What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Can I get an Amen?

I found a jewel! I found a jewel! I found a jewel of site for Homeschooling Moms! I stumbled across The Well Drained Mind and read the sidebar-and I realized it so closely parallels to what I want to convey here, at Renaissance. Read it....I'll wait.

This blog is about how to maintain a sense of self in this all encompassing life altering decision we have each made, for all manner of reasons, to homeschool. There are plenty of blogs out there devoted to being a Mom. There are plenty devoted to the challenges associated with homeschooling. But I think there are few where many voices can speak to how we can maintain and grow as individuals through this process. This is not a message board. It is not a place for rants. It is not a place to talk about your kids and their accomplishments. (That's what personal blogs are for.) It is a place to share common struggles but more than just that. Hopefully all contributors will carefully aim to help others in their pursuit of personal growth (be that spiritual, emotional, continuing education, physical, social etc...) whether that be through helpful insight, stories of personal victories or probing questions that make us think about things from a new angle.

Of course-I DO rant about my kids. AND my accomplishements. Trust me-those things will NEVER change. :-) But I am so passionate about the need to guard and protect yourself from getting LOST in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

While the above site speaks mainly to Homeschooling Moms-this message is NOT just for those of us who homeschool. Just HAVING children creates a danger for self-sacrifice so encompassing that one day you wake up and realize...20 years has passed and you don't know yourself anymore. But even THAT doesn't include everyone.
It is for those of us who are WOMEN. God has given women the natural tendency to nurture. No matter WHAT stage of life you are in. Those older women who care for their husbands each day and help to mentor the younger women around them, grandmothers, wives, women who have young children. Everyone is prone to putting others before themselves. That is not bad-it is good. But there must be time for YOU, too!

Everyone will benefit if you take care of you. You know the saying-if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy? Yep. There ya go! Pursue interests. Read. Experiment. Take time to enjoy things YOU want to enjoy. Be a learner. Define yourself. Change. Grow.

I have seen firsthand what it is to lose your identity and to be known only as 'so and so's Mom.' It is a tragic thing. It is sad. And I imagine, it is scary for those women to ever be by themselves. Who WERE they? They don't recall...

I have come to think of this blog as a life book for my children. (I fully admit to being a bit morbid here, but bear with me...) Someday I will not be here. I don't know when my time to leave this earth will be, hopefully when I am OLD and crotchety. But if not...if the Lord calls me to Him before my children grow into adults-I want them to have a way to remember me and the life we had together. But most importantly, I want to still able to offer them life lessons. I want them to KNOW their Mama. I want them to learn things from me that I might not have gotten the chance to teach them in real life. I want them to know what has driven me. What I have felt passion for. I want them to learn from me what I had to teach myself.

And this is one of those lessons that I hold dear to my heart. That I am passionate about. Look at the title of this blog. Renaissance-Encouraging pleasures and thought into the MANY realms of womanhood.

Motherhood is an amazing thing. But don't let it define you.

~~~~~~~~~~THAT WAS A RANT AND A HALF!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now that THAT is over...go here to read the most recent article submission on The Well Drained Mind. It is an article encouraging women to pursue their own interests in the summer months, just as we encourage our children to further their own interests during that time. (That is a very QUICK summary, so just go over and read it yourselves...) It ends with a few questions which I will post here for you all, because I am interested in hearing your responses and learning more about you!

So, with summer approaching, what will you be planning to do with your time?

What will you be learning?

What skills might you improve upon?

Here are my answers to it...

Summertime, for me, is full of gardening, canning and preserving for the winter. So-THAT is what I mainly do with my time. Just because I do that every year, however, doesn't mean I don't need to IMPROVE on it. So-these things also go on under 'skills to improve on', as well. I also want to improve on the quality and artistry of my photographs as well as improve the quality with which I sew and crochet.

What I am going to LEARN this summer? I have already begun my adventures in wine-making. I also have plans to construct a water fountain myself, create a water garden (with Corynn.) and learn to cane and refinish old rocking chairs. (I have two.)

What about you?!?


Kelli said...

Wonderful article and I enjoyed your post! I totally agree! I really like your plan of learning some new things over the summer, your list looks really fun! I'm going to be thinking about some things I would like to learn also!

Christine said...

What a great site! Right now, I am very much caught up in learning relax and prepare for birthing, so I suppose that will be my focus for the first half of the summer. I do want to get better at crocheting, that is for sure!Blessings, dearie!

Mrs. Bonnie said...

Fun , inspiring post! I tend to be a jack of all trades, master of several, but I can't seem to get crocheting down, so that is my main goal. Learn to crochet. Any advice on SIMPLE, watered-down-so- a-toddler-can-inderstand-it instructions?
I'd also like to not kill all my herbs this year. (my flowers and veggies do fine, but my herbs...)

Randi said...

I hope you will be posting about your canning adventures this year! Your list on the sidebar is quite inspiring and some of the things you can sound so unusual and yummy. I like to can fruits and veggies, but so far I have only done the basics!

Michelle said...

Hmm, your post gave me some things to think about! I have had times where I step back and feel like I have *almost* lost my identity while raising three boys 4 and under. I am too stubborn to completely lose myself, though! ;)

This summer, though, there is the baby coming in August, so that puts quite a hold on any canning I may have. I would like to find some interesting canning recipes, though and attempt to try at least ONE...

With fixing up our house, I am hoping to learn some "handyman" (handywoman?) type things like drywalling, etc.

Of course, I have a TON of things I would like to improve upon or learn this summer, but I must be realistic, too! :)

Jen said...

What a great post Rebecca. I know this has been so true in my own life the last 8 to ten years. I've realized these last several months that I've lost "me" during that time and I am just now rediscovering and redefining who I am outside of being a mom. Thanks for posting this. I am going to sit down and think and pray about a list of my own to work on this summer. I'd like to link to this post on my public blog when I post my list if that is okay.
BTW I am still going to try to get up that way this month. Let me know what your plans are for the month and maybe we can work something out.

Nan said...

Thanks for the awesome and heartfelt plug Rebecca! I'm so glad you have joined the readership of The Well Drained Mind!
God bless!

Abigail said...

I think at this point in my life, motherhood does define me. This is not to say that I'm just a mother-shell with no independent concept of self inside, but the self that I am at this stage in my life is inextricable from motherhood and the delights and drudgeries that form it.

When the children are adults and, Lord willing, growing families of their own, I'll remain myself, and though I'll still be a mother, it won't have as much bearing on my definition of self.

BLah. I could write more, but I'm feeling foggy, and, besides, I don't think we disagree. I just didn't want to disappoint you by not quibbling over a picky nothing, so I plucked a sentence out of its rightful context and went for it. :)

This summer? Akk! There's too much I want to do to stuff into one solitary summer! I'll count myself satisfied if the garden is fruitful, I survive canning season, and I enjoy some frivolous fun in between.

Rebecca said...

Abby~ even though you try-you will not get quibbling from me. Because we don't disagree.

Motherhood is the part of life that we are in and so it should define us to a point. My problem is when you lose who you were BEFORE motherhood BECAUSE of the drudgeries and responsibilities you HOLD as a mother; your interests, tastes and outlets (though, rightfully, they should not take precidence...)

Anyway-I know that this is not true for you because I see you AS a mother...and yet, you are an artist, and a creator and a maker of good things (edible and non) and you do that which makes you happy.

That said-I should have been more clear that yes-motherhood does define who you are to a point. Not only is that just fact, but it is a most honorable definition of oneself.