Dec 31

Year in Review: Day 4

2009 at 3:42 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Homemaking

A question from a reader named Julie sparked a week of great discussion at the end of June. Here’s the first post followed by links to the others.

A Homemaker’s Dilemma

June 15 2009 at 6:32 am | by Nicole Whitacre

“I’m a feminist in remission,” Julie confessed in her email to us. And aren’t we all, by the grace of God?

She continued:

“Honestly, I still struggle in my role as wife and mother though I’ve lived in it for ten years now. So when I read Carolyn’s take on the Today Show a few days ago and the new book about sharing the home responsibilities 50/50, I just had a question, or maybe, a dilemma.

I stay at home full time, homeschooling my four children and I do love it. I wouldn’t want to work outside the home even if it was offered to me. But does that really mean that the husband has NO share in the household duties? Does that really mean that he should never wash some dishes, put laundry away, bathe a child, or pick up his own socks? I mean, if stuff needs to be done, should my husband be able to surf the web or watch a game while I tidy up after dinner and get the kids in bed? I guess I’m truly wondering if this is what It means to be a biblical woman? I WANT to be. I want to do my duties without grumbling and complaining. But it’s hard. It’s easy to feel like the maid. So, any words of wisdom in helping me to see this issue clearly and biblically, would be great.”

I suspect many women struggle with Julie’s dilemma; but I admire her desire to know and obey God’s Word. In Feminine Appeal, Mom tackled this question, and I will quote her at length here:

“Martin Luther, the man who sparked the Protestant Reformation, once quipped about his wife: “In domestic affairs I defer to Katie. Otherwise I am led by the Holy Ghost.” While facetious, Luther’s comment holds biblical credibility. As wives, we are to be in charge of domestic affairs.

The command in Titus 2 to be “working at home” is further illuminated by 1 Timothy 5:14 where Paul says: “So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander” (emphasis mine).

In the Greek, the phrase “manage their households” carries a strong connotation. It literally means to be the ruler, despot, or master of the house. So we see that “working at home” means we are to function as the home manager—taking full ownership for all the domestic duties of the household.

Once again the woman in Proverbs 31 is our example. She presided over the entire range of responsibilities in her home. She helped her husband; cared for her children; completed chores; supervised servants; oversaw land; invested money; bought, sold, and traded goods (just to name a few duties!). The Proverbs 31 wife maintained a broad sphere of rule in her household.

Imitating this woman’s model, Sarah Edwards, the wife of the eighteenth-century preacher Jonathan Edwards, managed her household with careful and thorough diligence. One day Dr. Edwards emerged from his studies and asked his wife: “Isn’t it about time for the hay to be cut?” To which Sarah was able to respond, “It’s been in the barn for two weeks.”

Sarah created a world where her husband could fulfill his God-given duties without being concerned for the domestic tasks of the home. We should aspire to do likewise.

Now, with the command to “rule” in our homes, I must provide two cautions. First of all, this is not license to usurp our husband’s authority. Our management in the home must be carried out in complete support of his leadership and direction.

But this mandate also precludes the currently popular “co-responsibility” approach to homemaking. As wives, it is our job to manage our homes, and we should not expect our husbands to contribute equally to this task.

This is not to say that our husbands shouldn’t help around the house. There are times when we legitimately need their assistance, and this is especially true for moms with small children. The point is not to excuse our husbands from service in the home, but rather to solidify our role as manager of the home. God has given that assignment to us.”

A clear and compelling vision of our God-given assignment as home managers will help us guard against complaining and resentment. For further study on this topic I’d recommend the entire chapter on homemaking from Feminine Appeal, as well as Susan Hunt’s chapter on the same in The True Woman. You can also check out some of our posts on homemaking.

Homemaker’s Dilemma Pt. 2

Homemaker’s Dilemma Pt 3

Homemaker’s Dilemma Pt. 4

Homemaker’s Dilemma Pt. 5

Homemaker’s Dilemma Pt. 6

Dec 30

Year in Review: Day 3

2009 at 3:45 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Biblical Womanhood

Just before the launch of our new site on June 1, 2009, Mom reflected on why we write girltalk...

Measly Bits

May 21, 2009 at 12:46 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Filed under Biblical Womanhood

I never dreamed of being a writer. I never aspired to publish my thoughts—anywhere, ever. I don’t like to write, and I don’t think I’m especially gifted to write. Just today I happened upon a blog by a woman who is a gifted writer. She’s clever, she’s funny, and she has a way with words.

It made me wonder, what am I doing writing a blog? Why do I drag myself to the computer each morning to do something I don’t really want to do?

The answer is simple. I have a passion to promote biblical womanhood.

And why do I care so much about biblical womanhood?

I care about biblical womanhood because I love God’s Word.
I care about biblical womanhood because I want to spread the gospel.
I care about biblical womanhood because I long to promote God’s glory.

You see, Scripture, and what it says about Who created woman and what he created her to be and do is under assault from our post-modern, feminist-fed culture—at every point.

They belittle a woman’s calling in the home, marginalize motherhood, sneer at modesty, and abhor wifely submission. Yet these qualities are all an intrinsic part of God’s perfect, exquisitely beautiful design for women.

And so, I write. I write because I want to do whatever I can to promote the qualities of biblical womanhood that keep the Word of God from being reviled (Titus 2:5).

I want to contribute my measly bit. I can’t do everything. I can’t do much. But by the grace of God, I want to do what I can.

You might find your “measly bit” as unappealing as I find writing. It may seem as insignificant to you as this post does to me. But our measly bits, by the grace of God, can champion biblical womanhood and so adorn the doctrine of Christ our Savior (Titus 2:10).

So, together, with God’s help, let’s do what we should do, what we must do. Let’s do what we can.

Dec 29

Year in Review: Day 2

2009 at 4:34 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre

In May, one of our readers encouraged us to check out a video by a woman named Rachel Barkey. A wife and mother of two small children, Rachel was dying of cancer. We were so affected by her testimony that we even suspended posting for a few days. Rachel passed away on July 2, 2009, but her example of faith continues to spur us on to love and trust God more. As you consider your goals for 2010, we encourage you to take time to watch this video. Rachel lived and died in a manner that brought glory to God. May God give us all grace to do the same.

What Rachel Barkey Knows

2009 at 2:18 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney

UPDATE, Wed. May 13: We’ve never done this before. In almost four years of blogging we’ve never missed a weekday. But we are going to suspend posting for the rest of this week. That’s how much we want everyone who comes to this site to watch Rachel’s video. We guarantee that if you take five minutes to check it out, you will want to find another fifty to watch the whole thing. It’s that powerful! So please, watch the video or listen to the audio; and please, tell everyone you know—your spouse, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends—to watch it too.

PS - Parents, we highly recommend you show this to your teenager!

——————————————————————————————————————-

We had a post ready for today, but we’re not going to put it up. This afternoon, we received an email from a girl talk reader named Shaila, in Vancouver, Canada. Her best friend, Rachel Barkey has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Rachel is a wife, a mother of two children, and she is not expected to live to see her 38th birthday.

Rachelbarkey Several weeks ago, Rachel shared a message with a group of women entitled “Death is Not Dying: A Faith that Saves.” We were so affected as we watched this video that we wanted to share it with you right away.

Many people have asked Rachel, “Why? Why is this happening to you? To Neil? To Kate and Quinn? To your family and friends?”

“I don’t ask ‘why?’” says Rachel. “Because I know.”

Please watch or listen and learn what Rachel knows.

Dec 28

Year In Review: Day 1

2009 at 4:55 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Motherhood

As is our tradition, this week we’re re-posting some of the posts which received the most reader response this year. Meanwhile, we’re busy putting the final touches on some new features for our site in 2010, so stay tuned.

We begin in March with the first of three posts from Mom, encouraging moms with young kids to beware of distractions from their important calling.

Thanks for spending another year at Mom’s kitchen table!

Pay Attention

2009 at 11:32 am | by Carolyn Mahaney

Mothers are responsible to mold and shape lives; to raise children who, in the words of G.K. Chesterton, “require not so much to be taught anything as everything.”

“I might as well be at the controls of a moon shot,” reflected one mom, “the mission is so grave and vast.” And so it is. The training and discipline of our children in the fear the Lord is an awesome task, demanding of our full attention (see Deut 6:5-9).

That’s why, if there’s one concern I have for this generation of mothers, it is the potential for distraction.

Blogs, facebook, twitter and texting allow moms at home to stay connected with the outside world like never before; the Internet makes it possible for women to contribute skills and gifts to the church and the marketplace, while at home with their children. These are all tremendous blessings, and when used wisely, can bless and serve our families and glorify God.

The Proverbs 31 women, long before the Internet, managed a wide range of tasks for the good of her family and community. (But did you notice what time she woke up each morning?) Depending on a woman’s capacity, gifting, personal discipline, as well as the ages and number of children, there may certainly be room for other things.

But we must be watchful that these “other things” don’t distract us from our primary task of mothering. We must walk carefully through this season, with all its opportunities, and make the best use of our time with our children.

Truth is, we can’t effectively train our children on the side. We can’t discipline them here and there. We can’t teach when we’ve got a free moment. We can’t mother intermittently.

Inconsistent training is ineffective training.

If we are distracted by projects or pleasure, we may miss valuable teaching moments, opportunities to encourage, disobedience that requires discipline, or a chance to show affection. These moments, once lost, are gone forever.

So ladies, may I encourage you, as I do my own daughters, to give training and discipline your first and full attention. Walk carefully, and keep your eyes on the mothering road.

More thoughts tomorrow.

A QUESTION OF PRIORITIES

FIRST THINGS FIRST

Dec 23

The Promise of Christmas

2009 at 11:13 am   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Homemaking | Holidays

Meditate on this truth today and rejoice in the faithfulness of God:

blurry tree“The incarnation is the supreme example of fulfilled prophecy, the supreme example of God’s faithfulness to his promises….

What God did when he sent his Son into the world is an absolute guarantee that he will do everything he has ever promised to do.

Look at it in a personal sense: ‘All things work together for good to them that love God’—that is a promise—‘to them who are the called according to his purpose’ (Rom. 8:28, KJV).

‘But how can I know that is true for me?’ asks someone.

The answer is the incarnation.

God has given the final proof that all his promises are sure, that he is faithful to everything he has ever said. So that promise is sure for you.

Whatever your state or condition may be, whatever may happen to you, he has said, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’ (Heb. 13:5, KJV)—and he will not. He has said so, and we have absolute proof that he fulfills his promises.

He does not always do it immediately in the way that we think. No, no! But he does it!

And he will never fail to do it.”

D. Martyn Lloyd Jones
from Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, ed. by Nancy Guthrie
Dec 22

Tale of Two Christmas Cookies

2009 at 4:16 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Fun & Encouragement | Girltalkers | Homemaking | Holidays

cookiesRecently, a myth has arisen about Grandma Mahaney’s Christmas cookies. Dad thinks—believes with all his heart, actually—that the cookies with green icing taste better than the cookies with red icing.

That’s absurd, since the only difference is the food coloring. But try telling Dad that. You won’t get anywhere. Common sense reason doesn’t penetrate this illusion.

After many exasperated explanations as to how it is not by any means possible for the red and green cookies to taste different; even after Grandma (his own mother!) told him the truth to no effect, we changed tactics.

He doesn’t believe us? Fine. We’ll prove it to him.

Time for a taste test.

Last Christmas, we all crowded around the kitchen table, set a plate of Grandma Mahaney’s Christmas cookies in front of Dad, and blindfolded him.

We fed him the first cookie.

“Red,” he said.

He was right. Lucky guess.

Next cookie.

“Green,” he said.

Right again. Oh, this isn’t good.

Third cookie.

“Red,” he said.

“Gotcha!” we cried. The cookie was green.

Finally, we thought, proof they taste the same.

Not so fast. We forgot this is Dad we were dealing with. This is the boy who, as permanent quarterback for all the pick-up football games on Hodges Lane, long ago honed the skill of spinning every defeat into a victory.

Two out of three, he insisted, is a win.

So, here we are, another Christmas, and Dad still insists the green ones are the best.

And some kids still believe in Santa Claus.

Dec 21

Grandma’s Christmas Cookies

2009 at 5:25 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Homemaking | Holidays | Recipes

christmas cookiesOn Saturday we were snowed in with 22 inches of snow! I couldn’t have ordered a more perfect day to make Grandma’s Christmas Cookies with Caly. I went to our blog to pull up the recipe and re-read Nicole’s post (from 2005) about these special cookies. It made me cry, and when I read it to the fam at breakfast, they cried too. So, I thought it was worthy of a re-post. Besides, you really have to try these cookies!

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Grandma Mahaney’s Christmas Cookies

2005 at 10:03 am | by Nicole Whitacre
Filed under Homemaking Holidays and Seasons

This year, on December 26, the Mahaney clan will descend upon Grandma’s house—all loud, laughing, thirty-six of us. And this year, as with every year since my dad was a little boy, there will be Christmas cookies next to the punch bowl on Grandma’s sideboard in the dining room.

But these are no ordinary Christmas cookies. No siree! Just ask any Mahaney who is old enough to talk (and we usually start early)—these are the original Christmas cookies. All the rest, they’re just cookies.

The Mahaney Christmas cookie starts with the softest, chewiest, nutmeg flavored sugar cookie, slightly undercooked. Then pinky-red or soft-green frosting is lathered over the entire surface. But what really sets them apart are the red-hots (fresh, not stale, mind you) strategically placed on top. The key to eating one of these cookies, as every Mahaney knows, is to plan each bite to include icing and at least one red-hot.

And if these cookies still sound ordinary to you, it’s simply because you’ve never tasted one.

Several years ago, Dad asked Grandma why she had started using smaller cookie cutters. The almost-face-sized cookies he remembered weren’t as large as they used to be. But Grandma told him that these were the same cookie cutters she’d used since he was little. It’s just that he got bigger.

It’s a small thing that Grandma does, really. She makes Christmas cookies. And she makes them every year. But simply by doing it year after year, she gives her children, and now her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, a special memory.

Sometimes, we try to make adult size memories for our children, and we exhaust ourselves doing it. We forget that the cookies that seem small to us seem really big to them. Little acts make a big impact. Especially when done year after year. We would do well to keep that in mind this Christmas.

Today I’m making Grandma’s Christmas cookies for Jack. They’re about the size of his face right now. One day he’ll probably ask me why I stopped using those big cookie cutters. And I’ll tell him they are the same one’s I’ve always used. It’s just him. He got bigger.

By the way, if you want to make a big memory with little work, here’s the recipe for Grandma Mahaney’s Sugar Cookies:

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg slightly beaten
¼ cup sour cream
½ tsp. nutmeg
3 cups sifted flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Work butter until creamy. Stir in sugar gradually, then beat until fluffy. Stir in egg and sour cream. Mix well. Sift together flour, nutmeg, soda, and salt; stir into mixture. Mix thoroughly. Chill one hour. Set oven for 350 degrees.

Roll out a small amount of dough at a time, ¼ inch thick on a lightly floured board. Cut with Christmas cookie cutter. Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool. Decorate with colored frosting and red-hots.

Frosting:
In a medium bowl, stir together until smooth:
4 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons water

Adjust the consistency as necessary with more powdered sugar or water. Color as desired. To store, cover the surface of the icing with a sheet of plastic wrap. This keeps for up to 4 days at room temperature or about one month refrigerated.