"Your body is the first thing any child of man ever wanted. Therefore dispose yourself to be loved, to be wanted, to be available. Be there for them with a vengeance. Be a gracious, bending woman. Incline your ear, your heart, your hands to them.... To be a Mother is to be the sacrament - the effective symbol - of place. Mothers do not make homes, they are our home." from Bed and Board, Robert Farrar Capon

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Life Schedules Us

"After a few batches we embraced it, getting those little things done that never seemed to find their way into our schedule. Books were read, letters written, house tidied. All which felt just as much a part of the recipe as adding water and kneading dough."

My sister-in-law found and sent me a link to this video here (also where I got the quote above).

Monday, December 17, 2012

The "Yes" Mom

In response to some of the comments on the post I wrote here, I would like to expound what I meant by my saying "Yes." It doesn't mean I say the word "yes" to every request or demand made by one of my children.  Sometimes I say "You'll have to wait a minute," or "You're old enough to get that yourself," or "Not right now," or "Go ask your older brother to help you with that," or "Just a minute!" or just plain "No."
What I meant was, I think, that a woman spending the majority of her lifetime and days in her house, caring for husband, children, and home, is living out a "yes" to all those who dwell with her. It means a life of service to those in her family, not out of some pious or grand choice of her own, but out of a God-given surrender to a God-given vocation out of fear and love for God.

It doesn't matter whether you have one child, or three, or ten.  It's never easy.
But every time you've given up your sleep to nurse an infant or care for a sick child or adult, or sacrificed your mascara to the chopping up of some very potent onions to saute for the soup base (hehe!), or given up your some desired "me time" of putting your feet up at the end of an evening and reading or knitting or blogging or watching a show and instead found yourself getting your toddler that seventh drink of water, and then wandering from room to room doing your seventh and final clean up for the day, and then after it all, making time to give your husband the time of day... or night, or something... then you're saying "yes" too.

Now do I do all those things all the time?  No! I fail every single day.  And I especially fail at doing those things with a good attitude most of the time.  I complain.  I throw little fits of my own.  I sometimes (all the time?) end up yelling at my children when the pressure hits me.  But I have a gracious savior who takes all those sins upon himself and gives me new mercies to start over every day, only to have me end up mooching off his mercies again by bedtime, which He wants. But to tell you the truth I don't even know how to do that very well.  Receive His mercy I mean.  I usually run to  a place of guilt and condemnation and new resolutions and laws for myself and family before running to Him.  But he even forgives me for that.  Phew!

I guess what I'm really trying to say is:
"What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"   Matthew 7:9-11

See? We, being evil, want to say "yes" to our children.  And by God's grace we do.

 "For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."  Matthew 25:37-40

Oh so that was you asking for the thirteenth drink of water that night?  Huh.

"Sleeping Mother with Child," by Christian Kroh, 1883

Monday, November 19, 2012

An Encouraging Reminder

My sister-in-law Christine told me about this video the other day. I hope you find it as encouraging as I did.

Whether she home schools or not, I believe every mother with a number of young children at home can relate to the question this mother of six puts forth in her letter to "Andrew."  And Andrew gives her a great answer.  Very pastoral, I thought.

Ask Andrew - 11-12 from

Everything we do flows from the Story, in which we live, move, and have our being, and remembering that brings me back from a place of strife to a place of resting and trusting in God in all my doings for the day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Today's Quote from "Our Calling"

"[W]e would, I believe, search in vain through Luther's whole preaching about the call for a 
single place wherein he seeks to encourage zeal in one's calling by referring to 
great cultural achievements or the like, which are the results of working in a call. 
On the contrary he always chooses the most humble work as examples, and makes hardly any attempts to reveal links between them and some great common goal to which they are meant to contribute.

The radiance which surrounds them does not come from in front, from their goal, 
but from behind, from their source.

In all striving beyond those tasks which are given directly through the guidance of God, 
[there could be] serious disobedience and beneath that, a relapse into... self-righteousness, 
and beneath that, again, lack of faith, a reliance upon oneself instead of God."

Our Calling, by Einar Billing, page 6

Thursday, October 25, 2012

"Our Calling," Radiating from the Forgiveness of Sins

I just started reading through "Our Calling," by Einar Billing. It has so much in it that I believe can be of comfort to us in our calling of motherhood. So as I read through it I will post passages that I find encouraging for the day. Here's one of the the first things I found myself meditating upon:

"Whoever knows Luther, even but partially, knows that his various thoughts do not lie 
alongside each other, like pearls on the string, held together only by common authority or 
perchance by a line of logical argument, but that they all, as tightly as the petals of a rosebud, 
adhere to a common center, and radiate out like the rays of the sun from one glowing core, 
namely, the gospel of the forgiveness of sins....

We could take all of them in order and say something like this: 
the church is the forgiveness of sins, the sacraments are the forgiveness of sins, 
liberty is the forgiveness of sins, and the call is the forgiveness of sins."
page 4

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Toddler Instruction

Hmmm. I guess toddlers should learn to read before they learn to peel stickers...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Quote for the Day

“Wherever you are, be all there....”  

Jim Elliot

Fun with Baby, by Giuseppe Magni

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Nice and Clean

A friend of mine gave me this...

Dear friend we need more...

Since we used it all in one bath!

(I could almost wager I now have the cleanest two year old ever,
well at least for the next 10 seconds)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

In the Trenches

My son is getting married. He is our seventh born. At the bridal shower for his wife-to-be, I read the following part of  Capon's Bed and Board. I told everyone, this isn't for the the new bride, it is for those of us who have been in the trenches for a while.

"Marriage was instituted in the time of man’s innocency, but it has operated since under the shadow of the fall. Therefore its materialities, along with our other materialities, become the means of our cure. He who perished by a tree is saved by a tree. He who died by an apple is restored by eating the flesh of his Savior. Bed, board, rooftree and doorway become the choice places of our healing, the delimitations of our freedom. By setting boundaries, they hold us in; but they trammel [restrain] the void as well. By confining, they keep track of us—they leave the children free to play a little, rather than be lost at large. Marriage gives us somewhere to be. It is the place where, night by night, forgiveness and fair speech return, that the sun not go down upon our wrath…We ask, and are taken in marriage…and we find ourselves thrown down into a very small piece of ground indeed. A trench…Adversity has made us bedfellows. It is not what I imagined at all. Where are the two triumphant giants of love I expected? There are only the two of us, crouched down here under a barrage of years, bills, and petty grievances, waiting for a sign, which shows no sign of coming. Most likely we shall die in this trench. There is really no place else to go, so in the meantime we talk to each other. The sum and substance of what we manage to say, however, is “Well, here we are.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Guaranteed Entertainment

For hours of enjoyment purchase Kleenex in bulk.*

* Children beware, this is usually a short lived form of entertainment for your mother.  
* Kleenex Corporation is not responsible for any reactions this entertainment may provoke.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Why Have Children?

I came across a great article in World Magazine the other night.  It is called Metaphysically Deceived, by Mindy Belz.  In it she quotes a small passage from a wonderful 1993 essay by theologian and ethicist Gilbert Meilaender called "The Meaning of the Presence of Children," which I then found and read in its entirety, and I'm so glad I did.  (For some reason I cannot create a link to it because it was a PDF download, but you can type the article name into Google and download the PDF for yourself if you're interested), and I think it is well worth reading.
It is so good that I just have to put up this (rather lengthy) excerpt:

 The Meaning of the Presence of Children, by Gilbert Meilaender -

 There is, I claimed at the outset, a certain pathos in the question, Why have children? 
It suggests a loss of spontaneous confidence in life and an impoverishment of spirit. This does not mean that such a question is unreasonable, particularly for those whose circumstances make hope difficult, though we may doubt whether they are the ones always most likely to raise the question. In any case, I do not seek to judge the difficulties facing any particular married couple or their special circumstances; rather, I seek to reflect upon the social significance of our attitude toward the presence of children. 

The formation of a family is most truly human, a sign of health, when it springs from what Gabriel Marcel called “an experience of plenitude.” To conceive, bear, and rear a child ought to be an affirmation and a recognition: affirmation of the good of life that we ourselves were given; recognition that this life bears its own creative power to which we should be faithful....
The desire to have children is an expression of a deeply humanistic impulse to be faithful to the creative power of the life that is mysteriously ours....

 But granting all such provisos, there is still a sense in which planning alone cannot capture the “experience of plenitude” from which procreation, as its best, springs. There is, after all, no necessity that human beings exist—or that we ourselves be. That something rather than nothing exists is a mystery that lies buried in the heart of God, whose creative power and plenitude of being are the ground of our life. That life should have come into existence is in no way our doing. Within this life we can exercise a modest degree of control, but we deceive ourselves if we forget the mystery of creation that grounds our being.  To form a family cannot, therefore, be only an act of planning and control—unless we are metaphysically deceived. It must also be an act of faith and hope, what Marcel termed “the exercise of a fundamental generosity.” 

To the extent that we moderns have understood the family as a problem to be mastered, and not a mystery to be explored faithfully, we have quite naturally come to adopt a certain attitude toward our children. They have been produced, not out of any spontaneous confidence in life, but as the result of our own planning. We are, therefore, tempted to suppose that we must— and can—become their protectors, the guarantors of their future. Paradoxically, having lost the metaphysical underpinnings of procreation as a participation in the Creator’s own gracious self- spending, having lost much of the real significance of the family, we make of it more than it is.

In love a man and a woman turn from themselves toward each other. They might, however, miss the call of creative fidelity to life and be forever content to turn toward each other alone, to turn out from themselves no more than that. But in the child, their union, as a union, quite naturally turns outward. They are not permitted to think of themselves as individuals who come together only for their own fulfillment. In the child they are given a task. Their union plays its role in a larger history, and it becomes part of their vocation to contribute to the ongoing life of a people....

In many respects this is the most fundamental task of parents: transmission of a way of life. When the son of the ancient Israelite asked, “‘What does this mean?,” his father told again the story of the mighty acts of God, the story of their common life as a people....  Parenthood is not just biological begetting. It is also history—a vocation to nurture the next generation, to initiate it into the human inheritance of knowledge and obligation....

And until we rediscover the inner meaning of the venture of parenthood as a mystery to be lived rather than a problem to be controlled, we will be ill equipped to deal with the ills we confront."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Soft Scrub

It works great to get white tubs and things white again.

Here's my kitchen sink this morning with this past week's collection of scum, blackberry stain, and pot scrapes, etc:

Then I squirt some of this around the edges and over the spots:

I let it sit for a minute or two and then take a rag and spread it throughout the sink, scrubbing softly, and:

Within minutes my sink is white again.  It is a "soft scrub." It doesn't scrub off the enamel or dull the sink like a weekly scrub with a rougher agent like Comet would.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

And The Lord Added to Their Numbers...

My husband and I and our two little girls are overjoyed to announce that Baby Paul Benjamin arrived last Saturday night, August 18th. He weighed a healthy 8 lbs 14 oz. Once again I am amazed at what a miracle a baby is - a very undeserved miracle. We are very thankful for Paul, and for all the friends and family who have been taking such good care of us all over the last week. 

I won't bore you by posting all the hundreds of the photos we've already taken of Baby Paul, showing how amazing he is, how sweet his long little fingers look, how he stretches out his toes, etc. After all, this is a site for mothers and we each know that our own babies are the most perfect, incredible little babies ever, right? However, I will take my opportunity to post two quick photos.

photo of baby paul benjamin
Paul Benjamin ~ 2 days old

photo of baby paul benjamin with lucy and helen
Paul Benjamin with sisters Lucy & Helen

Thursday, August 23, 2012

And the winner...

of the random $25 Amazon gift certificate giveaway for the recipe link-up entrants is...

Mrs. White!


 Wow, it's a world record (for us)... 16 recipes! Haha!

There are a few of these recipes I definitely plan to make in the near future.  One is, coincidentally, Mrs. White's thin no rise pizza dough, because my husband's always asking how we can get our dough thinner and crispier when we grill pizzas.

Thank you all so much for sharing ladies!

(By the way, the Oatmeal Share Cake recipe that Michelle@Glad2BHome put up is one of the best cakes I've ever tasted. Just the topping is worth it! I have made that cake literally dozens of times and nearly every time that I've brought it to a pot luck or school event I've been asked for the recipe, so try it!  You won't be sorry.)

Mrs. White, if you will be kind enough to email me (email link is over on the right sidebar) the email address you would like me to send the online certificate to I will zip that over to you as soon as possible. :)

Thank you so much everyone!  I appreciate each and every one of your entries.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Quote for the Day

“Don’t be too easily convinced that God really wants you to do all sorts of work you needn’t do. 
Each must do his duty ‘in that state of life to which God has called him.’  Remember that a belief in the virtues of doing for doing’s sake is characteristically feminine, characteristically American, and characteristically modern: so that three veils may divide you from the correct view!  There can be intemperance in work just as in drink.  What feels like zeal may be only fidgets or even the flattering of one’s self-importance.  As MacDonald says, ‘In holy things may be unholy greed!’ And by doing what ‘one’s station and its duties’ does not demand, one can make oneself less fit for the duties it does demand and so commit some injustice.   Just you give Mary a chance as well as Martha!”

C.S. Lewis, Letters to An American Lady

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Wise Saying

One of my friends once passed on to me something a wise woman had once told her,

"You don't wash the floor to keep it clean, 
you wash the floor to get it clean."

Now I know that sounds simple, but if you let the full implication of those words sink in, and then extend them to include the host of household duties you perform each day, you may find it extremely comforting.

Someone is going to drip Popsicle on the freshly scrubbed floor.  Someone is going to use the bathroom five minutes after it's been cleaned.  Someone is going to dump the basket of toys out on the newly vacuumed carpet.  Someone is going to rummage thoughtlessly through the just organized dresser drawer.  Someone is going to wear that newly ironed shirt.  Because people live here!  That's who it's all for!  Life is never going to hold still long enough for anything to remain in that sterile and glistening state that I strive to get it to every week! (Proverbs 14:4)

That doesn't mean I'm going to throw my Clorox Clean-Up out the window, but it means that I can look at my care for this home as an ongoing lifelong cycle.  It will never be "done." I will keep tending to it all, because that is the vocation I have been given as a wife, a mother, and a homemaker, to daily bring order out of chaos, to say "let there be light" in this kitchen each and every morning as I start all over again.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

From-the-Hearth: Recipe Link-Up (with a give-away!)

So I'm putting up another recipe link-up.

This time I'm adding something special!
Everyone who links up a recipe will be entered to win a $25 amazon.com gift certificate!

The conditions are these: there have to be at least ten entrants (excluding my own).  That's it.

You have the next two weeks to link a recipe, and then on August 23rd I'll enter all you wonderful recipe linker ladies into an online automatic raffle winner picker and then I will email the downloadable certificate to the winner!

I thought it would be fun to add a tad of excitement to this one.
So tell your friends about it if you'd like.  Surely we can find ten people to grace our humble little site with a recipe.  :D

I, for one, am always looking for new recipe ideas so please put one up!

Thanks :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Crying for the Absolution

Do you ever just feel like crying? Even without a good reason? Well I was having that kind of day. Most things that were probably normal just didn't seem that way. I like to blame it on being 8 months pregnant and having two girls aged two and under running around. I could even blame it on the cold that is going around to the two runny noses that just don't seem to know when to stop. I can hear my husband's  voice in my mind, saying, "Just slow down. Think, what is the worst that can happen?"  Hmm, well, maybe I don't get to vacuuming and the carpet gets even dirtier than it already is. Not so bad. I don't do laundry and we all run around naked. Getting a lot worse. I don't make any food and we all starve to death. See, I knew this was all a life and death matter! Ok, maybe I should make lunch before I go any further down that road.

The problem is, when I am crying I don't usually slow down and think, I react. If you find a woman who can be an emotional wreck, and slow down to think logically, I would nominate her for the Nobel peace prize. Or better yet, maybe the sister suffragette “badge of courage beyond the call of duty.” But being as there probably isn't one, then we will descend from our flight of fancy - down, down, to ... Yes, two more dirty diapers. When you’ve gone through two Costco packs of diapers in less than a month, God must being trying to say something.

What could it be that He is trying to tell me? “You’ve been bad”? No even in this state of mind, I don't think God is punishing me through dirty diapers. “You need to try harder”? Again, I don’t think that’s God’s hidden message to me.

Then my phone rang. Now I think that sometimes there is nothing so lovely as that ring, a chance to talk to another human being who has a vocabulary that includes more than 6 words. But my phone also has the habit of ringing right when I’m in the middle of some mess or jackpot (bad phone!) so I almost didn’t answer it this time. However, there is one thing worse than leaving a big mess to answer the phone, and that is the guilt that comes when you see the person whose phone call you ignored and you’re wondering if they guessed that you had simply ignored them. That being said, I answered it this time. A heavenly sound came across. My husband’s voice asking “Hi Honey, how is it going?"

How is it going? How is it going? Well let me tell you. I started with the smallest problem of all, that I'm hopelessly fat and will probably never lose any of it after the baby is born, but once a confession starts, it seems to all just spill out. It may be more like a volcano or perhaps old faithful, but there is it. Now I am crying all over again and have a headache to boot. But at one point in this conversation come the most cherished words in all of history, "I forgive you of all of your sins." Is that really the answer to the unswept floors and counters that need dusting? Yes! Now the truth begins to take hold of me. It isn't the thing itself that makes me crazy, it is the lack of hearing the absolution. I need to hear it every day. God sends trouble into my life, and the absolution finds me in the muck and toil. "I forgive you  of all of your sins." The absolution washes away the grime, and even diapers begin to reek of holiness. I am right where He wants me to be.

Then the secondary confirmation can continue this absolution. My conversations with my husband, friends, and neighbors affirm this forgiveness on a daily basis. It’s not only limited to Sunday morning, but He is broken for me today, here, now. Baptism (or exorcism – whichever you prefer to call it) happens over the telephone and I am once again clothed and in my right mind.

So what is God trying to say? Here is my beloved daughter in whom I am well pleased.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

You Made My Day

Okay here's another post related to Costco. (It just happens to be my biggest outing once every two weeks.)

I was pushing my cart, which was filled with, not groceries, but four little urchins begging for the nearest food sample. The lady who was handing out the samples couldn't help but notice the children. Just as I was preparing myself for the usual verbal assault my entourage can evoke, she said, "Are they all yours? Children are a wonderful heritage. I hope you keep going, large families are so special. I know it is a lot of work when they are little, but it is well worth it."

Thank you kind woman. You made my day.

We are a minority who believe...

Psalm 127:3-5
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Prayer

A while back this hand-out was given to me at a bridal shower. What an encouraging and convicting prayer, and what an incredible gift to all the guests at the bridal shower.

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Daydream

   I was having one of those days, or rather one of those weeks. Being about 8 months pregnant I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or to cry. I think that God must have quite the sense of humor. All the things that most young women value go right out the  window  when there’s a baby on the way. So much for the “flat belly diet” - and pretty much anything else that was once flat. Add to this the  one year old and two year old girls I’ve already been blessed with, who seem to have an uncanny sense for timing those dirty diapers at the “wrong time” (but alas, is there really ever a “right time”?) and you can imagine how I was feeling. So we decided, well I decided and they agreed with tears in their eyes, that it was nap time. Bottles, blankets and binkies for everyone.

   Then the daydream came - We were at a church function and my pastor and I were talking about something really important. I can’t remember what, but you never can remember those really important conversations. Then out of the blue, he said, “I dream about someday talking to all of those shapely young women.”  A bit confused, and  not quite sure how to answer, I tried the old standby. “Ah,” said I. “Yes," He said, "I would love to talk to them. I’d love to ask them ‘Where are your babies?’ You’ve been using your body parts for all of the wrong reasons. God gave them to you for a reason. You would be much happier to be in your God given vocation of taking care of your babies.”

   Well just before I had come up with a response to that, someone’s child started crying. And I was thankful as my one year old leaned up against my big belly, wanting her mommy. Off I went to change another diaper and thank the Lord for such a full, blessed life.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Washing Water of the Word

Catechism is about creating 
a whole atmosphere; 
like a child in a womb surrounded by water, 
we're surrounded by the water of the Word.

It creates an atmosphere
 that's a combination
 of poverty and gift.
Trouble. Crying out. Deliverance.
Psalm 107

Friday, June 22, 2012

I Digress

Why can't my two year old and one year old understand the concept of "everything in moderation"?

Take this past Sunday morning for instance, when I had already changed two overnight diapers and three more stinkos by 7:45 am. My husband jokingly said it's because Sunday is a holy day and it's my own fault for writing the "Smell of Holiness" post a while back. Okay, serves me right, see if I ever post something like that again. When baby number three arrives this summer I don't even want to imagine how many diapers there will be. My husband's next "helpful" input for me was that if I simply quit feeding the girls then they'd quit doing diapers, saving us money on both food and diapers. Wow, thank you dear husband for these encouraging words of wisdom! 

And I'm convicted. Both yesterday and today while I laid in bed, trying to pretend I couldn't hear the girls crying because they wanted to get up at 6:00 in the morning, my husband got up and was changing the first morning diapers before I even made it into their room. What an incredible husband I have! Not that I expect him to always be changing diapers, I do know that is a big part of my vocation, but what a nice surprise!

I know that bragging about our husbands is not the main purpose of this blog, but really my husband and many of the other fathers I know are pretty amazing. Not only do they go out and work to support us so we can care for our children (including spending their hard earned money on both food AND diapers), but they also wash us with the Word, deliver the word of forgiveness of sins to us, and even sometimes take up a little slack in the diaper changing realm ;-)

Thank you Lord for my godly husband!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Character Development

"Many parents are finding out that a pat on the back helps develop character
- if given often enough, early enough, and low enough."
Author unknown

Friday, June 1, 2012

Crazy Mama

No deep thoughts for the day. Just working away in my own personal lunatic asylum :-)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Least of My Brethren

" ... Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in. Naked, and ye clothed me. I was sick, and ye visited me. I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
... Verily I say unto you, In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. "
Excerpts from Matthew 25:34-46

I’ve read this many times before, and I’ve also heard it in sermons. Yet, like most things, I don’t think I’ve ever heard it before. I’ve thought of it as maybe the scruffy guy on the street corner or perhaps that person asking for gas money in the supermarket parking lot. Even as the person in our church who I decided was a "weaker member". This may have some truth, but today, right now, we can apply Luther’s idea of vocation and neighbor. Where am I and who am I with?

I am at home, I am with my two children. Oddly enough, one is mostly naked (but that diaper should come off and a new one put on) and both are hungry. One has a runny nose and my husband needs a coffee. Hmm. Fulfilling God’s commands don’t always lead us to far a way places. Sometimes they lead me back to the place I am living in and place value back on the people nearest.
Maybe one translation of the above scripture could be:
"When my knee was skinned, you bandaged it, when I was hungry you fed me, when my clothes were dirty you washed them, when I was thirsty you gave me a bottle."

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Here's To Good Diapering

Not just for puddings and gravies.
Since we're on the subject, here's another tip for the diaper area.
Once in a while your baby's bottom is raw and maybe even bleeding in spots. Ouch. Very painful. Your baby screams if you try to put ointment on it--because it HURTS. It's futile anyway, because no ointment will stick to those raw spots. When one of my babies was in agony like this, someone told me that cornstarch would dry out that raw skin. It's true!  It's painless, and dries up the skin very quickly.  Hint: I got one of these shakers, filled it with cornstarch, and kept it on my changing table. Perfect.
                               To good diapering.  Bottoms Up!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Best Diaper Rash Treatment Ever

Works better than every other medicated rash cream I've ever bought for my babies.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mother, Meet Attila

"Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little Barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late."               Thomas Sowell

For the last time! Where are my cookies?
No wonder child training can feel like a war sometimes.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galations 6:9

Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:31

Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with you. Deuteronomy 31:6

Monday, May 14, 2012

But what about ME?

The great truth is that we exist for our functions, not our functions for us. God has given me a purpose and a destiny. He’s placed me in a situation. I was not put here to "get myself happy", but to serve in my role – my God given role. It’s somebody else’s job to look after me. The vocations of mother, wife, and daughter take up all of my time. God has provided a husband for me, part of whose vocation it is to care for me. I am here to fulfill the role of mother.

When I’m taking care of the two precious daughters the Lord has entrusted to me I don’t have time to waste thinking about myself. Yes, I fall back into worry plenty of times, but before I get too deep into it there is always another dirty diaper to change or empty belly to feed, driving me, once again, out of my mind into the world of my little neighbors. Through my hands flow God’s gifts to my children.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

"The best thing in married life, for the sake of which everything ought to be suffered and done,
is the fact that God gives children and commands us to bring them up to serve Him.
To do this is the noblest and most precious work on earth, because nothing may be done
which pleases God more than saving souls.  If the need were to arise, all of us should be ready to die 
in order to bring a soul to God.  So you see how rich in good works the estate of marriage is.
God lays souls into the lap of married people, souls begotten from their own body, 
on which they may practice all Christian works.  For when they teach their children the Gospel, 
parents are certainly their apostles, bishops, and ministers."

Martin Luther, What Luther Says, #2836

A Toast to Mother

(This is also an encouraging read for the day: Celebrating Mother's Day, Luther-style.)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

It may not seem like a gift, but it is.

It's just not cool in the World today to have a lot of children. You are definitely "sinning" against the World's system, the planet, and society by having them, they say. It's downright shameful in their eyes! But this Mother's Day we get the gift of being dead to this world and alive to Christ and alive to his Word and his being the only definer of what is good for his world, his planet, and society.

Not only that, we also get this totally awesome bonus gift:
to be counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.  Hurray!   *Cough*

We, who bow ourselves under the cross of our God given vocations, who deny the "my will be done" lifestyle that the world highly esteems, and who, by God's grace, and within the holy ark of His Church, say "Thy will be done," submitting ourselves to the Word of God, reverencing our husbands, and by the mercies of God presenting our lives as living sacrifices, being willing to bear and love and train children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, will never be loved by this wicked and adulterous generation.  Never! 

We just need to know that, so we are not shocked when it dawns on us that there is no "cool" way to  put this lifestyle, not even to my own sinful flesh - the Biblical chaste obedient meek humble fruitful multiplying surrendering your will lifestyle. But hey, Jesus never said it would be.  If he is (not was) despised, won't we be also, if we are his disciples?

So when we are called names like uncool, fools, demeaned, wreckers of the planet, stupid, unintelligent barefoot and pregnant housewives, or whatever else, we can rejoice, knowing that our master Jesus Christ was called much worse, and we can go away...

 "... rejoicing that [we are] counted worthy to suffer shame for his name."
 Acts 5:41

So, Happy Mother's Day tomorrow!

Sorry, I'm not trying to be morbid.  I'm just saying this world is not our home, especially for Christian mothers these days. God is our home.  And until we are with him in glory, where he has promised we will be, we, like our Lord Jesus, will not be loved for our obedience to God.  This is the cross we bear in this world - the shame and scorn of those to whom the cross is foolishness.

"To speak more clearly of it, you should not take the cross of Christ to mean this or that 
wood on which Christ hung suspended: but the cross of Christ is the shame and the great 
indignity which Christ innocently suffered....
This is why true Christians must be dubbed heretics and evil doers.
They must be condemned, despised, and judged by all, that everybody wipes his feet on them."

What Luther Says  #1045

Here are some flowers for us.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spring Cleaning Tips

To fix a slow draining sink, take out the drain stopper or plug and remove any large debris.  Then generously  pour baking soda into the drain pipe.  Next pour vinegar into the drain.  Let the chemicals work until you can't hear any fizzing.  Then put the stopper back in, fill the sink and watch it drain quickly.

2. BATH TUBS (The ones that refuse to get clean.)
That's right, spray this wonderful oven cleaner on the tub or shower and let it sit for 10 minutes (USE BLUE CAN).  Then wipe away years of soap scum build up. 

Use  spray foam glass cleaner to shine up your kitchen and laundry room appliances and give them that sparkling new feel.

Thank you to the women who shared these tricks with me (You know who you are ;-).

Feel free to share your spring cleaning tips or tricks in the comments.  We are all looking for better ways to take care of our households.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Smell of Holiness

"When are you most holy? When you are most at your worldly vocation. When the baby cries, I hear God Himself calling me to change the poopy diaper. When you are in the poop to the fullest, you smell holiness. We are worldly and other worldly at the same time.”
~ excerpt from Steven Paulson in a podcast titled "Christian Liberty." He was paraphrasing Luther.

The small catechism has this wonderful question we can apply to most situations: “What does this mean?” One thing it means is that my quest to become more holy just might end up leading me back to the nursery changing table. There is no greater vocation than what is before us every day, that God has set before us: changing diapers, doing the laundry, making meals, etc. This brings glory to God and places importance on what most people would call the “dirty” jobs. After all, when I am restored to my vocation what could be more exciting than that fifth load of laundry; since it pleases God and smells not only like urp, but also like holiness!

On a side note: Someone should create a counter for blogs that would tally up the number of diapers we've changed. There could be some special badge to put on your site when you've changed your 500th,  1,000th,  or 5,000th diaper !  That would be a way more useful statistic than how many "friends" you have on Facebook. I mean really, how many of those so-called friends are actually committed enough to help out when there are poopy diapers to change? I consider that a true test of  friendship.

Friday, April 20, 2012

From Small Talk to Absolution

An excerpt from “Handing over the Goods”, an article by James Nestingen

“So, I suppose marriages and families are made of small talk. There are all kinds of routine information that gets shared. Carolyn and I are talking - everyday… She tells me about the weather, and she tells me about our dog, and who’s sick, and she tells me about her secretary who is visiting and what they’ve done, and I am very interested in that information. But, the magic always happens late in the conversation, and I know enough to wait for it. She expresses herself to me, and I express myself to her.

You see, that’s how love works. Love takes possession of the details. Love takes those little clich├ęs, the minutiae of the day and turns them into gifts. All of a sudden, out of the routine, out of the small stuff, Christ Jesus is breaking loose in the words. So the information, while it is helpful and essential, is really preparatory to this… your sin is forgiven. I’m going to raise you from the dead. No power is going to ever hold you. There, Christ Jesus is making love to you. He’s speaking his Word to you. He’s breaking loose again, you see, he is saying it. And that is what the Word does. The fundamental characteristic of the Word in Christ Jesus is its power."

           ~           ~           ~           ~           ~           ~           ~           

That's what we are longing for every day. Jesus breaking loose in the midst of the details, diapers, and dialogue of every day life. The forgiveness of sin, woven in and out of conversations about which brand of diapers is the best, or who can watch the kids when it's time to go to the dentist. "Your sin is forgiven" is what enables us to enjoy our vocation as mothers, taking care of all those details and the small talk. "Your sin is forgiven" is the best news every day. And it is a wonderful thing, to see it happen, again and again. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Only" a Mother

"They [mothers] are led, subtly but surely, to look on the mothering they do as mere necessity – even a penance – and they live as if they were reserving their real enthusiasm for something else, usually unspecified.”

- Robert Capon in Bed and Board

OUCH. How often have I thought along the lines of “Once I get the children taken care of and the housework done I’ll be able to do ______.”? Filling in the blank with some glorious, noble task which I personally enjoy and which other people can see and will praise. Really, what is more precious than loving and nurturing my children? This world has very mixed up values. Women have been demeaned, and all in the name of liberation. The vocation and gift of motherhood has been stolen from them. 

Capon goes on to write “A mother is the geographical center of her family, the body out of whom their diversity springs, the neighborhood in which that diversity begins ever so awkwardly to dance it’s way back to the true Body which is the Mother of us all. Her role then is precisely to be there for them. Not necessarily over there, just therethereness itself, if you will; not necessarily in her place but place itself.”

"Mothers do not make homes, they are home.”

Home. It is our name. When our children grow up they may not remember the color of the walls or much of what furniture was in the house, but they’ll remember a place where they felt at peace; where Mom watched over them. Like the gospel, our name and our vocation gets poured into our ears. We get to hear from God’s messengers. Rather than seeking our own happiness, we create joy for our children. We can throw ourselves into motherhood with a vengeance, knowing that taking care of each diaper, each snotty nose, and each skinned knee brings glory to God. I am not looking for a better horizon; I have been given the best horizon possible: child of God and nurturer of children of God.