Thursday, July 14, 2016

Kneading Relationships

My name is Heather, and I am a recovering workaholic.  

The dictionary definition of a workaholic is a person who works compulsively at the expense of other pursuits.  For myself, change the word “pursuits” to people.  Ouch.

It is only in the past year that I realized that it is possible to be a workaholic homemaker.  It has taken several health crashes to recognize that I am being sent a huge message that I have got to make changes in myself.  I’ve done some interesting reading that has helped me learn some skills to help me in my recovery.  

I gleaned this idea from the book Margin by Dr. Richard Swenson.  He says that the healthiest lifestyle has 4 gears:
1. Park - This is for rest and renewal.  He later says that we need three kinds of rest - physical, emotional and spiritual.2. Low - This is the gear for relationships.  It is for family and friends.  No hurrying, just quality time. 3. Drive - The usual gear for work and play - it uses a lot of energy and feels productive. That productive feeling has been my drug.4. Overdrive - Useful when you have a deadline looming or are trying to hurry out the door.  Meant for using in short bursts.
The analogy of my energy shifting gears like a car just didn’t really sit well in my mind.  For one, I never learned how to drive a stick. The two occasions it was attempted were an Epic Disaster, admittedly due to my lack of patience. I hated riding a bike where you shift gears. I much prefer a single speed. Hmmm… this is pointing to the root of the problem isn’t it!?  

I hashed it out in my mind, and I think a mixer is a much closer comparison.  
  1. Park - Still for rest and renewal.  We still need physical, emotional and spiritual rest and we need it daily.
  2. Low - This is where you knead bread.  And really, we must recognize that we live in human bodies and we aren’t machines. We can’t plug ourselves into an unending energy source.  We knead by hand.  Slowly turning and rolling, and soaking in the sensory experience of the smooth, oily dough.  It can be a sticky business, but it is worth the effort.  This is the gear I had lost and am trying to find once more. The completely radical thought that occurred to me is that this is the gear where I need to homeschool my children, not the next gear (Drive).  Because children don’t enjoy being driven.  No one does, actually.  
  3. Drive - This is where you whip egg whites. You beat up a big bubbly froth and you see fast results. But those lovely fluffy clouds are delicate. Over whipping them brings disaster. Actually, reading Rachael Ray’s advice on whipping egg whites is just a little too ironic - “You’ll know if you have over-beaten your whites if the mixture starts to break down and if there is liquid weeping.”  Ahem.  If there is weeping, you are over-beating yourself and those around you.  And finally, just remember that you can only sustain this level of energy for a certain period of time before your arms starts getting sore and you need to rest.
  4. Pulse - If you hold down the pulse button for too long, you will burn out.  Short bursts only.  Then rest or slip into low. This gear is useful because we still need to get our family out the door, and with little ones, it can feel like herding cats.  But personally, I need to structure my life to avoid this gear if at all possible.
Hear the cautionary tale of a person that has burned out her mixer on more than one occasion. 

A second book that I read on the subject is Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie. If you are a Christ-loving-type A-homeschooling mother, this book is written for you! 

I feel embarrassed to admit that these are the words I needed to hear, but I don’t think I am the only one - “Relationships don’t flourish or or grow with maximum productivity. Relationships need time, spent lavishly. Homeschooling is all about relationships and relationships aren’t efficient.”  I would add, relationships need time spend in low gear - kneading slowly and patiently. Time just being, without thinking of the work we need to accomplish. “Teaching from rest means doing one thing at a time, and we do that thing with all our heart.”

Dovetailing with that thought, this one that stepped on my toes regarding multitasking - “It’s a lack of focus… a refusal to seek out the important things.”  

But about 90% of the book, perhaps more, is building up!  There is hope!  We can learn and grow!  She reminds us, “You are insufficient, His grace is not.”  Also, “I suspect that all of our attempts to teach from rest are futile unless prayer is the cornerstone. We’ve got to start there.”  

Thankfully, God is eager to give grace, mercy, hope, and wisdom to those that seek Him with all of their heart.

I’ve started composing a companion article that details some of the practical things we are doing to stay in Low Gear while homeschooling. I hope to have it posted in the next week and pray that these thoughts can be encouraging as we all seek to grow in Him.

Pin It

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Lies / Truth

Updating here would take too long and to be honest, I'm not keen on the whole world knowing the ins and outs of my medical history.  But I will say that I have been going through some very hard physical trials.  I am waiting for answers right now.

I think we all think things in our minds and struggle with recognizing what is truth from God and what is a lie from Satan.  When we can recognize the difference, we can "take every thought captive" and we can triumph!  I'm sharing the exercise that helped me so much, and I hope that if it is meaningful to you, it will help you to do the same with whatever struggles you are going through. 

         / TRUTH -

1) My family would be better off without me.
         /  I am still a blessing to them, even in my weak state.

2) I can't handle it if I get worse.

          /  God will give me grace and strength if that happens.

3) My children are suffering, my husband is burdened.

          /  They are ok. God takes care of them. He has a plan for them too.

4) My life is getting smaller and smaller.

          /  God is HUGE!

5) I can't do all the things I planned to do in my life.

          /  God has a new plan for me. (New to me, not to Him.)

6) (related to 5) It will be disappointing. I'm missing out.

           /  There will be joy. Surprises await.

7) I'm alone.

           /  I'm never alone. I have God and I'm surrounded by a great team.

8) I am not myself.

           /  I am a newly expanded "self".

9) I am my disease.

           /  I am a child of God named Heather.

Do not think that I've got it all down and no longer struggle. I do mental battles with nearly all of these every day. It's better since I took the time to write all of these down, but Satan still throws these lies at me without relenting. But I am still fighting! And I know Who wins in the end!

Pin It

Monday, December 29, 2014

Daily Bible Reading

This is the time of year that many people are thinking about goals and resolutions for the new year.  May I suggest that if you don't do anything else, you make daily Bible reading something that you resolve to do?  There are many, many "programs" out there and there are many ways of reading.  The key is finding something that is exciting and motivating for you as you strive to make this a habit in your life.

There is a song I sing with my children that goes like this:
Read your Bible, pray every day, pray every day, pray every day,
Read your Bible, pray every day, and you'll grow, grow, grow.

This is a toddler song, so basic and yet so true.  But daily reading and prayer is so... daily!  It requires a different kind of strength.  Daily faithfulness and diligence is something that so many of us are lacking. 

I devoted my life to Christ 22 years ago.  I must confess that it is only within the last several years that reading God's word has been a daily habit.  I always wanted it to be a habit, and I made several good starts, but never made it very far before woefully neglecting my reading.  I can only blame myself for this failing, and after some reflection I think that I just didn't have a strong enough desire.  Now I am at the point where if I miss a morning, I can feel it in myself all day.  I feel desperate to get my reading in and I do what I can to carve out a time for it.  It is the most important part of my day.  How did I get to this point?

I read Psalm 119 every day for about 3 months until I cultivated a love for God's word deep within my heart.  God's word is amazing and powerful.  His Holy Spirit worked upon me and cultivated a true love for His word.  Psalm 119 is all about love for God's law and His word and reading it so frequently grew that strong desire in my heart.

Then I chose to read something that truly interested me.  I read through the major and minor prophets in chronological order.  At that point in my life, I had a very clear understanding of the sequence of major events in the Bible narrative.  Placing the prophets (from Isaiah to Malachi) within the context of the time in which they were written and the events happening during that time really opened up my understanding in an exciting way. 

If you do not have a good understanding of the major Bible events, I suggest learning the "17 Time Periods" and working on memorizing them.  These can be found in "The Three Cycle Approach" by Bob Waldron and provide an excellent framework for all Bible learning. 

Now, to my current reading -
I have been using Grant Horner's "10 Lists" Bible reading program since November and was asked to give a bit of a review.  I have found this to be a very good fit for me right now.  I have modified the program for my own needs and I find it to be extremely flexible, which I need!  I have combined a couple of the lists to make it 8 lists.  Basically, I read one chapter from each of the 8 lists each day.  5 Old Testament and 3 New Testament readings.  This takes me 30-40 minutes.
Before I started the program, I was reading about 3 chapters a day and it felt like a huge leap for me to go from 3 chapters to 10, so that is why I made it 8 lists. Maybe once I've been doing this for a while I will make it all 10 lists.

My life is filled with interruptions and I have very little freedom with my time, so on days when my reading is cut short, I read the Old Testament in the morning and the New Testament in the afternoon.  Or Old Testament one day and New the next.  There is no real "schedule" which I appreciate very much (no extra guilt or feeling "behind").  You just pick up where you left off the last time.  When you finish a list, you start over and read it again. The cyclical nature of reading this way means you never read the same exact thing twice. 

What I like best about this reading program is that it is highly motivating for me.  I get the most excitement in learning by making connections.  Connections are so interesting and exciting to me.  There are fascinating connections nearly every day by reading 8 different chapters throughout the Bible.

An example of this is one I just read today.  In Genesis 32, Jacob was wrestling with the angel and named that place, "Penuel", which means "Face of God".  I also read Judges 8 where Gideon and his men traveled through Penuel.  Sometimes the connections are small and spiritually insignificant like that one, and sometimes they are major ones.  Either way, I stay motivated and interested and that has helped keep this habit alive and my mind engaged in God's word.  And my learning and understanding has been growing by leaps and bounds too.

I wanted to explain my experience with this reading program a bit, but I don't think it is the only way. Mostly, I would encourage you to just DO IT.  Just read!  Let God's Holy Spirit work upon your heart and grow in your love for Him and His word.  

Matthew 5:6 - “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."

Pin It

Sunday, October 26, 2014


One of the things that bugs me the most is when a blogger I really enjoy suddenly stops posting.  For days, weeks, months, years (?) there is just... nothing.  And I always wonder, what happened?  Why?  I'm so sorry that I became that person. 

I really thought I would never stop blogging.  I love doing it.  But then I got "Thirditis". 

"Thirditis" is a disease that I made up.  Here are the symptoms: I'm in my thirties and I had my third child, and I moved for the third time in three years.

But in all seriousness, my life has had some drastic changes in the past year and a half.  

Life with 3 Littles is wonderful and exhausting and I feel like it is a constant juggling act.  But God has been gracious, especially by blessing us with the most precious, joyful little GIRL!!!

When our baby girl was only 6 weeks old, we bought a house!  In the country!  We love it and could not be happier.  We are so blessed to have a home of our own where we have been planting fruit trees and raised garden beds.

We have (almost) no internet!  We live in such a remotely populated area that we can only get dial up internet or limited internet through our phones.  Needless to say, it makes blogging difficult... especially since I have to upload pictures at the local library.

And lastly, I'm learning to live with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. 
(Unlike Thirditis, this is a real disease.)  It is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid gland.  I'm working on healing my body and hope to restore my thyroid function, but this is a very slow process.  And in the meantime...

If you thought I was a health nut before...
I've been making a lot of diet changes to help with my thyroid and immune problems.  It is making a big difference, but I spend a lot more time in the kitchen.

What has not changed?
We are blessed beyond measure.  God is good.  God is faithful.  I thank God for His mercy and grace!

I can't commit to updating further, but at least this way, you won't be left wondering.
Blessings to you, my readers.  And thank you, with all my heart.

Pin It

Sunday, November 3, 2013


I found fresh, not-horrible-looking okra in the grocery store the other day and couldn't believe my eyes!  My husband and I debated over how to fix it... fried?  (my favorite)  okra and tomatoes?  (his favorite)  We ended up going with gumbo.  I haven't had good gumbo in years and my craving was satisfied with this recipe.

How to find a good gumbo recipes?  I did an ingredient search on All Recipes for "gumbo", "roux", and "file"... not many results with those terms, but I combined a few recipes to make something I think is delicious and authentic.

Get out a big pot and...

Make a medium roux with:
    •    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    •    1/2 cup butter

Make, what the cajun folks call, "The Holy Trinity"...
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, saute your vegetables in 1 Tbs. butter:

    •    3 stalks chopped celery
    •    1 cup chopped onions
    •    1 bell pepper, chopped

I added:
    •  4 cloves garlic
    •  1 poblano pepper, chopped

When the your roux is medium brown, add the sauce and spices:
    •    8 cups water (even better with chicken or beef broth)
    •    8 ounce can tomato sauce
    •    2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    •    2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
    •    1 Tbs. dried parsley
    •    1/2 tsp. black pepper
    •    a bay leaf

Add your sauteed veggies to the pot, then add the star of the show:
    •    1 pound okra chopped into medium coins

Select your seafood/meats of choice - about 1 or 1 1/2 lbs. altogether:
    •    breakfast sausage cooked & crumbled
    •    salad shrimp
    •    crawfish if you can get it!
Canned seafood can work too!
    •    1 can minced crab, 2 cans clams + juice

I threw in a can of corn because I had some.

And of course,
    •    1 Tbs. file powder (an authentic cajun thickener... not completely necessary, but nice when you can get it)
    •    If you like it extra spicy, sprinkle with Tony Chachere's cajun seasoning to taste.  We used that stuff like salt and pepper growing up.  I don't think this recipe requires it, especially if you use spicy sausage, but leaving it out would be like leaving out my firstborn child at the dinner table.
    •    Serve over rice

Pin It

Monday, October 7, 2013

Bible Readings for a Baby Shower

 I went to a baby shower a year or so ago where the woman hosting did some encouraging Bible readings and songs.  It was wonderful and I kept thinking, "why have I never seen this done before?!?!"  I recently had the opportunity of sharing some readings at a baby shower myself and the other women had a similar reaction to mine.  I hope these thoughts will be an encouragement to you today. 

Thank you for joining us as we celebrate ___________ becoming a mother, and her child, a gift from the Lord.  I wanted to read a little from the Bible and talk about this new little soul that will be joining us soon.  There is so much encouragement, wisdom and knowledge to be found in the scriptures, and when it comes to becoming a parent, I think those of us who have experienced it will heartily agree that we desperately need God’s encouragement, wisdom and knowledge as we take on such a responsibility. 

James 1:5 - God gives wisdom liberally and without reproach to all who ask

Charles Dickens - “It is no small thing, when they, who are so fresh from God, love us. ”

Babies are more than just cute and cuddly little dolls

They are created in God’s image - Genesis 1:27 - “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

They have been created for God’s own glory - Isaiah 43:7 - “Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”

Jeremiah 1:5 - “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.”

Our children are SOULS that belong to God that we give right back to Him.
In 1 Samuel when Hannah prayed for a child, she made a vow to the Lord and promised, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant... but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life...”  Hannah gave Samuel to God to serve in the temple, but the reality for us, is that our children are a heritage from the Lord, and as their parents, we must devote them to God.

And isn’t it so with all of our blessings from God?
All of the are things that we have are things that He created.  They belong to God and we are entrusted with their care for a time.

As a parent, it is our job to diligently teach our children about God.
Deut. 6:1-9 - "These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

We do this by reading the Bible to them, and sharing God’s teachings
Isaiah 28:9-10 - “To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast?
For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.”

And it is never too early to start -
“Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother's breasts.  On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother's womb you have been my God.”  (Psalm 22:9)

We also do this by the way we live.  With babies and young children especially, it is our job to reflect God for them while they come to understand God for themselves.  I believe this is the most challenging part of being a parent - accurately reflecting the character of God for my children in the way I behave and the words I say.  Having God’s word written all over MY heart first, so I can know and understand God as I teach my children.  And this is so important because it is from their parents that children first learn trust, obedience, love, honor, and respect... all things they will need to know in order to choose to follow God. 

It might take a while for the weight this awesome responsibility to really sink in.  And very soon you will realize that you have messed up.  Because we all mess up this job of parenting.  You will grieve for your mistakes, but I hope in that moment you will realize that we can’t perfectly parent our CHILD’s way into heaven.  As much as we want it and try our hardest to do the job well, God allows each person the choice to love Him or reject Him.  

And so we pray for you, Stacy, as you take on this weighty responsibility with this little soul.  But we also pray for this baby boy, that he will have a heart for the Lord.  We pray that he will choose to love, obey, trust, and honor God.  Ultimately, this is THE ONLY THING.  Of all of the “great things” this little baby boy may do one day in this world, the only thing that really matters is that he has eternity in his heart and that he chooses to  follow the Lord.  We pray that he will have a heart like David who said in Psalm 119:30-33 -
"I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.
I cling to your testimonies, O LORD; let me not be put to shame!
I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!"

Jesus gave His life for you and for me, and also for this baby boy.  Enjoy these days of purity and perfect innocence. Just as Mary did with baby Jesus, treasure the things that he does in your heart, but be thankful that God has made a way for him to be with Him some day.  The rest of us here today do not bear the same weight of responsibility as a parent, but we are here to encourage you and help you and your baby boy along the way. 

Sing - “I Need Thee Every Hour” and “Because He Lives”

Malachi 2:15 says, talking about a husband and wife, “Did He not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?  And what was the one God seeking?  Godly offspring.”

Psalm 127:3 - “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord”

Jesus loved little children. In Matthew 19 he welcomed and blessed them saying, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” 

This baby is a good and perfect gift from the Lord, and we thank God for His goodness, mercy, and love in sending such a gift.  We praise God for the gift of motherhood because as it says in Psalm 113:9 - "He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children.  Praise the Lord!"

Pin It

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Sorry blog readers/commenters... I've been getting a ridiculous amount of spammy comments all of the sudden.  At least for the time being, I am adding word verification in the comment box in hopes that it will foil the spambots.  I hope this doesn't make commenting too cumbersome because I so appreciate each and every one of your comments.  Please let me know if you have trouble with the new setup and I will do what I can.  If you can't get through with a comment, you can e-mail me here:

Now, why so quiet around here?  I am finding that trying to keep up with the day-to-day cleaning, laundry, cooking and basic needs + homeschooling + taking care of myself means no time to blog.  I have wondered for a while when that day would come. The biggest change has been that my primary time for writing has always been during our daily "quiet time" and I have been needing that time for a daily nap.  That time is also now very, very limited now that my eldest child no longer naps.  It has kind of all happened at once.  So I'm not giving up entirely because I still love having a place to write, but I am finding that it will probably happen with much less frequency. 

It's just the stage of life I am in.  But I am still here, and I will still write when I can. 

I hope you have a blessed week!


Pin It
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...