Things I’ve Learned in the Interim

Update: 9/12/11 I’m super excited to be featured at Don’t Waste Your Homemaking with this post. Be sure to check out the Unwasted Homemaking Party! Thanks, Marcie!

I know, I’ve been gone for ages, blithely ignoring my own little spot on the internet. Letting it sprout weeds, not unlike the atrocity that is my flowerbeds. I haven’t actually had my nose in too many books until just recently. Let me give you a run-down of the books I’ve read:

  • Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting, by William Farley. To clear the air here – NO. I’m not. I was actually encouraged to read up on some parenting methods by a friend I met at MasterWorks this summer. She is younger than I, not married, and isn’t planning on being a parent any time soon. But she reads about parenting because she wants to be knowledgeable and prepared. So I decided to follow her example. This book utterly revolutionized the way I think about the Gospel, the doctrines of grace, forgiveness, our inherently sinful human nature, and the fear of God. I may have picked up a few intelligent thoughts on parenting, but more importantly, I’m better able to “preach the gospel to myself.” I’m making the DH read this one.
  • The Making of a Christian Family, by Elisabeth Elliot. Another book I picked up in searching out some thoughts on parenting. Its more memoir than how-to, but it made me long for the simplicity of an age long since past, when children walked to school every day, and walked home for lunch, when mom wasn’t trying to balance a full time career with full time parenting, when dad was more committed to his family than his hobbies and interests, and when people knew how to live with very little in an attitude of gratitude and contentment. Adults spoke kindly and respectfully to one another, and children were seen and not heard. When I think about what I want my family to look like, I no longer envision running from ballet class to soccer camp to music lessons to school to gymnastics to wherever else the kiddos may wish to go. I think of singing hymns around the piano, taking nature walks together, working puzzles in the dining room after dinner, or putting on plays together. I wonder if such idyllic happenings are even possible any more.
  • A Charlotte Mason Education and More Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levinson. A couple of the blogs I follow frequently have discussions on homeschooling. Not having been a homeschooler myself, I felt a bit in the dark as these moms toss around terms such as unschooling, Charlotte Mason, Thomas Jefferson Education, A Beka and the like. The things I gleaned about Charlotte Mason intrigued me greatly, so I set off to learn about it. Let me tell you – I would have been the happiest kid in the world if I’d been in a Charlotte Mason school, or if I’d been homeschooled with the Charlotte Mason method. Books, books and more books – no silly textbooks that water down lessons to silly, meaningless bullet points – just real, honest, intelligent literature. No drivel. Stories – real or imagined – that shape our character and teach us things about ourselves and the world. Nature walks and books of centuries and sketchpads full of leaves and frogs and insects and flowers. I loved the idea of the book of centuries I’m thinking of starting one for myself! Skills like embroidery and photography; handwriting, math with manipulatives, and – did I mention books? Science, history, geography, biographies, music, art, poetry, politics, philosophy. In a perfect world, all of my children would be homeschooled via Charlotte Mason method.
  • Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God, by Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock. I used to consider myself a fairly modern, educated, liberated woman. I have two advanced degrees and a successful career. But I’ve had a growing discontentment with many of the ideas put forth by the feminist movement. I’m returning to a belief in Biblical gender roles. This book was fundamental in learning exactly what that means for me. Here are some of the things I’ve gleaned about Biblical femininity:
    • A “Wise Woman” (the book’s term for a woman seeking to live out Biblical femininity) is virtuous – excellent, moral and chaste in thought, action and attitude
    • A “Wise Woman” is trustworthy – worthy or able to be trusted with confidences, important tasks or vital resources
    • A “Wise Woman” is energetic – efficiently uses both her physical and mental abilities to bring about good for herself and those around her
    • A “Wise Woman” is physically fit – she has a well-cared for body that is capable of physically handling the tasks she must complete; she recognizes that her body is both a gift from God and the temple of the Holy Spirit, and she treats it as such
    • A “Wise Woman” is  economical, putting all her resources to their best possible uses
    • A “Wise Woman” is unselfish – full of good works and charitable deeds, looking out for the needs of others before her own
    • A “Wise Woman” is  prepared – she plans and is ready for any emergency or event, she has the resources and time to deal with any situation
    • A “Wise Woman” is honorable, having integrity, a strong sense of right and wrong, and is morally upright
    • A “Wise Woman” is prudent, using words and actions that proceed from sound caution and good judgment
    • A “Wise Woman” is lovable, exhibiting character traits that draw others to show deep and sincere affection
    • A “Wise Woman” is  God-fearing, recognizing the invaluable worth of God; His ultimate perfection and goodness; His abhorrence of and just, divine right to punish sin; her own sinful condition and the magnitude of the sacrifice necessary for her redemption; and she allows that knowledge to influence every thought and action.
I love that these traits apply to rich or poor; married, single, widowed or divorced; a mother of none, a mother of two or a mother of twelve; a women of 15 or a woman of 75. You don’t have to be super-girly and love pink and sparkles and roses. To develop these traits you must simply desire to please God, and be willing to adapt yourself to His mold for your life.
I won’t lie. This is a tall, tall order. Rooted in the Proverbs 31 Woman, the woman described in this book seems, at first glance, to be a mythological creature. No one can be all of these things. But the book is inspiring and encouraging, rather than demoralizing. Its packed with great scripture to encourage growth, and many useful tools to get you organized. In the course of working through this book I’ve: made a weekly, quarterly & annual cleaning chart; organized my cupboards and basement; organized my recipes for easy meal planning; washed my dishes twice a day (no, I don’t have a dishwasher); prepared a truly useful budget; frugally used the food in my stores instead of putting extra goodies on the credit card; faced daily routine tasks with joy; renewed my commitment to eating real food; developed a schedule that gives me time not only to work, cook and clean, but also to spend time in the Word and in prayer, go to the gym and develop my musical abilities. I even had the energy and good grace to get out of bed with a cheerful ‘good morning’ rather than a whine or a groggy grumble.
Most importantly, this book led me to realize that I cannot accomplish any of these things on my own. None of it. As many of my past efforts have shown, when I put the responsibility of “acting like an adult” on my own shoulders, I quickly digress into eating junk, watching too much TV, reading poor literature, sleeping in until the last second, and grumbling in the very depths of my spirit. I’m instead learning to commit my actions to my Father’s care, for only by His Spirit can I accomplish anything. I’ve learned to dedicate my schedule to God’s leading, and in doing so I’ve been able to accomplish the tasks He has ordained rather than ticking off the boxes of my own agenda.
Here are the things currently on my bookshelf – with a bookmark stuck in them at some place or other:
  • Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens – for book club, which is starting up again soon!
  • The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian
  • The Mind of Egypt: History and Meaning in the Time of the Pharaohs, by Jan Assmann
  • Broke, by Glen Beck
  • Kepler’s Witch: An Astronomer’s Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother, by James A. Connor
  • Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, complied by John Piper and Wayne Grudem
Wishing you Good Reads until next time!
This post is linked up with Domestically Divine Tuesdays at Far Above Rubies, Titus 2sdays at Time-Warp Wife and The Unwasted Homemaking Party at Don’t Waste your Homemaking.


7 thoughts on “Things I’ve Learned in the Interim

    • Isn’t that the truth, Barb? It seems every Sunday I wander into our church library and leave with a stack, and I can’t seem to manage to return something to our public library without browsing until I find I’ve a basket-full!

  1. Excellent reads, I just read Give Them Grace and it was amazing. It also revolutionized my think about the Gospel in my own live {even though it’s a parenting book}. I love Elisabeth Elliot but, haven’t read the book you mentioned, making it down, for sure.

    I would love for you to link this up at myHomemaking Party
    so my readers could check out this list :).

  2. Thanks for linking it up :).
    Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson. Fitzpatrick has written several excellent books on how the Gospel transforms our daily lives, she’s one of my favorite authors :).

Would love to hear your thoughts!

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