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.
A mean grandmother is one of the worst things a girl could have. Mamas are supposed to spank and rule you so you grow up knowing right from wrong. Grandmothers, even when they’ve been hard on their own children, are forgiving and generous to the grandchildren. Ain’t that so?
— from Home by Toni Morrison, 2012
Follow the story of Frank and Cee Money, if you can. Delve into Frank’s war-twisted mind. Find out how Cee gets out of her mistakes. See if you like the little town of Lotus by the end of the story. See if you like Toni Morrison’s way of pulling her readers through the story. I do. In Home, humanity is so cruel and so full of hope all at the same time.
I’ve read two books called Home now. Toni Morrison’s and Marilynne Robinson’s. I feel at home in both books because they are so expertly crafted. I recommend both.
In a family, what isn’t spoken is what you listen for. But the noise of a family is to drown it out.
— from We Were the Mulvaneys, Joyce Carol Oates, 1996
I read this book twice, both quite some time ago. I have a history with Joyce Carol Oates’ writing. It is only a history. I’ve given up on her current work. The reason I thought about this book again is because I was surprised to see it in a church library (not mine; it wouldn’t be in mine). Joyce Carol Oates can be very dark, delving deep into atrocities such as murder and rape. This book, We Were the Mulvaneys, is not free of this darkness. However, it is tempered by the story of a family. When there is a family involved, an honest-to-goodness family, struggling to remain a family, something shines out of whatever darkness might otherwise exist. Because families mean love, long-suffering, patience, and all the other fruits of the Spirit. God meant us to be families. Too many stories, both real and fictional, portray broken families as if that is the way they inevitably become. We Were the Mulvaneys shows very vividly that it is difficult and complicated to be part of a family. But it also shows how valuable a family is, and how precious family loyalty can be.