Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

A Charlotte Mason Christian Home School: Preschool – 2nd Grade :)

The Legacy of Homemaking

on October 31, 2016

Is homemaking a lost art?

I was at a baby girl shower recently and I loved overhearing my friends mother in law encourage her to keep the art of homemaking alive with the things our grandmothers did so beautifully–gardening, canning, quilting, embroidery, knitting, crafting, soap making, etc. Her gift to her new granddaughter happened to be a sweet handmade baby quilt made from reproduction vintage seed sacks. She also provided the favors for the party–hand harvested honey from her bee hives packaged in apothecary jars! I love to see and hear from women the refreshing originality and thoughtfulness they pour into the everyday lives of their families. Sitting there listening, I felt inspired again to keep the dream of creative homemaking alive and well in my own heart.

Whether moms work as a stay at home mom or out in the work force, God has made mothers the hearts of our homes. Strong homes must be made, they do not happen coincidentally–strong homes require home”makers.” I have come to fashion my definition of the art of homemaking as: a timeless expression of living life beautiful in Christ as wives and mothers with the high calling of nurturing hearts at home.

I think its wonderful that we can carry out even the most mundane tasks of homemaking as a holy expression of our life in Christ, but personally, I get even more excited about imprinting my little daughter with the aesthetic aspects of homemaking in Christ. That’s the fun part for me! Good homemaking surely consists of both the mundane and the aesthetic, with both being of equal importance; the latter without the former makes a chaotic home, and the former without the latter makes a home that is void of personality and sparkle. In order for a home to thrive, both must be in balance, so we shan’t forget to add the sparkle nor to take joy in the mundane!

Some have come to feel like homemaking is mostly mundane or dull, and I have heard many a mom say, “I am just not creative!” But I believe we all can light up our homes in different ways, and we are all indeed creative because we are all made in the image of the Master Creator and Artist. However, creative muscles and joints must be used, or they become stiff from disuse. For both creatives and creatives-to-be-discovered, I encourage you to make a list of what are you good at and also what would you like to learn. Then find some women who can invest in you, and find some women you can invest yourself in as well!

Here are some ideas to help you make that list and build more ‘Homemaker Culture’ into your life – creative activities that nurture your heart so that you may in turn nurture the other hearts at home.

Singing, musical instruments, choral music, calligraphy, computer skills, administrative skills, writing, sign language, public speaking, blogging, problem solving, wood working, making/refinishing furniture, hospitality, gardening, working with children, photography, teaching, floral design, foreign languages, homeschooling, marriage, family, financial stewardship…..

Etiquette, tea parties, cake decorating, home decorating, baking, cooking, preserving/canning, scrapbooking, basket weaving, candle making, soap making, essential oils, card making, quilting, embroidery, sewing, quilting, knitting, cross stitch, needle point, holiday celebrations and traditions, cleaning and housekeeping, planning and organizing……

Field trips, camping, hiking, nature, health and fitness, artwork, drawing, ceramics, oil painting, pottery, watercolors, nature, health and fitness, drawing, reading……

Serving, spiritual warfare, Bible study, devotionals, missions, evangelism, journaling, leadership, community service, counseling, special needs, elderly, homeless, needy, giving, encouraging, mentoring….

 

The week after my friend’s baby shower, I was excited to meet with some friends at Mom’s Night here to learn how to crochet and discuss Proverbs 31. Sounds like a Christian homemakers dream night, right? I have never done much sewing of any kind, and was eager to learn from a gifted friend how to crochet for the first time. It was really fun and a little challenging too; so far I have crocheted a bookmark but somehow its supposed to turn into a washcloth if I just keep “yarning over.” 🙂 The best part of the night was studying the Bible together in a very relaxed atmosphere with friends who had searched their hearts before the gathering for answers to questions such as:

  • How does this proverb apply to me today?
  • How can I apply these principles to my life to improve my marriage and family life?
  • What does it mean to be a diligent wife and mother?

The first several times I read Proverbs 31 in my personal study time, I was pretty much a blank slate, but many readings later, ideas began to form as the Word penetrated into my understanding. Bible study felt more like the “study” that I imagine it should be, rather than simply the “reading” I usually do, and getting to discuss the passage with friends afterwards was a very motivating cherry on top for me. It was so enjoyable and rewarding that I am hoping deeper Bible study can become a more regular part of my life as well as Mom’s Night discussions!

I was convicted that I have only read Proverbs 31–all about being a Godly woman, wife, and homemaker–a handful of times since getting married 10 years ago. So along with a friend, I challenged myself to memorize verses 11-31, and I challenge you to do the same if you are a wife wanting to be inspired by God’s Word! Perhaps your homemaking or marriage could use some refreshing at this point dear one? I can attest that hiding the Word of God, the living active Word, in our hearts works in unexplainable ways in refreshing our perspective and moving us out of stuck places. For me, as the verses of Proverbs 31 have begun to permeate my consciousness the past week, I actually felt a difference in the way I felt towards my husband and those mundane tasks around the house – a little thrill of delight at the kitchen sink returning like a long lost friend.

As homeschool moms, many of us give our kids memory verses, but many of us have never really taken up memorizing the Word for ourselves. Sunday School was a long time ago ladies. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9, 11) Our hearts are easily sickened with sin–wrong thinking, misaligned priorities, idle ways–so why not let some intentional internalization of the Word be like healing medicine to the inevitable infection? I think as Christians we can become disillusioned that we are “in” the Word, but we are actually just dipping in and never really internalizing it and being transformed by it.

Shall we dig in?

Proverbs 31

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10 An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.

“Doing good to my husband” is an area that I specifically want to grow in, and since prayer is likely the most precious ‘gift of good’ wives can give husbands, I am currently reading and using the prayers and principles in the book The Power of a Praying Wife, which was recommended to me by moms at Mom’s Night.

I approached Proverbs 31 with a desire to be inspired in my homemaking and family life, but it struck me how Proverbs 31 is far more about being an excellent wife, than it is about motherhood. I think it serves to convict us supermoms of our relationship priorities at home! I am convicted of how much more I thought about growing in my ministry as a wife before I had kids. Then I let those adorable bundles of joy come and take up so much space in my heart.

In fact, I think its very easy to have a child centered home these days, rather than an “excellent wife” centered home, as it seems to be prevalent in our culture to run our lives around our kids. In some senses it is good and noble and sacrificial the way we give to our kids, but perhaps we have taken it too far and actually become overly devoted mothers? We think that intensive mothering makes us better mothers, so we are willing to sacrifice our own well being because we think it will enhance our children’s lives.

Some of us don’t have time to exercise because our schedule is so full of kid activities, even the weekends revolve around kid birthday parties and games and an extravaganza of other fun kid stuff. Some of us don’t go on dates with our husband because kid activities are the priority or sometimes because we are reluctant to let others help care for our children. Some of us spend great amounts of time preparing and providing for our kids education and intellectual stimulation, but we can’t seem to find any time to read books and develop our own minds. Some of us schedule hours of extracurricular activities each week and taxi the kids to a myriad of enrichment activities but can’t find time for any of our own interests, that would actually develop us into more interesting mothers with more to give, especially making us more relevant in the teen years. Some of us make kid food to please picky palates and thus find meal time a time we dread. Some of us let the kids bedtime preferences (“I don’t want to go to bed!”) or long ceremonial routine (brush, floss, bathe, 5 books, stuffed animal round up, a prayer and a snuggle) encroach on husband and wife time and sanity in the evenings so that we aren’t having enough quality grown up time or intimacy anymore. Some of us allow our children wake us up too much in the night and we feel tired and strung out during the day. Some of us have a hard time saying no and aren’t very good about disciplining our kids. Some of us spend all of our emotional and mental energy on the kids and feel much closer to them than we do to our husbands. I think you get the point; we can “love” our kids to the detriment of ourselves and the exclusion of our husbands. 🙂

13 She seeks wool and flax,
    and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
    she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
    and provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens.

At first glance, it seems that there are a lot of “outdated” things that don’t apply to the modern woman in Proverbs 31. For instance, there is a whole lot of sewing happening in Proverbs 31 (and its not just a hobby)! However, I think that the message of “working with willing hands” is relevant and needed for all times.

I see the Proverbs 31 woman as someone who is not afraid to work hard, and the modern woman as someone put off by things that aren’t convenient. For example, deep down we know cooking from scratch is important to the health of our family, but we pour bowls of cereal in the morning, make never ending PB & J for lunch, and get take out food for dinner more than we would like to admit, all for the sake of convenience. On the other hand, our Proverbs 31 woman of wisdom is willing to “bring her food from afar,” and she gets up early to make sure everyone is well fed for the day. Many of us seem to be “burning the candle at both ends” despite all the convenience options we have taken advantage of. Life feels too full to make food from scratch, clean our house ourselves, or do our own gardening, let alone to take up sewing or other handicrafts! What is filling our time instead? Selah.

16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
    and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night.

I see the Proverbs 31 woman as someone who is productive in many ways, including her pursuits out of the house, but especially and first of all in the home. As I have mentioned many times on my blog, I sense that our modern day “family life” takes us out of the house in an endless array of too many activities. Our busy lives, in combination with the pull of technology, certainly plays a big part in zapping our time. Not ironically, my house sits in shambles at the moment so I can finish this blog post. Ahem, moving on then. . . . 🙂

Very interesting to me is that though the God fearing woman of Proverbs 31 has many interests and involvements, her home does not sound child centered, as previously noted. Instead I imagine her daughters learning the same skills she has so finely honed over time in herself, and they are coming into her life and adding to her life, perhaps more than vice versa. What if a child’s life revolving around the parent’s lives and interests is the way its supposed to be, for their own good, and ours too? It may be more important for kids to tag along with Dad as he goes about his weekend business, than it is for Dad to tag along with them as they go about theirs. I really feel that the former lifestyle (including both parents) is a model of discipleship that promotes maturity in our children, and overindulgence of the latter lifestyle results in immaturity. We can require them to do grown-up things well before they grow up so that they don’t feel ill-equipped and inadequate someday. What if parents were free to enjoy thriving marriages, lead healthy active lives, and pursue their own hobbies–all with their children close by their side leaning in to learn? Bringing kids into our world where they learn the skills that will enable them to thrive as adults, is homeschool in its essence, even more perhaps than the academics and books and field trips. I think the Proverbs 31 woman’s strong personal development emphasis puts a healthy balance in her mothering style and definitely contributes to her success in “looking well to the ways of her household” (vs 27).

19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
    her clothing is fine linen and purple.

I see the Proverbs 31 woman as someone who makes stuff, and the modern woman as someone who buys stuff. We have “no time” or desire for making things when we could just buy instead. If we are “fortunate” enough, we can pay for household services to be done for us, and we can certainly buy most everything that the Proverbs 31 had to make herself. In fact, we buy mountains of expendable stuff, until we are frustrated with how the house just isn’t big enough anymore, and flustered that the kids don’t know the value of a dollar.

23 Her husband is known in the gates
    when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
    she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Good homemaking requires us to “look well to the ways of our household.” My diatribe is not against us as homeschool moms who minister day in and day out from the heart of our homes, but I do wish to remind us that the ancient paths of truth are sometimes the better ones. For example, many of us Christian homeschoolers have decided to school our children at home because we believe and have come to see that the old way of educating is better. We have personally experienced the benefits of this crazy homeschool adventure that has ultimately served to tie our hearts into family and home, just as God desires, more than we ever realized it would. Even though wives do sometimes struggle against that urgency to escape and be free to go and do and be, we must admit that it is ultimately satisfying when we learn to embrace our calling at home, and that when we have done it well, we can be happy knowing that we have contributed to our husbands success as one who is “known in the gates.”

So we realize that school at home has blessed blessed blessed us in life changing ways- like giving us an amazing discipleship opportunity with our children, for one example. Perhaps then, we should ask ourselves, what else could be a huge likewise blessing to our husbands and families as we further consider and implement the ways of old outlined in scripture? If homeschool has been wonderful, I wonder what else once added (or eliminated!) might help us to more passionately build up our homes? The Proverbs 31 woman is a blessed woman living a blessed life, which is something we all desire; God is calling us wives of today to reflect on how we might practically follow His ancient pattern for blessing.

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates.

The feeling of a life wrapped up in store bought items simply can’t replace the warm feeling that comes from covering our children and homes in handmade things by moms and grandmas (even if we can purchase the items for less than we can make them!). We may cry that we would never have time for such things, but what a keepsake we have when our own Grandma’s quilt or artwork is passed down to us! If she was a Christian, her work becomes part of her legacy as “a woman who feared the Lord,” and we cling to those beautiful things she left behind for us, those things she made with willing hands, those things that tangibly express the beauty of a life spent with Christ. When we see all she has done, we “rise up and call her blessed.”

Will there be beautiful keepsake items to pass down to our children someday? Will our daughters learn how to work with willing hands? Or will the art of homemaking be lost in this generation? Proverbs 31 ends with, “give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates;” in other words homemakers, the work of our hands shall be part of our reward and legacy. May God bless you with willing hands to love on your home and family.

XO

September and October Pictures

First Day of School

Family History Book Letters

Mary and Joseph learning to address envelopes for the first time (Christmas has started early here)

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Making Lasagna, a Family Recipe, with Grandma

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Story Time with Grandma (Family History Project)

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Learning Embroidery Skills, Even the Boys Were Excited

Learning to write his name in cursive

Daniel Devising His Own School Work

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Learning to draw faces. 🙂

A Great Math Lesson on Number 6

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Noah Enjoying Model Trains; He Wants to Be a Train Driver When He Grows Up

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Fearless Faithy, the only one in our family who would hold a tarantula

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Bless His Heart

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Daniel’s 3rd Birthday Party Prayer

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Jammin’ in the Morn

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Art with Aunty Tara and Cousins

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Putting on His Own Shoes

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Painting the 7 Days of Creation

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The Bubble Lady Show inspired these two bubble makers

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Prayer Journal Time

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Map Making in Geography

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Waaaay Too Much Fun at School

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Helping Mommy Make Breakfast Everyday

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Our Apple Hill Tradition Tripimg_0020

A Cooking Project Success!

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Preschool Table

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School Table

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Our Completed Monet’s: Water Lilies (you have to stand back to get the full effect of the impressionism) 😉

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Air Show

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Devotion Duo

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A Trip to the Zoo for Faithy

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A Geoboard Bomb Disposal Robot

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Making a Growing Pattern that Grows by 8’s and then Charting it

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Oh My

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Love our Ameraucana Chicken Eggs!

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I assigned Imaginative Narration based on the book Yellow and Pink, so Noah and Faith excitedly scurried around the house preparing for a “Puppet Show”

I was proud of their adorable first attempt at a puppet show (although the house sounds like it was falling down, thanks to babies and preschoolers; Noah has to whisper Faith’s lines to her most of the time; and Roman is looking backwards the whole time because I am holding the picture book up in the back. Good stuff. The second video is a little more interesting perhaps.)

Strobe Light! (Red Light, Green Light)

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A Baby Ladybug

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Autumn Fire

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“Funny things happen to me whenever I wear this shirt.”

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Happy 6th Birthday Faithy Breakfast Was Soooo Yummy

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A Sweet Shower for a Sweet Friend and Her Baby Girl

Mom’s Night – Crochet and Proverbs 31 Discussion – Nourishment for our Souls

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