8842837_f520

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Passover to you and yours!

Advertisements

FLYing Once More

FlyLady has had an impeccable effect on my organization, my attitude, and especially our home atmosphere.

I had read her book, Sink Reflections, before I attended college.  My sister had been raving about this “perfect” organizing method and loaned us the book.  The ideas sounded good, but I did not implement them in my parents’ house.  My mother didn’t like being told what to do by a stranger with a website, either.  Good ideas filtered into the back of my mind, nevertheless.

At college, my microwave counter in the dorm became my version of FlyLady’s “shiny sink.”  As long as that counter was in good order, I knew everything else could fall into place.  Especially useful on campus, was her “launch pad” method of laying out everything I would need for a day, the night before.  Utensils for Algebra, reports for English, personal notes for Chamber Singers, and work pages for Economics were packed up and ready in my bag.  I could wake up fifteen minutes before class, jump into the clothes I had laid out, run through my beauty routine, grab that bag, and show up for class feeling prepared for the entire day.  Some mornings, I could get up earlier to savor a cup of coffee.

Once married, I had my own sink to shine…most of the time.  I wrote up routines, which didn’t stick.  Then came the morning sickness that lasted all day, days on end. My sink was sorely neglected.  “FLYing” was not on my mind for months.  However, the FlyLady habit of dressing to shoes each morning would soon be a desperate necessity.  My firstborn was stillborn, and I wanted to die with him.  Previous near-suicide experiences taught me to fight before I was pushed into the pit, where I could be too overwhelmed to get out.  So I let my God bear my grief, I got out of bed and dressed down to my boots each morning, and I did not let myself be alone for more than a couple of hours.  After two months, the tears began to slow and I limped back to the land of the living.

Then again came the morning sickness.  Learning to mother an infant soon followed.  I was very grateful for my beautiful baby, but feeding was difficult and I couldn’t manage much else. Four months after giving birth, my house was a depressive wreck, and so was I.

I sat and looked around at the house full of one, big, disheartening mess.  Anger grew.  “Why couldn’t my husband pick up after himself?”  Blame increased.  “Doesn’t he see the trouble I’m in?”  I picked apart the room about me.  “This thing was his responsibility, and that, and that…”  My pity party was rolling well until I looked at my bedside table.  The items in that pile of clutter were mine, and I had placed each one on that table myself.  I couldn’t blame any of it on my husband, so why was it just was messy as the rest of the house?  Something within me clicked.  Some responsibility was mine to take.  I couldn’t fix my husband’s habits.  I could only fix myself.  I had to.  My man deserved better.  The baby deserved better.  That day, I found FlyLady’s day-by-day baby steps.  I began taking baby steps the next morning.

Gradually, but permanently, my habits changed.  I learned to take care of myself consistently.  Thirty days were listed in the Babysteps, but I only completed perhaps twenty.  The results still turned my house around.  I could recognize the “negative voices” (or lies of the enemy, as I call them) and put a stop to them.  My husband rarely ran out of clean clothes to wear, anymore.  I didn’t have to pinch my nose while washing dishes; the abhorrent mystery water simply didn’t come to my sink.  There was time to snuggle and nurse my baby while she cut her first teeth.  The living room looked nice and retained its gleam, thanks to the Weekly Home Blessing Hour.  I looked forward to having people visit my cozy home, and my husband wasn’t embarrassed when guests entered our domain.  Domain.  That’s what it was.  This house that had owned me, had now become my domain.  I could rule without struggle, attending to our affairs without worry.

After eight months of progress, I began to skip decluttering every day.  Then, I missed my hotspots.  One habit after another, I began to backslide.  Another illness and death in the family, and participating in a wedding five hours away, kept me from home and my habits were lost.  However, this is only a demonstration of how effective the FlyLady’s methods are, because it was easy to get back on track!  I went back to the day-by-day Babysteps.  Day one, I thoroughly cleaned and shined my sink and picked out my clothes for the next day.  Just that much made me feel good again.  After a week of following those two habits, most of my morning routine has now fallen back into place.  My before-bed routine is stronger than ever.  I’m inviting relatives to a meal and game night each week.  Turning a wreck into my home took months, before.  This time, it only took a couple of days!

In years to come, I look forward to keeping a calm and comfortable haven for my family and friends, and teaching my children to manage the same for themselves. Each day I find myself grateful for learning stewardship over the home we have been blessed with.  I am thankful for the self-control, discipline, and love I have been taught this year, even if it’s still a work in progress. Particularly, I am glad to have new tools with which I can bless our marriage.

So if you are hopeless, overwhelmed, immersed in chaos, or depressed with yourself or your home,  I encourage you to use these Beginner Babysteps.  They are a tool that will work for anyone willing to try.  May you claim for yourself the peace I have found.

Songs for Dorothea

If I have ever met my Great Aunt Dorothea, it was before my memories.  Upon my graduation, though, I received a warm and encouraging note from this sister of my late grandmother.  I sent her a thank you note, and she replied back.  In the five years since, we have continued our correspondence across the Continental Divide.

She tells me of her exercise programs (she went swimming three times a week till the age of 93), choir experiences, spiritual lessons, Bible studies, children and grandchildren, and her general health.  Her notes are written on cute floral or gorgeously embossed stationary.  I keep the latest decorative letter on display in my living room as a reminder that someone is praying for me.  With each pretty letter or beautiful card, she also sends the lyrics to a “little song.”

“The LORD gives me these little songs to sing,” she says.  Once, we got on the phone, and she sang two of these songs for me.  The words are edifying in and of themselves, but the classy, old-time revival melodies lifted my spirits even more.  Finally, I asked whether I may publish her songs online. She responded, “You can do whatever you wish with my little songs that are really His.”

So, in days to come, I will post these song lyrics in the hope they will encourage any who read them.

image

Praising our LORD of all creation,

All of which give Him adoration,

Knowing His rule over all the nations,

Worshiping Him alone.

Soon He’s coming for His children

Taking them home

To dwell in glory,

So we sing this wondrous story Of His love for us.

Another Open Letter Regarding Parenthood

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

image

Dear Parents,

Well, shall we say, to parents of the children who seem to have lost their way, or to any parent who may face such a situation in the future?

You raised your child in the way they should go, and now they’ve gone off the deep end. Their former innocence has been dropped, forsaken. They value things they know will leave them hurt and broken. You try to help, and they push you further away. Where are they? Who are they anymore? What are they? What DO they believe, and why?

What did I do wrong to pressure them into destructive behavior?

Now, drop your line of thought. When you work your questions into a frenzy, the Enemy sees prime opportunity to manipulate your fears. Fear is the opposite of love. (II Timothy 1:7) So, let’s look at Who is Love.

Heavenly Father. The LORD God. Yahweh. Yahuah our Elohim. Creator of all. King of the Universe. The first parent.

He gave His first children on this earth, Adam and Eve, everything. He taught them all they needed to know, blessed them with all they could want or need, but most of all, He gave them free will. A controlled relationship cannot grow. As a Veggie Tale story put it, “A gift that’s demanded is no gift at all.” If the Heavenly Father and His children were to have a relationship of love and growth, they would have to be capable of choosing Him.

When the choice came, they chose to serve themselves first, to disobey, to twist His Word, to accept evil.

He loved them more deeply than a human could love his own child. The betrayal was painful, and the pain was deep. He could have disrupted their beings into atoms, taken back His gift of the breath of life, or struck them with lightning on the spot.

Yet, Yahweh remained in love. He came down to their level and walked the earth. He asked questions: “Where are you? Who told you that? Did you do such and such? What have you done?” He listened to the explanations and blame. Then, He chastised His children with appropriate measures, without wrath. (See how His grace is evident early in the Scriptures?)  God even covered their sin and made clothing for their nakedness.  Following the Heavenly Father’s example would bear the best fruit.

“What if my child still strays?” The human race has continued its fickle, sinful ways for millennia, and their Father still offers love and grace. Eventually, at the end of days, all will be set aright, and those who choose Him will have abundant life with Him, and stronger love than if the choice had never been offered. It takes time, but the wait produces a great deal of gain.

Also, look closer at the Proverb. It does not promise that our children will not make grave mistakes and painful choices. WHEN HE IS OLD will the well-raised child not depart from the good path. Our children may go to the School of Hard Knocks, make the wrong choices, make the wrong friends, marry the wrong people, lead the wrong careers, but hope doesn’t go anywhere. All things will work out. It may take years or decades. You may not live to see it. It may be in the Thousand Year Reign, but know that your children were God’s children first. He thought of them at the dawn of time. He chose you to raise them. Their salvation and life choices are ultimately between themselves and their Maker. You did not credit yourself when they figured out how to walk. You did not take praise when they made those first good choices and aspirations. You credited them and praised them for their character. Do not take credit for their mistakes once they are raised. You did your best! You did a good job! Sure, every parent makes their mistakes, but God still chose you, and you have answered your calling.

So take your ailing children to The Healer, the One Who loves them most, and leave them at His feet. If He Himself calls you to assist, obey Him covered in His love, but do not assume a responsibility that is His alone.

May He warm your heart and fill it with the love and light your loved ones need,

Your sister in Messiah.