How does a woman define herself? Is it by her career choice, coffee flavor, the color of her hair, or her educational background? We hear it all the time: I'm a book-lover; I'm a coupon cutter; I'm a lawyer; I'm a teacher; I'm a go-getter. . . .I've heard it all with drive, pride and gusto.

Me? When people ask, what do you do--in other words, how do you define yourself--I say: I am a wife and mom, and I homeschool my kids. Immediately, there is a shift in the atmosphere, hope and expectation deflated.

The questions swirling around in people's minds (which usually come right on out of their mouths) when I give my answer: Just a wife and mom? Is that IT? What else do you do? You can't be serious that your husband and kids DEFINE you? Really? You're okay with that--with being home with your kids, ALL day, while your husband is the one who gets to work? How can you do that every day? What about your education? Are you using it? Don't you want a career? Will you ever send your kids to school or go back to work?

My girls when they were 2yrs. and 7 mo.
Flash back, 10 years ago. My oldest was 7 months old. When asked if I was a stay-at-home mom, I'd say: "I am now, but I'm getting my Master's degree." or "Yes, but I'm in grad school, too." There was no way in the world that I would let anyone define me by JUST being at home with my baby girl. And homeschooling was completely out of the question. At the time, I fully intended to send any child I had to school, any school, just not homeschool. And, do NOT even think of defining me with terms like "house-wife" or "homemaker," which suggest that I am financially dependent on my husband. Don't. you. dare.

When I look back on my attitude, I cringe. Whew! What a work the Lord is doing in my heart. I am so grateful for the godly women the Lord placed in my life at just the right time to kindly show me a different way. I am humbled and so grateful for the opportunity to have the home as my domain.

Fast-forward and now I ask myself, what is wrong with being defined as a wife, a mom, a homemaker, a home educator, a house wife, his wife, their mom? I gladly accept all of those titles and I feel just fine in using them to describe myself. Why?

It is what God has given my hands to do. It is what He gave me time for. To pour out my life for my family, as an act of worship to Him. Each day that I give, it draws me closer to Him, because I realize I can't do any of it in my own strength. I need the Lord to show me how to be a blessing to my family.

The Lord has shown me how my marriage, parenting, and home life are ministries for His glory. In my marriage, my husband and I are to reflect the character of Christ and His relationship with the church; to show that delicate balance of sacrificial love with honor and respect. As a parent, I am to mimic the love that God has for me as His child with my own children; to love, nurture, train, discipline and guide them. And in my home life, I have the awesome opportunity to witness to my children about the love of Jesus, to walk out this Christian journey before their eyes, to show them that when Mommy fails, I turn to God, and He is there to lift me up--while cooking, cleaning, diapering, teaching, and cleaning and cooking again.

In those day to day, sometimes mundane, routine tasks, the Lord is present, rooting the selfishness out of my heart. Oh, ladies, it is a struggle at times. The flesh wants "me" time, alone time, quiet time, adult conversation, shopping sprees, coffee with friends, and the like. The flesh wants to not have to teach the concept of reading, or using the potty, or changing diapers, or reminding kids about manners, or serving a husband a hot meal or taking the time to do and say the same things over and over. BUT, when I yield to the Holy Spirit and lay down my wants for the good of my family, it far outweighs my fleshly desires. I must keep eternity in mind and realize the time that I'm given as wife and mom will effect future generations until Jesus returns. Oh, may I responsibly use this time for His glory!

So, my name is Stacie, I'm a wife to one and a mama to many. And with God's precious grace I stay at home working hard to respect my husband, raise and educate my children, and be a keeper at home, daily.
My kiddos!

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His Wife, Their Mother

by on Saturday, October 26, 2013
How does a woman define herself? Is it by her career choice, coffee flavor, the color of her hair, or her educational background? We hear it...
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It's October, a lovely time of the year. The leaves are changing, the air is cool, the weather is beautiful, the apple cider is nice, the pumpkins are fat and orange. . .fall, my most favorite time of all. But, with October comes a day our country seems to prepare for earlier and earlier each year: Halloween. I'm serious, I think I saw Halloween costumes with school supplies this year!

So the big question:
How does Halloween effect your family? What do you do?

I realize there are many conflicting opinions, but I want to offer a "safe place" where Christian women can share, without walking away feeling condemned. Many families struggle with this topic each year and I think it is a topic worthy of discussion. So, I'd like to get your thoughts about being a Christian and your choices on Halloween in your home. Sometimes simply sharing (not condemning) can bring clarity to this situation for another sister in Christ. So, I'll go first.

Background Information First:
My husband and I had different experiences as kids.

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In his home, Halloween was 100% out; no questions, no discussions, no concessions, completely out. Any school events or family functions associated with Halloween were out of the question. PERIOD. So if that meant being the only kid in your class who had to sit in the library while everyone else went to the Halloween party, so be it. My husband has shared with me that he felt his parents "ruled with an iron fist" when it came to Halloween, among other things. ANYTHING dealing with Halloween was a no-go. So for example, if a well-intending neighbor were to share Halloween cookies with my husband's family, they wouldn't have been allowed to eat them because they had jack-o-lanterns on them. As a matter of fact, they probably would have been thrown away. No questions. It's ungodly. Deal with it. My husband explains that as a kid, that was a difficult pill to swallow. As an adult, he understands what his parents were trying to teach him, but says that their approach made him not want to listen to them at all. He hated the way it was done and for his own family, he never wants to be so hard on his children.

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In my home growing up, we were kind of lukewarm about Halloween. My parents said we didn't celebrate it: we didn't decorate our house, my parents didn't go all out finding the perfect costumes for pictures, and we didn't do haunted houses. But, we were allowed to participate in Halloween events at school and we did try our hands at a jack-o-lantern a time or two. One year, my dad passed out Halloween candy to neighborhood children and I even have memories of trick-or-treating with a neighbor once or twice. But along the way, my parents always explained how Halloween was evil and that's why we didn't celebrate it. As a kid, I  knew that we would never be "that" involved with Halloween, but I was fine with it because I could participate to some extent. Looking back on it as an adult, I feel my parents' approach was conflicting at times, a bit of a mixed bag. For my own family, I didn't want confusion.

What Do We Do In Our Home Now?
My husband and I both agree that we want to do what pleases God. We both agree that we want our light to shine brightly in this world so that others may know Christ. Our convictions on Halloween? We don't celebrate it. Our kids don't go trick-or-treating and we don't pass out Halloween candy. HOWEVER, we have an open, honest, and ON-GOING discussion about our choice not to celebrate it. ANY questions or concerns my kids have, we answer and address, over and over, as many times as they need to talk about it. In those discussions, we talk about Halloween's origins and how SOME people use that day as a reason to practice things that are completely opposite of what pleases God. Just down right evil things. We talk about why that breaks God's heart and why (for our family) we don't want to be associated with it. AND, we talk about the IMPORTANCE of NOT condemning fellow believers who do decide to participate in what many call the "fun" side of Halloween. We do NOT encourage condemnation for the believer.

Do we cover our children's eyes when we pass Halloween costumes in the store? No. (As a matter of fact, I'm considering buying my son an "Iron Man" costume, simply because he loves that superhero. Just not sure I want to pay $12.99 for it!) Do we turn the T.V. off if Clifford is dressed up as a pirate for Halloween? No. Will we not buy the jack-o-lantern cookies when they're marked down to 50% off on November 1st? Uh, no. Do we think we're perfect? Not at all. Do we think this is the only way things can be done? Nope. But these are simply our convictions. We don't want to be extremists and we don't want our children "flipping out" if they see Halloween paraphernalia. It's the world we live in. But, we do want to be clear, firm, and steadfast in our intentions. Balanced.

That is Halloween in my home. What about you? What are your convictions about Halloween? Do you celebrate it? Why or why not?
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,
who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."
-Romans 8:1

Halloween--What To Do?

by on Saturday, October 05, 2013
photo credit It's October, a lovely time of the year. The leaves are changing, the air is cool, the weather is beautiful, the apple ...
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