Full-Time Parenting

I’ve been staring at the cover of Israel Wayne’s book, Full-Time Parenting: A Guide to Family-Based Discipleship. It’s a good book. I read it awhile ago, and then got frustrated because it’s yet another book that my husband, the father, needs to read with me in order for it to be effective. My husband actually cared enough to listen to me about it for one night a couple weeks ago. I read him some parts of the book. I left the book in a prominent place. I had hopes things might be different now. But the television started working better again, and he’s back to Hogan’s Heroes at nights, and I’m back to my whiny little posts. Okay, they aren’t whiny. I just get the impression sometimes that I shouldn’t be writing here. I should be having a real conversation with someone who cares. But there’s no one. So this is best, after all.

As for full-time parenting, that phrase sums up my reason for existing. If I wasn’t parenting and homeschooling and homemaking, then I’d be a sorry excuse for a person because I’m horrible at the other options… milking cows, doing chores with a skid loader, mowing lawn, removing the old trailer in our front lawn, cleaning up the mess of several generations of Krohns on the entire farm. If I didn’t know that children are a gift given to me by God, I’d be pretty sure they are an excuse to not do the real work that needs to be done.

I’m close to crying. I should stop before I do.

I am thankful for a new school year starting soon. New things to be passionate about. New things to fill our minds.

Ekphrastic Poetry Challenge

Writing poetry about a specific work of art is a good exercise to keep my writing skills sharp, and it conveniently combines my double interest in art and literature. The poetry magazine, Rattle, puts on a new Ekphrastic Challenge every month where any poet can submit a poem (for free) written about the work of art Rattle chooses. Then, after the month is over, the editor of Rattle chooses a winning poem and the artist of the artwork chooses a winning poem. I’ve never won, but it has been fun trying. Sometimes the artwork is such that I have nothing to say about it. But the art for June is my favorite yet! So I thought I’d share it. I already submitted a prose poem, but I might try to write another one. The country road is an image my whole life rides down (Oooo… maybe I can use that metaphor in my poem…)

Here’s the link: http://www.rattle.com/ekphrastic/. Enjoy!

The Overheard Conversation

This past week I overheard three Christian ladies counseling a poor woman who was having trouble with her marriage. I wasn’t really eavesdropping. I know all the ladies, but I ended up in the same room as them after their conversation was going already, so I didn’t feel comfortable to join in. Anyway, the good counseling stuck with me. I thought I’d share what I learned.

I learned about something called polarization, where if one spouse is something to an extreme, the other spouse goes to the opposite extreme (either consciously or unconsciously), as if to make up for the other one somehow. Dean and I do that, sometimes. I don’t know that I’d recognize it right away, but knowing that concept might help.

The woman with marriage problems couldn’t see that her situation with her husband would ever change. And this one lady jumps in and says that the more we depend on Jesus and throw our problems on Him, the more we are going to see change. The change may not be in our marital situation, but it will be in our hearts as we grow nearer and nearer to Christ. And different things will be more important or less important. I really like that. I might want someone else to change, but the change that God wants is inside me, not outside me.

I don’t know if the words were what the distressed woman wanted to hear. Probably not. She probably wanted someone to tell her to get a job and leave her husband. That’s the problem with counseling, I think. When it is needed, it is really hard to hear the right things. But when I overhear counseling at a time that I am thinking rationally, and I’m not desperate or in despair, I can really benefit from it! It’s like preventative maintenance. I wonder if I can get my husband to accidentally pop into a counseling session… 🙂

Never So Long As We Live

Have you ever read a novel that takes place in your hometown? Maybe if you live someplace like New York City that’s not so amazing, but when you live in rural Wisconsin, a local story featuring familiar restaurants, the library, Main Street, and other recognizable landmarks (the promiscuous statue in front of City Hall) is something worth posting!

The book is called Never So Long As We Live by A. Kragt and L. L. Gappa (2016). I don’t personally know the authors, but I know one of their mothers. It makes it even more special.

Plus, the book has a fairy tale theme. True, it’s a very dark fairy tale theme. This is a murder mystery and a thriller. There are some gruesome things about the story. I stayed up late into the night to finish it (because it’s good, but also because I knew I’d have bad dreams if I left off in one of the scary spots). I did enjoy the characters: two independent young women match up with two very different policemen. The dialog between these characters keeps the pages flipping! As much as I truly enjoyed the characterization and the setting, I believe the dialog is the best thing about the book.

It’s available on Amazon, if you’re interested.

Counting Blessings

In an effort to combat a dark mood, here is a counting of my blessings, just today.

slow cookers keep a supper warm,
frozen chicken breasts can be cooked without first thawing,
the first snowman of the year had a big smile and a big carrot nose, and my kids all had big smiles, too,
we could watch the sermon on the internet so I didn’t feel guilty about not driving the slippery roads to church,
Christmas is only once a year,
I learned this morning that having friends isn’t really what counts in life (good to know; I’m bad at being a good friend),
[this isn’t really working]
I learned this afternoon that Jonathon and Sarah Edwards were very different types of people, and they had an “uncommon union” (which is a good thing),
I did my Bible study lesson on Jonah and realized again how much God is in control of EVERYTHING!
[that’s a big blessing. can’t top that one.]
my bed is warm,
I decided before that I’m not going to worry about sleeping too much,
so here I go to bed,
tomorrow is another day, and God is in control of it, too,
He won’t let me drift completely away from Him,
He’s hanging on even when I’m barely doing the doggy paddle.

The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit

John Singer Sargent, The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, 1882
John Singer Sargent, The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, 1882

Strange and lovely. Look at the size of those vases. Now try to decide where your eyes go first. Mine go to the girl on the left. Yes, my eyes keep traveling the circuit of daughters, but the circuit occupies such an odd amount of the canvas. The giant rust-orange paper airplane on the right (I suppose it’s a screen) does its job of balancing out the colors and also the color temperature, but isn’t it strange that the warmest thing in the painting is a weird abstract shape? The girls are cool as ice. Even the little baby on the floor, sweet as she might be with her baby doll and toes turned in, doesn’t look very huggable. I’d like to keep all these girls at their distance. They are beautiful but also detached. What’s going on behind those pale faces? We don’t know. As a matter of fact, the one I find most approachable is the one not facing us. She looks shy. I might like to meet her.

I want to wonder what these girls thought when they saw their portrait. But then again, if I know the nature of their minds, the portrait itself might be ruined. Some people are meant only to be looked at, not known by the casual acquaintance.