else must give up what he want to do in order to help.  Somebody is having a specially hard experience.  Others must learn how to put themselves in his place, how to comfort and sympathize.  Doing the little thing nobody thinks are fun but which have to be done by somebody - opportunities for self-giving and sacrifice, all of them.
Another paragraph that stands out to me:
The ordering of a peaceful home is not possible without the application of eternal principles.  It is, after all, mostly little, common things that make up our lives.  This is the raw material for the spiritual life.  If we despise small things, regard normal household duties as burdens, routines as boring, rules too confining, we will never learn, nor can we teach our children, to live a life of holy harmony.  This takes faithfulness in the troublesome details first of all, learning to do them well that we may make of them an offering to the Lord, for it is His work, after all, given to us.  It is our daily bread for which we should learn to be thankful.  Such faithfulness is the groundwork for all God may ever ask us to do.
She also quotes from Warlock of Glenwarlock something which gives pause as I reach the "past the flower of my youth" age:
She suffered from rhumatism, which she described as a 'sorrow in her bones.'  But she never lost her patience and so got the good of a trouble which would seem specially sent as the concluding discipline of old people for this world, that they may start well in the next.
There is no escaping the mill that grinds slowly and grinds small, and those who refuse to be living stones in the living temple must be ground into mortar for it.
I'm thankful for good examples, encouraging words and the Holy Spirit who continues to direct and prod and illuminate and who is the God of the Second Chance, as Larnelle Harris sang.  And so I

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Workboxing - the beginning

I haven't posted in awhile because it's been very busy in our neck of the woods.  I've spent quite a bit of time researching and finally beginning to implement some of the ideas I've found on "workboxes" - a great way to organize and use the education materials that we accumulate but don't always get to.  So last week I worked on planning out how this great idea would best work in our home.  We'll give it a trial run with the minimal amount of studying we do over the summer and hopefully will have the kinks worked out by fall.

Here's the "rough draft" set-up in progress.  The Peanut Pixie Face and Roo will be using the cereal boxes (which I plan to cover in fabric - I love fabric!- after I see if it's going to work) and the three older girls will be using the portable file boxes since they like to carry their work up to their bedrooms.

Some of the ideas of things to put in their boxes/files include their regular workbooks like math and spelling as well as puzzles, file folder games, flashcards, piano and other instrument books, surprises like a piece of chocolate (always a hit in a house of mostly girls!), 3x5 cards that give them instructions for something out of the ordinary, ie. baking, going on a field trip, surprise visit from their granny (hint, hint), etc.

I'll post more on this as we get it going and show more of our ideas to go in the boxes.

The planning is simplified by a handy planning sheet shared by http://www.heartofwisdom.com/ .  She's got a lot of information and ideas there as do http://www.sunflowerschoolhouse.com/ and http://www.ideas4theworkbox.blogspot.com/ .  Of course, the originator and finetuner of the whole system is Sue Patrick in her book Workbox System User's Guide.

The advantages of workboxes is that everything is laid out and found ahead of time so that during "schooltime" we're not running here and there for our supplies.  It also gives the children an idea of what still needs to be accomplished till they're free to do other things.  So, we'll start out with our "together" activities like Bible and Discipleship reading, housekeeping chores, unit studies and then turn everybody loose with their workboxes.  I'm hoping and praying that this system will be a good tool to help us be more orderly.

Because I'm responsible to train in discipline and godliness, I

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Teaching homemaking

Is it hard to teach our daughters to be homemakers? 

Sometimes yes.  If I am neglectful of my own duties and am not a good example, than it's hard for them to catch on.  If I don't show joy in serving Jesus within my own calling, they catch the attitude that homemaking is drudgery.  If I get impatient with their sloppiness, they aren't encouraged to be clean and neat.  All of this makes my own job of teaching them much harder.  In a sense, I can be my own worst enemy.

Sometimes no.  Today was a wonderful day of teaching homemaking by fun and example.  I was really pleasantly surprised at how many times the girls said they were so happy, or they were having such a good day, or they were "ecstatic".  What were we doing that was so fun?

Picking strawberries!  86 quarts of them!  (That was the easy part.  Processing them was not so easy.)  We made 8 jars of jam, 4 cups of freezer jam, 1 pie and froze about 40 quarts so far.  Now we're just too bushed to keep on, so we plan to do some more freezing tomorrow.
I think next time we won't do so much in one day, but it only took us about one and a half hours to pick all those, so we just kept at it!
So, I'm thankful for the good attitudes, the hearts to work and the bounty of sweet nutritious strawberries!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Raising Homemakers

Two blogs on one day!  I just have to tell you about a new website which is doing a giveaway.  Go check out Raising Homemakers for some encouragement in that area.  They're currently giving away the DVD The Return of the Daughters, which is about young single ladies ministering from home under the protection and blessing of their fathers till they move to the protection and blessing of their husbands.  The link is http://www.raisinghomemakers.com/.  Enjoy!

Your actions speak louder than words.

These words of wisdom from Elisabeth Elliot have been smacking me in the face again for a few days, so I'll share them with you and let you get smacked, too. :)
The way you keep your house, the way you organize your time, the care you take in your personal appearance, the things you spend your money on all speak loudly about what you believe. 'The beauty of Thy peace' shines forth in an ordered life.  A disordered life speaks loudly of disorder in the soul. - from Let Me Be a Woman
There's always room for improvement, because I

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tea With a Twist book review

I'm thinking that Fridays will be book review day wherein I post about a book we've recently enjoyed.  You can scroll down to the Amazon link-up at the bottom of this page to go directly there if any of these books interest you.  I love to read, especially family read-alouds, so I have lots of fun, beautiful, inspiring books to recommend.

The first will be this beauty - Tea With a Twist by Lisa Boalt Richardson.
(I'm sorry for the blurry picture, but we're having camera issues over here.)

This book is such a beautiful book and has lots of interesting ideas and photos of those ideas.  Just the introduction has directions for making both hot and iced tea as well as a recipe for basic sweet scones.  I like her stress-free approach to having a fun time with your guests.  "Presentation is not always everything. If you don't have all the accessories to make it look smashing, have a tea party anyway. Your friends will love getting together."

The next chapters are ideas for eight different tea parties.  They include Flower Power Tea, Bubble Tea, Tropical Tea, Mexican Fiesta, Southern Tailgate, All About Chocolate and Indian Chai High Tea.  Not only does she give recipes, but she also includes tea information and history as well as decorating ideas.  The photography alone is tantalizing eye candy.  

You'll definitely want to enjoy this book and display it on your coffee table. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Daily Duties, Divine Order

Not too long ago, I read the following quote on http://www.generationcedar.com/ and it made such an impression that I printed it up and hung it in our "thinking room" (the bathroom) where we all get to meditate on it periodically.  I post it here for your meditation also.

"It is wholly impossible to live according to Divine order, and to make a proper application of heavenly principles, as long as the necessary duties which each day brings seem only like a burden grievous to be borne.  Not till we are ready to throw our very life's love into the troublesome little things can we be really faithful in that which is least and faithful also in much.  Every day that dawns brings something to do, which can never be done as well again.  We should, therefore, try to do it ungrudgingly and cheerfully.  It is the Lord's own work, which He has given us as surely as He gives us daily bread.  We should thank Him for it with all our hearts, as much as for any other gift.  It was designed to be our life, our happiness.  Instead of shirking it or hurrying over it, we should put our whole heart and soul into it."  by James Reed

I'm going to guess that there are some aspects of everyone's daily duties which are not enjoyed as much as others, or even downright despised.  That's where we each need to "throw our very life's love into the troublesome little things" so we can number our days aright and present to God a heart of wisdom.

Lord, help me in this because I