Just read a great book review on Her.meneutics called Birth Pangs: When God Shows Up in Pregnancy. It centers around this book which talks about the holiness in giving birth. (I also love that the author is a female ordained minister, yay!) Of course this speaks to me at this time for the obvious reasons! My due date looms in front of me, just 3 days away. I’ve already added a sample of the book to my Nook and will definitely buy it if I ever get around to reading it! 😛 But, if it’s as good as this, I’ll buy it now!!
Waiting in anxious anticipation for labor is somewhat maddening. I’m due in FIVE days. If I dont go into labor soon, I imagine another c-section is in my future. That’s something I dont want to think about. So, I’m walking, drinking water, and the hubby and I are trying a tried and true old-fashioned method of naturally inducing my labor. As of last Monday, I was 50% effaced, which is great. Farther than I was able to get last time. I’m hoping by now – about a wk later – that I will be almost 100% effaced and starting to dilate. I still havent lost my mucus plug, though, and my water bag is still intact. It’s making me feel impatient. I really really want to have a successful VBAC this time.
Otherwise, I’m satisfied with Christmas prep this yr. Last yr, I was very sleep-deprived due to having a newborn at the end of Sept, and by the time Christmas came, we hadnt settled enough at my in-laws to have space for much. I did manage to do a few simple decorations, which I had to contend with even though not having a tree was disappointing. This yr, I begged my husband (who did not grow up celebrating Christmas much) to get a tree – even a small one. Four and a half feet is half the size of the tree I’m used to growing up with, but it’ll do. And the best part is that my 1-yr-old now says “tree!” much better since having one in the house!
I saw this on Vale Design and thought I should have done it for my last pregnancy. I modified it a bit. I’ll fill in 2 – one for each of my girls – since I’m at the end of this pregnancy anyway. But first, Baby #1:
Pregnancy 2010 – “Jelly Bean”
Baby #: 1
How far along at birth? 39 weeks, 5 days
Total weight gain? 28 lbs
Maternity clothes? Motherhood Maternity / A Pea in the Pod
Stretch marks? Yes! 😦
Sleep: Lots of heartburn and very painful soreness in the hips and upper thighs
Best moments: Feeling my baby kicking, except when she kicked my right rib!
First Movement: 17 wks
Food cravings: Dumplings in the first month when I didnt even realize I was pregnant. After that – no more dumplings, ever! >_<
Sickness: Afternoon/night for the first 6 mths. T__T
Labor signs: Braxton Hicks in the 9th month. But no real labor since I was induced.
Belly button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? Off since the 6th/7th month (summertime)
Mood swings? None
Preparation: Mary Esther’s BRADLEY Method childbirth course.
Baby Shower: FOUR! 1. 318 (Mom’s job), 2. CCNY (Dad’s job), 3. Family, 4. CLL
OB: First 5mths with Dr Doris Tan / Switched to Bklyn Birthing Ctr until 8th month when they dropped me as high-risk due to gestational diabetes / 34 wks – end with Dr Mark V.
Delivery method: C-section (unplanned due to failed induction)
Delivery Doctor: Dr. Irina Mikheyeva / Partner: Dr. Bubucea
Post-partum emotion: 14 days of daily blues because I didnt get the natural birth experience I’d planned for and wanted.
Breast or Bottle? Bottle (also not planned). However, Jubi turned out to have digestion issues with the Similac Advanced and started pooping blood! T__T We switched her to Similac Alimentum at 3wks and kept her on it til 7mths when we transitioned her to Similac Soy. At 14mths, we are transitioning her to organic low-fat regular milk.
Baby stats: Born 11:20pm / Wt: 8.2lbs / Length: 20.75in.
I’m so proud of all the work I was able to accomplish today. I had no idea I could do so much if I just focused on one Zone at a time. (Thanks again, FlyLady!) My zones were basically a bin here, a corner there – more like working on little hotspots rather than full rooms. But, the difference is truly noticeable! In addition, I was able to sit down and wrap mostly all the gifts that we’ve received so far from the orders I put in on Black Friday and CyberMonday. It’s so nice to see them sitting in my baskets with labels and stickers. The wrapping paper came free, too. My husband gets them every year from some spinal cord charity he gave to many yrs ago. So, didnt even spend the money or time to buy wrapping paper – they came to us!
Tomorrow we’re on our way to BJs to pick up some food and drinks, but my goal is to find a tree. This will be our 2nd Christmas as a married couple and now with our 2nd daughter coming, we’ve yet to have a tree in the house. Appalling for me actually, but my husband isnt used to celebrating it at home so he doesnt sense the absence. Last yr, having just given birth barely 3mths prior to Christmas, I bought some cheap tinsel and cardboard decorations and decorated some wall space in our living room. I put up the Christmas cards we received and the 2 we had made with our daughter’s pix. This yr, I vow to have a tree, lights and some better decorations, if I can help it. I think my husband thinks it’s all a hassle – more trash, more work and more clutter. I think it’s sad he hasnt grown up with the excitement of decorating and preparing for Christmas. Somehow I have to change his perspective. It’s harder this yr since I’m pregnant and about to give birth, so it may be a bit more trouble since I cant move around freely. But, for me it’s worth it. And even more so for our Jelly Bean, who’s 1 now and can fully appreciate the magic of seeing the lights blinking on the tree. I cant wait to see her face when we put it up.
Hence the decluttering. We are trying to cram in enough ‘stuff’ from 2 adults and 2 babies into 3 rooms of his parents’ 2nd floor. Not easy. But, I’m determined to make this work. I’ve enlisted help from Ms Eva on Wednesday. She will come over and help me put up decorations, so I need to have them by then. And if she’s going to help me put up the tree, then we need to have this living room ready. We need to find a space. There are other things I need to make space for, but one thing at a time, eh?
I’m hoping also to go to Staples and get some Command hooks so that I can put up a lot of the framed photos that my husband and I have been given over the yrs. I really want to make this space – as cramped as it can feel – as homey as possible until the Lord gives us our own place. I think it’ll also help my husband feel calmer, more peaceful when he gets home. At least, I certainly hope so. He needs peace. *crosses fingers*
Thus begins the countdown: the countdown to Christmas, but even sooner, the countdown to giving birth to Baby #2, “Baby Ruth.” Should happen in two wks, give or take a few days. I’m excited, but hubby is stressed. 😦 Need to ask God for wisdom on how to encourage him and help him enjoy the season.
I downloaded two resources for my little ones to experience Advent starting next yr: Truth in the Tinsel and the Jesse Tree. Cant wait til they’re old enough to be engaged in the crafting! Actually, I cant wait til my Jelly Bean turns two next year so that I can start officially homeschooling her! I’m so excited about this. Seriously. I cant describe it. 😀
I’ve also been decluttering. (Thank you, FLYLady.) And all of my Christmas shopping is DONE. I have my Home Management Binder along with a section for gift-giving now. I used that binder to store Harry & David and World Vision Gift Catalogs, as well as my list of gifts from Christmas 2010 and a running list of gift ideas for this yr. Took advantage of both Black Friday online deals and CyberMonday sales. It was truly a life-saver! The only person left to shop for is my husband. He’s tough to get for. Esp since I got him an iPod nano last yr and filled it with an audio TNIV Bible and almost all of the sermons he’d had on cd. (That took HOURS!) He got me a NookColor. Too crazy and extravagant for our budget this yr. We’re trying to be more frugal. I did get him a little something already, but it’s not enough. He really needs something “more” and I’m not sure what I have in mind fits into our budget. I also dont have other ideas… Sigh. Again – wisdom needed here.
In the midst of all this, I need to keep focused. For the last two yrs, I’ve been running on a very shallow prayer and Bible-reading life. That’s in spite of pastoring, which is not good. Need to get myself back on track (read: SANE). Advent is the beginning of the church calendar season, so it’s a great time to start. And tomorrow is Dec 1, so a nice fresh calendar beginning as well. Now to stay consistent…
I’m finally doing it! I’m shining my sink! It’s amazing how excited I am about cleaning. 😛 I dont think I’ve ever been excited to clean in my life. I think I’m infected with some crazy FlyLady sickness. 😀
Actually, speaking of sickness, I was in the hospital for a few days last wk because I had a flu bug that turned into pneumonia! I’ve never had pneumonia, so I didnt recognize the symptoms. Honestly I wasnt even coughing much at all til I got to the hospital a few days after my illness began. I just had fever after fever after fever. It was AWFUL. I’m so so blessed to be living with my in-laws. They were able to take care of my Jelly Bean downstairs while I suffered upstairs. I was out of work for 3 days before I went into the hospital for another 4 days and then rested at home on antibiotics another 5 days. Crazy. So I started my Maternity Leave yesterday – two weeks earlier than originally planned. Not that I’m complaining, but it does mean my pay will end earlier. I really hate the Maternity Leave system in the US.
I am pretty much done with church ministry as well. It turned out I’d changed my preaching schedule so that my last message fell on Oct 30, instead of the wknd after. Thank goodness I did! I didnt know I’d be spending the weekend after in the hospital! But that wasnt the original reason why I’d changed the date. I changed it because Tom and I had planned to go to Penn State to visit Maggie and we could only get a hotel for that wknd. In the end, we didnt make it anyway. (Sidenote – this is the 2nd time we’ve tried to go to PA and not made it. First time was the wknd that Hurricane Irene hit. I was supposed to attend a Precept Ministries Bible Study training for the first time. Should I be concerned about this coincidence?)
Anyway, I’m much better now. I went to get a wonderful prenatal massage today. I want to try to go at least once more before I give birth in a month. It always feels so good! My husband is very encouraging to me in this. 🙂
Off to finish shining the sink! 😀
“Well, my sink is shining, but I’m not whining/ I’m FLYiiiiiiing!”
Yes, the song is VERY cheesy, but it’s catchy, too. I was watching episode after episode of FlyLadyTV on YouTube. It always opens with that theme song. Some of the videos are clipped, though, which is a shame because she really has very encouraging things to say. The clipart graphics are cute, too.
I started my Control Journal/Home Management Binder – in a real binder! I bought dividers and everything. I’m really excited. I’m filling in the Important Documents section because that’s the easiest. I’ve had the copies in a plastic bin. Most of our important documents are in a safe deposit box, but these are either the copies or the papers that havent made it to the box yet. I feel much better knowing they’re in the binder now. I told my husband to take note of it so that in case of an emergency he would grab the binder. I enclosed it in a FlyLady purple Office-in-a-Bag. I chose the purple one on purpose since that’s the FlyLady’s signature color. But she has other colors as well. In addition, I purchased her calendar stickers for my section on Daily Routines because I know I’ll print a calendar for there. I’d rather have a printed calendar for now than purchase the FlyLady Calendar because I want to make sure I use it before I make another purchase. Once our kids are older and in school, maybe I’ll start purchasing her calendar because we can use it as a family. I also downloaded samples of her books and one more book on cooking onto my NOOK for inspiration. If I like them then I’ll buy them.
I am actually DYING to shine my sink! 😛 I havent done so because I’m not sure I have the right cleaners yet. Since I havent deep cleaned the sink in the last 1+ yr we’ve lived with my in-laws, I’m not sure I can dive right in. Still, I’m itching to try it.
On Tuesday when my mom came over to babysit my daughter, I started to tell her about FlyLady and the Control Journal. I spoke of the importance of routines and Zone Cleaning, as well as keeping everything in one place. My mom admitted that she is a SHE and that she is constantly leaving her cleaning to the last minute. In addition, I showed her my Holiday Control Journal and she was in awe that I was trying to follow the FlyLady system. I told her very simply that I HAD to. I’m a relatively new wife who still doesnt know how to properly cook or clean. And I’m a new mom who has babies to feed and raise. For my own peace of mind, I need a system! I told my mom that we’re not SHEs because we’re lazy, but because without having a system to organize our time, we end up going crazy and not wanting to do anything! My mom could only nod in agreement. That made me happy. I forwarded her the FlyLady’s website and instructions on building her own Home Management binder. When she left, I realized I’m becoming a FlyLady evangelist! 😛 It felt really good to share something so helpful to my mom because keeping the house in order and cooking are inevitable parts of home life for all moms. We’ll see if she actually puts it all into practice.
Can I just say I’ve been wanting to blog for days and days, but I’m just so EXHAUSTED from work when I get home that I cant do anything but sit and play with my daughter, feed her and put her to bed? I’m at work late everyday just to get grading done before I return home. I’m super STRESSED about the Quality Review my school’s going through in two weeks. Not to mention the MOUNTAIN of paperwork and grading that I’m buried beneath. I just keep chanting this mantra to myself: “Four more weeks.” In four more weeks I’ll be done teaching and the teacher I’m covering for will have returned. Then I have a few days just to finish up any grading and get my maternity leave paperwork in order. I’m 33 weeks pregnant tomorrow. The countdown to labor is coming quickly.
Back to grading. Sigh.
I dont think I like that name very much. But that’s what the FlyLady calls it. Aby Garvey of Simplify 101 calls it a Command Central Binder. I like that better. But it’s very militant. I may have to pick my own name for it. As I actually put it together the name itself may miraculously come to me. It’ll probably be something really simple and straightforward like, “Mommy’s Head… Detached.” 😛
What I need to do is brainstorm what divisions I want in this binder. I want it to be a small one, too. A half-sized binder (5x8in) is easier to handle and transport than the standard 8.5×11 binder one usually uses. I can see why the standard one is used when most paper is in that size. However, if I want to be able to carry it around at times, I’d rather it be smaller. We’ll see. If I buy the smaller one I need to get all new half-sized supplies. Whereas, with the standard size, I’ve already got most of what I need on hand. And do I really need to spend the extra money?
So what categories would I put in my binder? I’m thinking something like this:
- Daily/Weekly/Monthly Routines
- Menu Planning
- Weekly Recipes + Shopping List
- Cleaning Detail & Chores
- Task List (Daily/Weekly/Monthly To-Do’s)
- Annual Gift Lists
- Emergency Contacts
- Business Cards from doctors, banks, etc.
The FlyLady is really inspiring me these days. I feel like I’m thinking about nothing else, which is evident in how many times I’ve mentioned her in my last few blog entries. I am starting very slowly, taking each day of baby Steps and stretching them over several days until I complete them. Though I did realize that I never actually accomplished Baby Step #1, which is to Shine Your Sink. For some reason I never clicked on the link with the actual instructions. I just thought it meant cleaning your sink… 😛 Oops! Well, must do that sometime. For now, though, I’m working on building my Control Journal and getting used to settling into daily routines.
But, as I’m also planning to close up shop here at work and at church in the next 6 wks, I was thinking today that I should really set some concrete goals for myself in the coming yr. Goals are hard because they can be very overwhelming. We all know how the typical New Yr’s Resolution goes — NOWHERE! 😛 Yea, I really dont want that to happen because I feel like I’m on a good track with the FlyLady and I dont want to be disappointed in myself when it’s a yr from now. I’m hoping that I’ll be well adjusted to my FlyLady routines and Control Journal by the time I give birth in 2 months. I may need more time, but hoping to be at a better place than today!
With that in mind, here are some goals I’m contemplating:
1. Dec-Feb: Give birth, rest and recovery period
2. Feb/March: begin daily exercise (15mins-30mins/day) – possibly a combination of home workouts (WiiFit and exercise DVDs) with a dose of a gym class somewhere, or the YMCA. <– That’s the better option since I can probably bring my 1-yr-old with me and she can have some kiddie class. Gotta look into it.
3. March: Take advantage of our hired help and ask her to teach me some Chinese cooking. (Hope to be sleeping better by this time so I can focus!)
Let’s leave it here for now! I’ll keep thinking, but I dont want to get too ambitious. My perfectionism gets in the way and then I end up not doing anything! 😦 In addition, I’m still working on the Big Project. 😀 I need time for that, so I cant take on too much at once. Plus, getting in shape and eating healthily are my biggest priorities. I have to learn to be a good cook for my growing family.
Re-posted from Charisma Magazine: http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/newsletters/spiritled-woman-emagazine/31993-the-working-womans-dilemma
Even today, some church leaders tell Christian women that God wants them to stay at home. But what does the Bible really say?
In the small town of Berryville, in northwest Arkansas, members of the board at First Baptist Church voted in February 1997 to close their church-run day care center. They made the abrupt decision not because the facility was too expensive to operate or because they didn’t have enough children enrolled. The official reason, as stated in a letter that was mailed to parents, was that church leaders felt their day care center was encouraging women to work outside the home.
“God intended for the home to be the center of a mother’s world,” the letter from First Baptist stated, adding that working moms “neglect their children, damage their marriages and set a bad example.” First Baptist’s day care center board, under the direction of the pastor, also noted in their letter that families should learn to get by on the husband’s single income.”
The day care center closed one month later, and parents scrambled to find another place to leave the 27 children who attended. Arkansas state officials eventually found another church in town that was willing to organize a day care program.
Is it any wonder that so many people—and an increasing number of women—have rejected the church?
The leaders of First Baptist of Berryville were totally out of touch with the needs of the women in their community, and thankfully they didn’t trigger a trend of day care center closings when news of their decision made national headlines. But the sad fact is that the mind-set that led the men of this church to act so irrationally is common in the evangelical church today. We may live in the 21st century, but 18th-century ideas about women’s roles are still embedded in our minds—and leaders twist and misinterpret the Bible to defend this view.
WOMEN SHOULDN’T WORK?
The “women shouldn’t work” argument comes in various forms. The mildest variety—and the one that actually makes sense in some situations—states that God intends for a wife to nurture her children while they are young and that she should let her husband provide the bulk of family income during those years. This line of reasoning works for some families in wealthier Western countries, and many women in the United States enjoy playing with their toddlers at home all day while daddy is at the office.
Things get more complicated for families when they cannot survive on one income. There are millions of two-parent families who struggle to pay their bills, especially if the father works at a factory, a convenience store or a construction site. The wife is often forced to find at least a part-time job while she juggles childcare responsibilities.
And then there are many single mothers who must work even if they qualify for partial welfare benefits. Perhaps because of their own wrong choices, abandonment or social disadvantages these women struggle constantly to balance the pressures of home and work.
They should be able to turn to the church for moral support and spiritual resources. But often what we offer them is a slap in the face. We often quote to them Titus 2:4-5: “Encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home” (NASB, emphasis added).
Then we twist this verse to say that God requires all women to fit into the cookie-cutter mold of the full-time Christian housewife. We also tell women in the church that they should model their lives after the “virtuous woman” (KJV) described in Proverbs 31—and then we misread that passage to imply that she too was a stay-at-home mother.
But that is not what the Scripture says. First of all, the Proverbs 31 woman was never meant to be considered normative for every Christian woman. The Hebrew poetry employed in this passage of Proverbs is an acrostic; each verse begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet and describes some aspect of a godly woman’s life.
The “woman” described here is actually a composite, not just one woman. Christian women who uphold the Proverbs 31 woman as a virtuous ideal must realize that God does not expect them to emulate her unrealistic schedule because she is actually several “model” women rolled into one.
But even if we view this woman as one individual, we need to recognize that her work was not limited to domestic chores. She was a shrewd businesswoman who was involved in real estate, agriculture and a textile business. She also employed other women to help her (see Prov. 31:13, 16, 19, 24).
Traditionalists who champion this verse as a picture of the happy housewife would probably not endorse the lifestyle of this woman if they met her on the street. In her ancient Middle Eastern society, she was an entrepreneur.
She stayed occupied with her home-based business day and night—and someone else probably watched her children when she was selling linen in the marketplace, dealing with merchants, buying fields or making wine with the fruit of her vineyard. She was most definitely not a stay-at-home mom in the suburban American sense of the word! Those who use this passage to keep women locked into an exclusively domestic role are misusing Scripture to hold women in a crippling form of religious bondage.
DID PAUL TELL WOMEN TO STAY HOME?
Fundamentalist Christians in the United States have long contended that God’s highest plan for women is to function as housewives—content to iron clothes, cook casseroles, diaper babies, bathe toddlers and perhaps master the fine art of sewing or embroidery while the children are napping. That’s because we have viewed the Bible through a warped cultural lens and have imposed on the Scriptures our suburban American values and prejudice.
When this view is questioned, conservative Christians often cite Titus 2:4-5 as well as 1 Timothy 5:14: “Therefore, I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach” (1 Tim. 5:14, NASB).
If we examine these two New Testament verses closely, it is obvious that what the apostle Paul was demanding of women was not domesticity but Christian faithfulness. He was not discouraging women from working outside the home.
How do I know this? Because the concept of going to work was not an option for women in the first century. Paul’s concern had nothing to do with women leaving their homes to pursue careers because women in the agrarian society of Crete in the year A.D. 62 didn’t do that!
We must be careful not to read into the Bible something that isn’t there. We can’t use Paul’s instructions to the Christian women of Ephesus and Crete to concoct a doctrine about men’s and women’s roles. Paul was not talking about roles in either of these passages. He was addressing serious issues of character.
When he mentioned the issue of “keeping house” in 1 Timothy 5:14, Paul was encouraging married female converts to view with seriousness their responsibilities as wives and mothers.
In Titus 1:12, Paul mentions that the people of Crete were known for their laziness. Their pagan culture was crumbling because men and women were enslaved to drunkenness, gluttony and debauchery.
It is possible that many of the men in Crete didn’t work at all—perhaps they spent most of their lives drinking in their huts. Perhaps the women were living in this kind of stupor as well. So naturally when they embraced the message of Christ and joined the fledgling churches that Titus was overseeing, one of Paul’s first priorities as an apostle was to disciple them in areas of personal conduct, family life and basic self-control.
Paul told the men of Crete to learn to be temperate (see Titus 2:2). They needed to break ties with their past and leave their alcoholism, promiscuity and slothfulness behind. Likewise, he told the women to learn to “keep house.”
Most likely the women were horrible at managing their domestic affairs—and they were neglecting their children in the process. In order to please God and be credible witnesses in their culture, these women would have to change the way they lived. They would have to discipline their unruly children. They would have to love them rather than neglect them. They would have to bring order where there had been domestic chaos.
When we examine 1 Timothy 5:14, we see that Paul expressed concerns about laziness among the women of Ephesus. He says in verse 13 that they are idle and that many of them had become “gossips and busybodies.” So naturally his remedy for their problem was to urge them to become women of virtue and integrity.
He instructed them to stay home (rather than wasting time spreading rumors and silly talk) and to maintain order in their homes. In fact, the word used in this passage for “keep house” is the same word used for a ruler or master.
Yet translators, perhaps because they were uncomfortable giving women a sense of authority, translated this phrase “keep house” rather than “rule their homes.” The one exception is the Revised Standard Version, which translates 1 Timothy 5:14: “So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, rule their households.”
Disorder and unfaithfulness in the homes of the Ephesian converts were serious issues for Paul. When he listed the qualifications of an overseer in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, he wrote: “If a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?” (v. 5).
In essence he says, “The Christian life must start at home. Get your own life in order. Get your marriage in order. Get your children in order. After you’ve done that, then you will have something of value to take to the world.”
This is a hard-core truth from the Bible that has universal application to us today. When we come to Christ, His transforming power should change our behavior at home.
It should change alcoholics into sober, hardworking individuals. It should change cavalier women-chasers into faithful husbands who treat their wives with respect. And it should change self-absorbed, undisciplined women into diligent disciples of Jesus Christ.
But we cannot use these verses to imply that Paul’s command to “keep house” or to be “workers at home” requires that all Christian women in the 21st century stay in their kitchens all day or shun their God-ordained career paths. Those who teach this view impose a cruel and legalistic burden on women that isn’t supported by Scripture. We need to stop teaching it and release Christian women to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading with regard to their callings and careers.
There is a world to win for Christ, and too often the church has told half our volunteers that they can’t enlist. Let’s break the molds and tear down the barriers. We need women on the front lines!
J. Lee Grady is contributing editor of Charisma magazine. He is also an ordained minister and the author of Ten Lies the Church Tells Women (Creation House), from which this article is adapted.