Each time I’ve visited Mom’s house recently, it looks different than the time before. Another room sits bare. The living room is stacked higher with more Dole fruit boxes, appropriately labeled.
The house has undergone a lot of changes over the years. In fact, although my parents lived in the same house for twenty-two years, our house never stayed the same. Mom’s daily effort was to make it more beautiful, comfortable, welcoming, and useful.
We aren’t a terribly sentimental family when it comes to stuff. My parents never spent too much time living in the past—there is so much to do in the present! So our home wasn’t about preserving memories so much as making more.
The peach bedroom I once shared with my two sisters (bunk beds and a trundle—but Janelle would always sleep with one of us!) eventually became Janelle’s bright red room. It was Janelle and Mike’s when they lived there the first time and now it is Chad’s (sometimes messy one) for a few more days.
The living room where as little girls we sat on the couch and read Grandma’s Attic books with Mom and slept under the Christmas tree became the dining room that could sit all the sons-in-law and grandkids.
The kitchen table where Dad read us many a dinnertime story is long gone. Actually, it was our first kitchen table. A lot of my parent’s old furniture was (and is) in our house now.
The spare bedroom in the basement used to be Dad’s office. But it has also been home to Josh Harris, Brian and Kristin, Mike and Janelle, Steve and me (when I was recovering from surgery), then Mike and Janelle again, and now Dad and Mom are using it for the last few weeks.
The kitchen got a much-needed remodeling after I moved out. I still can’t find the drinking glasses.
Amid all these changes, and even with boxes piled high, that house still feels like home for one reason: Mom is there. In fact, when I stop to think about the house I grew up in, that is what I remember most—not the wall color or the knick knacks or the furniture, but how Mom’s love of beauty, her devotion to her husband and children, her work ethic, her pursuit of cleanliness and order, her peace and joy, her constant presence permeated the entire house. I can relate to a little boy who, when asked, “Where is your home?” replied, “Where mother is.”
So if you were to ask me if I am sad about my parents moving out of the house I grew up in, I’d say, not at all. Home is just moving down the street. It is, and always will be, where Mom is.
2008 at 2:09 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
It’s tradition here at girltalk to spend the week after Christmas revisiting highlight posts from the past year. This week we’re going to re-post our memories of the home we grew up in, originally prompted by our parent’s move to a new home and Kristin and Brian’s purchase of their old home. Mom got us started with thoughts on every day life in the home they lived for over twenty years. I hope it encourages many of you who are busy at home today.
Nicole was nine, Kristin eight, and Janelle four when we first moved into our home on a cold February day in 1986. Chad wasn’t even born yet. Today, a sunny one in June, twenty-two years later, I’m boxing up (and sometimes throwing out) two decades worth of memories.
Of the more than 8000 days I spent in this home, there were a few dramatic ones: the day I announced to CJ that “surprise, you’re going to be a father again!” or the day Kristin fainted and we had to call the ambulance, or when Mike serenaded Janelle outside her window at 6am, or when Nicole returned from the hospital after life-saving surgery.
But most of my days looked pretty much the same.
I got out of bed each morning so that I could do everything I did the day before. I washed the dishes so they could be dirtied again. I ironed the clothes so they could be worn and wrinkled again I wiped noses so they could run again. I picked up toys so they could be played with again. I mopped the floor so mud could be tracked on it again. I cooked meals so that I could go to the grocery store again. I made beds so they could be slept in again.
Some days I wondered: if I do all I do, only to have it undone, am I really doing anything?
Today, as I pack up my home in June of 2008, I can see the answer more clearly than I did in February 1986. Each of my daughters is married to a wonderful, godly man, Chad will be a sophomore in high school this fall, and we’ll welcome our seventh grandchild at the end of August.
I realize that all of the mundane, repetitive days were actually full of significant, enduring work. A home was being built. A family was being knit together. Four souls were being shaped for eternity.
This home has spawned three more homes where the same tedious yet momentous work goes on day in and day out. And God willing, many more homes will one day be built, day by day, so “that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:9).
Last week our good friend Bob Kaulfin posted the following on his blog. Please check it out and vote for the Psalms CD:
We just learned that Worship Leader magazine has included our Psalms CD as one of six choices for the “Best Worship Compilation CD” for 2008. Boy, were we surprised. There in the midst of Passion, CeCe Winans, and WOW Gospel, is Sovereign Grace Ministries.
Now I’d never want you to do something you wouldn’t do otherwise. But you might consider visiting the Worship Leader site and checking out the choices. There are some good ones there. But if you think the Psalms CD is the best one out of the six, you can vote for it. Your vote could help make more people aware of our music.
In any case, we’re grateful for the opportunity to produce music that serves the church and magnifies the greatness of our Savior.
The clan just returned from a Christmas gathering at Grandma’s house. Our hope is that you too had a wonderful holiday. We leave you this weekend with the Friday Funnies. Here’s a gift we’re glad we did not receive for Christmas. See you Monday, Nicole for the girltalkers (PS - Thanks, Rachel!)
How to make bedroom slippers out of maxi pads:
You need four maxi pads to make a pair.
Two of them get laid out flat, for the foot part.
The other two wrap around the toe area to form the top.
Tape or glue each side of the top pieces to the bottom of the foot part.
Decorate the tops with whatever you desire, silk flowers (this is most aesthetically appealing), etc.
These slippers are:
* Soft and Hygienic
* Non-slip grip strips on the soles
* Built in deodorant feature keeps feet smelling fresh
* No more bending over to mop up spills
* Disposable and biodegradable
* Environmentally safe
* Three convenient sizes: (1.) Regular, (2.) Light and (3.) Get out the Sand Bags.
In our new dining room hangs a large chalkboard. During the Christmas season we’ve had the words to the carol, “Joy to the World” written on the board. I’ve been teaching it to Caly and today we send it out as an audio Christmas card to you and your family. The Lord is come. Joy to the world indeed.
“On this side of eternity, Christmas is still a promise. Yes, the Savior has come, and with him peace on earth, but the story is not finished. Yes, there is peace in our hearts, but we long for peace in our world. Every Christmas is still a ‘turning of the page’ until Jesus returns. Every December 25 marks another year that draws us closer to the fulfillment of the ages, that draws us closer to… home. When we realize that Jesus is the answer to our deepest longing, even Christmas longings, each Advent brings us closer to his glorious return to earth. When we see him as he is, King of kings and Lord of lords, that will be ‘Christmas’ indeed!’”
Oh, I can’t wait for that Christmas! Come, Lord Jesus!
After the birth of MJ many kind friends brought me meals during my recovery. I’m convinced that all of the yummy food had something to do with my speedy return to normal. My friend Tali brought me two meals (I owe ya, girl!) and with it came the most delicious homemade white bread. It has since become a staple here at the Bradshaw house. Over Thanksgiving Nicole found a recipe for some Honey Cinnamon Butter- the perfect complement to Tali’s bread. I gave this bread and butter pair to some friends for Christmas this year while of course making some extra for us. I’m sending the recipes on to y’all today. If you have time, I would recommend sneaking some in to your Christmas dinner. Tali’s Bread (She never gave me a name so that’s what we call it around here.)
6-7 ounces of milk (a little under a cup) 1/4 cup warm water 1/4 cup butter 1 egg 1 tsp salt 3 tbsp sugar 3 1/4 cup bread flour 2 tsp active dry yeast
Put wet ingredients in bread machine first with salt and sugar. Add flour and yeast. Run on dough setting and take out BEFORE it bakes in machine. Bake about 25-35 minutes at 335* until the top is light brown and hard.
Paula Deen’s Cinnamon Honey Butter
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened 2 tablespoons honey ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Pack into a small crock or baby food jar with a decorative lid. Or roll in waxed paper into a log and twist the ends. Chill thoroughly. Wrap in colorful paper.
Each year we suggest a Christmas sermon to listen to as you do your holiday baking, wrapping and decorating. This year, we want to recommend a sermon by Sinclair Ferguson from a series he did last year on “Around the Manger: Mary.”
Dr. Ferguson’s Scottish accent is enjoyable to listen to, but even more, it is a blessing to learn from his careful and joyful exegesis of Scripture.
“I can have all kinds of nice experiences of Christmas,” he observes in this sermon, “but I can’t actually have Christmas unless this dawns upon my soul.”
Listen and find out what must dawn upon our souls in order to truly have Christmas this year.
A few years ago we compiled a list of attitudes that should characterize our heart this Christmas. Since I need the reminder, I thought you might benefit too.
THE HEART LISTfrom December 6, 2005
In case you haven’t caught on: over the last few days we’ve been subtly slipping you another list of “must do’s” for the holidays. I know. How dare we add another list to the endless lists you’ve already got going this time of year?! There are to-do lists, Christmas gift lists, a wish list from each person on the gift list, Christmas card lists, grocery lists, lists of errands…. Whew!
However, the list we’ve been talking about trumps all these lists. It’s the heart list. And if you missed it, here are the three biblical priorities that should fill out our “heart list”:
As we give first attention to our heart list, it will help us to complete all the other lists in a manner that honors God. I daresay that makes this list the most important one of them all!
So before we rush into our day with lists in hand, let’s humble ourselves. Let’s accept our significant limitations as finite creatures and remember that only God completes His to-do list (humility). Let’s refuse to be self-sufficient today, but instead, in all that we do let’s acknowledge our need for God’s guidance and help (dependence). And of course, let’s serve Him with gladness throughout this day, so that others will see that we serve a “good Master”—“the Son of Man [who] came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).
Opening the door of our Advent calendar each day is one of Jack’s greatest delights of the Christmas season. His enthusiasm—“Mom, it’s only nine more days until Christmas!”—epitomizes children’s radiant anticipation for the holiday.
Sure, the Baby Ruth or Starburst behind the little door might have something to do with his eagerness (you think?). But he is also excited to read the next installment of the Christmas story and the verse that goes along with it (as he chews on his candy).
My apologies—I know it’s a little late to be recommending an advent book. But buy it as an early Christmas 2009 Christmas present for yourself (oh yes, and friends and family too).
This is one of those books I’ve been waiting for all my life. It’s a collection of readings from almost all of my favorite authors (long dead and now living) on various passages related to the incarnation and birth of Jesus. John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, JI Packer, John Piper…need I go on?
Despite the busyness of the Christmas season (and it seems to get crazier every year) I have been able to meditate on the deep and glorious truths of what it all means. The wonder of the incarnation, the humility of Christ, the glorious plan of the gospel, it’s application for me today. My joy is deeper this Christmas as my thoughts are drawn past the presents and parties to Jesus, the “joy of every longing heart.”
“Open the cover,” it urges on the back of the book, “and rediscover what Christmas was meant to be.”
Amy, a girltalk reader from central London, sent us the following video produced by her church, St. Helens Bishopsgate. "This short film" she writes, "explores the real meaning of Christmas and why its wonderful news that Jesus came to earth."
Engaging, and thoroughly biblical, the creators hope this video will help create evangelistic opportunities among non-Christian family, friends, and coworkers. It is also joyous reminder to us as Christians of the good news of the gospel. That’s Christmas.
In one of the more unlikely honors of her life, Mom has been featured on a new album by reformed rapper Shai Linne. A talented hip-hop artist of a most unusual sort, Shai Linne’s life and music are infused with a passion for God’s Word, reformed theology, and complementarian convictions. Track nine of his new album Storiez entitled “Work It Out” celebrates femininity and mentions Mom. Here’s a snippet.
A personal thanks to Christie for sending us a "smart blonde joke."
Enjoy your weekend! Janelle for Mom, Nic, and Kess
A cop pulls over a blonde, and says, “Ma’am, you
were speeding. May I please see your driver’s license?”
well, you see officer, I don’t have a drivers license,” the blonde
replies. “I never really had the time to go to the DMV and stand for hours
in line…and anyway, all you get are terrible pictures.” The
slightly taken aback cop says, “Well, then, may I see your proof of
officer,” the blonde says, “this isn’t my car. I wanted to
borrow it from my neighbor, because it’s so much faster than mine and I
was late for a wedding – that’s why I was speeding – but he
said no really rudely, so I hit him over the head with a tire iron and stuffed
him in the trunk.”
horrified police officer backs away and calls for backup, and the police chief
himself comes out, along with a squad, to see about this.
says the chief, “may I see your driver’s license?” The blonde
hands it to him and it hasn’t expired or anything, everything’s okay.
“May I see your proof of registration?" The blonde hands that to
him, and it’s her car, and everything’s okay. “I hate to
bother you,” the chief says, “but may I look in your trunk?”
she pops the trunk and there’s nothing in there. The chief comes back to
her window. “We’re sorry, ma’am. The officer over there said
that you didn’t have a driver’s license, this wasn’t your
car, and that you’d killed a man.”
know what,” says the blonde, “I bet he told you I was speeding,
Last year we ran a little series entitled 5 Keys to Christmas Joy. You can now read those posts in consecutive order, on one page, here. We hope these brief thoughts help you to seek joy in Christ this holiday.
"And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord,and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior’" (Luke 1:46-47).