Thursday, April 26, 2012

Still Extolling Domesticity!

I have had the JOY of working in my garden for two hours, for four days straight! (No, this isn't my garden, but it looks a lot like it :P.)

Perhaps you don't realize what a singular event this is. There are many impediments to overcome to make this happen.
The largest obstacle is my health. I have erythromelalgia--burning feet--and they cannot be in direct warm sun for even a moment without serious consequences. The swelling and burning leads to even more painful skin-splitting between and under the toes, and I must alternate between cold-salt-water soaks, cold packs from the fridge, and a fan blowing on my feet throughout the day and night in order to keep the pain down. This is added to my fibromyalgia, which means I tire easily and get crampy stomach and nausea if I overdo it. So when God sends the rain or clouds while I stand in the garden, allowing me a little more time to work, I frequently breathe a "eucharisteo--Thank you, Lord!"
So in my journey to contentment in the home, God has been so gracious to use this illness to make me so. I consider it a privilege just to have the strength to be a domestic, day-to-day.
I am a fairly-well-read, well-educated, intelligent woman. Bored? Are you kidding? There is so much scope for the imagination here! I can ponder the character of Christ while I dig up roots from the ground, noting that there are besetting sins in my own life that I need to root out. I meditate on Christ's words about a seed that falls to the ground to die, and I am reminded I am called to die daily. I find myself thinking about my grandfather Julius Hansen, and how he kept a beautiful garden when I was a little girl, and how I loved to walk through it with him, watching him prune sickly leaves and water roses and fuchsias.
Can any nitwit run a household? Well, not very well. It takes creativity to make a house a home. It takes organizational skills, a servant's-heart attitude, an entrepreneurial spirit. Proverbs 31:10 says, "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies." Evidently such women are rare, hard to find, and highly-valued by the Lord.
So to that young wife or mother out there who is finding it boring to be at home with young children, take heart. Pray that God will open your eyes to wonder of the world inside your own four walls or your postage-stamp-size yard. Let your imagination soar, and find ways to involve your children in the adventures you cook up for them, whether in the kitchen, the garden, the bedroom, the laundry room, or the park. Joy, contentment, and love is there, waiting.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Extolling the Virtues of Domesticity

Been listening to the CD series, Family Strategies: How to Build a Healthy Family Culture in Your Home by Doug and Beall Phillips. What a blessing it has been so far--and I've only listened to the first two CDs. I loved the phrase Doug used: "extolling the virtues of domesticity." If there is ever a way to say something floridly, Doug can do it. Such language rolls right off his tongue! It brings beauty and poetry to the concepts he preaches.

I have been "extolling the virtues of domesticity" this week while reveling in my vegetable garden. I have planted five or six crops and am loving in it! I am so thankful for this property I have to fulfill my Proverbs-31 dominion role. I hope to produce much organic, healthy food for my family this year. How rewarding it is.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Contentment or Duty? Woman Come Home Part 3

So we were studying 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles 17 in the women's Bible study. It tells about King David wanting to build a temple, and God's response to him. God says (and I paraphrase), "Have I been complaining about not having a house of cedar? Have I asked for one? It is not you who will build me a house to dwell in...I will build for you a house. I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me...I will not take my steadfast love from him, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever..."

I am not one to put much stock in what I think I hear God saying to me, because I have ended up being wrong too many times. But in this instance God's message to me was clear as crystal. He was saying, "All these activities you are involved in, that you are trying to do for my name? They are good things. They just aren't what I have in mind for YOU. I have others in mind for them. I have given you children, and a home, and I will raise up others from your house to do those things, to carry out the pro-life message, to save babies, to spread the gospel, to change the world. You concentrate on your own house, and I will bless the results. You plant and water your seeds there, focus on your children, and I will cause the growth."

Oh how I argued with God then. I said, "But God, I have already made all these new commitments. I can't be flaky. Surely you don't want me to flake out?!" and I didn't pay heed. Oh how I wish I had listened.

Within months I fell ill with mycoplasmal bronchitis, followed by hypothyroidism, followed by fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. Twenty-one years later, I am still sick, often house-bound by the symptoms. I am convinced God placed a severe mercy on me, to stop the treadmill I was on and give my heart to my children. He loves those whom he chastens.

So is it contentment or duty that drives me in my service at home? Sometimes it's one, sometimes it's the other. When I am not content, I do what I know is right, out of duty, but most of the time I love what I do at home. It gives me plenty of scope for the imagination, to take dominion right here on our acre of wooded ground. I only grieve that my health doesn't allow me to do more, but I know my worth is not defined by what I do so much as who I AM, in Christ.

And now, I have an eighteen-year-old daughter who has won national awards for her speaking up for the right to life. She visits college campuses and spreads the message of life. God has fulfilled his promises to me. God is good.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Contentment or Duty? Woman Come Home Part 2

I was googling the topic of contentment-at-home the other day, and found some great websites and blogs out there, some better than others. One of the best was here: the Christian Work-at-Home Mom.

I too struggled with being content at home when, in 1991, I came home from the career world for good.  I found that it was frankly boring to be alone with two young children all day long. I knew my children needed me, that they were the most important people in my life, that I was where God wanted me, and yet...I had gotten used to the positive ego strokes I got by being around adults in the working world. So, I started looking for escape routes.

One escape route was the phone. Another was church. A third was volunteer work. I utilized all three to excess.

Then there was that bout with lupus affecting my psyche. In 1987 I had all the signs and symptoms of it--positive blood titers, aching joints, fatigue--and then after three months of pain it all went away. There is no cure for lupus, so I had to be healed from above--but in those few years afterward, it wasn't clear if it would return or not. After grieving over the death of my self-image as a strong, healthy person, I felt driven--driven to change the world while I still had time. For four years I enjoyed good health, had two more children--and kept changing the world.

The children soon figured out that they were competing with the phone for attention, and created drama whenever I was talking on it. When I hung up, they suddenly stopped the fighting and noise. Uh-HUH--this is not good, I thought. Guess I'd better be more attentive to them. So I used nap time for phone calls.

Still, John and I had church choir on Wednesday nights, where we dropped the kids off in the church daycare. That was making for too busy a week-night schedule, so we quit the choir.

But the real draw for me was socio-political activism. Those were the heady days of Operation Rescue, when prolife causes were brought to the fore. I led a chapter of Concerned Women for America in our church and planned events for outside speakers to instruct and inspire us. We started San Joaquin Prolife Council, and supported prolife candidates (we actually succeeded in helping Richard Pombo get elected to Congress). I organized over 100 churches to stage the Life Chain annually in Stockton, CA. We attended school board meetings when a furor developed over the Impressions literature curriculum chosen in the district John and I worked in. I counseled pregnant women against abortion at the local pregnancy counseling center. I spoke and debated on high school and college campuses for the cause of life. I was on radio and television. I even pressured John to run for the school board, saying, "If you don't run I will!"

And I was plagued by the gnawing feeling that I was neglecting my children. My body was at home, but my heart was not. And they knew it. Especially my eldest daughter. Her temper tantrums were still a problem, even after I came home to stay. We were not on good terms.

We came home late one night after another school board meeting, and I walked in to see the living room floor strewn with clothes and toys, the bedroom lights on and the children jumping on the beds, carrying on long past their bedtimes. Where was the babysitter? Sound asleep on the bunk bed--oblivious to the noise and lights. We never used that babysitter again, but I felt responsible and guilty for leaving my children with a stranger again.

Then there was Bible Study Fellowship. That was an awesome influence on my life; even though the children were again being watched by others, they (and I) were being taught the Bible in a systematic way. In my next post, I will tell how God used the story of David to speak to my heart.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Get a free iPad 3 from CollegePlus!

CollegePlus is giving a brand new iPad 3 to all newly enrolling students in the Bachelor’s Degree Program. The only caveat is you must apply by June 8th and enroll by June 22nd. Click here

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

CollegePlus! The Best Way to Do College

I have become an affiliate for CollegePlus! I am a great fan of this program--with qualifications. I see greater needs for young men to get a degree than for young women, because they are intended by God's design to be providers of their families. Yet not every young man needs a degree. My two adult sons have not gone for the degree, and both are very successful in the working world. Eldest Son has his own business,, which is selling around $2 million a year, and Middle Son is doing programming for John Deere at home. Yet Third Son wants to be an engineer, and may need the degree to get there.

There are many good reasons to earn a degree via the nontraditional way. Listen to this economics prof explain why here.