Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to Have Children and Keep Your House Clean

I might be the last person you would expect to be giving home management tips.  Believe it or not, I am capable of getting my house to look immaculate.  I've done it a time or two by following the tips that float around the internet.  But I've noticed tidy experts are capable of helping you GET your house clean, not KEEP your house clean.  Here are some things I've found (or dreamed) to make you look like a super-organized, put-together mother:

1) Never, ever, EVER, get a dog. 

2) Act like you have to go to the bathroom.  When your children follow you, lock them in the bathroom while you clean the rest of the house. 

3) Weep uncontrollably to your husband until he feels so sorry for you and asks “what can I do to help?”  Have the list ready to hand him.

4) Require your body to have 4 hours of sleep.  It doesn’t matter if you need 8.  Making yourself only get four hours of sleep will decrease your life span, de-stress your life, and allow you to meet Jesus earlier.

5) Throw every toy away.

6) Don’t tithe your money to the church.  10% of your income could be used to hire a maid service and chef--therefore boosting the economy.  We all know that the economy is the most important thing in our country.

7) Sleep naked.  Less laundry.  Maybe there will be a fire in the middle of the night and your neighbors will call you in for indecent exposure. As a prison inmate, you’ll have all the time in the world to keep your cell clean.

8) Better yet, set your house on fire yourself.  Then you will have nothing to keep in order.

9) Only wear bikinis during the day.  Modest women have bigger loads of laundry.
If your wardrobe only consists of bikinis, your children will be embarrassed by you and never invite their friends over.  Your own children will leave your house –their friends and them can make dirty foot prints at others’ houses and eat all of their food.

10) Get off the computer, iPhone, and all other devices that connect you to the outside world. 

11) Why are you still at your computer?

12) Eat out for every meal.  Don’t you know that cooking healthy meals for your family only creates further mess?

13) When your children pick up something that was once in its place, scream at the top of your lungs.  Yell something like, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING???  STOP MAKING MESSES!!  STOP BEING SO CURIOUS!”  Eventually, the children can be trained like mice and will stop making messes because they fear their mothers.

I am  not trying to diminish the art of home management.  It's highly important.  I know the women that are kind, calm, AND organized with their homes.  They are few and far between, but I have been in their houses.  I have stayed the night with them.  They usually ask me stuff like, "what do you think about predestination and free choice?"  I usually ask them stuff like: "OH MY GOODNESS!!  How do you keep your paper clips and scissors in these handy compartments without yelling at anyone?"

While there are some people who choose to be lazy and let everything go, I think many women put too much pressure on themselves to get things looking good.  It's important, but it's not the MOST important.

Well, I'm out of here.  The children and I have more messes to make.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Houses and Spouses: God's Will in Decision-Making

I have a perpetual headache.  That tends to happen to me when making decisions.  My husband and I are looking for a house to buy, and it is taking a ridiculous amount of my mental and emotional energy. The thoughtful consideration is worth it, because the only other decision in life that is more important than choosing a house is choosing a spouse.  I seem to have much experience in both categories so I thought I would share my decision-making wisdom with you.  [For the record, I've had one spouse/multiple houses.] Whether finding a cottage, or starting a courtship, here are some crucial things to consider:

* Look at a variety of options. There are some things that take priority, and you have to know what you are willing to live without.

* Foundation is key: cosmetics can be changed.

* No amount of character can overlook some kinds of ugly.  The ugliness doesn't change the value; it's just a job for someone else.

* Get your financial house in order before you drag others into your business.

* Some qualities are out of your price range. Get what you can afford.

* Meet in person before you get too attached.  The on-line resume can be deceiving.

* Don't look for the perfect one.  Look for the perfect one for you.

* Ask the neighbors questions. They know information that the home-owner (or potential spouse) may not tell you.

* Check the history.  Remember what "was" is not as important as what "is", but provides important pieces to solve the mysteries that will come later.

* Gather your facts: all square feet are not created equal.

* Don't get intimate with your investment until there are legal signatures involved.

* Live together after you are committed, not before. That's the way it ought to work.  In living together, you discover the quirks, learn the things that are in the wrong place, and remind yourself  "for better, for worse."

Unlike houses, you don't cash spouses in when the walls come crashing in.  I have found that if you experience multiple headaches before the decision, you experience multiple joys afterwards.  The renovating and remodeling are the fun processes that come with commitment.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Forgetful Fool

Every parent has heard the dreaded words: "I forgot".

"Haven't I told you many times that you never hurt or hit your sister?"
"I forgot."
"The spanking spoon and I are here to help you remember."
My son is now 7 and doesn't forget nearly as often.

Forgetting is a sin that is rarely called a sin, and it is highly dangerous.  A child can be told not to run into the street, but it only takes one forgetful moment for tragedy to happen. That is why the Proverbs remind children over and over to remember the words of wisdom they are given, by both their parents and the Word of God.

"Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth." Prov 4:5

Today is April Fool's Day.  There is only one way to not be fooled on this holiday: remember what day it is.  If you are always aware that it is April 1st, then you are skeptical of everything you hear and every status you read.  But if you forget what day it is, then you'll believe anything and be made the fool.

Life is fun when it's pranks and jokes for one day.  But as an adult, it is far more dangerous to forget the works of God throughout history and throughout one's life.  God is always challenging us to remember.  He told the Isrealites in Deuteronomy to watch themselves diligently, and not forget how God brought them out of slavery.  When they entered the Promised Land, God knew that they would be tempted to become self-sufficient in all of their prosperity, and forget Who brought them into freedom by no works of their own.

Even though believers today have the Word of God at their disposal, to remind them of all that God has done, we forget.  We doubt that He is really good.  We doubt that He could love us despite our sin.  We forget our freedom and enslave ourselves to all kinds of addictions.  We forget how patient He is with us, and lash out at others.  We forget His faithfulness and become afraid.  We take our eyes off the cross and onto our performance, which in turn leads to pride or insecurity. 

But God gives us reminders.  He gives us the Holy Spirit to recall His Word to mind.  He instituted the Lord's Supper to remind us of the Body that He crucified on our behalf.  And we have an orderly calendar system to remember certain days of the year.

Today's a big day for me.  10 years ago today, my husband awoke to me crying in the bathroom.  I was pregnant and not happy about it.  He knew I wasn't playing an April Fool's joke, because I'm not that good of an actress to play the part of a woman in despair.  It seems silly now, but at the time I thought having a baby was a bad thing for me--I was scared to death to be a mom and felt that life was completely out of my control!!! 

Remembering my fear and how faithful God has been through these 10 years is good for me. I am currently facing other fears and other decisions that will affect much of the future.  Life feels so out of control, in complete limbo.  But life never was MINE to control in the first-place.  And so I remember, this day, how silly I was years ago, and how I can see so much clearer 10 years later.  That gives me perspective because the things I'm fearing today will seem silly 10 years from now.

When I remember who God is, I am skeptical of emotions that want to believe otherwise.  When I remember the things God has done in my life, my fears are replaced with peace, even when the logical information isn't adding up.  My prayer today is that the Lord will help my mind and emotions not make a fool of me, so I can press forward in faith.