Thursday, March 28, 2013

I'm Broken Too

It's time.

I know, from my own reading of blogs and Facebook posts, how daunting it is to take a selective peek into another woman's life. It reminds me of several years ago, when we were house-hunting. You'd walk into a house that you knew was full of family life, yet it'd be perfectly clean, organized, and decorated. I'd be so struck by this, that I'd immediately feel longing. Not for the house, but for the perfect life that appeared to inhabit the space. Because my life is so far from perfect. In fact, I'd say that it's messier than most. I struggle with children that are full of "spit and vinegar" as the old saying goes. You might hear me brag about their accomplishments in school or extracurricular activities (although hopefully not too much). I do this because I am proud, yes, but mostly because it helps me get through the dark times of defiance and testing. I share pictures of the events we do as a family, and of the meals we have. But I share those because they are the good times. I don't share the pictures of days like yesterday, where I fall into bed mentally and emotionally broken from a rough day. I don't share the pictures of the family eating takeout pizza. But they are very real in this family. Painfully real. I'm just a broken mom, trying to do her best. Just like you. Always remember that, no matter what you read on my blog.   

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Deep Roots At Home

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Holidays - Out with the "New", in with the "Old"

I've been mulling over holidays a lot since last fall.  I was raised and have been raising my kids as American traditionalists.  We celebrate all the mainstream American holidays, to varying degrees: New Year's, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter (in the secular sense), Mother's Day, Father's Day, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas (also secularily).  I never really thought much about it - it was just our comfortable default.  But, especially after Halloween, I started thinking about the arbitrariness of some of our holidays.  Don't get me wrong, you are not going to hear from me a list of reasons why Christians shouldn't enjoy Halloween or secular Christmas traditions - I've read those lists many times over, and mostly I see historical inaccuracies, misinformation, and a spirit of fear pervading the author.  I refuse to live my life in the bondage of legalism.  That is never what motivates my decisions to be countercultural!  But, I feel less and less of a pull towards many things that are accepted as normal and as-it-should-be in our culture.  Holidays are no exception.  And, if many of the holidays we celebrate are arbitrary and reflective of ancient pagan cultures, I've been thinking - why not look towards perhaps alternatively celebrating some of the Jewish holidays?  Now, don't get me wrong - there's nothing redemptive or "holy" about celebrating Rosh Hashanah instead of Halloween.  Perhaps you merely feel called to celebrate fall in a God-honoring way of your own.  But, for my family, I think that there is value in understanding the history of our faith, which is, in part, the history of Judaism.  It is important to me to find ways to incorporate my ethnic ancestry into my family's culture, and I think that my "faith history" is at least as important, if not more so.  So, in light of this, we decided to celebrate our first Fife family Passover seder.  I've been exposed to the seder meal before, when I was a child, but never the service.  Our pastor was so kind as to loan us the necessary materials (a Haggadah, which is the liturgy of the seder, and then a bunch of the physical objects you need), and we tried to do our very best.  It was a wonderful experience (and tiring too - with a day full of preparations/cooking).  The older kids were quiet and respectful, and the younger kids, well not so much, but hopefully as it becomes a tradition (and they get older), they'll start to see the beauty in it.  The seder, from start to finish, took about three and a half hours (with potty and discipline breaks LOL) and after washing a few of the dishes, mopping up a last-minute wine spill, and sweeping the floor, we fell into bed at 11 that night, thoroughly exhausted and spiritually nourished.

Note the orderliness pre-meal :-)

Hard-boiled eggs (an appetizer for our feast) were the first to go (and Colin's kippah had a mind of it's own - or possibly Colin has a funny-shaped head LOL)

Ian had the most fun of the children
Allegra and Ian

Our esteemed leader (and the only one, besides Cecily, who truly enjoyed the lamb, although everything liked the Chicken and Matzo Ball soup, and the Noodle Kugel)

Elle konked out on the table about 30 minutes before we finished (and after she spent a good 20 minutes amusing herself by crushing matzot into fine pieces and sprinkling it on the floor)

This was how Colin ended the night.  He was sound asleep right there, underneath the table.

By the end of the night, it was 2.5 men down (Ian didn't fall all the way asleep, but he was happy to keep Elle company using the table as a pillow). 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Healthy Eating Success! (and recipes)

 So far we've done really well on our new healthy eating lifestyle.  We're three weeks in and I just did our second grocery store run last week and it was even more successful than last time!  I supplied all of our needs (not quite through the end of March, but only a few days short), my cart was almost exclusively bulk stuff and produce, and my total came to less than $80!  We've also DRASTICALLY reduced the amount of times we eat out - both fast food and sit-down dinners.  We've stopped at the drive-thru for lunch/dinner twice this month, and eaten out once.  One of our favorites was the Pesto Cream Green Beans with Almonds (making your own pesto is crazy easy!) - we had it two nights in a row, as a side, it was so good - once with "floppy joes" (faux sloppy joes - vegetarian) and once with Spicy Italian Pork Chops.

Basic Basil Pesto
  1 large clove garlic
5 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
6 tablespoons pine nuts
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used kosher salt)
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Put the garlic in a food processor and process until finely chopped, about 10 seconds.  Add basil, cheese, and pine nuts.  Process until finely chopped, about 20 seconds.  With the processor on, pore the oil through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, processing until the mixture forms a loose paste, about 20 seconds.  Add the salt and pepper through the feed tube and process until blended.  Use immediately or freeze in an airtight container for up to 1 year.  Use a melon baller to scoop out frozen pesto as necessary.  (Makes 1 cup)

Pesto Cream Green Beans with Almonds
8 oz green beans
2 tablespoons Basic Basil Pesto
1 1/2 tablespoons half and half (or light or heavy cream)
1/8 teaspoon salt (again, I prefer kosher or sea salt)
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped almonds

Put the green beans in a steamer basket and set over a pan of simmering water.  Cover and steam over medium heat until the green beans are desired tenderness (my kids prefer a softer green bean, but older kids/adults might prefer them crisper).  Meanwhile, mix together the pesto, half and half (or cream), salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.  Add the hot green beans and toss to coat.  Put in a serving bowl and sprinkle with the almonds.  (Serves 4 - I doubled it)

Spicy Italian Pork Chops
1/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup bottled Italian salad dressing
4 pork loin chops
1 teaspoon salt (kosher or sea)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons mild pepper sauce (such as Frank's)

In a food processor, puree the sun-dried tomatoes with the Italian dressing; set aside.  Season the chops with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the chops and brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.  Add the wine and bring to a simmer.  Pour the dressing mixture over the pork.  Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer until the pork reaches 160 degrees and the juices run clear (about 10 minutes).  Stir in the pepper sauce and return to a boil.  Serve the chops topped with sauce - garnish with basil or parsley if desired.  (serves 4 - I doubled it easily)

This is an awesome recipe that is super flavorful and easy.  I put it together in less than 10 minutes before a violin student came, and left it on the stovetop, on low, for an hour's worth of lessons and it was ready to go as soon as my students were out the door, which I love.  My family is hungry as soon as I get done teaching, and they don't really like to wait for me to make dinner, so I'm super fond of any recipes like this that are flexible enough to make ahead and "sit", if necessary.  I served it with the Pesto Cream Green Beans with Almonds, and my homemade bread.

Floppy Joes (they call them G.I. Joes, but my kids prefer Floppy Joes)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped (I skip, but I know most people like onions)
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bag (12 oz) frozen meatless crumbles
1 can (28oz) crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (kosher or sea)
6 soft Kaiser rolls or hamburger buns

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onion (if used), bell pepper, and garlic.  Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the crumbles and cook until heated through, another 5 minutes or so.  Stir in the crushed tomatoes, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, chili powder, oregano, cumin, black pepper, and salt.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until thick enough to sit on a bum without running, about 20 minutes.  (Makes 6 servings - we doubled it)

My husband is very skeptical about meat substitutes, but he was won over by this one.  It's so flavorful that you don't feel like you are missing out on meat (my kids would hardly believe that it wasn't ground beef).  My mother-in-law cans, bless her heart, so, in doubling the recipe, I used 1 can of store-bought crushed tomatoes mixed with 1 jar of pureed whole tomatoes and it was a bit runnier than just store-bought crushed tomatoes, but yummy.  I baked my own rolls (I haven't found my "perfect" roll/bun recipe yet - I'm still experimenting with different ones, so if you have a go-to recipe, please share!) as an extra treat.

All recipes came from the book/cookbook Fresh Choices (although some are a bit modified)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Another Christian's View on Birth Control

This is a touchy subject, and I really didn't know if I wanted to put myself out there like this.  But, I've read several Christian women's posts about the topic and I often see the same things said over and over again, and I think "well, my story is a little different", so maybe I do have something to add.  I actually typed this up originally as a response to someone else's blog about birth control, but it was rejected because it was too long (story of my life LOL).  And indeed, it probably is better suited to my own blog, since it's so personal.  My husband and I married at the ages of 21 and 19 respectively, and the moment the ink was dry on that marriage license I knew I wanted to have a baby (I'm not kidding - I pestered James about it during our entire honeymoon in Hawaii, just ask him and he'll groan in remembrance [when I want something, I'm like a dog with a bone - I'm doing better about that as I get older, but it's tough]).  Our first came two months after our first wedding anniversary.  Over the course of 11 years of pregnancy and child-bearing we had 6 children (including the last three all within 38 months).  Neither James nor I have ever decided against having children because we want more material things.  Indeed, wanting a big family has come naturally to us, and we'd rather be pregnant or have a nursling than not.  But, as I dealt with three back-to-back-to-back pregnancies that resulted in some serious health issues for me (including a very long, very tough battle with PPD/pregnancy depression for two full years) and we were faced with economic hardships, we had to stop relying on the Cultural Christian way of thinking (that birth control is bad, and that people who use it do not have strong enough faith in God, etc), and instead look into God's Word and get with him in prayer.  As we studied, God filled our hearts with peace - we felt called to be good stewards of the gift of fertility that he bestowed upon us.  We are often instructed, in the Bible, to be good stewards of all of God's blessings.  We realized that having children that we couldn't afford, and that we would have to rely on outside assistance to care for, and that would endanger my health and my ability to nurture and fully engage with the six children I already had been blessed with wasn't being a good steward.  Just having a child does not bring glory to God (obviously, since non-Christians have children every day) - raising them up in God's holy ways is what is honoring to the Lord.  If having another child interfered with our ability to do that with our current six, then we were not honoring him with our bodies and our resources.  Feeling God's urging for us to be good stewards of our fertility, we next tackled the issue of just HOW we should go about planning our family.  We never considered hormonal birth control, because I will not use artificial hormones.  I don't like them, and I don't want them in my body.  Next we considered natural family planning/barrier methods.  I love this method for most couples, alas it is not a very effective method for us (I don't want to get into particulars, but we've tried it and my unpredictability makes it useful to know when to go out and get a pregnancy test, but that's about it).  We strongly considered the vasectomy - in fact we were leaning towards it pretty certainly, but God put an immediate NO sign up for both of us when we brought it to him in prayer.  Our economic situation, and my health concerns, are not permanent problems that would indicate that we should forever close the door on that chapter in our lives.  Instead, it became clear that the non-hormonal IUD was the right choice for us as a couple.  It works most effectively by preventing sperm from breaching the cervix, but there is a chance that it can work by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg.  So, we were diligently back into the scriptures, trying to find out what God really says about fertility, the womb, and life.  We were shocked to find out that there is no biblical source for calling conception the beginning of life.  It seems to be accepted, amongst most Christians, that that is a biblical truism.  But it's not.  The Bible talks instead about God knowing people in the womb (with the exception of Jeremiah - whom God knew and called to the role of prophet even BEFORE he was in the womb - how mind-blowing is that?! but not really helpful in terms of the birth control discussion because that would mean that any type of preventing, even just timely abstinence, would be sinful).  This was a convicting moment for us - we absolutely agree that life starts somewhere in the womb, we just don't think that it's necessarily at egg fertilization.  Fertilization is one step in a multi-step procedure (instituted, of course, by God), ALL of which are necessary for a potential life to become a realized life.  So, we felt that using the non-hormonal IUD, with a heart oriented towards submission to God and His word and at being the best stewards of his blessings that we could possibly be, was no different than a couple abstaining from sex during a fertile window, or using a condom, or opting for sterilization.  Our family has been so blessed in all ways these last two years, and we've felt little but his peace about our decision.  The most exciting part is that our financial and physical burdens are starting to ease greatly, and we feel like God is prompting us to pray again about our future and we're keeping our ears pricked towards Him to know what he intends for our family.  At any rate, no matter what God has convicted any of us of in the area of family planning and birth control, personally, isn't it a splendorous thing indeed to rest in God's perfect peace?

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Why I Cover

I don't think I could have articulated very well why I cover my hair at church when I first started my journey, which was back in November.  I knew the scripture that addressed it, 1 Corinthians 11.  But I wasn't sure why God was speaking to me on such a "strange" issue.  Women don't cover their heads in my church.  I've never attended a church where they do.  My exposure to head-covering has mostly been to the Amish and Mennonite women who lived in the countryside surrounding the area where I grew up.  But for the better part of a year, the issue just kept gently popping up into my consciousness.  And so I dove in, and since doing it, my convictions about it have grown.

 I've learned that I don't do this for self-righteousness.  I wear headcoverings that are very "modern", and, to most, would appear as just wide fabric headbands or scarves.  That is important to me, because I'm not doing this to display my holiness externally or set myself apart (at least not right now - perhaps God might lead me to that direction some day, but I'm convinced that that's not why I'm covering right now).  No one has ever said a word to me about it, as a matter of fact (although perhaps some have noticed by this point, because I haven't attended a service without a covering in the last 5 months).  And it's not about it being a neat "fashion" accessory.  It kind of was, the first few times.  But there's been many a time since when I've made a nice hairstyle for church, and, quite frankly, the covering doesn't look the best on it.  But I'm quickly reminded that that is not the point of this AT ALL.  I have three head-coverings (currently) that I wear.  They are dedicated to wearing for church alone - I will not wear them the rest of the week (I do believe that there is a clear differentiation to be found in these verses between public worship and private worship, which is why I do not cover at all times).  They are treated gently and put in a special place when they are done.  That's the practical side of it, which, for me, came first.  But since then I've studied and developed the theological side of why I cover, which is more interesting, I think.

The most common reasoning against head-covering is that the practice was uniquely cultural.  But I cannot agree with that in the face of the fact that Paul clearly says, at the beginning of the chapter, EVERY man and EVERY woman (my emphasis) and takes us through the universal order of creation.  He also speaks, in verse 2, of the praiseworthiness of holding to tradition.  I understand that what follows next is cautionary, because it's a reversal of Jewish tradition (male headcovering), but we haven't dispensed with THAT portion, and a lack of head-covering for men has been in force since the early church.  It seems disingenuous to scuttle one portion of it, specifically the part referring to women and the instructions for them TO cover. 

A difficulty in interpretation of this text has historically been the confusion between what the word covering means.  The Greek word, katakaylpto, that is used to reference covering the head in verse 6 is a physical item, outside the body (a piece of some type of cloth).  This word cannot be properly used to signify that a woman's own hair is her covering (that word would be peribolaion, which is used in verse 5, but not exclusively).  It's still a bit muddy, to be sure, but the clearest indication, to me, that the word covering is a literal piece of cloth is that Paul's words simply do not make sense in terms of long hair being a covering itself.  One cannot remove one's hair when they are in private and put it on in public, as the scripture suggests.  And verse six is absolutely nonsensical in terms of thinking of long hair as its own covering.  Also, people have backed up this position with the notion that short hair was the sign of a Corinthian prostitute, but there really is no historical support for this position.

I hesitated a bit about putting this little part in, but I must share because it is simply too wonderful and Providential not to:  as I was considering how to articulate my reasons for headcovering (and this has been about a month in the making - I've had some requests to explain why I cover) - one of our sermons (and also a passage we were studying in the original Hebrew in our Hebrew 102 night class) was on Deuteronomy 6:4-9, known in Hebrew as the Shema, a Jewish confession of faith.  Verse number 8 reads: Tie them [the Lord's commandments] as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Headcovering for women is called also by Paul in Corinthians a symbol.  I cover because it is a good, godly tradition and symbol.   

Finally, I cover my head because it's easy to do, and I'd rather err on the side of too much obedience than not enough.  And, on an issue like this, where context and translational issues are convoluted, I'd rather not rely solely on my lowly scholarship or intellect, but on the example of those who've come before - both the women that covered: Sarah and Rebekah, of the Old Testament, and the wives of some of the mighty "modern" men of God, like Katherine, Martin Luther's wife and the scholarly titans of faith who advocated for the headcovering of women in public worship including John Knox, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, Matthew Henry, Harry Ironside, and Charles Ryrie.  Of course I do not believe head-covering is a salvation issue. That would be silly and, even more than that, dangerous. But through his word and the work of his Spirit, I'm convinced that it's what he wants me to do.    

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Sorry, Hero had already left for school this morning, and it was a minor miracle to capture this video.  Happy Birthday Dad!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

RL - Not a Fan

Oh. my. word.  This book is a must-read for every Christian.  It totally challenged the authenticity of my faith, in the best possible way.  It nailed on the head the way I approached belief for my lost decade in my 20s (not lost with partying or college or that stuff, mind you - just lost in terms of struggling with the overwhelming work of the home and my little children).  I was a total fan of Jesus.  I thought He was great.  I knew the right words to say.  But I was completely unwilling to live for Him in any way that required true sacrifice.  This book articulates what I've occasionally mentioned on my blog - that so many people self-label as Christians in the US, but that that just doesn't jive with what the Lord says about the gate being narrow.  Many people have a codecil to their Christianity, just like they do to their marriages.  Most everyone stands up and vows, in front of witnesses, to stay together "till death do us part".  But still over half of marriages fail.  People say it while holding their fingers crossed behind their backs.  That may be, in some cases, blatant - they never really had any intention of honoring their vows.  They were just empty words.  But I think, for most, it's not an overt act, but an unwillingness to sacrifice, down the road, when push comes to shove.  That's what differentiates a Jesus fan from a Christ follower.  In the moment, when they profess belief, they think they're all in.  But when the going gets tough or boring, or clashes with their wordly desires, they pull back and say "hold on, God, that's too much".  You cannot only have God on your terms.  It's all in, or don't bother.  Sorry for giving away the jist of the book, but I'm THAT enthusiastic about it.  Kyle Idleman is much more eloquent than I, though, so most definitely put this on your TO-BUY list, and then pass the book along to a Christian friend who needs it.

6. Not a Fan - Kyle Idleman (yes, yes, and did I say YES!)
5. Body Surfing - Anita Shreve (I give this a lukewarm endorsement - just because I like the way she wrotes, moreso than the content - some of her other books are better)

4. The Magician's Assistant - Ann Patchett (I loved Bel Canto by the same author and try to make it a point to read her books, if I come across one, although this one was just okay, in my opinion)

3. Twelve Extraordinary Women - John MacArthur (I also try to pick up the doorbuster books at my local Christian store whenever the budget allows and this was one of them)

2. The Merchant's Daughter - Melanie Dickerson (I won this signed copy by having my name drawn as a result of our Million Page church reading challenge)

1. Gideon's Call ~ Peter Leavell (this is the one by the author at our church - I've had it for months, but it took me a while to get to it)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Modest Monday & Spring Cleaning

I just had to share this outfit, not because of the outfit itself, but because of what I was able to DO in the outfit.  This was my Saturday spring-cleaning outfit (I wore a full apron over it while I cleaned).  I cleaned out our entire entry way and music room; washing walls, windows, dusting the plant shelves and ceiling fan, and washing the window treatments.  Maybe not such a big deal, but you have to realize that our ceilings in some places are over 20 feet tall!  So, I had to get out James' large extension ladder and I was up and down all Saturday long, in my skirt.  If you can do that, you can do just about anything in a skirt!

White Cable Cardigan:  Liz Claiborne (free hand-me-down from Mom)
Blue Polka Dot Tank: Lane Bryant ($10 or so, three or four years ago)
Black Embroidered Calla Lily Skirt: Coldwater Creek (free hand-me-down from Mom)
Black Flats with Buckles: Steve Madden (about $50, but they are at least eight years old - I prefer to buy expensive shoes and keep them for a decade+)

This floral broach was just the right touch, and the best part is it's an antique that belonged to my Great-Grandma

My hair is finally getting long enough to put all the way up again, which is the way I like it.  It has a brown plain clip in it, half-pony style, pushed forward to "bump" it up and held with two bobby pins, then the bottom half is twisted up and held with a LillaRose clip with additional decorative bobby pins to hold the short "tails" closer to my head so that they cover my half-pony clip (when my hair has another four or five inches, I won't need to do this, but for not it's a bit short)

The rest of my pictures are all of my spring cleaning handiwork from this weekend - see how tall everything is, especially that corner by the front door.  I'm not afraid of heights, but even I didn't really care for that!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Homemaker Worship

As I've become more of a follower of Jesus, and less of a fan, I've started actively seeking out Godly instruction and entertainment.  I love to read blogs, and I've tried to find some blogs that promote Christian virtue.  It's been a very enjoyable venture, but I've noticed a tendency amongst the Fundamentalist Christian woman set to turn the art of homemaking into an idol.  In the attempt to be countercultural (and that is difficult, I know!) I've seen women going way overboard - imputing an almost divine quality to the role of homemaker and mother that is, in my view, not biblical.  I think a society is stronger for embracing and valuing homemakers, housewives, and stay-at-home mothers.  And, as someone who is not conventionally employed, I understand well how it feels to be treated like a second-class citizen.  But we must be careful not to let our discontent with society push us towards forgetting that our role as women should not and cannot be our defining calling.  Our defining calling is Christ-follower.  Now, within that calling, God has clearly delineated "standard" roles for men and women.  Titus 2:4-5 has Paul giving these instructions for older women, who are to be mentoring young Christian women:

                4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands
                    and children,
5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home,
                     to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will
malign the word of God.
That's good stuff, right?  But the homemaker-worship crowd has added a requirement that simply does not exist in Scripture - that that must and can ONLY be done be being in the home all of the time.  Being a stay-at-home wife/mother is the easiest way to accomplish that, I would agree, and I think that lots of women would benefit, spiritually and emotionally, from staying home.  But it's not a biblical command.  President Harry Truman famously had on his desk a little sign that said "The buck stops here!".  When I hear the Titus verse, that's what I think of: not necessarily that women should be confined to the home in all circumstances, but that women are ultimately responsible before God for the state of their household (no matter how that household is ordered).  As I said, I think in general this is easiest accomplished if the women is physically present at home, more than not.  I know that God convicted me, early on in my days as a mother, that I would not be able to handle being a proper, Godly homemaker and mother without being physically in my home for the majority of the time.  But that conviction was personal.  It is not a command, and I can see my sisters in Christ who do hold jobs outside the home (for various reasons) being hurt and excluded when we try to make stay-at-home-ness a universal truth, rather than simply the easiest way to a godly life for most women.  I'm also seeing this homemaker idolatry absolutely paralyzing younger, unmarried women.  They feel that God can have no other calling for them outside of being a homemaker that they sit on their hands in their parents' home, waiting for their prince (and the expectations that they have for their prince are often unhealthy and set up their future husband, a flawed human being, for failure) to come, perhaps missing the call of the only Prince.  How do you know if you might be in danger of putting too much importance upon your ROLE as a homemaker, rather than who you are as a Christ-follower?  Read the biblical account of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42).  Do you sympathize with Martha?  Do you completely understand her frustration with Mary?  Do you secretly think Jesus was perhaps being a bit harsh with her?  Be vigilant, my sisters in Christ, and remember Jesus' words to Martha in verse 42: but few things are needed, or indeed only one.