Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Happy Gardening Season Sale

I know it's been a while since I've sent out a newsletter. I've been busy
with home and family, as well as with putting in my garden for the year.
With all of the emails I received about starting a garden that will
supplement our groceries, I wrote an ebook, Momma's Guide to Growing Your
Groceries, a few years ago, with illustrations and instructions for growing
your own fruits, herbs, and vegetables at home. This ebook is on sale this
week only for just $6.00 (Regular $7.95). It's not too late to put in your
garden for the year, or to get started for next year's garden.

One of the joys of having my own garden is having fresh herbs, fruits and
vegetables available to me. My children are often outside eating pea pods
right off the vines, and enjoying grape or cherry tomatoes, fresh from the
garden. All of the fresh berries we get are a blessing too. All of this
bounty allows me to make some of my favorite summertime treats, such as:

Fresh Berry Popsicles

Put whatever fresh berries you have available through a strainer (to remove
seeds), and mix with a little bit of water, and some honey to taste (if
needed for tarter berries and fruits). You can also add vanilla yogurt.
Freeze in popsicle molds, and serve! You can find inexpensive popsicle molds
at many dollar stores.

We like to play around with different variations on this theme, including
our new favorite, Melissa-Pear Pops:

Cook several pears, chopped, in a small pan of water, until they are soft,
and pass them through a strainer. Make a strong tea of Melissa (Lemon Balm)
in this pear water and strain out the leaves. Let it cool and freeze in
popsicle molds. This is a tasty and refreshing treat!

Finally, Pesto is a special treat too.

Finely chop about 3 c. of basil leaves in a food processor. Add about 1/2
cup of nuts (traditionally this is pine nuts, but we use almonds or
walnuts), 1 onion, 1/4c. of lemon juice, 1/4 c. of olive oil, a Tablespoon
of garlic, and process until smooth. You can use pesto as pizza sauce, or
you can toss it with rotini noodles for a pasta salad that is packed with

Enjoy the blessings of the Lord this summer with your family!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Creative Composting

For Mother's Day this year, My mom in law gave me a book she found at a garage sale or something to that effect, called "Tips for the Lazy Gardener" by one Linda Tilgner. Thus far the book has been pretty good, and an easy read--it's more or less a collection of tips and tricks for those who want to work smarter and not just harder.

In the process of reading this handy little book, I laughed at the fact that most of the stuff in this book I already practice at least in part (does this mean I'm a lazy gardener? LOL)...I guess that (1.) great minds think alike and (2.)mother's tend to come up with ideas that get the job done easiest with the best or accepatable results.

I did especially enjoy the information she had on composting. As i posted earlier, I have a problem coming up with enough compost in just my wee little spinning composter (which seemed bigger when I bought it!!!). I can't add more compostable materials to it while it is "cooking" and it seems to me whenever I have built framed compost pile, the compost seeps into the ground below the composter itself....at least the best compost, and then the grass and other weeds grow taller and faster than anywhere esle in the yard...sigh...and then I break my weed whacker when I go around the composter and it gets tangled in the chicken wire, but it is just too noxious to bend over and hand trim near that area, even with aerobic composting going on.

Well...enter Linda Tilgner's idea...or one that she quoted actually from a gardening friend. Use some old tomato cages or (in my case) some old wire fencing, and build some cylinders, and plant them in different parts of the garden, and use those as recepticals for compostable materials. As they decompose, the compost forms on the bottom IN THE GARDEN BED (HURRAY), fertilizing as it goes. When it rains, you get some compost tea in the garden. your compost collectors are right there where you need them too. And when my spinning composter compost is done, I can just pitchfork some more compsot into the spinner from one of the recepticals I have around. For the record I put two of them in the garden...they are about 3 ft in diameter and about 4 ft high, and contain grass clippings, pulled weeds, spent plants, and kitchen scraps. I have vining plants growing over them so as to cover it up a little bit. In the winter, I plan to spread as much of the decomosed matter around the tops of the beds as possible.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Tonight's Frost

In case anyone is wondering why there is a frost warning tonight, let me help you. It's because I planted some overgrown seedlings in my garden! LOL I always tell people that Michigan's last frost date is two days after I put anything in my garden.

Thankfully I've only planted things that can tolerate a mild frost, so as long as it doesn't get too bad, we should be good.This should make the lettuce taste better. Lettuce likes the cold.

How do we protect plants from frost?

The simplest way, if you save your milk jugs, is to cut the bottoms off of your milk jug containers and wash them out well. Stick a stake in the ground near your plant, and put the milk jug over the top of the seedling, mounding the dirt up around the edge of the jug, as seen in this illustration (illustration by me for my book, Growing your Groceries, which is a must read!):

Alternately, if you don't have milk jugs but do have tomato cages and clear plastic, you can use that. Here's my illustration of that:

Happy Gardening!

Just the Regurgitated Pseudo-Facts

I was very busy this week and didn't get on here....too busy living life to blog about it. LOL....

but I was playing around with a few thoughts for Defending the Faith Sunday that I never got around to posting, and then learned on Tuesday of the death of the Rev. Jerry Falwell (and the ensuing nasty bashing that pretty much everyone took part in). It was rather ironic that my DTFS topic that I was mulling around had a lot to do with what was so obviously displayed this week on the occasion of the death of Mr. Falwell.

As a pre-Christian in the mid eighties, I had some false assumptions about Christians, Christianity, conservatism, and so forth. Most of my assumptions I didn't come up with on my own. They were just some regurgitated pseudo-facts I had heard along the way that any self-respecting liberal is supposed to repeat until they believe them to be true.

One of those "facts" was that the conservatives are trying to ban free speech and turn us all into mindless drones who can't think for ourselves, and they are trying to suck the fun out of life. At the top of the list of villans in this story stood Jerry Falwell.

I never actually personally heard the guy speak. I only heard from others who heard from others that he was a hate monger bent on the destruction of our free society, and needed to be shouted down until he was ultimately stopped from his evil world domination and subjection plot.

Years later, as a Christian, I still didn't always agree with Jerry Falwell, but I understood where he was coming from and saw his heart--one that was pained deeply by the direction our society is heading and who seemed to care too much about others.

I almost laugh when I hear about how Christians don't think for themselves. It is probably true of some, of course, but it is despite the Biblical commands toward wisdom and understanding and being of a sound mind, not because the Bible advocates any sort of assimilation into a collective conciousness of group-think. If anything, I've noticed how foolish some people sound when they start spouting those sorts of lines about Christians and yet come across as the puppet with someone else pulling the strings.

Talking to a variety of people throughout my daily life, it gives me an eerie feeling to remember the sins of my past when I meet up with some bonehead who, like I once did, throws a temper tantrum and uses foul language as their only defense against the truth of God's word, and who can feel threatened even by a middle aged mom who is speaking quietly about the love of God. Even this past week, as I read some comments about Rev. Falwell's death, and people proving their immaturity by stating that they would be celebrating his death by engaging in acts that they know he would find offensive, all I could think about is "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do". No truer statement has been said--they really haven't thought at all about what they are doing and saying--they are just regurgitating the same tired lines they've learned from others.

Monday, May 07, 2007

dieting woes

weight gain and loss is a frustrating thing, especially when physically there are other health issues at work that are working against weight loss.

For me, I have some issues with my pituitary gland resulting from a bad reaction to a drug I took for my fibromyalgia...and from some other meds I've been given every now and then both for fibromyalgia and for the chronic bronchitis that I suffer from. I am to the point now to where I don't take anything unless I research it thoroughly on the internet, and find out all side effects. The drug I took several years ago that caused my initial 100 lb weight gain also caused my friend Toni to gain 80 lbs and her sister gained 75...and lets just say that the weight doesn't come off too easily after you take this drug even if you stop taking it. When I went to the doctor a year ago for severe fibro flareups, I was given another drug that turns out to be related, chemically, to this first drug...I'm now worried I may be back to square one. I have resigned myself to dealing with whatever pain I am in so long as I don't take any more fat-making drugs. The doctors continue to insist these drugs don't affect metabolism (baloney), though even the drugs' website says that is a possible side effect.

I've always been the sort of person who could lose that extra 10 or 20 lbs just by stopping to eat ice cream...lol...those were the days. I miss ice cream.

Now, if I eat more than 1500 calories a day and don't work out like a fiend, I am gaining weight again. I hate that.

I had pretty much given up in frustration at the end of last summer when a few weeks with a sprained ankle (and no 3 mile walks) left me 20 lbs heavier, even with eating salads.

I went to a doctor about weight loss, only to be sent to a workshop at the hospital that told us such ground breaking revelation like, "If you want to lose weight, make sure you don't eat out at fast food restaurants more than 1x a week". GEE, I wish! If only!! I don't recall the last time I ate at a fast food restaurant...but on the rare occasion that I have to eat on the road, it usually is subway or I get a salad at one of the burger places.

When I gave up last year, I finally stopped obsessing about food. I think I posted before that I have a tendency to starve myself and get so hyper controlling about food that I don't eat. Before I got saved, I was bulimic most of the time so as to control my figure....and since becoming "obese" I have to remind myself that weight isn't everything. I know I eat well. I know my cholesterol and sugars are good for now....blood pressure is ok...

I knew I'd gain weight...but my dh, trying to help me chill out some, threw out my scale.

Well, we bought a scale this past week...and I have been very disappointed in what I found there.

I gained ALL of my weight back. ALL of it.

Of course, since I do work out, you don't really notice it as much on me. I do look heavy, but I always win at those "guess my weight" things...as those carnival guys can never get my weight correct....they usually undershoot my weight by at least 50 lbs. Most of my friends guess my weight at 80-90 lbs less than what it really is...that is the blessing of being tall and well proportioned I guess.

So...I am back to trying to lose weight, without being obsessive hopefully.

My Glory for His Glory

The Bible teaches, in 1 Corinthians 11, that long hair is a glory to a woman. Let's just say that I have a whole lotta glory...a little too much sometimes. A few days ago I broke the handle off of my hairbrush while trying to get the tangles out of my hair before going to bed...and yes, I brush it every day. My hair is just that thick. It's a blessing and a curse some days.

My hair also grows really fast...an average of 5 inches per year. Long, thick,curly to the point of wild, and bright red. I have a lot of hair.

However, there are those in this world who don't have any hair...little girls who have different diseases that cause them to lose all or part of their hair, and that is really hard for them. That's why for the last 8 years, every two years I've donated a large hunk of my overly grown mane to Locks of Love, which makes wigs for such children. They make the wigs for boys to but for cultural reasons, preference is given to girls as it is harder for them to walk around bald, than it is for a boy to have ultra short or bald head. These wigs look very real and the child can even shower with them on. Go to their website to find out more.

the first time I donated to Locks of Love, I had hair nearly to my knees. Yeppers, long, thick, curly red mane that was so long I could sit on it. Woo hoo. I was very proud of my hair, but with Fibromyalgia it was hard to maintain it so long, as my neck was on constant pain from the weight of my hair. Brushing it was a tortureous process that left me in tears every time I did it. After a while, every time I turned on the radio, I was hearing about Locks of Love. I was very resistant to it as I loved my long hair...and the Bible did say my long hair was a glory.

One Sunday, I was sitting in church, towards the back, when the preacher was talking about sacrificial giving. he said this, "It is not about money, but about selflessly giving whatever it is that you are selfishly holding on tightly to, that someone else could better use." I got up, walked out of the service, went to the secretaries office, grabbed a pair of scissors, and cut off a nearly 30" braid, which I mailed in the next day.

I donated it again two years later, this time only 10", and agian, two years later, another 10" through a local salon that was having a hair drive for Locks of Love. This past weekend, as my daughter and I were in Walmart looking at digital cameras, I noticed the salon was not too busy, so I went in and had them cut my braid off and straighten me up again..so I'll be mailing off another 11" to the good folks at Locks of Love. Woo hoo.

Defending the Faith SONday--May 6th, 2007

Really, every day is defending the faith day, isn't it? :-)

Jo Jo Tabares, of Art of Eloquence as well as her blog and weekly podcast, "Grace Talk Soup", has come up with this great idea for Christian bloggers each Sunday. this is in response to the too-absurd-to-be-believed celebration of "Evolution Sunday" in some churches. I've decided to take her up on this challenge, and I will endeavor to blog something on this theme in my blog each Sunday. I usually try not to go on the computer at all on the Lord's Day, so actually it will probalby be posted on Mondays or Saturdays. :-)

When I became a Christian in 1990, I considered myself to be rather progressive in that I believed in God and the Bible inspite of what I thought was scientific evidence to the contrary. The fact is that God made Himself so very real to me in such a miraculous and tangible way, I couldn't deny His existence any longer, but at the same time, I had to wrestle with how to make this experience fit into my pre-conceived ideas and prejudices against the Bible (Which I had never read). I look back at that now and consider it rather absurd, but the Lord led me one step at a time....from rabidly opposed to Christianity to joyfully and faithfully attending a fundamentalist church. The fact is that there is so little evidence to support evolution (which, by the way, contradicts the basic laws of physics), that it would be a leap of faith for anyone fully informed of all of the shortcomings of this flawed theory to actually believe in it. Those who are die hards in it keep searching for their holy grail, "the Missing Link"....which is still missing and always will be.

As a thinking person, the more I have studied this out...not only evolution, but all aspects of biblical history and Christianity, there is no other conclusion to come to but the truth and validity of the faith.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Teaching your children

Continuing on with the thoughts about the value of moms and the blessings of motherhood...I was going to write something else but then I was reminded of moms as teachers when I was grocery shopping today. Tomorrow we have a birthday at our house, so I needed to get to the store on Friday instead of Saturday...plus my dh was home today, so he stayed with everyone and oversaw the schoolwork and I ran off to Meijers. While there, a mom was shopping with her son, and he was asking her every question under the sun and she was answering him and explaining things to him, and telling him why she bought this brand instead of that brand of juice as well as explaining why he couldn't have the cereal he wanted (she showed him the label and that it had too much sugar in it), and so I sort of enjoyed shopping in the same sort of pattern they were shopping in....because four year olds have a million questions about how the world works, and as moms we have the very amazing privilege of introducing them to the work they live in and how it works. Moms are a child's first teacher, laying a foundation for all later education...some do this well, others...well...don't.

I'm not talking about homeschooling either, exclusively anyway. I homeschool and believe in it, but even without homeschooling in the equation, Moms still are a child's first teacher.

Think about it...before the age of 4, think about all of the things a child learns how to do. Most of this is pre-programmed learning--eventually children learn how to walk, talk, go potty, feed themselves, and so forth unless some serious handicaps are present or neglect has gone on. It's quite a transformation from baby to toddler to preschooler!

Then there is other learning that goes on in that time frame too...or rather, learning that may go on when a child is given the right stimuli--learning colors, counting, tying a shoe (i'm so glad I don't have to do that again...even teaching phonics is easier than the shoe tying thing), how to ride a bike, maybe even learning the alphabet and some children even do some simple reading by 4. Children learn some manners, they learn yes and no, they learn to listen. Children can learn all sorts of things at that age. They can learn to do some simple table setting (plastic plates, flatware, and napkins), and learn how to be a helper. By the time a child is four they know that the same toys that get dumped out of the toy box can be put back in the toy box (some do better with this than others ;)).

When mine were quite little, there was a very funny thing that happened to me...well, funny and sad at the same time. A Christian lady we knew, who went to a different church from us, met me in the store one day, and said, "Oh my! Five Children! How on earth can you afford all of that daycare?" Well, we do a novel thing where I forgo paying for daycare by staying home...lol...but later on, I ran into her again, this time my children weren't with me, and she asked me in all seriousness why I would "do that" to my children (stay home with them--mind you they were all 4 and under, and I was pregnant with number five), because how were they supposed to learn their colors, numbers, and so forth? She really, seriously, couldn't imagine that they could learn this without a daycare, which I thought was really strange, but sort of funny. It is a scary thought that we may be coming to a day when people think that daycare is necessary for children's development.

I'm not talking setting up a preschool environment in your home...so much is taught in the everyday life of a family! "Look at those pretty yellow daffodils! Do you see the red tulips? I like the blue hyacynths too!" (My kids didn't just know colors, but flowers too!) I talk too much (LOL) but I use that to my advantage, especially when they were little...by talking to them about everything I was doing at the time, from baking bread, to gardening, and shopping, and cleaning. Reaching to our children (Even if they are not sitting perfectly still) is also very helpful. We still have fond memories of books we read together as a family.

We also teach by sitting down and playing games with them. Games are so fun for teaching these things...like Candyland, and chutes and ladders, and as they get older, games like Jr. Scrabble, Jr. Boggle, and Jr. Monopoly are so helpful too (as are the adult versions when they progress beyond that level)...or vocabulary building games like Catch Phrase (a family favorite--you have to be able to read quick, think quick, and you learn some new words along the way)...or logic games like Sudoku (we usually compete to see who can do it fastest or we work on a puzzle together).

As they get older, they get to learn more complicated things...like cooking for themselves. A few years ago, a friend of mine was saying that she buys frozen pancakes because she hates having to make pancakes for her son, who is 16, and this way he can heat them up when he and his friends want a late night snack. My son was standing next to me and piped up before I could stop him, and said, "If he's 16, Why can't he make pancakes?"...because my son, since he was 8, has made breakfast every morning without being asked to. He likes to cook. Bobby Flay is one of his heroes! Teaching a child to be careful in the kitchen, and how to actually cook is a skill they will need well into adulthood--everyone needs to eat. French toast on an electric griddle is not hard at all. Someday, he is going to make a fine husband for some very lucky girl.

Right now, as I type this, I have a child who is decorating a cake for the birthday girl tomorrow. She wanted to make the cake and decorate it without me helping, and so I have allowed her free reign in the kitchen. Another one is making a present for the birthday girl.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Being There

Well, as promised, I'm continuing that thought about the blessings of motherhood and the value as moms.

You know, as moms, we have a lot of pull in our children's lives. We are the first people in their lives that help them to really feel worth by spending time with them, and taking an interest in them, and encouraging them with our words and actions. It is so important that children feel loved, wanted, and appreciated!! Sometimes I wonder how children of people who have the attitude of "I don't want anything to hurt my career/I want to feel fulfilled" feel inside when they hear their moms saying things like that.

I understand when some women do need to work out of the home, and I think that when your child knows that there is a need and that you would much rather be rolling on the floor playing with him than working, that makes all the difference in the world.

I've read some other blogs about this topic (re: that article by Ms. Hirschman), and I noticed both in blogs and in comments that the argument was made that having the mom home was not always the best thing, and giving some really awful example....and sure, that happens, but that doesn't mean the problem is with staying home with your children, but with that individual choosing to be miserable at home, or choosing to be physically present but emotionally checked out.

It's not enough to just be there in the home day in and day out...but actually being there emotionally too. Sometimes we can be so focused on other things that our children don't get a whole lot of our attention even when they are the only other human being in our house with us all day long--it's easy to do some days when life is happening all around--but it shouldn't be the habit of our lives. Letting a child feel important to you means stopping what you are doing, turning around, and looking them in the eye, and really listening to what they are saying. Maybe playing a game with them or playing with their toys with them...giving them your undivided attention. IF you are home all day long but spending that time on the computer, or on the phone, or watching the soaps, you might as well put your child in daycare and get a job.

The neat thing about really engaging your children is that you get to relive some of your own childhood. It is just too fun to draw with chalks all over the driveway on a lazy summer day, or make a snowman on a snowy day, or to share a pussy-willow catkin with your little one. Have you sat down and built a tower with blocks or colored a picture in a while? Ok, mine are getting older so they are not so into some of those things...now when we build a tower it is a competition to see how tall we can get it without it falling...and now my little artists get into mommy's watercolors and H2Oils and Prismacolor pencils...but it is just as important (maybe moreso) to show attention to our older children.

My teen daughter, Ruth, tends to need me right after church on Wednesday, when she sits and shares her heart about what God is showing her and what happened in youth group, and so forth, and I treasure that time. I've found that many times she comes in and sits next to me and doesn't say a thing on some days, and I have learned that it is a cue to just hang out and talk--and I am just praising God I have a 14 year old that still wants to talk to her mom...but I really believe that part of the reason is that the foundation was laid when she was a baby and toddler, and I shared my passions with her and listening intently as she shared her heart even at 2...was it silly nonsense to me at the time? Yeah, most of it wasn't totally coherent, and when it was, it was a lot of life changing stuff like, "My baby doll says that the dog ate her toy" and sometimes even more nonsensical things... but, I tried (though sometimes failed) to make sure that she knew I was interested in hearing what she had to say.It's not easy when you have little ones to have them chattering your ear off all day long. I do remember saying "OK! Can we all be quiet for just five minutes, please?!?" (Ruth interjects---"More than a few times, but we probably deserved it"). But on a whole, there was at least one long moment in our day when we spent time together, without anything else distracting me from them.

It's a blessing to me to have that great relationship right now with all of my children. They are each different in their own way, but at the same time they all needed to know I valued them, and their thoughts, and their presence in my life.

We have the power to help our children to feel loved and valued as part of a team--our family. It takes time, and means sometimes putting down something to give them our undivided attention each day.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

my weight loss

You will note the ticker above, near the top of the page, under the verse. This is something I saw on someone else's blog, and decided to get too.

Last summer I had lost 58 pounds total, but over the winter I put some of it on again...I partly blame late night snacks with my hubby as he came home from working some crazy shift...why is it that calories seem to count as double at 2am?? Thankfully he's not working that any more, and so I am not frying up bacon and eggs in the middle of the night nor scooping out Cappuccino Fudge Blitz ice cream with hot fudge topping for us as we discuss the day LOL...I've already lost a few pounds. I have to actually go and get a better scale so as to more accurately weigh in as I only guessed based on my last weigh in at the chiropractor. I think I lost about 10 pounds over the weekend in the garden as everything is very loose again...so I'm probably going to update the ticker on Thursday after shopping when I get a scale.

What am I doing to lose weight?? I'm eating a sensible, lower calorie and lower fat, healthful diet (as opposed to "dieting" which only works when you need to lose a quick ten pounds to squeeze into a dress on a special occasion it seems)...and I am walking a lot as well as working in the garden, and doing some pilates a few times a week.

I've learned a lot about weight loss over the last several years. I've gotten a new respect for anyone who battles severe overweight.

I've never been fat before...relatively speaking. I've needed to lose a few pounds before...20 at the most...and I grew up in a family where everyone was dieting or watching weight or watching my weight ;)....and if anything I had a bad image of my body at a young age to where I would do whatever it took to lose weight (including bulimic things....and diet pills..and so on). After I got saved, the Lord really did a healing work in my heart about all of that body image stuff, and I praise Him for it. It's not good to be obsessing about every bite that goes in your mouth any more than it is good to be scarfing down ice cream at 2 am.

Anyway...when I put on all of this weight 6-7 years ago, it was totally freaky...but God has also taught me a lot through it. In some ways it has been something where I've had to deal with all of those emotions regarding body image again...such as overcoming the temptation NOT to fall back on those very unhealthy methods for losing weight...which would probably not work for losing 100 pounds the same way they work for losing 10 or 20 anyway! Still, it's been a battle in my own mind some days concerning accepting where I'm at, and taking things slow and steady and in a very healthful way, especially since I'm losing this for my health not to win a beauty pageant, amen?

So...I decided if i was doing this rather publicly it would be good for accountability.

New Layout Woo Hoo

Look at the new layout! Woo hoo.

I am working some more on that huge HTML/CSS curriculum that I am writing and recording, and for part of it I demonstrated modifying a CSS template for a blog. Because I had been wanting to do this for a while with my own blog, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and demo the technique using my own blog, so here it is.

I am really excited about the progress I am making on this curriculum. I wish it was done already, of course, and I had planned on it being done...oh...about now. (LOL). It's a bummer that it isn't done yet, but I also don't want it just slapped together either. This is quality stuff.

The coming soon buttons at the top are buttons that are not yet working for sections that are also being added later. One button is a link for information regarding teaching art and design which will be coming soon (the text is written, but the design part is part of the curriculum, and so I am waiting to record the work I am doing on that...if that makes sense.

The second one is some ecards I am designing that are just for moms and families. Don't you hate it when you can't find an ecard that says just want you want to say...? Our family is designing and writing ecards...the first one is done. It is a congratulations on your new little arrow card, with a neat animation I did of an archer with a quiver full of arrows. Most of this one won't be done for a while as I am demo'ing this in yet another curriculum I am doing on animation and illustration for ecards, and also because my children are still working on a few ecards that are not yet done. The children are also doing some of the music in the background using our electric piano. Stay tuned.

The Value of a Mother

Sometimes I decide not to comment here in my blog on a lot of what is going on in society at large because as moms we tend to get really emotional about things, and the last thing we need is one more thing to make our blood boil, and stress us out, right? I try to stay out of politics and so forth, and other things that I really feel helpless to change. I've learned to comment on and change those things that are in my power to change and to comment on those things where commentary may make a difference (instead of just adding to the noise of modern society).

However, this past week, I read an article that both made my blood boil and made me think about what I could do about this situation. The article is by someone who I can only assume is extra-terrestrial (said half joking), because her ideas are totally out there. She believes that all that can be done should be done to make sure that women get in and stay in the workforce because, she believes, it is better for society. It's not, "Women should be able to choose to work" but "Women should not have the choice to stay home". Yeah, like I said, Totally out there.

I can get pretty grrrrrrrrr about stuff like this so I tend to avoid talking about it altogether so as to avoid making everyone else's blood boil too.

But, increasingly, I feel that even though most people aren't going to say so in so many words like this very snarky out of touch woman does, there is a general movement in society that communicates to women that what they do at home is not very valuable on a whole, and it is this that I want to address over the next week or so in honor of Mother's Day. Sure, society said it's good for a woman to be there for her children when they are babies and toddlers, but still, society at large has an underlying view that work is where it is at.

Now, I've done the working in a cubicle for 50 hours a week thing. The cubicle (or even the corner office, as rare as that is) is NOT where it is at, girlfriends. Anyone of you who has to work to pay the bills probably knows that and feels that way. If I had to guess based on my own circle of friends, I'd say 9 out of 10 women don't find work the thrill that careerists make it out to be. Most people, in fact, have jobs, not careers. The whole rest of your life would have to be pretty messed up for you to wake up in the morning looking forward to punching a clock and spending 8-10 hours at the office.

Yet, read Ms. Hirschman's words from this article:

"Should we care if women leave the work force? Yes, because participation in public life allows women to use their talents and to powerfully affect society....That the most educated have opted out the most should raise questions about how our society allocates scarce educational resources. The next generation of girls will have a greatly reduced pool of role models. "


Because, you know, as many of you probably guessed, I don't ever use my talents or powerfully affect society from my little ole home in the country. (said tongue in cheek). And, of course, you can't be a role model unless you have a wallet full of pay-stubs, right?

The value of a woman is not tied to earning power or hours logged in at some job, or even in how much she gives up to stay home with her children. A woman can choose to be a woman of great influence or of no influence wherever she is. That goes for women who are working for pay and those who are working hard at home. It's a choice we make. When I wake up in the morning, I have to choose to change my world for the better one day and one moment at a time, in those areas I have control over. This includes caring for my husband and children, keeping a welcoming home, and writing as the Lord leads. I have the power to influence society just by raising five future adults to also be influential. Talk about the law of exponential returns!

When my dh and I got married, I made more than him, and we didn't think much of that fact until I was pregnant with our first child. I was miserable at home at first. I was really wrestling on that potter's wheel, because I felt this was the right thing, but I felt totally inept at this job. I could juggle 60 different printing orders a night, but not keeping house, changing diapers, and caring for a newborn. It wasn't in my training. However, one day a friend said to me, You can choose to embrace where ever God has you at any moment or you can fight against it--your choice. Be yielded and joyful or be hard-hearted and miserable.

Well, I didn't like her advice.

But, months, and years, later I realized she was right...life isn't always the exact way we want it or how we plan it...and we have to roll with the punches, and along the way God shows us some really awesome and totally unexpected blessings.

I'm going to blog the whole rest of the week about the Value of a Mother and the blessings we receive in motherhood, so stay tuned for more.