Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Scripture Memorization

For those who are interested in memorizing scripture, I really like the method posted by Rivers of Water as part of a new Bible memory challenge.

First, she splits up verses from a particular chapter so that she's working with two verses per day. Every morning, she reads each one out loud ten times, followed by reciting it ten times. Then she writes the verses on an index card and carries the card with her during the day to look at it when she has a few moments.

I like to use a napkin holder (available at dollar stores) to hold all of our family's current flash cards. Right now, it holds alphabet cards for the youngest child, sight words cards for the oldest, and index cards full of scriptures I want to memorize for me. We go over these as part of our breakfast routine.

With Rivers of Water's memorization method, each subsequent day after the first week starts with reciting the previous week's verses ten times, then reviewing all previous verses once through, then working on that week's verses using the ten read-alouds, ten recitations method.

She has a handy table giving instructions by week in her post.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Focusing on Our Husbands

It appears that I have broken one of my own rules in the Proverbs 31 Challenge for Life. I mentioned studying one verse per year, but I have already posted about two different verses.

Let's go back to Proverbs 31, verse 11, for a little while. The King James Bible (Cambridge edition) gives that verse as: "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil."

One of the ways to interpret this verse is that the husband does not have to worry for one moment about his wife. He knows that she will manage the household with no waste and raise the children in the most nurturing way. Some interpretations include the idea that he trusts she will follow all the ordinances of his religion and teach them to their children.

A fascinating wife (as depicted in Fascinating Womanhood, by Mrs. Helen Andelin) also has to trust her husband. This can be hard to do when a wife only gives her focus to her husband when there is a problem. Because it is easy to focus on the details of raising children to the exclusion of everything else, we mothers can use many reminders to give our best to our husbands.

One of the ways a wife can proactively focus on her husband in a positive way is to make and study a list of his best qualities. See this post for more.

Praying for a husband is another very effective way of focusing on him.

There are many resources for mothers seeking a spiritual life at a blog I really like called Inspired to Action. One of the resources is a daily prayer calendar for praying for your husband. It is significant that she offers a prayer calendar not only for children but also for husbands.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Is a Proverbs 31 Challenge Impossible?

In this particular phase of our family's life, I am eliminating many tasks and responsibilities in order to focus my best abilities on being there for my family. Spending is being pared down in our household as well. It feels good to get down to the essentials.

Though there seems to be tension between the pared-down way of living and the model of the Proverbs 31 woman, my recent reading on the subject has changed my thinking about that model.

Some people say that Proverbs 31 is a model of an ideal woman's life, not to be taken as something that a "regular" woman can do and be every day of every year of her life. A twist on this thought is the idea that the characteristics of the Proverbs 31 wife can be seen as phases in a life. In one phase, a woman is the tender mother of young children. In another phase, she weaves beautiful clothing. In another phase, she tends to a thriving small business. When thinking about ordinary lives, we realize that first, we are not perfect and cannot do everything there is to do in the world. But second, we also realize that we can't do just one thing to the exclusion of all else. Many of us are mothers, but we also keep the house and feed the family and perhaps work for pay. Some of us love to make "beautiful and useful" things, to use words from Mrs. Andelin's Fascinating Womanhood, but we must set aside our creations when a higher priority arises. And on and on and on. Simplifying life is necessary, but we will always have multiple roles to play.

Some people say the Proverbs 31 passage is a doting mother's advice to her son on what to look for in a perfect wife. (As the mother of sons, I admit that I would like a way-above-average wife for both of them in the future, if not a perfect one. A "Fascinating Girl!") She describes a model of virtue so that he has a picture of an amazing woman in mind as he searches for a life mate.

At this moment, I relate to the first idea of phases in a good life. I want to be fully present for my husband and young children. Now is the time to work hard at that. Young children need so much time and attention from a mother, and they recognize when they are not getting it. Husbands need time and attention, and it is especially important to carve out that time and to have energy for that attention when so many of a mother's resources are going to caring for the children. It is not a pretty picture of family life to have him be last in everyone's affections; nor is it fair. As children need less time and fewer things done for them, there is naturally more time to put to financial earning and stewardship and service to others. (Do children need less time as they get older? I have to confess I'm not sure, as mine are still young. There will come a time, though, when children strike off on their own, and in preparation, they must be given increasingly greater responsibility.)

Yet we can strive to add good practices in our lives, one at a time, as slowly as necessary. Perhaps this is a way that the Proverbs Challenge for Life can be used. I, for one, need to be reminded to take on small bits of changes rather than trying to change an entire area of my life in one week. The same thing goes for trying to change several areas at once rather than one or two at a time.

How do you read Proverbs 31? Does it seem impossible? Is it inspirational?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Small Moments of Beauty

Small moments of beauty in a day:

  • a child falling asleep "accidentally," on the couch
  • birds chirping outside
  • soft classical music to serenade a sleeping child 
  • a baby's laughter
  • the first "I love you"
  • the sound of a husband tenderly saying his wife's name
  • finding treasures at a library or garage sale
  • a calm spirit while listening to a preschooler's chat
  • a smile

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


"And best of all, their father always read to them for an hour after dinner, even though they'd been able to read perfectly well to themselves for years now."

~Knight's Castle, by Edward Eager

Friday, April 13, 2012

Creating a Beautiful Life

Picture taken by Lucy Lamp, flowers done by my grandmother, Kristine Lamp

I have been working on a post updating my thoughts about the Proverbs 31 woman. I hope that any readers will forgive me for length between posts and taking so much time before posting again about the Proverbs 31 Challenge. The hope is that my thinking on the subject will mature until the point that I feel ready to post it.

In the meantime, here are four things that are important to teach children, in my opinion:

  1. To live life with joy and gratitude.
  2. To be industrious.
  3. To love beauty.
  4. To love people.
One of the best overall ways to teach these things is to live them and be them yourself. Homemakers who do their utmost in the home, with a loving attitude, will be successful in doing this.

Writing this post, I am thinking of a recent Fascinating Womanhood~Alaska post in which Mrs. Helen Andelin is quoted about doing our very best in the home.

One of the most inspiring blogs I have ever found for creating beauty and routine in the home is Little Jenny Wren. She has been posting on her handcrafted Waldorf doll site more often than on her blog lately, but there are years of gorgeous archives to view.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Valentine Bears Book Recommendation

There is a book by Eve Bunting, illustrated by the wonderful Jan Brett, called The Valentine Bears. I picked it up from the library to share with my children before Valentine's Day. Reading through it, I have been inspired to romance.

Romance is about putting extraordinary effort toward pleasing your loved one. Mr. and Mrs. Bear both demonstrated a cheery willingness to inconvenience themselves in order to make a special Valentine's Day. For starters, they woke up early from hibernation to surprise each other!

It may sound silly, but the text together with the beautifully drawn pictures inspired me to go to those extra lengths for my husband. The illustrations made me want to create one of those elaborate, old-fashioned, handmade valentines for him. For examples, there are these cards in a Martha Stewart tutorial. (Past class members of Mrs. Wayne Hunter's Fascinating Womanhood class may recognize some symbolism if they scroll to the third picture.)

Especially if you have children to read it to, The Valentine Bears is a nice depiction of true love.