My family is joining many others to pray and fast today, March 30, for our country and for religious freedom. If you are interested in the “why” and “how” you can find out more HERE.
God bless you and have a great weekend~
Conveying the right idea is all in the word selection isn’t it? Here are a few comments homeschooling moms might hear from their husbands, and a little advice to dads as to how to “improve” their words. This is written tongue-in-cheek of course, with a little bit of truth thrown in ….. If even one of these makes you smile it will make me happy-
Upon walking through the door after work and seeing an erupting volcano on the kitchen cupboard a husband:
MIGHT BE TEMPTED TO SAY: “Well, that doesn’t look like dinner.”
BETTER CHOICE: “Wow, a volcano. Cool. Hey, who wants to help me with dinner?”
BEST CHOICE: “Awesome project, guys! Your mom really outdid herself on this one. Let’s go to the library to get a video on volcanoes then we’ll take your teacher out to dinner!”
Upon stepping over Legos in the shape of DNA a husband:
MIGHT BE TEMPTED TO SAY: “This house is a mess. You know, somebody’s going to trip.”
BETTER CHOICE: “Hey! I found some DNA. Ha ha. Get me the box and I’ll put it away!”
BEST CHOICE: (Turning to wife) “You think of the best projects for our kids and I’m sure you could use some cleaning help. Let’s get a weekly cleaning service so you can concentrate on the kids’ education!”
A husband and wife’s eyes meet after a long day. A husband:
MIGHT BE TEMPTED TO SAY: “You know, you’d look so pretty with a little make up”
BETTER CHOICE: (Handing his wife a tube of rose colored lipstick) “I saw this in the drugstore. It reminded me of your pretty lips and I remembered you like this shade.”
BEST CHOICE: “I love seeing your face in the candlelight. Let’s go out for dinner.”
A husband is quizzing his child on the state capitals. The husband:
MIGHT BE TEMPTED TO SAY: “Honey, he missed one! He missed Delaware!”
BETTER CHOICE: (turning to child) “You got 49 out of 50. Good job! We won’t tell Mom you missed Delaware. You’ll get it next time.”
BEST CHOICE: “Delaware, Schmelaware. Who cares? It’s a small state. Let’s take Mom out to dinner!”
On Saturday morning, a husband:
MIGHT BE TEMPTED TO SAY: (rushing out the door) “My tee time’s at 8. I’ll see you sometime late this afternoon!”
BETTER CHOICE: “Okay.” (sigh) “Where’s the list?”
BEST CHOICE: “Honey, I’m going to clean out the garage, mow the lawn and take care of the miscellaneous fix up projects you wanted me to do. I’ll keep the little ones with me. Why don’t you go work on lesson plans or take a little break today? We can switch next weekend.”
Looking at a computer generated library print-out left on the cupboard, a husband:
MIGHT BE TEMPTED TO SAY: “32 books!? How can you have fines on 32 books? Who even reads 32 books?”
BETTER CHOICE: “Well, at least the kids are learning something.”
BEST CHOICE: “You actually saved us money! Do you know how much it would cost to BUY 32 books? I’m so glad the kids are reading so much!”
At 10 PM a husband:
MIGHT BE TEMPTED TO SAY: “Goodnight.”
BETTER CHOICE: “Wow, you’re so diligent, staying up to go over the kids’ worksheets. Atta girl! I’ll make some popcorn!”
BEST CHOICE: “Scoot over. I’ll help you grade.”
Sunday morning before Mass a husband:
MIGHT BE TEMPTED TO SAY: “I’ll be in the car. Bring the kids when you’re ready.”
BETTER CHOICE: “If you want me to dress them, show me what you want them to wear.”
BEST CHOICE: “I’ve got the church books and the diaper bag, and the kids are in the car. I know you just were able to change only a minute ago. No rush- Come out when you’re ready.”
At ‘that time of the month’ a husband:
MIGHT BE TEMPTED TO SAY: “Didn’t you already have chocolate this morning?”
BETTER CHOICE: Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
BEST CHOICE: “I’ll get you those Hershey Kisses stashed behind the bread, and hey, you look great in those sweatpants!”
At an ordinary meal a husband:
MIGHT BE TEMPTED TO SAY: “Meatloaf, vegetables and a fruit bowl … again?”
BETTER CHOICE: “Hmmmm. A balanced, nutritious meal.”
BEST CHOICE: “Wow, you are amazingly creative with our meals considering the modest allowance you have for groceries and the fact you have little time because you do such a great job homeschooling our children. And I love the fresh flowers on the table. Nice touch!”
After receiving standardized test results of the kids, a husband:
MIGHT BE TEMPTED TO SAY: “Well, I should hope they’d do well!”
BETTER CHOICE: “Good job!”
BEST CHOICE: “(turning to wife) “Honey, these are splendid. The kids did great! With a mother like you it is clear to see that the children are going to be both beautiful and brilliant!”
From Stories for the Homeschool Heart (2010) by Theresa Thomas and Patti Armstrong
This is for Christine and other fellow ironers:
Every ironing mama knows that her best thoughts often come while pressing clothes. Whether it’s the perfect retort to an earlier slight, an inspiration about home organization or a book she’s been tossing around in her head, thoughts flow when the steam blows through the iron. For me, it’s gotten to the point where I don’t even iron without first grabbing a pencil and piece of paper to jot down ideas.
When I iron, thoughts spew like a Mt. Vesuvius eruption. First the stressful thoughts manifest themselves — I have to grade the girls’ schoolwork. Have I signed up my son for that next SAT? Did I send in the payment for ballet? What’s for dinner and do I have the ingredients in my fridge? Will I have time to stop at the grocery store before picking up my daughter? Is there even gas in the van?
I could go on and on, but most busy moms can fill in the blanks themselves because the ideas are basically the same. Press, press. Fold, fold. Hang, hang. Jot, jot. After those thoughts are released from the brain, the more philosophical musings begin to flow. Hmm, I’ll ponder, why is it that right when you figure out one child’s development challenge, it’s over and another begins? Why does time go so slowly when you’re a young but speed like a bullet once you’ve reached middle-age? How can God always eternally have been? I just don’t get that. Hmmm …
When I’m ironing, grand plans enter my mind. You know, I think to myself, I could clean out the boys’ room, paint the old furniture a navy blue and maybe find some nautical hardware to replace the ugly, dull handles. Or, I’ll muse, I could organize a cookbook project at the high school with the proceeds to benefit the scholarship fund. It would be divided according to sport, with entries like Champion Chile in the football section. I wonder how many recipes would be necessary to make it profitable.
Most recently my grand plans have included writing an inspirational book about families who have homeschooled their children. There would be lots of stories. They would be funny, touching and all true. Maybe these would motivate people to keep going and press on when life gets difficult. These ideas are many, and my follow-up is generally not consistent, but sometimes I do accomplish something from these thoughts — the book idea, for example.
What I like about ironing is that I’m accomplishing something physical, while my mind is free. I do admit to burning the inside of my arm when I was particularly caught up in some thought, but usually I emerge from ironing with no injuries, just freshly pressed, neat clothes, great ideas, resolve and a more organized mind.
Some women have given up ironing completely. I would never! I need this thinking time to, well, blow off steam. When I’m stressed, there’s something soothing about conquering wrinkles. When life seems spinning out of control, I know I’m in charge when I wield the iron. I’m in command of each arm sleeve, each hem of a skirt. When I say “enough is enough,” it is! I can make any skirt stand stiff or decide I’m done. No explanations are necessary. I like that.
Perhaps the greatest benefit I have found of ironing, though, is that it offers me a chance to talk to God specifically and regularly about each person in my family. Once I have gotten past the eruptive thoughts, the philosophical musings and the grand plans, I settle into a peace, of sorts. I pray. As I reach in the basket for an article of clean, wrinkled clothing I immediately think of the person I love who wears it. “This is Matthew’s. Oh God, bless him during this stressful junior year. Help him to feel Your presence as he prepares for finals. Help him make a good college choice.”
The shirt is hung, and I reach for another — this time my husband’s shirt. I pause and close my eyes. “God bless this man I love. He carries such a heavy burden supporting us financially and spiritually during these tough economic and moral times.”
My mom ironed T-shirts. Her mom ironed pillowcases and underwear. I don’t go that far. But I do like to iron, and I like the thoughts and inspirations that come with it. In earlier years I never would have thought that ironing would help me be organized or improve my prayer life, but it does.
Hi. Happy Friday ~ If you missed my interview on Relevant Radio with Wendy Wiese on March 19, you can listen to the mp3 version by clicking THIS LINK. It will take you to a calendar of all her guests. Look on March 19, Monday, and you can select either the mp3 or streaming version. The topic was ‘big families’ and ‘time management’. I hope you will pop in, and feel free to leave comments about the show (or questions) either here or in my email contact. There are some other really interesting topics on that page and I’m hoping to download a few myself. I like to download and listen to archived radio spots when I am ironing. Are other people still ironing? …
God bless you and have a great day~
A version of this first appeared on Patti Armstrong and my Stories for the Homeschool Heart blog-
I was at a cocktail party with my husband.
“You don’t work?,” one woman said with pity in her voice, “ I could never stay at home and do nothing.”
Do nothing? Really? I had to giggle. This woman obviously didn’t know my bursting-at-the-seams life of cleaning and cooking, gardening, driving, loving, meal planning, shopping, learning, writing, reading and educating the next generation. My staying at home was equally full of intense satisfaction and occasional frustration. Tears and laughter. But never, never ever boring.
Instead of coming back with a witty retort, or trying to justify my stay-at-home-ness, however, I just smiled. I’m a show, not tell kind of person. The woman likely wouldn’t likely have believed me anyway if I tried to correct her falsehood, and I didn’t think anything was to be gained from it. So I smiled, glanced up and when I saw the hostess with a fresh plate of goodies, I excused myself to the chocolate eclairs.
Later, this same woman was in earshot when another guest asked me about my new book and another about my nine children. It was a very satisfying moment indeed.
Mama, you don’t have to have written a book or have nine blessings to justify your staying at home. One baby takes up all your time. More could take up no more time than the first. Twenty four hours a day responsibility is twenty four hours a day responsibility, no?
And so, I’d like to encourage you, whether you have one child or ten, to rest in the knowledge that your staying home to raise your family is important. It is good. It does and will make a difference in the world.
Despite the fact we are committed to homemaking and raising our children, when stay at home mothers hear comments like the one I did that evening, it can be easy to devalue what stay at home moms do every day in the heart of the home. The world just doesn’t see much of our efforts on a day to day basis. Keeping a home and raising children is a quiet task, a gentle undertaking, and the formation undertaken within the walls of home may not be evident in public society for years, but don’t let that fool you into believing that what you do isn’t important, or that it doesn’t have profound impact, not only on your immediate family and community, but also eventually on society as a whole. Indeed, as the saying goes, “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” Let’s take a peek at why what you do matters.
Every book you read helps your child’s brain development. Studies show time and time again that neurons develop in early on in your child’s brain, and that conversation and active reading helps stimulate neuron growth. Reading helps a child decode symbols- and realize that those little squiggles and lines on a page have sounds…and meaning, and are a way to express ideas. According to one source, regularly spending time with a child reading, explaining, joking and questioning physically alters the way the child’s brain is wired, and that those effects are permanent. Further, there are “learning windows” for certain skills. Capture those windows and the child is set up for optimal learning his whole life. Preschool years are crucial. When you read to your child, you affect his entire future.
What’s more, reading to your child provides an opportunity for emotional connection. Every snuggle you share on the sofa with your little one while looking at the pages of a book helps him grow in security and comfort. Hearing your unrushed, soothing voice engaging him in a topic of interest (all the better if pictures are included!) models something valuable that he will likely pass on to his own children, your grandchildren some day. You are participating in a cycle of unrushed love. You are cementing your relationship with your child for life.
Can you not be a full- time homemaker and read to your children and reap the benefits? Certainly. But it is obviously easier to make the time daily to read when you are home and available. Also, I wanted to point out that reading to your child is far from doing “nothing” or simply being an enjoyable activity.
Reading to your child is far from the only beneficial task you undertake as you make your home and raise your family. Every dish you clean, every load of plates you unload from the dishwasher, every room you pick up, every bed you make without complaining and with simple acceptance and dedication to the task shows your child the value of work, of orderliness. Your acceptance of unpleasant tasks sets the stage for your child’s acceptance of inevitable work he too must learn to do. Small things done with great love is the way to be a great Christian. Not all are called to lead armies or demonstrate faith or accomplishments on a public and world-stage. However, everyone can find a path to sanctity in embracing small tasks, doing them well and for the love of God. Little things do matter and children learn that from mothers who make a home joyfully.
This short post cannot address all the important undertakings accomplished by a full time homemaker. These above are just a couple examples of why what she does matters.
Let’s not forget that a supporting role is an important role. Look at the construction of a building.
Photo credit: Caroline Thomas
A gorgeous façade and entryway means nothing if the building isn’t structurally sound. A good solid foundation allows the building to go higher, be stronger, endure inclement weather, and serve its main purpose best. We are the foundation, ladies, for our children, for our families. We are the cement, the base that allows the “building” to soar, to be strong, and to endure. When we provide good example, organization, spiritual strength and a joyful spirit, we are providing our families with a foundation for being exceptional, doing good and accomplishing God’s will in their lives optimally. We are not “doing nothing”.
Some women have to work. Others choose to work. I’m not addressing that here. What I’m saying is that being a full time homemaker is valuable, worthy and blessed. But in your heart, I bet you already knew that.
My friend Jenny created a beautiful woman’s magazine- read the latest article by following the link below. The article starts like this:
“I remember the first time I ever heard her call her husband a name, a name I had never, ever, heard a woman call her husband. I was taken back. “Was she serious?” “Did she say that to shock me?” I was 25 years old. I had not just fallen off the turnip truck or joined the Catholic Church. I had heard many a woman, many a Catholic woman, call their husbands many a name. But never this. She said…….” continue reading HERE.
Saint Joseph, pray for us!
Oh, St. Joseph,
whose protection is so great, so prompt, so strong,
before the throne of God,
I place in you all my interests and desires.
Oh, St. Joseph,
do assist me by your powerful intercession,
and obtain for me from your Divine Son
all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power,
I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most Loving of Fathers.
Oh, St. Joseph,
I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms;
I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart.
Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me and
Ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath.
St. Joseph, Patron of departed souls – pray for me.
Imprimatur: September 25, 1950
Hugh C. Boyle, Bishop of Pittsburgh
Saint Joseph, patron of fathers, workers, the universal Church, a happy death, carpentry, selling houses….and a model of a strong, holy man who is humble and gentle and guides his family by following God’s will.
The story goes like this:
One day, a governor and his wife were driving around the state where he governed. He was successful, smart, and dressed well, a very accomplished man. As they drove they came upon a work area where men were digging ditches. The governor recognized one of the men as a former suitor of his wife.
“Dear, isn’t that John, the man you used to date?”
The wife looked and nodded that yes it was.
“Well, just think,” said the governor, “if you would have married him, you would be the wife of a ditch digger.”
The wife paused momentarily and smiled before replying, “On the contrary, my dear. If I would have married him, he would have been governor.”
A good wife car build up or tear down, she can help make a man or break him. Which are we doing to our husbands today? Are we encouraging and being a blessing? Or are we helping to make him weary as he carries life’s loads?
Happy the husband of a good wife, twice-lengthened are his days;
A worthy wife brings joy to her husband, peaceful and full is his life.
A good wife is a generous gift bestowed upon him who fears the LORD;
Be he rich or poor, his heart is content, and a smile is ever on his face.
There are three things at which my heart quakes, a fourth before which I quail: Though false charges in public, trial before all the people, and lying testimony are harder to bear than death,
3 A jealous wife is heartache and mourning and a scourging tongue like the other three.
A bad wife is a chafing yoke; he who marries her seizes a scorpion.
A drunken wife arouses great anger, for she does not hide her shame.
By her eyelids and her haughty stare an unchaste wife can be recognized.
Keep a strict watch over an unruly wife, lest, finding an opportunity, she make use of it;
Follow close if her eyes are bold, and be not surprised if she betrays you:
As a thirsty traveler with eager mouth drinks from any water that he finds, So she settles down before every tent peg and opens her quiver for every arrow.
A gracious wife delights her husband, her thoughtfulness puts flesh on his bones;
A gift from the LORD is her governed speech, and her firm virtue is of surpassing worth.
Choicest of blessings is a modest wife, priceless her chaste person.
Like the sun rising in the LORD’S heavens, the beauty of a virtuous wife is the radiance of her home.
One day when I was 40 I looked in the mirror and saw one grey hair and freaked. Two years later I was bald on account of chemo treatment for lymphoma. Today I have long brown hair again and every day is a “good hair day” even though there are more greys than ever…
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Life is GOOD!:)
I have a new article up over at Suscipio for Women and I’d like to share a teaser- It’s called “You Can Fly” and it suggests looking at the changes in your life in terms of seeing God’s handiwork in it. My friend Jenny started the Suscipio site and it’s really beautiful so I suggest you finish reading the piece over at her place. You’ll love her site! Anyway, my piece starts like this…..
My 21-year-old daughter, a college student studying abroad called from her destination, and shared her first view and impression of Europe. “I was sipping my coffee and eating a croissant as the plane approached London,” she whispered to me over the phone quickly, “we were not allowed to land right away so we were circling the city. The sun was just coming up over Big Ben and London Bridge in a slight fog. I felt like I was in Peter Pan!”
Peter Pan. Wasn’t I just reading Peter Pan to this precious girl? Wasn’t she, just a moment ago, snuggled up by my side in her Pooh Bear pajamas and looking at the Walt Disney Golden Book as I shared about Wendy and Michael and John Darling? My darling. My sweet, sweet girl. Think of a wonderful thought…any merry little thought….off you go….you can fly…. And **sniff**, she did.
Caroline didn’t leave home to go to school like many children do at five to investigate kindergarten. She stayed at home eight years past five as we explored homeschooling and she burst into a studious little pupil. She taught herself to read when she was three and threw herself into every book she could find. She was my kitchen buddy, my reading buddy, my planting-flowers-along-the-front-walkway buddy. She was interested in anything and everything and was my happy little shadow. It seemed like Caroline’s childhood would go on forever. And now – just like that! She was all grown up and on the other side of the world.
When Caroline boarded the plane last weekend she had been fighting a virus. She sounded sniffly and I was nervous with her traveling so far for the very first time since she was feeling so under the weather. But she insisted on keeping her plane date, seeing as doing otherwise would have necessitated that she travel alone instead of with her college group. And so, I prayed and waited for that ‘S’ sign for Skype at the bottom of my computer tab to signal to me that a message was waiting, and that she had made it to London, and then Ireland safely. As I waited, and checked….and rechecked. I poured some coffee and piddled about the kitchen, my thoughts turned to her high school years, which, I reminded myself, were not unlike the present, when I waited for her to phone or text to let me know she had safely made it across town. And now she was across the world.
Finally, the ‘S’ sign with the red ‘1’ , signifying one message, danced on my computer screen. Caroline had arrived. Not just in London, but in Ireland, which was her final destination for study. I could breathe again.
It hit me then, this whole ‘life is a journey’ thing. Figuratively and sometimes, quite literally, life is definitely a journey and a bittersweet one, as we say goodbye and say hello and say goodbye, over and over. Sometimes we plan these journeys- like Caroline did. And sometimes- let’s face it- they simply come upon us….. READ MORE HERE