The Church at home

 

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I have been out of practice in having a quiet time.

I have 4 children, and there is very little time in the day where someone isn’t awake needing something. I hit the ground running in the morning, and I’m emotionally drained at the end of the day. When the 6 month old is finally asleep at the end of the night, I am reluctant to go to bed (even though I’m exhausted) because I’d like to spend some time to myself. This is not a complaint, just a reality.

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My mother recently told me about a devotional she’s been doing, and I decided to try it out. It doesn’t take a lot of time, and I’m in desperate need of that well that doesn’t run dry. Two days ago I tried it and I felt nothing. Yesterday I cried because I realized what I have been missing for a while. Today I had a revelation.

Today was different. I woke up this morning and thought, I’m not going to get a few minutes alone. So far that’s been true; I haven’t. BUT. I sat down anyway with the devotional on my phone app, and decided to read it out loud to the kids. They may not be able to understand all of it, but they don’t understand everything being taught from the pulpit on Sunday mornings at our family integrated church either. I knew I needed to spend the time with God and if it had to be with the kids so be it. I’m so glad I got through it.

This devotional is set up very much like a contemporary church service. It starts with a song, continues with the Word, gives some guided prayer, has a motivational conclusion, and takes maybe 15 minutes to complete. For a busy mom, short and sweet with something to leave me thinking on for the rest of the day is perfect.

On an ideal day, after I’ve served the kids their breakfast, and everyone has gotten dressed, we will do a morning basket. We start with prayer, reading a portion of Scripture, learn a hymn, and read some books on different topics.

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However, as I shared this devotional with my family, it dawned on me that this is what I should be doing daily with them. Not the devotional itself, but church. Somehow I hadn’t equated morning time with church at home. I equated it with school. But as a Christian mom and homeschool mom, my home and my school are my daily church. I’m a director of sorts, and the children are the congregation.

As a teacher it is my responsibility to teach them subjects, as a mom I need to teach my kids how to tie their shoes, and how to have good manners, but most importantly as a Christian, my children are my disciples. They will learn from me, good or bad, who Jesus is, theology, and whether or not those things are important. I am the assistant pastor of our home. My home is a mini church where I train my children during the week to participate in a larger service on Sundays. My family is a mini community where I train my children to be part of a much larger community locally and worldwide, and that they should love each other because they are each others neighbor.

In viewing my home and family this way, I am also challenged in my thoughts an attitudes as a mother, teacher, and missionary to my family.

FYI, I’ve had the Caedmon’s Call station running on Pandora all morning as a result of my revelation.

Psalm 34:1 ESV I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be continually in my mouth.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

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self-sustainability for everyone: revamp

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A while back I did a series on self-sustainability for the every-day-joe. It was a great idea, but it was kind of lame, and maybe a little too scattered. I would love a do-over, and since this is my blog…I can do that! Ha!

I believe the first step on that path to self-suffinciency is to figure out your reason you are doing it. Here you are in good company. About 10 years ago I met my husband, and he and I started talking about doing just this. It started off as an idealistic dream, but now that we are into six years of  marriage, we are fleshing out that reality more and more. It is looking more and more like a reality, and less and less like the fantasy it appeared to be way back when.

If you are interested in this way of life, and are yourself planning to take on the “self-sufficient life,” you may be looking into seeing what is involved, what it will cost you, and if it’s really a worthwhile endeavor. I’m here to tell you there is a lot to the process, it will require a huge sacrifice of yourself (one that I’m still having a hard time with if I’m being honest), but if you truly want this for your life and you can make the sacrifice, it will be worthwhile.

I am far from having arrived at “self-sufficiency,” and everyone who has is doing it a bit differently. I can merely offer you my thoughts. These thoughts are for folks who want to live a simpler life where they are…right…now.

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Where to Start: Find Your Reason

The first step on the road to self-sufficiency is to find your reason. I find our list of reasons for becoming self-sufficient are piling up. I don’t know if I have even had the chance to write them out before this. This is a short list of what matters to my family.

  • To not be dependent on modern luxuries / /  The words “self-sufficient” indicate independence. We would not need to be dependent on government hand-outs, grocery stores, fossil fuels, electricity, sewage, import/export of commodities, modern technology, public or private education, etc. I’m not saying that we would never take advantage of any of these things, but they are luxuries and not necessities.
  • Spiritual/Environmental / /  For me, being a Christian makes the environment a spiritual issue. If you read the first version of this series, you know that I used text from the Bible to show why I believe this. God charged humankind in the beginning of the world to take dominion over the earth (air, land, water, plants, animals). As a Christian, I take that to mean that we should practice responsible stewardship and use only what we need. The things we don’t use should be tended to, and cared for. We should treat animals humanely, not pillage the earth by over-farming with monoculture (the same thing in the same soil year after year strips the soil of its nutrients) and drilling for oil, keep our waters clean for the life that lives inside of it, and also as drinking sources, etc. It would seem that a lot of Christians have not been taking this charge with much seriousness, but it was the very first job ever tasked to people, and deserves our much needed attention. I believe that it is possible to renew the earth and with enough generations of responsible living, the earth could potentially be brought back to its original Edenic state. “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)
    • As a Christian, I believe in a world created by God and not by happenstance. Its cool if you don’t. You don’t have to see the world the way I do. But it certainly affects the way I treat environmental issues.
    • This can very easily bunny trail into Christianity’s perspectives on the apocalypse, but for the most part I reject the eschatological doctrines that teach that there will yet be an AntiChrist/False Prophet, that the world will go to hell in a hand basket, and that the Christ swoops in at the last minute to Rapture His people from tribulation. For those who care, I take the postmillennial mindset.
  • Finances / /  Startup for most things takes a substantial monetary investment. However, the tools you need to sustain your investment can last indefinitely. In this throwaway world, its hard to transition into a mindset of having something forever. You might even think to yourself, “I’ll try this self-sustenance thing, but if it doesn’t work out, no big deal.” However, if you can invest in quality tools, and learn the necessary skills, there are very few things that you will need to continue to purchase. Being content to do without may be a huge sacrifice in the short term, but end up padding your wallet in the long run. For example I plan to have my cast iron skillets forever. Hand tools will require the upkeep of staying clean, and some of them sharp, so learning the skills to use and maintain your possessions will help you become more and more financially secure. Also, get yourself out of debt as soon as possible. Owing money to a lender is not self-sustaining.
  • Health / /  By growing, raising, and hunting and/or trapping your own food, you will find your diet improve greatly. As an added benefit, the hard work your body will be putting in will be a great work-out, and all the planning required from year to year will strengthen your mind. Win, win, win!
  • Education / /  This is two-fold.
    • By getting away from a lot of the conveniences this world has to offer, we will need to/get to relearn and teach ourselves and our children old-world skills. A lot of these skills were lost when people started relying on machines, modern technology, indoor plumbing, etc.
      • For example: crop rotations, threshing and grinding grain, soap making, hand-milking, hand-shearing, spinning, basic carpentry, seed saving, and a multitude of other things.
    • Good parents do the best they can for their children. Part of being a good parent is to make sure your child has an education that will help them succeed at life. For us, that education is homeschooling, and homeschooling is also a self-sufficient task.
  • Legacy / /  A self-sustained life isn’t something we are doing exclusively for ourselves as a hobby, a whim, or a romantic dream. We are doing these things in the hopes that the skills we learn, and the benefits we obtain might be passed down to our children, grandchildren, and many generations to come. We want them to know the task of setting the world right lies in their hands, and that it is a big responsibility. We want them to be equipped to take on that responsibility with the necessary knowledge, skills, and values. We also want them to be equipped with these abilities as a safeguard for the future. With the corrupt governments of the world (our own included), and not knowing if hard times are theirs to face, they will be far more capable to get by in the event of a economic collapse.
  • Community / / When you endeavor to do a thing, find the community of people who are doing that thing too. If you are learning to knit, find other knitters to talk to. If you are learning to hunt or trap, find other hunters and trappers. If you are trying to figure out how to indoor garden because you rent an apartment, find other people who are doing the same. Someone is going to be there to offer a tip or help you out along the way, and when your practice becomes “perfect,” you will be there to help a person out who needs advice. Community is one of the best things about trying out a new thing. Community is one of the things we were made for, and without community there is something missing our lives. So whatever route you take on the path to self-sufficiency, find your community.
  • Your Reason Here / /  Your reasons and my reasons for going down this path don’t have to be the same as those I’ve listed. You may not even have the same vision of what self-sufficiency is to you. Whatever your reasons, figure out what they are, because that is what will motivate you. If you don’t have a good enough reason to go for it, then you will end up giving up.

Over the next while, I’ll try and come up with some easy tips to motivate and inspire you do this self sustained life right where you are before you have it all together!


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hello 2017!!

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Hello? Is anybody out there?

Gosh its been a long time since I’ve been in this space. It’s now 2 years later we have finally purchased a new computer. I almost don’t even know what to do with it now that it’s here! How do I use a keyboard?

So tell me, friends, what’s new?

Here at our still-non-existant-homestead, we have had a pretty productive year in terms of meeting our goals, and we have added a member to our ever-growing clan.

  • Soren Henry was born September 1o, 2016 by natural home birth
  • We have almost achieved our out-of-debt status once again, and Joe’s barber school loans are entirely paid off.
  • Joe has become an animal trapper (for reasons of offsetting our cost of meat in our grocery budget – wild caught meat is natural and organic)

Since we are in a new year, there are some resolutions I’ve made for myself (though, I’m doing kind of a crappy job accomplishing them so far.

  • Lose the baby weight
  • Knit more (thats right, MORE)
  • Write “thank you” cards (I’m so bad at remembering to do this)
  • Improve my handwriting and learn hand lettering
  • Become a better time manager
  • Become a minimalist
  • Incorporate the kids into my tasks and visa versa
  • BE MORE PATIENT

 

But for today, we’re all taking a sick day.

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2015

it’s a little far into the year for another blog post, but I’m pretty much out a computer and Joe’s tablet is all I’m able to use for any internet use.  It’s not the most convenient medium.

Life updates:

– joe has completed barber school and has a profession now. Exciting times for the Corridoni.

– our apartment is expanded and we are no longer living in the close quarters of a single room for our entire family.

– our family has expanded to 5! Welcome Allistair Gregory!

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– we’re starting to get our homesteading act together again. If you ask joe, he’ll tell you how behind we are, but I think we’re much further ahead than any year previous, so I’m optimistic. We already have some of our seeds germinating in flats, chicks, and have bettered our garden plan and strategy. I’m pretty excited about the prospect of a no-till no-water garden. For more info, see http://www.backtoedenfilm.com

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– I’ve gone sugar, gluten, and for the sake of the bbaby, dairy free. I’m following the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan, and find that as a result, I’m eating the healthiest I’ve ever eaten in my life. It feels so good!!

– bridget turned 2 at the end of March

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I believe that is the major updates from our place! Until next time.

making space

A subject of much frustration to me is the state of my home.

As I have mentioned before I live in a one room “apartment” above my parents 2 stall garage. If you can imagine how large the second floor of a garage might be and then cancel some of that space out with a sloped ceiling over half of that space, that is the amount of space our family of four has to reside in. Granted, we share space with my parents during the day, and spend time outside. But all of our possessions are either crammed in a small space with us (kitchen/dining, bathroom, and bedroom complete with beds and dressers) or in a store shed in the yard.

Currently construction is making its way to completion, when finished will give our family 2 actual bedrooms which makes me super super happy. No more having to leave the house as soon as bedtime comes around so we don’t keep the kids awake!

In the meantime though, I am faced with making space where none exists. This means when friends give us gifts, or pass things on to us (ever so sweet and kind of them) that is another item desperately desperately searching for a home. In fact, half of the girls’ toys hang out at my parents’ because we simply cannot fit them in our home. This means finding creative places to store our food. This means entertaining friends outside or at my parents’ house, or not entertaining friends at all.

Most of my recent studies on dominion and stewardship have only made my desire for space all the more fierce! I don’t have control over where I live, so I should practice control and responsibility over what I live in or among. In some ways this is much easier than I expected and I find myself wondering why I haven’t purged my possessions before! In other ways I find it so hard. Though I have so much more space than I did just last week, I still look around and think to myself, “Why do I still have so much stuff?!

Stuff.

I don’t want to have stuff.

I want the things I own to reflect Joe and me, our family, and our values. The things we own should have a purpose and not just be really cute/awesome clutter.

I even gave away yarn. I threw away pens. I have 3-4 trash bags of clothing and toys to give to charity. I recycled empty cardboard boxes and gift bags.

Then I had a yard sale.

I was so proud of myself. I had filled the truck  we are trying to sell full full full of items I deemed worthy to sell. Then finally I thought I was ready to have a huge yard sale. I was super bummed out when my items only filled 2 tables. In my defense I didn’t have any large furniture items to sell, but it doesn’t really draw a huge crowd when you don’t look like you’ve got a whole lot to get rid of.

I know I must have more to get rid of! Why can’t I seem to figure out what it is instead of letting it be there suffocating me!?

Are you a minimalist? How do you recognize the things you want out of your life?

my end of summer reading list

I’m not going to lie. A lot of this is going to seem pretty boring to most folks. I am on a non-fiction christian book kick. I will do my best to add a brief description of subject matter. I will also be adding books I have read and completed thus far over the summer.

Three Decades of Fertility: Ten Ordinary Women Surrender to the Creator and Embrace Life (Kindle) read

Ten women share their stories of childbearing and being mothers over the course of three decades, from their 20’s – 40’s. I gained a lot of wisdom from this book. These ladies reminded me of my mom and I felt as though I were being taught by true Titus 2 women.

Diapers, Dishes, and Dominion: How Christian Housewives can change the World by Leah D. Smith (Paperback) read

Leah covers a variety of topics from gender rolls, to child-rearing, to government, to eschatology. I found myself either nodding in agreement or being wowed by insights I had never considered before, yet made perfect sense. This was just the right book for just the right time in my life – a mom with young children, preparing them to enter their practical and spiritual educations. This book was a gift to me, and I wish I could gift it to every woman I know. A true treasure for those who are wondering what in the world they are doing as a mother.

Born-Again Dirt: Farming to the Glory of God by Noah Sanders (Paperback) currently reading

Great read so far. Another gift from a friend. The author makes a case for what the Bible has to say about farming. Put into practice, farming according to the Word will look different to different people in different regions, but the principles are the same – take dominion of the earth, and animals, take care of others, and have a godly business ethic.

Paradise Restored by David Chilton (Hardcover) currently reading

I have only gotten a couple of pages in so I haven’t formed a whole lot of opinions. I am reading this because I have lately become curious about the Postmillennial Eschatology. This book supposedly gives solid scriptural evidence for an eschatology of hope. So far the idea makes sense to me, that if Jesus finished His work of defeating sin and death on the Cross, that sin and death no longer have power over the Christian, and not just the Christian, the earth as well. “The earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” Postmillennialism was the dominant eschatological view of the Church up until WWI. However, contrary to an eschatology of hope, there now reigns in Christianity an eschatology of fear. That is: Antichrist is coming, Satan is winning, this world is going to hell in a hand basket until Christ’s return, and there is nothing you can do about it.

Looking forward to this read a lot.

Family UNplanning by Craig Houghton (Kindle)

Point of interest for me. Sometimes it’s nice to just have a little encouragement when you feel like  the minority.

Fully Alive: A Biblical Vision of Gender that Frees Men and Women to Live Beyond Stereotypes by Larry Crabb (Kindle)

This is also a point of interest for me and as I’m going to blog on gender roles (at some point) thought this book came across my eyes fortuitously. I would probably not read or purchase this book normally, but Kindle was offering it for free yesterday so I figured why not. Don’t know if I will agree with it or not, but maybe there is something to be gleaned. 

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp (Kindle)

I asked my facebook community to offer some book recommendations on parenting and this book came recommended by a few women who’s parenting I respect, and also I was warned that his books did more harm that good to one father’s parenting. I think I’m a good judge of things I should and should not believe in, so I expect there will be things I will take away as helpful and other things I will disregard. That’s just how I roll.

Thats it for now. I have a few more on my Kindle that I want to read, but we’ll see how I do with these. I will update either in September or when I’m done – whichever comes first.

rising to a standard of love and respect

I have been considering the next topic I want to tackle and it makes me nervous because it has to do with the female gender role. Every time I read an article, a book, or discuss the female gender role with a friend/acquaintance there is always this hoard of people who chime in about the abusive or controlling man/husband. I do realize that there are indeed those men out there and I don’t agree with that kind of behavior. However, though I know I will have to address that issue because it is one, I don’t like being a man-basher. I think men, especially the good ones, all seem to get lumped into this category of being either abusive, controlling, sexist, and violent, OR they are lazy, good-for-nothing, dead-beat, spineless losers.

I see a lot of advice, quotations, and theory posted on social media about children and the effect of bullying and belittling speech toward them. May I submit that a person – man, woman, or child – will rise to the standard to which the person whom they respect (parent, spouse, employer, etc.) sets for them. If you belittle a person, and society and family enforces this mindset, they more likely than not will conform to that standard.

An acquaintance on facebook, referring to her husband, said these words, “I wouldn’t have married him if he were that way.” and I absolutely respected that statement.

It seems to me that, at least with church girls, they want so badly to meet “the one” and get married and live “happily ever after” that they don’t stop long enough to make sure that cute Christian guy in their youth ministries class giving them that bashful look is suited for them. They just need to get that white dress, and that handsome guy to make them happy.

Ladies, before you make promises and commitments and covenants before God think about the person you are marrying and if you can deal with his personality and character. Because divorce is something that is all too common and God equates with murder. Murder.

Malachi 2:16

“For the man [woman] who does not love his [her] wife [husband] but divorces her [him], says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

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I love my husband. I chose my husband. Out of every man in the world, I decided that I would stand beside, follow, love, honor, and cherish this one. I was not coerced, forced, threatened, manipulated or anything else into the agreement and covenant. I went into it with my eyes open, with realistic expectations, and with love in my heart. I wasn’t in it for the money, for the fancy wedding, for the status, the sex, or the security. I made sure this was a man I could live with and who I could agree with. I made a commitment and promise and it was my own regardless of what may come in the future.

I told Joe something I borrowed from my cousin. “I don’t believe in divorce, but I do believe in murder.” I don’t actually believe in murder for the record. The statement was made to enforce the seriousness in which I believe in the promise, “Till death do we part.”

When I met him he was (and still is but not as much) self-depricating, and a worrier. He was finicky about food and textures, germs and dirt. I won’t go into all of my husbands flaws because I’m not here to bash him. I just want to make it clear that he has flaws, he’s weird, he’s got insecurities. All men do. If your husband has flaws, it is not an abnormal thing. And guess what? We ladies do too. Our flaws just may be different ones.

The beauty of marriage is that you have two people with both strengths and weaknesses and you work together as partners who help one another overcome. Or at least that’s what we should be doing. Instead of pointing out each others weaknesses and being bitter about it.

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I am not a farm girl. Talk to my parents sometime and they will tell you that I dream about living in the city with retail all around me, and coffee shops that are open all hours of the night. I dream of opening a cafe/bookstore in some old New England city with cobble-stoned streets. Joe’s dream is to live on a secluded farm and work to heal the land bringing forth a self-sustaining crop and having a few animals from which we receive meat, eggs, and milk. Our dreams can either compete with one another or we can make sacrifices for each other. I chose to sacrifice my dream. I also wanted a family, and being a kid in the city is not as fun as being a kid in the country. I remember being a kid in the city and longing for a big open backyard to play in.

I support my husband’s dreams and will raise my children to support that dream as well. He does not require this of me, but it certainly makes his life easier because I do.

So since I have chosen on my own to support my husband in his pursuits, to encourage him with my words, and train my children to respect him I have noticed something about him. He is changing. No, no, not into a different man. He still has all the same flaws he started out with. But he has risen to the standard of love I am setting for him. My admiration causes him to think that maybe there is something admirable in him. When I support his dreams without a complaint to having sacrificed mine (and it doesn’t feel like much of a sacrifice when I consider the joy my family brings to me), he is more driven to accomplishing those dreams. When I tell him he is a good husband and a father, he becomes an even better husband and father. I show him in my actions that I honor and love him by not nagging him when he doesn’t accomplish tasks I’ve asked of him, but just end up doing them myself OR respond to him in intimacy whether they are his advances or making my own. He doesn’t question my loyalty to him, his jealousy becomes less (though I do appreciate being jealous over), he trusts me because I prove myself trustworthy.

Now don’t think this is a relationship of me bending over backward to please my man. I don’t. I find what I do for my husband gives me fulfillment AND when I can’t do something I receive understanding and help. It is a partnership after all.

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When I have a rough day with the children, he steps in and reinforces discipline. Our children are being taught by him to respect their mother. When I have a home birth, my husband brags to his colleagues and friends about what a tough person I am and how he doesn’t want to mess with me. In fact, my husband brags about me a lot, which I happen to love. I love that I’m not the wife who is getting complained about among my husband’s friends. I love that my husband thinks I’m awesome. Why would I not rise to that standard of love?

I may not be a feminist. My #1 dream may be to actually be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. I don’t think this should be every woman’s dream, and I don’t think it’s realistic for it to be every woman’s dream. But I do think women have choices, and I think women should be willing to carry out their end of the consequences that result from those choices. No one is making a woman get married (not in this country anyway). But if she does, she should love the jerk she chooses and make an effort to be an equal partner whatever that may look like.

Set a standard of love and be encouraging instead of nagging and bullying. If you wouldn’t like to receive it from him, don’t do it to him. This is the principle that rests at the heart of gender roles.

Matthew 22:37-40

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Luke 6:31

“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”