Monday, October 29, 2007

anxiety vs. God

The sermon in church yesterday addressed the temptation to follow traditions rather than the word of God. In my life, this hits home hardest in the area of anxiety.

“Worry,” commands our culture. “Be anxious for nothing, but pray for everything,” my paraphrase of something I think Peter wrote. When I analyze my anxiety, I realize that much of it revolves around ‘me’- I’m not good enough. I’m not saving enough. I’m not working hard enough. Something is going to go wrong, because I’m forgetting something, and God knows we don’t have enough insurance to cover it all!

I think the story of Elisha and the widow’s oil was recorded in the bible for the sake of over-anxious stay-at-home moms like myself. Here is this woman who is having all our worst nightmares come true- her husband dies (i.e., she has no income). Her children are going to be taken away. There is no one to defend her.

Elisha does not preach to her. He does not say, “Why didn’t your husband purchase life insurance? Why didn’t you two have retirement savings? And why the hell were you in debt? Don’t you know debt is evil? Ok, fine, fine, I’ll help you, but this better be the last bloody time you are so inept.” He just tells her to fill a bunch of jars with oil. She obeys (not worries) and God miraculously provides. The two things the woman ‘did’ to secure her salvation were to run to God and to obey.

So I guess my point is- I need to trust and obey God, rather than choosing to worry. Sounds easy, but I know God is going to have to work a long time on this one. Those habits of anxiety and stress have roots that are too deeply entrenched in my soul to come out without a fight. But I’m not going to worry about it! I’ll let God take care of it. Meanwhile…where is that checkbook? I can’t remember the balance…

Thursday, October 25, 2007

hint of death

It is a perfect Autumn day. The sky is a clear blue, enhanced by the crisp coolness of the chill wind, and dotted with numerous small, fluffy white clouds. Without the warmth of the sunlight it would be discouragingly cold. Melancholy threatens to seep into my soul, and though I would usually struggle to throw it off I realize that it is good and appropriate to mourn this time of year: the first hint of nature’s yearly death can be seen in the yellowing leaves, the shortening days, the cold breeze. Dying should always be met with sorrow.

It is equally appropriate that Thanksgiving should be celebrated during the autumn. Gratitude is a natural antidote to depression. And even though autumn will fade into winter, where death seems inshakeable and permanent, I know that eventually life will be resurrected and spring will come again. Thus I have hope, and I can revel in the beautiful melancholy of the dying world and the autumn season. My favorite time of year.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Society of Non-Wicked Step-mothers

I’m beginning a new non-profit organization: The Society of Non-Wicked Stepmothers (SNWS). Our first project will be to sue the Brothers Grimm for centuries of degrading portrayals of stepmothers (Cinderella, Hansel & Gretel, Snow White, etc.) I mean, why do stepmothers always have to be the villain? What did we do to deserve this kind of mistreatment? Obviously all these fairy-tales have been written by embittered first wives, who probably faked their own deaths so they could run away with some wealthy body-builder, and then got jealous when their offspring were raised by nice, sweet, kind and beautiful step-mothers while the body-builder got arrested for excessive gambling debts and steroid usage. Hah.

We should hear more about the good step-mothers- ones like my grandmother, who had eight step-children and was…well…wicked. Blast. But she was equally cruel to her own children, so that doesn’t count. How about all those wonderful step-mothers in the bible, women like…umm…


There has to be a few good step-mothers out there.

Well, when I find them, we will band together to fight for our rights. We will no longer be the demons in over-dramatic fairy tales. We will not be the greedy, jealous, possessive old hags with OCD. We will even throw off the derogatory term step-mother (what does ‘step’ imply, anyway? Someone to step on?) and demand a neutral, more descriptive term of ourselves- something like kind, sweet, sacrificial motherly figure.

Look out, Walt Disney…

Friday, October 19, 2007

Extreme Frugality!

I’m sipping a cup of coffee during our lunch break. I let the children eat by themselves; sometimes this leads to ‘issues’ at the table but is one of the few times of the day when I have a few minutes somewhat to myself.

We are transitioning to a lifestyle of extreme frugality. We will continue with our current level of monthly obligations (which are pretty minimal, for the most part) and charity. However, all other expenses- clothes, fun, household goods, and anything else that creeps up- will have to come out of a small weekly allowance. The primary purpose of this is to prepare for a couple of big expenses next year- new (second) vehicle and new computer, both things we’ve been planning for quite awhile.

The other purpose of this is to simply live a more grateful, less covetous lifestyle. There is a never-ending list of things we could buy and even more things we could want. On a limited budget what we really ‘need’ suddenly becomes much more clear.

One thing I am trying to be very careful of: I never tell the kids (or even let myself think) ‘if we only had more money we could afford this or that’. Or especially, ‘we can’t do/buy that because we don’t have enough money’ (in a greedy, whiny tone). We could earn more money; we could spend everything we have plus rack up large(r) debts; we could stop giving anything away (which could be easily excused, considering we are large a family with not a large income). But the answer to our desires is not more money. It’s contentment, and wisdom, and gratitude, and more than anything, Christ!

I am excited to see what God can do with our budget and our needs while we make these changes. We may end with more bills :), and will handle them as they come. I trust that He will provide for us as he always has.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


It is a beautiful, rainy day. The school day has gone well (which is not always the case) and so I have a few minutes to myself while the children play after lunch.

We have two new members of the family- Mr. Moss and Zero. They are both millipedes. Mr. Moss is the larger, a giant African millipede already an impressive 8” and probably not full-grown. Zero, by comparison, is tiny- a 5” red desert millipede. They are Malachi’s pets, and, as we have been studying arthropods for the last couple weeks of school, coincide nicely with our studies. Watching them move about and munch on bananas is fascinating and we pray that we can keep them alive for a long, long time (the African millipedes reportedly survive for numerous years in captivity!)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday, Monday (la la, la la la la la)

It’s a Monday, and like most Mondays it just plain sucks. It is also a Monday after a very busy weekend, a weekend in which David and I traveled 500 miles while the children stayed with the grandparents. So I’m feeling depressed and weary- nothing that can’t be fixed with enough coffee and chocolate.

I have hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

Thank you so much to my technologically competent husband, who helped me link a picture and do some other stuff to dress up my blog site. Kiss, Kiss.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

ghetto housewife

Some have asked “Why ghetto housewife?”

Ok, no one has asked, but my husband has said I should explain it. I try to listen to my husband’s advice. I’m not going to say any more about that particular topic.

1. I am a housewife, not a househusband, not a midwife, not a fishwife. Hence the part about ‘housewife’.

2. I live in the ghetto. Ok, ok, not hardcore ghetto, not ‘machine gun fire every night’ ghetto, not ‘murder on every street corner’ ghetto, but recovering, trendy ghetto. Hence the ‘ghetto’ adjective.

Only we could move into a ghetto which immediately transforms into a hip place to live. Oh, we still have murders. We still have used hypodermic needles strewn across the sidewalk. We still have some crumbling old houses. But it’s all rapidly changing. Every where I walk I see signs of new construction and rehab. Yes, it’s a good thing, and I’m happy for it. But it is very surreal. We just wanted a big house that we could fix up to our liking in a community that we knew and enjoyed. Now, there are tours frequently circling the streets, made up of yuppies with sweaters tied around their necks and wine glasses in their hands, and property values are soaring. Fashionable housing magazines from other big cities talk about our area and encourage progressive young urbanites to check us out. We are no longer the ghetto….but “Previously blighted inner-city housewife” is just too long of a title. So…ghetto housewife it is.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

sex change

I have changed my profile to correctly reflect my current gender as ‘female’, rather than ‘male’ as it previously stated.

For security purposes, my husband has verified that this is indeed my gender.

Sorry for any confusion this may have caused. Thank you, Charlotte, for pointing out the error.

details about my family that you never wanted to know

We do:



shop at Sam’s and Aldi and Trader Joe’s (woo hoo Trader Joe’s!)

eat at ethnic restaurants

lead our church youth group

somewhat unschool (esp. on days that I’m tired J)

like to travel to expensive, exotic locations

use our credit cards and usually pay the entire balance each month (stress usually)

listen to loud, obnoxious music


attend church most Sundays

read the bible most days

lots of laundry

subscribe to Netflix (woo hoo netflix!)

shop at thrift stores

use birth control

like foreign films

We don’t:

have high-speed internet (gasp)

have two cars

have cable/dish/whatever tv (or even watch broadcast)

listen to the radio (except NPR and sometimes KDHX)

believe that CO2 is warming the earth (it's the fault of reality TV shows)

believe that over millions of years, tiny, simple particles changed themselves into large, complicated life-forms that eventually mutated enough to talk, walk, and shop at the mall

buy name-brand stuff (except for some foods and Toyota and if Charlotte gets her way, a new Mac)

save for retirement

engage in any form of politics (including voting, gasp again)

opening day

Well, I've taken the plunge and started a blog. It seems silly and self-focused in a lot of ways. But also a good way to journal (something I've always meant to do but without much success).

I'm recuperating from a week-long bout of the flu. I had begun to despair of ever fully recovering and was making plans to live my life dizzy, exhausted, and unproductive. That last part was the most difficult- like many Americans, I judge my life by how much I do. It was a good reminder to once again change my perspective, and remember that a good day is one in which I better worship God, rather than completing a mammoth list of housework and other worthy but often distracting activities.

This blog is interrupted by my children's incesssant and unreasonable demands for food :)