Friday, October 26, 2018

On Agatha Christie

I have been reading Agatha Christie. And she is a brilliant writer. Sometimes, I think...horrifically brilliant. I find I don't like reading about murder and I don't want to understand the mind of a murderer or think about detective work. I would rather be blissfully ignorant that psychopathic narcissistic people exist. After reading around 10 of her books now, I think Agatha must have been a little twisted herself to be able to come up with so many “good” murderous villains and plots!

At least her villains get caught. And confess their deeds. Unlike the real world.

I do like Marple. I want all the descriptions of her attire to be made in real life so I can wear them over tea. Except without the crime solving. Or bothersome nephews.

However, Marple's male counterpart annoys me. I'm speaking of Hercule Poirot, whose very name sounds as dry and strict as his character! Descriptions of his mustache make me cringe. He's fastidious about everything and full of himself. He's stuck up. I can't relate to him. I have no idea how his mind works, it's so far removed from my limited awareness that it is hard to comprehend. I am not detailed oriented. I am not organized. Thus, perhaps the reason I like him least is that he makes me feel common. He is brilliant, but he also knows it. I dislike a superior attitude in a man, especially one coupled with actual intelligence; but intellect to the point of snobbery. I know the BBC has made several TV adaptations of Agatha's books—I need to check them out to see how this all translates from manuscript to screen. I just feel Poirot would be a hard man to please.

I would love to read a biography about Agatha Christie's life. I wonder how she became fascinated with crime: was her father a policeman? I mean, I first learned about her from a Dr Who episode, so my knowledge is really limited. Did she ever solve a crime like in that episode? Obviously without alien killer bees, I'm sure, but did a murder ever happen right in front of her? I need to look up a documentary. I may be done reading her books, but I am not done reading about her. Someone that obsessed with death and murder must have had an interesting life.

What have you been reading lately? Any suggestions to put my way?

Monday, October 22, 2018

Thoughts On Motherhood

At times as a mom I feel so discontent. It's weird. When I am going through my “mom funk” and everything is hard I try to remind myself that I'm being selfish and I need to look to God. And that is true. God should be the reason behind my everything, the fount of my purpose and the base that I rest my weary sleep deprived soul on.

But I get caught up in all the little things and forget about God. I let my toddler antagonize me. I can easily become lost in the despair of motherhood, overwhelmed by dirty dishes while loads of laundry tower upwards around me like insurmountable mountains. So much of motherhold is hard work and if I don't remember that this is the way I am glorifying God I falter and fall easily into the muddy mires of miserable housework.

But my “work” is the way I am worshiping God and fulfilling my biblical role as wife and mother. As a redeemed woman my goal should be to glorify God and live for His purpose. I know his purpose for me is to be a stay at home mom, raise kids and care for my husband and home. I was created for many purposes and my life belongs to God. My purpose for God has changed: before marriage and after marriage, before birthing children and now after having two. I have been stretched and challenged and I am sure if I continue to live I will continue to grow in God. But my vision is narrow and again and again I fight myself for an illusion of power, an illusion of control.

God is good, but it's my own sinful nature and willful pride that does not see God's goodness in washing dishes and wiping poopy bottoms, teaching A-B-Cs and introducing Jesus to my toddler. It is sin, plain and simple sin, that that makes me yearn for “my freedom” and feel that it is “my right” to have a break and something of my own. Nothing belongs to me. Everything belongs to God, including my time and my person. My outrage over “my dreams” and anything resembling personal freedom is taking for granted all the special gifts God has given me for this time. My children and husband are not 100 pound weights around my neck, but blessings upon blessings that I should clasp to my bosom with reverent thanks. Many times I get caught up in thinking them weights that drag me down, away from what I want and I need and I deserve. This is not the way God would have me view my life.

There is no easy path to following God. The gentle road might feel right and sound simple to our human ears, but our footsteps would echo with lies. And I don't want to drag my feet down the streets of motherhood and parenthood uttering cantankerous complaints and rolling my eyes with burdens untold. I want to have a pleasant soul full of the joy of Christ and eyes that look heavenward. I want to count my blessings, not my sorrows.

I know I don't desire to look back upon my life when I am elderly and gloat about how much “me” time I successfully squandered. I might think personal space and my hobbiees matter in the moment, but in the light of eternity they do not even register. We mothers are working for eternity and against hell itself, there is no time for idle leisure. Rest, yes. Rest is needed. Even Jesus rested. But idle meandering is worthless without God as a purpose.

I want to view motherhood and all the trials and joys that come with it as a blessing straight from the hands of God. Our time on the earth is short, and my time with my little ones is shorter still.

God's peace and joy is always there, even when my toddler is screaming, my husband is working late, dinner is burnt and I am exhausted. God is there, and I reap blessings untold even in my darkest days of Motherhood.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Should Wives Submit to Their Husbands?

When I was saved by Christ at 26 years of age I identified as feminist. Soon after my salvation experience I realized that I knew nothing of what the bible said about women! I believed only what I had heard; I listened to the arguments of those around me instead of gleaning the truth from the bible. In the last six years I have been on a journey to find out what the bible says instead of what "I feel" or what the world says around me. And I no longer identify as a feminist. I have had to redefine everything since I accepted Christ. My doctrine changed, my marriage has changed and grown, I have different ideas about child rearing and many aspects of my life have irrevocably altered.

But this is about wives. So, should wives submit to their husbands? Are women inferior to men? What does the bible really say?

I draw most of my conclusions thus far from Ephesians 5. 
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
I find this verse very helpful in defining my role as a wife. I am not told to be submissive to all men, but only to my husband. Thus the above verse does not place women under the authority of men: but only a man-- her husband. So what does that mean? Am I to ascertain that I am inferior to my husband? Should I give him his own way in everything?

I've found that finding the anwser to one question usually begets more. Thus my search continues. Discovering that I should submit to my husband only makes me ask "how" and "in what way". 
1 Corinthians chapter 11, verse 3 reads “I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man; and the man is the head of a woman; and God is the head of Christ.” Paul is just saying this to show that there is an authority and submission principle built from God in heaven on down to men and women. This isn’t something cultural; it isn’t something just recently invented. There has always been in God’s plan and God’s economy a place for submission and authority. So I am to submit to my husband the way Christ submits to God.

Is God greater than Christ? No, they are equal. They are both God. They are equal spiritually. God the father is God and Jesus is God. Thus I surmise that am equal to my husband. God's idea of submission of wives to husband has nothing to do with inequality. I think it has everything to do with his plan and purpose for marriage.

As to what submission means in my marriage, or what it means between all men and their wives--I  am still researching. I know what it does not mean. It does not mean I don't have an opinion. My husband and I speak about everything when we can between nursing and caring for babies and trying to get adequate sleep. It does not mean my husband controls me or rules over me like a tyrant or is allowed to be abusive to me. I have a loving husband who is supposed to love me the way he loves his own body and the way Christ loves the church. Christ gave his life to the church! And thus my husband gives his very life over to me, to our family. He does this by working daily to earn money for us to live. He does this by caring for me and tenderly ministering to me. He does this by taking care of our children, working in our yard, and even cooking and cleaning. He never demands but instead gently leads as Christ leads him. These examples (and many more) are the ways my husband loves me.

In order for our marriage to work as God ordained, in order for me to submit to my husband--my heart must be in full submission to God. Also, my husband's heart must be in full submission to God. If he is not he will lead not only himself astray but me as well.

Oh God, let not me listen to what the world tells me my role should be, but let me only lean on you and incline my ear to your Will for my life. Let your truth be my truth, and let my ear be ever listening to your word and my feet seeking your ways.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

He almost drowned, and other relevations

A few weeks ago we went on a family outing to the blue ridge parkway. I vlogged it, and you can see it here. The sun was shining but it wasn't too hot, the day was beautiful and breezy. Both Reuben and Rebekah were in great moods. Becky slept the whole car ride. I usually have a lot of anxiety about traveling with small kids (this part of the parkway is about 45 min from our home) because of the crying. I can't listen to my child cry in the car. It breaks my heart.

But on this day, she didn't cry. She slept, the toddler slept, and husband and I chatted like we didn't have two kids under 3(ish) and were battling sleep deprivation and life fatigue.

It was a perfect day. Except for the child that almost drowned.

I didn't talk about this in my vlog. Because it was confusing and really really scary. But now I've had a lot of time to think about it and Now I Have Thoughts.

It happened like this. 

We had been exploring about 15 minutes, and were walking a small trail that led down to a swimming pond through some stone steps. Reuben was fascinated by the stone steps, and we were fascinated with keeping him from falling into the water.

I was so wrapped in watching Reuben, taking pictures and videos of our time together; I wasn't paying attention to others around me. I had seen enough to ascertain that there were several couples, a biker gang, and a few families also enjoying the balmy summer air. But I hadn't looked closely at anyone.

I heard one of the mothers scream her child's name. She was on the other side of the swimming pond with one of her children (I later learned she had three) and her husband. One of her sons had fallen in the water. They were really far away but they immediately started towards him—he was drowning. He wasn't supposed to be in the water at all, but somehow had fallen or wandered in. He looked to be around 6-7 years old. I was wearing Becky and no help—being farther away. A elderly women on the faux beach close to the drowning boy jumped in the water and grabbed him. I would say everything in the paragraph above happened in less than one minute.

The cry of the mother—that startled me, startled everyone else too. All the families and couples and the biker gang heard it. And we all stood there frozen, watching. I suppose no one knew what to do. It's like we were all collectively holding our breath, waiting on the edge of panic for relief.

I'm glad to say the boy was fine. Once everyone saw that, it's like we all let out our breath together and went back to what we were doing. At least, he seemed fine. I felt like I should go talk to the young mother because I was sure she must be feeling awkward about being the center of attention like that, and I really wanted to tell her about dry drowning if she didn't already know. I waited about ten minutes fuming over what to say and if I really should approach her, but in the end I walked up to talk to her. She seemed really tense and I think she was worried I was going to scold her, but after I asked how her son was and chatted with her a bit as she relaxed. It turned out the elderly lady who had jumped in to grab the son was his grandmother, and she also chatted with me. I mentioned dry drowning, but she already knew about it. I told her she was brave and a good mother and said that scary things happen to everyone, but I can't remember the exact words I said. I just knew I wanted to let her know I cared, and diffuse some of the awkwardness. We had all just stared at her, frozen, until it became apparent her child was okay! In times of stress—I've noticed the majority of people, myself included—freeze. It's odd.

I thought about what happened over and over again for the rest of the day, unable to shake it off. The boy, quietly drowning. Not splashing, not crying for help. The mother's scream when she noticed. The way they started towards him even through they were really far away. The grandmother jumping in even through she was fully clothed. All of us unable to move.

Anyway, I was reminded of that time at the blue ridge parkway when two scary things happened with Reuben this month. One was we lost him in Aldi's. I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was very angry with him and with my husband. We were all there—Brian, Rebekah, Reuben and me. Daddy had Reuben in his cart and I was wearing Rebekah. Daddy said Reuben wanted down to go to me (I was waiting for them to restock the gluten free bread) but he didn't tell me! So he let Reuben down out of the cart and presumably Reuben was supposed to run to me. Only, I wasn't even looking for him so I have no idea if he did or not. Brian continued shopping. When I rejoined Brian, I noticed Reuben wasn't with him. Where was he? Brian said he was with me. No, I said. He was in your cart. At this point I was panicking. I couldn't do anything. I told Brian to find him, and he did. He located Reuben a few isles away- he was fine. But he could have been kidnapped, lost or run over! Seriously. We now have a rule that Parent #2 needs to tell Other Parent if switching kids.

The second thing was that Reuben fell. He hasn't fallen off anything since he was around 18m, so I wasn't expecting it. He fell off a table at our house and landed right on his mouth. He really hurt his teeth and gums and it was so stressful. We are still waiting for a dentist appointment to get everything looked at, but I think he will be okay. The stress is more of dealing with the crying upset toddler and the blood and the whining. Oh, the whining.

Why God chose to bless me with a mountain goat for a son, I have no idea. It is a total point of anxiety in our family! Reuben climbs on everything! He does not fall—I mean, since 18 months old. But he has no common sense or self awareness, making my job of keeping him off anything that looks remotely climbable impossible. I am trying to teach him to no avail that he is in control of his body and he can deny his climbing urges. He does not get it. At all. This kid is all idea = action, no forethought or planning! Just like his mama, sadly. But I have thirty years of experience to buffer my whims, and I definitely do not ever feel like climbing on anything. I just also want to do all the ideas that pop into my head right when they happen.

He needs to learn that he does not have to execute every idea that pops into his head!

Anyway, these three lessons have taught me, or shown me, how little control I have. Control as a mother, and control as a citizen of the world. Scary things happen. God is the only one who I can cast my fears on, and put my hope in. Evermore I believe this, especially after recent experiences. God controls life and death. He is the master over our world, even if it is in sin due to our own choices. And he is good.

He is so good.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Another Becky Hat

I made another hat (this time filming the tutorial) in green. I love it, she loves it. What more can I say?

One more hat to film! And a tutorial to write out, and some hats to post for sale. Squee.