Monday, May 04, 2009

Mama Monday

Today's Mama Monday is the lovely and radiant Christine from the blog Fruit in Season.

Christine is a doting, committed mother to her four unique children.
She writes about issues related to the challenges of motherhood, marriage, and living in Christ.

Ladies, I bring you Christine:

1. greatest thing about being a mom:

There are so many wonderful things it’s hard to pick one. By far one of my favorite things, though, is seeing the relationships between my children grow and flourish. Sure, we have our sibling squabbles, but the times when they share their dessert, rush to each other’s aid, read to each other, and praise each other, all when I’m not looking, are much more plentiful and so rewarding for me as a mom.

Something that’s been very special for me has been encouraging my children’s growth in Christ. As a child living in an atheistic (though loving) home, I didn’t have the spiritual experiences that my children have, and so I’m kind of flying blind. When I witness a simple and honest spiritual awakening in them, or hear their amazingly profound questions (and attempt to answer!), or listen to their prayers, I marvel at this job that I have in leading them to a close relationship with God. It is humbling and inspiring.

2. hardest thing:

The hardest thing for me is definitely coming to terms with my own perfectionism, and inevitable failures, day in and day out. I take my job as mom very seriously. That’s not to say I don’t have fun in the process, but I’m very intentional about the choices I make for and with my children. Every moment, and every contact they have will shape their lives. My husband and I are the primary influences in their lives, for good AND for bad, so parenting takes thoughtfulness and LOTS of prayer! I recently read a quote (though I can’t remember the source!)

“Do you really want your mind to become the garbage can of the world?”

I haven’t been able to get this out of my mind. And how much more should we be careful of what goes into our children’s minds? Small things that enter our home, our minds can have such a colossal influence on us. In our kitchen we have the characteristics of Philippians 4:8 (true, noble, lovely, pure, right, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy) listed on our pantry door for all of us to see. And we are all under God’s authority so the kids know that Mom and Dad have to abide by those standards as well. I will often say “I’m sorry” to my kids and (in their presence) to God for the things I fall short on, and this gives them a genuine glimpse of God’s grace for me, and therefore them.

3. how do you find balance in your life:

Hmmmm, I haven’t figured that one out yet. It’s definitely a step-by-step learning process. My perfectionism caused me to play the martyr for many years. If I thought something should be my job in our home, I felt guilty if my husband did it. I thought I shouldn’t get tired and should always be able to fulfill my obligations without break. I have been realizing in the past couple of years though, that God doesn’t want me to injure myself emotionally, physically and spiritually working toward the things that are temporal and that He has given me gifts that have sat on the shelf collecting dust since the kids were born.

Recently I have begun tapping into my creative nature- drawing, photography, making cards and other paper crafts- and Jason has been pushing me to take more time for myself. I’ll often go to the library or the park for a couple of hours with my Bible, a sketchpad and some pencils or pen and ink. By the end of that time I am missing my husband and the kids, feeling refreshed and all the more thankful for what I have.

The biggest lesson for me has been that housework and the daily tasks of family life never end and if try and wait till I get everything crossed off of my to-do list before I take some time to refill my cup, then I’ll always be empty.

4. hobbies/interests:

I love anything creative: drawing, painting, crafting, photography. I love to cook and bake. I read incessantly. I’m kind of a nerd, so I love intellectual, theological works, as well as the topics of homeschooling, child-rearing, simple living (though I’m not that great in practice!) and an occasional novel or memoir. Jason and I also love to play golf, though it’s much too expensive a hobby for us now, and we enjoy traveling, hiking, and sightseeing when we get a chance. We’re planning on backpacking through Europe with the kids for 3 months during Jason’s next sabbatical (he’s a college music professor). It’s not for 6 years, but since we’re homeschooling, I guess it’s never too late to starting planning our curriculum around it! ☺

5. what is your favorite place in all the world?

I’m a homebody, so predictably I will say home. But Jason and I love the Hocking Hills in Ohio for a weekend getaway to reconnect. We rent a little secluded cabin, go hiking, cook yummy meals, and discuss where we’ve been and where we wish to go in our lives. The truth is, anywhere with Jason and the kids is my favorite place.

6. favorite blogs or websites

Because of time I can’t read all the blogs or websites that I’d like to, but a few of my favorites are this one (of course!), A Path Made Straight, Conversion Diary, Preschoolers and Peace, Holy Experience, and…gosh, I could go on and on!

I love All Recipes and get probably a couple of recipes per week from there. For homeschool stuff I love For Small Hands for Montessori-type materials, and Rainbow Resources for good prices on new curriculum, games and educational toys. Really, I just like to be surfing around on the computer, so I could list a hundred more!

7. I couldn't live without—

Regular time alone with Jason. I really am kind of needy like that! ☺ There are seasons of Jason’s job when he’s working nights and weekends and all of the time in between and my stress level increases with every day that I can’t connect with him. We’ve taken a weekend away most years since the kids were born and have grown as a couple more in those times than all of the crazy dailiness combined. As far as “normal life” goes, we are frugal so we’ll often put the kids to bed early and have a late dinner and watch a movie or, more recently, play a little Wii. I said I’d never get one of those things, but since it was a gift I guess I’ll play a bit!

8. favorite thing to do with your family

We are a game family, so we love playing board games together. One of our favorites, for the 5 and older crowd, is Doodle Dice. It’s just a great game for all ages. We also enjoy just hanging out and doing errands together on the weekends. The kids are all musical (taking after us!) and so we often sing and do silly music games with them around the house.

9. guilty pleasures?

I’m pretty boring in this regard. I completely love chocolate. Turkey Hill Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream is the best, oreos, Easter candy, Halloween candy, Valentine’s candy…you get the idea.

Oh, and I’m a sucker for American Idol. My kids think I should try out but I’m waaaay too old.

10. 3 books that changed your life

Since I was called by Christ in college from a life of atheism, I would definitely say that the Bible was and is the most life changing book for me. I have totally taken a question that you, Andrea, posted last month, “What book of the Bible are you reading right now?” to heart and have been making sure to read scripture every day! That was a great motivator for me, so thanks!

Another book I’ve read multiple times and has truly encouraged me as a woman, wife and mother is “Stepping Heavenward” by Elizabeth Prentiss, and books by Henri Nouwen (“Here and Now” and “Life of the Beloved”) have spoken to me when I have most needed them. “Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh was also an important read for me this year, as was Crunchy Cons by Rod Dreher

I guess I should stop now… ☺

11. parenting "epiphany"

Things will not fall apart if I don’t stick to my schedule and rules for a day or two. It’s kind of the running joke in our house, me being the first-born rule-follower and all. I’m much more flexible now, thanks to a wonderfully understanding (and non-rule-following) husband and some forgiving children.

12. one word that describes me—


Thank you Christine!!!


~nanashouse~ said...

From a fellow nerd, I am blessed by you as I read this article!

JJ said...

"I have been realizing in the past couple of years though, that God doesn’t want me to injure myself emotionally, physically and spiritually working toward the things that are temporal and that He has given me gifts that have sat on the shelf collecting dust since the kids were born."

Oh yes, I hear you!

tonia said...

thank the Lord for children to help all of us rule-followers learn flexibility! :)

i enjoyed this interview very much, christine...especially seeing your smiling face!