Good morning Mamas.
This morning I plopped on the couch at 5:30, coffee in hand of course, and began working. I’m not going to lie, I have four books sitting beside me that I am itching to read rather than blogging. I also have a to-do list a mile long to accomplish today. Some of it I am super excited about- other parts- eh, not so much.
I also need to homeschool.
And plant some carrots.
And the front closet is really getting junked up again.
But first: Bible. Oddly enough, Titus chapter 2 was my reading for today.
3. the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.Titus 2: 3-5
To be homemakers.
If you have followed this blog for very long at all then you know I am very passionate about being the ‘keeper of the home.’
You don’t need an eye for design, a small flock of kids, or even to own your own home in order to be a homemaker. But who is the Titus 2 woman in your life that is teaching you how and what it means to be a homemaker?
Most of us, unfortunately, don’t have someone filling that role.
So, I decided to call upon a couple of the Titus 2 women I know. Women that I look up to, who have already walked the path- and get their best advice to share with all of you.
The Women of Titus 2
Every woman whose advice I asked for has impacted my life in some way. So I plan to share a little first about each of these women and the life they have led and from there I will share the advice they gave me to pass on to all of you. But I want to say first that every single person I asked was thrilled to participate. They all asked for some time to think on it and pray on it, but they all were eager to help out. It was incredibly humbling and I think I have cried over each of their responses.
So without farther ado, Here is some advice from some incredible, godly women.
1. Aunt Sandra
I sit a few pews back from my Aunt Sandra at church. If you sat where I do and you didn’t know her- you would thank her life must be nothing but blessings and bliss. She is always nodding along with the preacher. The first to say “Thank you Lord” for anything- and praises big– whether for a miracle or a rain shower.
Over the years I have probably watched her more than anyone else. She is always smiling and laughing. She sings the loudest, claps the hardest, and loves the biggest. Her faith is unshakable. Her words are uplifting. And you always feel better after being around her.
But what you might not know from just sitting behind her- is the pain that has marked her life. She has picked up the pieces and moved forward from things I can’t even fathom. She was a mama long before she had kids of her own. After my Grandma Martha passed away, she raised her four younger siblings- my dad being the youngest. She has went through so much- things I’m sure I don’t even know about. Even losing her daughter at twelve years old, after fighting so hard to save her.
But her faith wasn’t shaken by the tides she has faced. She has told me over and over again, “Don’t you know God can just take care of that?” She has prayed with me and for me. And I don’t know anyone who knows her, whose life she hasn’t touched just from watching her. (My husband being one of those who can’t even talk about her or my Uncle David without tears filling his eyes.)
In spite of everything she has been through- I never see it on her face, but I feel it in her love. She loves deeper, prays harder, and clings tighter to God because she knows that He is her only constant. She deserves an entire book written about her, all of these women do, but for now we will stick to her advice. Which may actually be my favorite advice because it is just so her!
Advice From Aunt Sandra- A Faith Filled Woman
Before I give this advice let me just say, my Aunt Sandra’s kitchen has been one of my favorite places growing up. She taught me to sew there. She made chocolate gravy and biscuits every time I stayed the night. And now that I am older I am most amazed by the fact that she always had a large home cooked meal on the table- but I don’t think I ever saw her kitchen dirty..
Her advice to us is:
“When you are learning to cook start with easy recipes. One of my favorites is:
The Easy ‘Lazy’ Biscuit
- 1 1/2 cups self rising flour
- 1/4 cup of shortening
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp mayo
- 1/4 cup Buttermilk
- Cut shortening into flour and sugar.
- Stir in mayo and buttermilk.
- Put into #5 black iron skillet, sprayed or greased with shortening.
- Bake at 400° until brown- about 20 minutes.
“You can make this a simple dessert with sugared strawberries and cool whip. It is also good with sausage gravy.
“Always remember to cook something from scratch, even if you buy most of your meal. Your husband will love the special effort!”
2. Mrs. Tina
Mrs. Tina came into my life a few years ago. She spoke at our church on a Sunday night about a shelter she runs in town on nights when the temperature is too low. It is not uncommon for her to be out driving all night in freezing temperatures looking for people who need a warm place to stay. As kind and thoughtful as Mrs. Tina is- that isn’t what originally drew me to her.
Mrs. Tina has a past, just like we all do. At a time in my life when I felt like I couldn’t get past the labels I had created for myself, I met this precious woman who was being bold enough to stand up and speak in churches. Tina serves a community that knew her at her worst. I watched her stand, and collect herself- before finally asking that people look past who she was and instead see who God has made her.
I needed someone like her in my life. When I look at Mrs. Tina, I see second chances. Mrs. Tina has been widowed before and is currently a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a voice for the homeless, a friend to the broken, and a Titus 2 woman.
Advice from Mrs. Tina- a Selfless servant
“Of course my biggest piece of advice would be to love God above all. Then, make sure you are loving your husband well. This will truly make your home run smoother. Don’t sweat the small stuff; time stands still for no one. Grab a notebook and write down or document those funny things your child says or does, it’s precious to look back on, especially after they have moved on and grown up.”
“Give experiences over things. Kids want you mama, not all those flashy toys. (Don’t believe me, watch this Christmas at how intriguing the paper and boxes are). Less truly is more.”
“Protect your child’s mind for as long as possible from “the world” let their little minds develop how God intended them to. There will be plenty of time for them to explore just make sure they have a memorable childhood that’s full of love and laughter and lots of Jesus.”
“As far as the home, the laundry is okay if it doesn’t get folded today. And if there isn’t sparkling faucets that’s just fine too. Each day is a fresh start. Don’t be afraid to ask for help we are homemakers, not wonder woman.”
“Take lots of 1 minute pauses throughout the day to realign yourself with what you want for your family, and remember your ‘why’. Life gets overwhelming at times. Never ever forget who you are. You were made specifically for your family big or small. You’re special. And on the hard days- well just take it from a Mama that’s now a grandma- this is a season and it changes so quickly, embrace it. All the laughs, hugs, dirty diapers, broken hearts, the constant nagging, even the fighting. Your home is what you make it, so make it the best, Mama.”
I knew before I ever asked Meghan that she would sound off that she wasn’t qualified to answer.
Age wise? Well, that might be true. But she is wise, far beyond her years, and I don’t know that anyone has influenced my life quite as much as her.
Meghan is my older sister, but she will often say that I was her first baby.
Meghan prayed for and over me just as much, if not more, than anyone else. When I found myself in over my head, she always pulled me out. When I found out I was pregnant, she met me with encouragement and love though I know she was terrified. And when Rafael and I decided to get married, she basically handled our entire wedding- even hand making bouquets.
Every battle, every scare, every step in faith or fear, I call Meghan. My sisters are one of the greatest blessings in my life. I know that she will probably be upset about my going on and on about her, but I’m not even scratching the surface.
I think that her example should encourage all of us, regardless of how young or old we may be, to pray for those around us. And to simply show up, in love, even when it is difficult. We simply never know the impact we have on someone!
Advice from Meghan- a godly sister
“Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
“Love doesn’t care who wins an argument.”
4. My Own Mom
My mom is the reason I am a stay at home mom. When I was growing up she always talked about how the happiest days of her life were staying home to raise her girls. She never told me it was hard. She never called it work.
I don’t remember her ever asking me to stop talking- which is amazing. I have a kid just like me and I know how stressful that can be. The only time I remember her ever really being upset with me as a kid was when I realized she was not actually drinking my ‘potions’ (aka dirty bath water concoction) and I shoved it into her mouth. (And maybe the time I gagged her with toe fuzz. Or when I ran off at the beach.) Okay, so I was a tough kid to raise- but she never showed it.
My mom has walked some tough roads throughout her life. I’ve watched her bury her parents. I have seen her visit my dad in jail and in prison. I’ve seen her lose it, seen her hold it together. I have seen her break, rebuild, and break again. But when you need an extra pair of hands at the Farmer’s Market- she’s there. When you need a break and someone to talk to- she is always willing to listen. She has always been there regardless of what was happening in her life or her mind- she gives her best.
And the advice that she gave that I am about to share could not capture her more perfectly. When you have dinner at my mom’s, you sit around the dining room table and talk and laugh for hours. We relive stories- and I truly believe we have some of the best. We laugh, snort, tear-up, and enjoy every moment. My mom is a constant reminder that there is always a silver lining- and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be her daughter!
Advice from my Mom- The Glue that has held our family together!
Before I actually put in my mom’s advice I want to share part of a note she had written along with it to explain why this was the advice she chose to give me-
“When you asked me to name something that I was taught by my Mama or Grandma, my mind immediately went back to my Mama’s strong work ethic- both at home and on the job. She lived by the motto “anything worth doing, is worth doing right”. She instilled that in me.
“When I think of my Grandma- I think of all the time she spent teaching me how to do embroidery and macrame. I’m just about to see if I can remember enough about macrame to teach Poppy. But honestly the most important thing they taught me (and probably by accident) was the importance of family time.”
So her advice was:
“Be present and laugh- a lot. Some of my best childhood memories are sitting on my Grandma and Grandpa Walker’s front porch after eating one of my Grandma and Aunt Pauline’s meals. Just listening to everyone talk and laugh. My Aunt Pauline and cousin Darrell had this infectious cackle- I can still hear it to this day. I still remember some of the stories they told. And I always remember the laughter.
“Let the dishes sit in the sink and the laundry in the basket while you take time to tell your kids and grandkids your stories. And just laugh- like we did every Wednesday night.”
5. Aunt Marsha
My Aunt Marsha is the epitome of a put together woman. She will sew costumes for church, hem your pants, cook dinner for the new family at church, can salsa, babysit her grandkids, update the sound system at church, clean her home, and hum happily the entire time.
I don’t think anyone in my life has given me more useful advice than my Aunt Marsha. I have wrestled with what all to say here because she has had such an impact in my life. She was even my Sunday school teacher for a time. But there is one story that keeps coming to mind that I think captures the heart of who she is:
As most of you know I got pregnant before I was married. Because of the order in which I had become a mother, wife, and homemaker- I always felt less than. Especially in the motherhood category. It wasn’t something I talked about or told anyone. It was just a struggle I dealt with in the back of mind.
One night I was standing in my Aunt Sandra’s kitchen. It was late and most everyone had gone home. My Aunt Marsha simply waltzed over to me, grabbed my arm and pulled me to the side. She stood there with eyes locked on mine and started telling me how proud she was of me and the mama that I had become. I don’t remember her exact words, but I will always remember the way she made me feel.
The thing about my Aunt Marsha is she doesn’t just juggle all of her priorities well. She pays attention. She doesn’t just know who just lost their husband, she knows their anniversary and when they may need a little extra love. I have never seen her think of herself. She is thoughtful, selfless, and I truly believe that she looks at those around her with the eyes of Jesus. And the advice she gave me is getting laminated and stored away forever.
Advice from Aunt Marsha-
- Always start your day with Bible reading and prayer- asking God for help and guidance throughout the day.
- Take time to enjoy a loving hug and say “I love you” to everyone every morning and throughout the daily routine.
- Patience- Patience- Patience.
- Be thankful for all that God has blessed you with.
- Daily routine is important for everyone- on the days it goes a little crazy- just treasure the memories that will come out of it.
- Use your gifts and abilities that you are blessed with to bless another family in need.
- Sing Praises to God while you are cooking, cleaning, doing laundry- or whatever chores each day brings your way. Singing helps you enjoy working for your family.
- Plan your menu for the week before you go grocery shopping. This saves time and maybe a trip to the grocery store.
- Use a calendar to write down schedules for the day, week, month- put it on the fridge so everyone can see what is going on.
Advice from Me..
Have you ever participated in something that you know is so much bigger than you?
Somehow it seems to show how small you really are. But as my Aunt Marsha sings, “Little is much when God is in it.” That is my hope for this blog. That God will take my little- and make it much.
But this particular blog wasn’t little. In fact, this one was anything but little. It has shaken me to my core. I have laughed and I have cried. I have taken notes and etched words and pictures upon my heart forever. But there is another thing I have taken away from this experience. A lesson taught by accident as my mom said…
We are surrounded by women worthy of the call that Titus 2 sends out. Some of them are in fact older women- who have walked this path already. Others walk it with us, but in wisdom far beyond their years. I have heard so many friends my age wrestle with what I think is best described as “Mother Hunger”. The desire to have a woman walk beside you. Someone who has raised children, kept a home, or loved a husband. Someone who has walked life with God and has wisdom and encouragement to hand down.
Those women are all around us. But I think there is a disconnect here between generations. We don’t ask for their leadership and they hesitate to ask us to follow them. When I reached out to these 5 women- they all answered- happily and humbly.
I know women of all ages read this blog. What if we reached across generations, across nervousness, and across divides and asked someone to walk with us?
What if we taught someone how to mend dresses rather than toss them and buy new? What if you taught someone how to can or preserve?
And to the younger women- what if you asked someone to teach you a skill? Or to have coffee and Bible study with you on Tuesday afternoons?
So my advice- ask someone to walk with you- wherever you are. You never know they may be praying for the opportunity.
So to all of my Titus 2 women, and those praying to become Titus 2 women-
For more on home and family from Aiming Arrows, click here!