Archive | making home

Why I’m (Still) a SAHD (Part Three: A Week in the Life)

Why I'm Still a SAHD (Part Three)

My plan has always been to conclude with a post addressing the challenges of staying home as an adult, but the more I thought about, the more I felt that I had addressed the main points in the previous posts. It can be a challenge, but with good communication and grace, the balance of home life and independence can be found.

A writer from the mastermind group I lead suggested I conclude with a “week in my life” post to share how much time I spend at home and how much time I spend on my own endeavors. This season is definitely my most independent yet, so I thought it was an appropriate suggestion. Just a reminder for those who may be new to the blog, I’m twenty-two, single and not in school. Without further adieu, I give you A Week in the Life:

Sunday:

Sundays are my “sleeping in” day because I don’t get up until 8:15! I have an hour before we leave for church, so I eat breakfast and drink a small cup of coffee while I get dressed and ready. We are in a funny and delightful season in which everyone who goes to church in the morning fits in one car! Our SUV fits eight, and eight of us pile in every Sunday morning! (My sister and her husband go to a different church which meets in the afternoon!)

After church and Sunday school, we meet back up and head home for lunch. We spend the rest of the day together at home, except for when it’s time for the youth events in the evening, in which one of my parents or I gives our three “youth” rides to-and-from their various activities. We sometimes cook on these days, but a lot of times we eat leftovers. Naps are in order on Sunday afternoon and, in the evening, Downton Abbey!

Monday:

On Mondays, my alarm goes off at 6:45 so I can get ready for work. First things first: I head downstairs and make a pot of coffee! I get ready of my day, pour some coffee in my thermos and tell my family goodbye. I spend 8:00-12:00 in a general contractor’s office as the front desk receptionist. I really enjoy my job, but it’s pretty slow so I often get to write or read while I’m at work. I also use this time to update my mastermind group and do my BSF homework every day. This is a huge plus to working in a quiet office!

At noon, I head back home for a quick lunch with my family. At 1:15 I leave for my second job! Er…my first job, that is! 1:30-4:30 I babysit for a family who lives on our side of town. I have been babysitting for them for four years, so it was important to me to keep this job when I took the receptionist position! The family was sweet enough to change my schedule to accommodate my second job. I play with a three-year-old and a four-year-old on Monday afternoons and love it!

After that, I often go through the drive-through at the bank to deposit last week’s check, or make a grocery run for dinner. We have a “quick” dinner together before we all head to BSF at 6:55. By the time we get home from BSF, the line for the shower forms and we go to bed!

*Mondays have always been Cleaning Day for my family, so while I’m away, they are all doing housework and yard work. They have all been sweet enough to pick up my slack, for the most part, since I got this job in October. I try to keep our upstairs bathroom clean throughout the rest of the week. For curious readers, my mom does almost all of our laundry on this day (including sheets and bathmats) and it takes her all day!

Tuesday:

Same song, different verse! My alarm goes off at 6:45, my coffee and I are in the office 8:00-12:00 and then I’m home for lunch. After lunch, I try to do thirty minutes of exercise, focusing on strength training. Lots of times we cook dinner on Tuesdays and watch a movie in the evening. My mom and the four youngest kids are getting ready for Classical Conversations on Tuesday nights, so presentations are being prepared and lunches packed.

Wednesday:

Office: 8:00-12:00

Most of my family is at Classical Conversations most of the day on Wednesdays. When my mom gets home, we have all had lunch and we have afternoon coffee together. There are often cookies involved…

After this, I try to spend about an hour on some sort of artwork. This can be hard to prioritize, but so important for me personally! Again, we usually have dinner as a family.

Thursday:

Office 8:00-12:00

Thursdays are my “free” afternoon. Sit on the deck in the sun, play cards with my little brothers, run an errand or two…

Friday:

Office 8:00-12:00

I try to do about thirty minutes of cardio after lunch on Fridays. Power walking (I don’t run!) is my favorite, though biking on my cruiser and dancing in my bedroom are also great! Impressive, right?

Saturday:

On Saturdays, I lead a service team at our church! We usually meet at 8:00 in the morning at the church, which is about twenty-five minutes from Eyrie Park. I have a partner, so my responsibilities change a little each week, but every-other week I pick up breakfast on my way and also prepare a short devotional to start the team off with…hopefully before I’m on the way! I usually get up at 7:00 on Saturdays, because it doesn’t take long to put my hair in a ponytail and throw on some old clothes!

We usually get to our job around 9:00 and work until around noon. Our jobs include anything from yard work to house work to helping someone move. We are usually serving the elderly of our (large) church family. More often than not we’re serving a widow. I love the hands-on work, but my favorite part of the day is visiting with the people who we’re able to help and praying with them. Around noon, we head back to the church to regroup and then head home.

During Lent, and Advent, we do a devotional as a family every evening, Monday-Saturday. We light candles, sing, pray, read aloud and discuss. This often lasts for a couple of hours, since we don’t have any truly little kids anymore and everyone is expected to participate.

My almost-twenty-year-old sister and I share a group of friends, for the most part, and we usually have 1-2 “social outings” with them throughout the week. Maybe it’s a “girls’ night” for movies and dessert or afternoon coffee with just one or two other girls, or going to a play or other event together. My parents let us borrow a car for these things, which is awesome! I got a late start as far as driving goes, but now I’ve been driving for almost five years and I’m comfortable navigating our city, but I don’t have my own car. Borrowing a car is a huge luxury for the technically car-less.

Last week, we met our friend Briana at the grocery store to pick out ice cream together and then head back to Eyrie Park. We ate ice cream, played Dutch Blitz and then she stayed for dinner! A couple of days later, we met another friend in Downton to go antique shopping. These times are really fun and special.

Sunday afternoon found me playing Guess Who with Dorothy and reading her a Disney Princess collection (in it’s entirety!) before my leader meeting at our college pastor’s house. Every week is a little different, but there’s always a lot of in-and-out, eating, borrowing and switching cars and time together. All-in-all, I think my life is pretty great!

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Why I’m Still a SAHD (Part Two: Other Reasons)

Why I'm Still a SAHD (Part Two)

You can read the introduction and part one of this series here and here!

Now that we’ve covered what a SAHD is and why I personally love being home, I wanted to dive into the common reasons given for daughters staying home and discuss whether or not they are actually valid. If I’m not staying at home because I believe it’s the only holy choice for me, enjoying my parents’ home cannot be the only reason I stay. Well, I guess it could. I mean, it is pretty great…

Anyway, here are the Other Reasons I stay:

1. Staying connected as a family

I have quite a few good friends. Some of them I would even count as family. However, my immediate family is my top priority as far as human relationships go. My parents always put a huge emphasis on being friends with our siblings. My parents are best friends, they are friends to their kids (in a healthy way) and we are all friends with each other. We were homeschooled most of our lives and moved around/traveled a lot, so there were seasons when we didn’t have many friends outside of our home. There were road trips that consisted of twelve-hours a day in our suburban for three days with no TV or phones or iPods or iPads or Gameboys (is that even the thing anymore??) We had two options: be friends or hang out with your enemies all day.

The relationships that we built out of these somewhat isolated times are too precious to lose now that we are growing up and grown. So basically, if I moved out, I could live with a really great friend or two, but if I stay home I’m with my best friends in the whole world. My sisters are pretty sweet roomies. I get to eat lunch with my little brothers. I get to stay up late watching movies with my mom. Our home is the hub of our social life in many ways. We love opening our doors to each other’s friends. And yes, we do get out, but we bring people in even more often and that keeps us all really connected. Which I love.

2. Money, money, money

For obvious reasons, it saves me money to live at home. Most of my friends who are in college are unable to support themselves. They do not work while they are in school or, like me, work part time. Their parents have to pay for housing, food, tuition, books, bills, gas and extra finances. I can only imagine that that adds up very quickly. Going to college costs a lot, but just living outside of the home does too. At home, I take up one bedroom and three meals a day, not much gas or other resources. I don’t even shower every day, but you probably didn’t need to know that…

I am very thankful to my parents for continuing to support me. I pay for any extra things I need (clothes, gifts, books, coffee with a friend, etc.) and try to make wise choices with their money. As it stands now, I work twenty-three hours a week and am saving up for future plans right now. I am able to work for and save my own money, because I live at home. I’m hoping this gives me more career options in the future, because it will be my money to spend when I want to pitch another book or continue my education.

3. It’s safer

I don’t think this one needs much explaining. Coming home late at night to my dad and brothers and our dogs and a lock and key and a security system in a house in the woods is a lot safer than coming home late at night to an apartment in which my girlfriends may or may not be sleeping behind a door which may or may not be locked. Plus: hanging out with guys at my house vs. hanging out with guys at “my” apartment. It’s kind of like living in a boarding house. There are plenty of “public” places to chat.

4. Team work

By living at home, I’m able to help my family in many ways and they are able to help me, too. Over the years, I’ve been babysitter, housekeeper, chef, grocery shopper, tutor, errands runner, landscaper, you name it. It has given me ample experience for starting my own home one day (though it didn’t take twenty-two years to learn to cook and clean, no matter what other SAHDhood advocates may say!) Do I consider myself to be a domestic goddess now? No. But am I more domestic than the other girls I know? Yes, I probably am.

At times, my parents paid me to do certain tasks for the home. I used to get paid to grocery shop, plan meals and cook. Today, my nineteen year old sister gets paid to twist my little sister’s hair every week and maintain it (black hair is no joke, y’all.) In return, I use my parents all the time, even at twenty-two. My dad fixes my computer and scrapes the ice off the windshield and changes lightbulbs and fetches things from the attic. My mom answers a myriad of questions every day, does 100% of my laundry, lets me use her car, makes my coffee when I’m rushing out the door and drops it off at the office if I forget it all together! Living so communally, it’s impossible to separate the things we do for ourselves and the things we do for each other.

The truth is, we all spend a lot of time at home and much of that time is spent running the home. Maybe my dad is cooking and I’m helping. Maybe I’m cooking and my little brother is helping. Maybe I cook by myself and my little sisters do the dishes. Maybe my mom is homeschooling and I’m running the errands. Maybe she’s running the errands and I’m homeschooling. If this was a business, the jobs would have to be more set in stone (and oftentimes that sounds more appealing!) but when you’re family, you pitch in where you can.

5. Having a little share in a big company, vs. having a big share in a little company

I get to live in a big house with a big kitchen and a big yard. Sure, I share it with nine other people, but I get a share. When I want to cook, I have a big, nice kitchen to do it in with big, nice pots and pans. When I want to have friends over to watch a movie, I have a big, nice TV room with a big nice TV in it. When I want to garden, I have a big space outside where I can till the ground. When I want to read a book against a tree, I have my choice of trees! Big companies can offer bigger benefits. Sure, there are things I envy about those in “little companies.” No one has to ask their roommates before they make plans. There’s not a line for the shower when you live with one or two other people. Having your own car must be nice. But almost every time I have a friend over to Eyrie Park for the first time, they mention our backyard. That’s some pretty great Members Only perks, right there!

What are other benefits to staying at home as an adult I didn’t mentioned?

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Why I’m Still a SAHD (Part One: Why I Stay)

Why I'm Still a SAHD

You can read the intro to this series here!

I always tell people I live at Eyrie Park, but Eyrie Park is just a plot of land outside of an ordinary town in Texas. I actually live in a genuine College Town. The city is built around the university, the school colors fly in front of nearly every business and game day is like a sacred holiday. I have come to love living here because of all the benefits I can reap from the school without ever actually attending. Broadway plays and presidential candidates reserve our auditorium, opportunities to serve and learn and have fun are plentiful and, best of all-thousands of students from all over the world flood into my backyard and give this unsocialized homeschooler ample chances at making friends!

However, despite all the appeal of our nearby university, I have never applied to attend. Every year I ask myself if I’m meant to get a degree (I even considered it very seriously just last year) and come up with the same answer: not now. This may all seem irrelevant to the topic of staying at home. After all, I could easily live at home while going to school locally. But it’s the perspective of my university friends that makes being at SAHD even more appealing.

We often have students into our home; a large 1970’s house which shows it’s age here-and-there. We sit around the fire pit in our lovely hilly yard or gather around our scuffed up well-loved dining table for casseroles or card games. We pile onto our big red couch for movies and coffee. We squawk late into the night over jokes that wouldn’t be as funny in the morning.

I’ve had friends look at me and tell me they don’t understand my family, but they love it. I’ve had them say I live in “a different world.” I’ve heard that I can’t relate to their lives. I’ve been told I’m “so lucky” more times than I can count. People tell me they don’t want to ever leave. They sink into our couch, mug of coffee in hand or launch out on our tree swing and somehow they are in “a different world” for an afternoon too.

There is nothing actually magical about our home. It’s not the mod-squad architecture or my mother’s propensity to decorate with things we find in the woods. It’s not my sister and her husband using our kitchen as a culinary school, constantly trying new recipes and making things from scratch I never knew didn’t grow in a bottle. It isn’t my younger siblings’ obnoxious and charming disregard for personal space. It isn’t the constant hum of the dryer or the screech of the parakeet that gets louder the louder we talk. It isn’t the way we run out of dishes after every single meal or the books that are threatening the integrity of our many shelves or the butterflies my dad has shipped from the jungle and pins into abstract art.

It isn’t our beloved six acres on which we had to fell over forty trees during the drought or the pond with the turtles that surface for cat food or the construction site in the meadow that seems like it will never be done. It isn’t The Thinking Bench or The Beck or the family of raccoons that lives on our roof.

What is it, then? I hope you’re not disappointed when I tell you that I’m not entirely sure. I know it has to do with the way family is our top priority. Eyrie Park is a theocracy (God at the head) and a our jokes about it being a commune aren’t far off, either. Food is prepared in an oven or a pot on the stove which are about the same size. We all sit down together at least once a day to enjoy a meal together, even if it’s just turkey sandwiches.

My mom has always stayed home, since she became pregnant for the first time (with my brother who is nearing thirty.) I know that’s a privilege many women do not have, but it’s also a choice. Sundays are a sabbath, we don’t work if we can help it, though my dad’s ox has often “been in the ditch” over the years. (He’s actually off on Sundays consistently for the first time ever as of a couple of months ago!) Advent and Lent brings us together every evening for the lighting of a candle, the saying of a prayer, a reading of the Word, a singing of a song. And not everyone in the family would get a call back if we had auditions for a family band. We just sing anyway.

It isn’t a perfect place, by any means. Sometimes we hurt each other’s feelings or even fight, loudly. Sometimes we shirk on our chores and don’t have any clean plates for dinner. Sometimes we’re too tired to sing after we light the candles.

Sometimes I get fed up with my lack of independence and feel like I need to drive away before I burst. That’s a real feeling, and if any other stay-at-home adults feel that way: that’s okay. Your mom probably feels the same way sometimes.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to check eleven schedules before making plans. Sometimes I wish I could buy food that comes in small packages and eat the whole thing myself. Sometimes I wish there wasn’t a line for the (cold) shower. Sometimes I’d like to arrive at church on time and not spend ten minutes looking for an empty row to accommodate us.

And yet, I work two jobs and lead a service team every weekend and hang out with friends in between despite not owning a car. And when I’m done answering phones at the office and chasing toddlers at my second job and praying with widows on Saturday mornings, I get in my dad’s car and turn the key and think, I can’t wait to get home.

Stay tuned for Part Two: Other Reasons

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Why I’m Still a Stay-At-Home Daughter: An Intro

Why I'm Still a

“All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful.”

1 Corinthians 10:23

I am twenty-two and I have been a S.A.H.D. (stay-at-home daughter) my entire life. If you aren’t familiar with this term, you probably weren’t homeschooled and born in the 80’s or 90’s into a Christian home. Perhaps you also do not know about denim jumpers. Though we will be quick to tell you that SAHDaughterhood is nothing new, the modern idea and the acronym are the result of the homeschool movement which brought thousands of American kids out of the public school system in the 80’s and 90’s and still influences families today.

The idea stems from the belief that women are meant to be part of a home. Many people believe that girls should always live under their parents’ roof and authority until they marry. Advocates for this ideology include the Botkins and other folks at Vision Forum, a ministry which was recently shut down after the leader was found to be having inappropriate relations with a young woman. This group believed that to move out from under the protective wing of a patriarch, unmarried is wrong because you are being independent, which is unwarranted if not unholy. (Ironically, that’s why this young woman was living under the care of their leader, who molested her for a period of years.)  I started this post off with the verse from 1 Corinthians to indicate that though am technically a SAHD, my blood boils a little when I hear the term. I stay at home because it’s best for me, not because it makes me better.

I actually bought a book on how to be a good stay-at-home daughter at one time, but I was never able to read it. Every time I tried, I would get to a paragraph about women needing to stay home no matter what and shut the book. I would think about Elisabeth Elliot and Amy Carmichael and other single, female missionaries who have my deep respect, and put the book back on the shelf. I would literally have to sit still and take deep breaths for a moment before I could go on, so hurt was I. I finally gave myself some grace and got rid of the book. It was lawful for me to read it, but not beneficial.

It is these types of experiences which have led me to venture back into the topic of “staying home” while single. As I said, I’m twenty-two and I’m single and I live with my parents and six of my eight siblings. I was born in the 90’s, I was homeschooled and my family attends a conservative Christian church. Did I mention there are nine kids in my family??

The stereotypes are probably popping up in your mind like images of spaghetti straps supposedly pop into teenage boys’ minds after they’ve been desensitized. (Little homeschool joke there, for the Pubs reading along.) But the truth is, my family never really became a part of this movement. My parents read the Bible and apply what they read. Sometimes that leads us to live more conservatively than the folks around us, sometimes more liberally. 

And I read the Bible too. And not at my Papa’s feet, while he adds commentary. In private. To apply to my own life. Hold onto your head coverings! (Not to say that everyone involved in this ideology was/is this close-minded, just using extreme stereotypical examples!)

And though there are nine kids in our family, we are not anti-birth control. As a matter of fact, five of my siblings are adopted from other countries. And though we homeschool, we have experience with public school too. And my mom wears shorts and highlights her hair. (It feels good to get that off my chest!)

I don’t make light of these things because I think women who don’t wear shorts and do wear head coverings are dumb. I’m not making fun of them (I’m actually good friends with a few people who dress that way.) What I’m making fun of is the way our society things homeschool + Jesus = Amish. That’s not the way it works, at all. As a matter of fact, Amish kids aren’t homeschooled and I don’t think they wear denim!

So if I don’t stay home because I believe it’s sinful for unmarried women to move out, why do I stay? After all, I live in a bustling college town. My lifestyle isn’t exactly the cultural norm. Great question. :)

I hope this post served as intro for those who aren’t familiar with Stay-at-Home-Daughters and a bit of an encouragement for those who are. Stay tuned for Why I’m Still a Stay-At-Home Daughter Part One: Why I Stay.

-Everly

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I say “feminism,” you hear…

roles of a woman

man-hater, anti-family, loud-mouth, bible-basher, pro-choice, bra-burning floozy. 

Fill in the blank. I know I did.

Some of you might know that in 2012 I pitched a book to three Christian publishing houses about feminism and legalism in the church. All three rejected it, but one agent stopped my pitch and told me about a conversation she had in the backseat of a car about her niece and college and how hard it was for her to hold her tongue so, “thank you for writing about this.” She almost gave me the deal, but I’m so glad she didn’t. God knew that there was much to teach me, there will always be much to teach me. I hold on to Madeliene L’Engle’s words:

“I do not think that I will ever reach a stage when I will say, “This is what I believe. Finished.”

What I believe is alive … and open to growth”

Oh to be open to growth all my life! That book had some good ideas and some poor applications. In general, it was too small for the topic. All of those words up there? They could apply to a feminist. But just because someone identifies as a feminist doesn’t mean any of those words apply to them. Feminism is one of those hard words that means something different to everyone who uses it. Sarah Bessey’s book, Jesus Feminist rubs people the wrong way with just the title alone. There are people who think, “How dare you put Jesus’ name next to that horrible word?” and people who think, ” I ran away from Jesus for the sole purpose of becoming a feminist. How could the two ever mingle?”

Can we take a deep breath and listen to each person’s definition as we get to know them? Bessey uses feminism to mean “the radical notion that women are people too.” It sounds silly at first, doesn’t it? Like it’s so simple, she’s certainly got the second part of her definition up her sleeve. And yet, with Bessey’s definition, I see Jesus and the word “feminist” going together perfectly. Jesus was completely radical in his treatment of women and those that The Spirit inspired to write the scriptures were extremely brave in how many times they mentioned women in honorable, humane instances. Jesus changed eternity, but he made huge changes to the current reality for women. He gave us dignity for the very first time since Eden.

If your definition of feminism is that women are better than men or that women don’t need men, then I have to disagree with you. If you think that men and women are generally the same or that their roles should be completely reversible, we’re in two different boats. But if you believe that women are highly valued by God and equal to men in their ability to know God and be used by God, I’m with ya. If you think that this world needs to stop objectifying, using, abusing and stifling women, you’re speaking my language.

Being a Godly women doesn’t have any checklists, despite what our Bible study books might tell us. You don’t have to be a wife or a mom to be a Godly woman and you don’t even have to want to be. Biblical womanhood has nothing to do with marriage or motherhood unless that’s what a particular Christian happens to be called to. Bessey writes:

“If the title can’t be enjoyed by a woman in Haiti, or even by the women hailed in scripture, the same way it can by a middle-class woman in Canada, then biblical womanhood must be more than this.”

She also reminds us that if biblical womanhood means being a helpmeet to a man, this excludes 60% of females in the U.S. alone. It can’t be interchangeable with “stay-at-home mom” when the grand majority of women in this world do not have the luxury of choosing whether or not they want to work outside the home.

If you believe there is a certain job description for a biblical woman, you have a lot of Biblical characters to correct. Scripture doesn’t solely glorify motherhood as a role for a woman, but also prophesy, teaching, entrepreneurship and more. These women were merchants, patrons, land-owners, businesswomen, tent-makers, messengers, writers (just taking examples from the New Testament alone!) Women were present during all of Christ’s pinnacle moments, even when the men had fallen away. Jesus used women as a vital part of his ministry and gave them honorable roles. Timothy was taught by his mother and grandmother. Priscilla even corrected Paul in some of his theology! In Philippians chapter four, Paul writes that the women “have labored side-by-side” with him. Is this what feminism means to you?

You see, even though I’m not sure I agree with Sarah Bessey on every point, I loved her book because it encouraged me to live out what Jesus taught us about…us! I am a stay-at-home daughter who aspires to be a stay-at-home mom, but I don’t do these things because I think they’re biblical; I do them because I think they’re good. Just like going to college is good for my friend Megan and overseas mission work is good for my friend Brianna and running a ministry to strippers is good for my friend Kellie.

Are you single? God wants to use you. Are you married? God wants to use you. Do you have kids? God wants to use you. Do you want to travel? God wants to use you. Do you want to study? God wants to use you. Are you a leader? God wants to use you. Are you a teacher? God wants to use you. Do you have business skills? God wants to use you. Do you see the pattern?

The world doesn’t need another loud-mouth, another hater, another burning bra. The world doesn’t need anymore abortion or pride or competition. But the world is in need. Women and girls make up 98% of trafficked people worldwide. Over 50,000 women are trafficked in the US alone each year. 78% of trafficking is for  prostitution or another form of sexual exploitation.

statistic 1

Annually, more than 350,000 women die of pregnancy or birth-related complications. Studies show that 53% of the children denied an education worldwide are girls. Violence against women causes more deaths among women worldwide than war, malaria or traffic accidents. If “feminism” means putting an end to this, then count me in.

Whether or not you believe women should be in places of high authority in our churches and government, can’t we agree that we need to be better represented there? I firmly believe that when we stand before God, He will be silent on the subject of feminism or anti-feminism, complementarianism or egalitarianism or our roles in the church and family. I don’t think we’ll be worried about old blog posts or Facebook arguments. I think, as I stand in line and wait to walk through the throne room doors, I’ll ask myself, “Did I humbly depend on the Lord for my salvation and love like Jesus loved?”

(read my review of Jesus Feminist here.)

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