Monday, 01. March 2010 by Renee Ellison
Forward this link to a dear mother or two who never had a punch-out-time-card to clock out and end her hours. Send it to as many mothers as you can who all work 24/7 at an impossible job description, and yet somehow know it will all be worth it!
Home Management Tip
Parenting Tip: Semantic atmosphere
A mom’s ongoing running commentary is as vital to the success and atmosphere of the home as the very air that the family breathes. It is spiritual oxygen to the home, even if they live in a dark, dank basement in shanty town in a third world country. A mother can make a veritable heaven of any home, simply by the choice of her words. For a few short years, what she says, IS! She shapes reality for the entire family via her tongue.
The children look up into her mature face to know how to view nearly EVERYTHING—even a thunderstorm. If you bundle a child up, and go out into the storm with joy, you’ll shape your child’s view of storms for the rest of his/her life. Just sit in a chair during a lightning storm with a huge umbrella over the both of you, hugging each other tightly, and say to the child “Isn’t this FUN?! (smooch) “Oooooh, did you see THAT one?!” (lightning). “Here comes another fantastic crack, snarl, whip of a sound (smooch)...are ya ready? ...this is gonna be exciting!” (smooch) “Whee!...Did you feel that thunderbolt under our chair?! Are you feeling the wind in your face yet?!” (smooch, smooch). Then move on to storms of a different nature.
For a great while, you interpret life to them AS IT HAPPENS. The children both SEE the event AND HEAR your running commentary. The children watch you for how to interpret setbacks and hardships, how to interpret and handle difficult relationships, what spin to put on most every happening. Your own daily off-the- cuff-editorials end up being far more influential than your children’s textbooks. Your running commentary is teaching on the backstroke, but more formative than anything deliberate, calculated or practiced. Most parents are oblivious to these lessons that they teach.
Yes, a loving mother can put a positive spin on absolutely everything: sub-zero weather, an out of sorts spouse, poverty, handicaps, chicken pox, or a broken chair. I know of a mother who literally told her child they were going to have a chicken pox party the minute she saw one appear…she fixed popcorn, read stories, sang songs, counted the chicken pox, gave wonderful candlelight baths, rubbed soothing healthy lotions on, and three days later when the child said, “Mom, I don’t want to do a chicken pox party, anymore,” the worst had already past!
When a chair breaks a cheery mom can say, “Oh goodie, let’s turn the chair upside down and learn how to be fix-it people…it is fascinating to see how things are made, or function, and apply our brightest mind to figure out how to fix them!” My father-in-law LOVES to fix things; we all gather around and WATCH him tinker (while he softly whistles), because he makes it so much fun to CONQUER things.
The world you create with your tongue builds a child’s heart, perspectives, appetites, and attitudes. It fortifies him with courage, ennobles him with purpose, and spurs him on with aspirations. Semantic atmosphere can tear a child down or emotionally resurrect him. It is hemoglobin for the mind and heart. What is said in the day swirls in and through a child’s psyche even while he sleeps.
You have the world by the tail for a few short years. Are you the shrew in the grocery store, or an angel from heaven? Shakespeare said, even of just the mere SOUND of a woman’s voice: “Her voice was ever soft and low…an excellent thing in a woman!” Watch the quality, tone, and sound of your every word, as if you’re pouring concrete for the foundation of a huge castle. And then be conscious of choosing the finest crystal and gold for your actual words. Never forget that you are building castles in the air, and an irreversible childhood on the ground. God gave you permission to do it. And you’ll never again have such a carte blanche chance to do it for anybody, ever again.
Home Management Tip: Upgrade later
Conquer your homes systems/functions at the lowest expedient levels first. Just concentrate on getting your entire household to function SMOOTHLY. Reward yourself with the thought that you can always UPGRADE later. If you don’t have dressers, use cardboard boxes; if you don’t have cardboard boxes, use sacks. If you don’t have front and back door mats, use cardboard. If you don’t have enough dish towels, tear up an old bath towel. If you don’t have good books for your children and can’t afford them, buy a used old encyclopedia set at the thrift store for $5…and have them read THAT for awhile. If your young children don’t have the right clothes for all occasions, take huge seams up the backs of older people’s used clothes. If you don’t have gorgeous art for your home, hang up beautiful towels or sheets. Get your home FEELING like a home and functioning like a home on SOME level from the get-go. Even if you live in a van or a tent, ORGANIZE it. Have hooks and hangers for everything; attach things underneath the van or tent, out the back of the van or tent, on the roof of the van or tent.
If you don’t have a guest room, figure out some way to slide the foot of one bed under another bed, or put a bed up near the ceiling, if you have to. Put hooks on the wall behind every door, if the closets are too stuffed. Put L brackets on long boards to make shelves, high up, one foot from the ceiling down all your hallways, if you need to.
Anticipate every need, every event. What will you need to make it go SMOOTHLY? Use your free time to conquer your home at deeper and deeper levels, at more efficient levels BEFORE taking more strolls down the malls or making social phone calls.
Learn to LOVE your home and being AT home. Learn to prefer it! Learn to love to MANAGE your home. Learn how much fun it is to make it just exactly right. Arrange it so that NOTHING could possibly happen in your home that would ever throw you for a loop, logistically. Pre-think everything. It is YOUR home. Take hold of it. Remember the joyful slogan: “I can always upgrade later!”
Kitchen Tip: Anti-oxidant chocolate gorp Combine the following and enjoy!
+ Lindt’s 90% Cocoa Chocolate (bitterer than “all-get-out” by itself!) Unadulterated chocolate [this brand is probably borderline, but it IS high in cacao and IS affordable, on the shelves at Wal-Mart] is “through the stratosphere” in “good for ya” antioxidants.
+ Raisins (sweetens the chocolate to acceptable levels).
+ Tamari roasted almonds (or any other roasted nuts, or raw nuts).
+ Optional additional enrichments: any other dried fruit, dried apples, bananas, etc.
Sewing Tip: Priorities: Keep from spinning out of control
Remember that if YOU don’t have the time or the inclination to learn to sew, make sure that your daughter(s) learn. All you need is ONE in the family! In conquering all home skills, remember to move from strength (order) to strength (order), not chaos to chaos.
1. Begin by mending and repairing everything in yours and every one else’s closet. Repair any socks that have holes in them, by slipping an old light bulb into the toe of the sock and then hand-sewing across the hole with an up and down stitch catching the edges of the hole in all directions. The light bulb gives you a secure backing while you work.
2. Then move to alterations. Ask of every outfit, “Why don’t I wear this?” Identify the problem by verbalizing it aloud; that will move it from gray matter in your brain to an actual specific issue with the garment. Then work at solving that issue by making an alteration or getting rid of the garment. Reality check: it is worthless if it is always just hanging there.
3. THEN and only then, look at trying an additional project. But even with that, ask yourself with each project, is this WORTH it? Do I have a solid foundation of garments first? Make sure all the females in your household have one very basic neutral colored skirt and the fellows a basic pair of neutral pants. With seven blouses/shirts…there is a full wardrobe, right out of the shoot!
4. Since purchasing the right sized pattern is such a nightmare, try taking apart a blouse or skirt you already own and LIKE and make additional ones from that SURE pattern. Then sew your original back up again. Or make up the pattern without taking your original garment apart. Google how to do this.
5. If/when you DO try a pattern for the first time, obtain a good basic classic pattern that you think you will use again and again, and make it up in some cheap fabric first. Pencil in alterations on your tissue pattern before cutting into nicer fabric. Throw away your cheap pre-tested garment. You might think this is a waste of time, but it will actually SAVE you time and money and help you to avoid mistakes. You need to conquer a basic pattern thoroughly and then keep it. You can change it in the future by using different fabrics and different accessories, trim, buttons, etc. It is simply the best use of your time to conquer a few outfits WELL, before branching out into other projects. This principle is the same one we’ve discussed for cooking: it is good to work at conquering seven basic down-home evening meals before engaging in endless culinary creativity.
Marriage Tip: A recipe for happiness
Focus on becoming your husband’s fairytale wife; for the great majority of the time, ignore your own clamorings. Frequently say “down boy” to your own internal uprisings. Be the wife every man wishes he had. It will be hard for your husband to resist true enduring love, expressed through thick and thin, even if, at times, he is a rascal. He knows at some deep level that he got a treasure for a wife…and in your old age he’ll be eating out of your hand.
I saw my mom, after 50+ years of marriage, wrap my frail dad up in a blanket on his death bed and rock him back and forth like a baby with her own sure arms. Sitting at the foot of the bed, I thought, “WOW…now THAT is lifetime commitment.” I sobbed all the way home, thinking about what I had just observed.
Devotions: Prayer moves celestial furniture
When you move a chair in your living room, you are engaged in “causality.” The same is true in the spiritual realm. Prayer changes things, even if you can’t see it. It matters that you engage in these heavenly remodels. Many saints throughout the ages, finally convinced of this, set out to conquer themselves in this regard, bent on installing this habit in what remained of their lives. (Self-management is the hardest of kingdoms to conquer.) All of them reported, in some insightful, articulate way, that it is an uphill journey from Drudgery, through Discipline, to unimagined, unmitigated Delight! Aha…
(for the previous seven motherhood tips, see the blogs on this Homeschoolhowtos.com site)