Sunday Night Traditions

(It has been months since my last post. I purposed from the start to keep my blog a lower priority than my family. They have been a busy bunch this year! Sorry for my silence. Thank you to those who have said they’ve missed my posts.)

A weekly tradition

We’ve started a new Sunday tradition. We enjoy a fellowship meal (of sorts) and I make Apple Pie and Custard for dessert.

I say a fellowship meal of sorts. On Sundays, for us, it means Andrew and I make the meal together and serve it to our family. We so enjoy the time to work together creatively, often talking through things of the weekend, Church and what lies in the week ahead, and even if we have guests we find ourselves preparing and serving the meal together.

Boy rolling pasta with Dad

Boy rolling pasta with Dad

Last week it was homemade pasta and sauce. Andrew made the pasta and I made the sauce. If you’ve never tasted fresh, handmade pasta you are missing out! It is like angel food! It is extra special for us as we use the eggs our hens lay right in our front yard. The yolks are so golden and creamy and unlike even free range eggs from the store! These colour the pasta beautifully.

Tonight we’re having homemade pie. Andrew has made the pastry and I’ve made the filling. The picture is from the previous time we made a pie, which had a pepper steak filling. Tonights is creamy chicken and mushroom. The pastry is too buttery to indulge in often (seriously, so much butter that we half expect the fat police to knock on the door any second!) but it is so amazingly yummy! It is glazed with a beaten egg, again courtesy of our sweet feathered girls out front.

Yummy pie!

Yummy pie!

You asked for it….

The Apple Pie and custard is a throw back to a few years ago. I was terribly ill in the early stages of pregnancy and I asked Andrew what he wanted for supper. He replied “Apple Pie”. Much to the amazement of the children, I actually made Apple Pie for supper! I justified it by saying it was a Sunday night and we used to eat strange things for dinner on Sundays because I didn’t feel much like cooking at the end of the weekend.

Ever since then, Andrew and the children have asked for Apple Pie for supper on Sundays! (But I haven’t made it again for dinner, I promise!)

A few weeks ago, we decided to make Apple Pie a Sunday night tradition. For dessert, not the main course! It is the only apple pie recipe Andrew actually likes. I prefer it with vanilla ice cream, but he likes it with custard.

Sometimes we watch a family movie too. Tonight it will be an Afrikaans comedy to help Amie with developing her vocabulary for an upcoming exam.

All about Family

Traditions hold a special place in the heart and rhythm of our family. I have long believed that traditions help build special family memories and in turn keep families coming together for decades, even through marriages, grandchildren etc. After a few years of working out and starting some traditions of our own, we have all come to value them and look for opportunities and ideas to start new ones.

I look forward to many more years of fellowshipping with my wonderful husband as we prepare meals together on Sunday nights to serve to whomever the Lord brings to us as “family” for that evening, followed of course, by Apple Pie!

Tea-parties & art classes – REALLY?

A few days ago someone said something that really got to me. In fact, its been chewing me up quite badly.

She commented that her husband  must now work and save extremely hard (he is in his 60s) because of all the years he “had the kids and no support”. What she meant by this is that this man’s first wife was unable to work as the result of severe, untreatable illness, so his was the only income in his household.

This was not the first time she has made such comments. She has often spoken about how “unfair” it is that some husbands are solitary earners in their households, and speaks of their wives as “lazy” and “useless” and “enjoying tea parties and art classes all day”.

And yes, she speaks of these things, in a tone of utter disdain, to me, a wife whose husband is our household’s solitary earner. Does she do it because she knows I’m different? No. She does it because really values her own opinion and she wants everyone to know very clearly what her opinion is and to make anyone who doesn’t fit her mold of ‘acceptable’ feel very small.

So I wanted to correct her. To tell her that quite contrary to being lazy, I actually work very hard. That Andrew and I are a team – he works hard to earn the money, I work hard to stretch it really far. I wanted to tell her about our savings accounts and investment plans, that, ahem, (and you can ask Andrew – he’ll be the first to agree), I am to thank for. He is the big spender here, I am the saver. Those savings have been carefully carved out of a modest budget and purposefully set aside through some very careful planning and spending on my part.

I wanted to sit her down with a calculator and show her how much it would cost to send our children to school (no such thing as free education in South Africa), how much the uniforms and fuel for the car and classroom supplies and field trips would all add to that. And then compare that figure to what I would earn if I went out to work instead of homeschooling them. I have no higher education. My earning capability is basic, at best. I’m not proud of that, but I’m not ashamed of it either. It just is what it is. The truth is, with four children, I would need to earn the same as Andrew to afford to send our children to school.

Tea parties and art classes are nowhere to be found in my schedule. Nope. My schedule is full of things like piano, violin and flute lessons, swimming classes, horse riding lessons, youth clubs, getting our eldest daughter to her babysitting jobs. When it came to fitting child-related activities into her schedule, they would have taken the form of  “mid-term break: collect X from boarding school”.

What is more, my schedule frequently involves running errands for Andrew and doing other things that help and serve him. Quite the opposite to abusing my man by making him work so hard and using all that free time all for myself, I actually do things for him.

But truthfully, I would be wasting my time and efforts if I engaged her on this subject. Her mind is made up.

So why did it bother me so much?

I don’t know. It could be because I know there is nothing wrong with how we have set up our lives. It could be the frank and open insult. It could be that this all seems very rich coming from a woman who has such strong opinions on right and wrong in marriage but her own ended very sadly in bitter divorce after her husband had an affair.

Probably the closest reason I can get to is that no one has any right to tell anyone else how to live their lives. We can have ideas and opinions, but they are our own and we have no place forcing them onto anybody else. Andrew and I love the way we have set up our lives. It works very well for us. He doesn’t feel unsupported or that it is unfair that he brings in our income alone. In fact, there are times when I have considered picking up part-time work and actually, he really prefers me to be fully available and focussed on our home and family.

So now I just need to take a deep breath and, in my thoughts at least, tell this person to take a hike. We’re happy. We’re different. But we’re happy. Our life works for us. So deal with it.

* It is also worth mentioning that the man who, in her opinion, needs to work and save harder is actually extremely wealthy and without debt and has, by his own admission, plump retirement accounts. He harbours no hard feelings against his first wife (who died many years ago) because she couldn’t work.

It’s not about ME


“This isn’t about you.  And it’s not about what you do or do not like.  It’s about me.  Stop whining about the dishes and the laundry and the dust.  Quit worrying over tiny handprints on freshly washed windows.  It doesn’t matter if you enjoy every part of what I’ve asked you to do.  It matters only if you choose to proceed with a willing heart to do that which you’d rather not.  You were made for great things and serving me here, now, is only the beginning.  Just you wait until I show you what I have planned for you later!”

Read the rest of this post at Walking Redeemed.

Motherhood is a calling

“The question here is not whether you are representing the gospel, it is how you are representing it. Have you given your life to your children resentfully? Do you tally every thing you do for them like a loan shark tallies debts? Or do you give them life the way God gave it to us—freely?

It isn’t enough to pretend. You might fool a few people. That person in line at the store might believe you when you plaster on a fake smile, but your children won’t. They know exactly where they stand with you. They know the things that you rate above them. They know everything you resent and hold against them. They know that you faked a cheerful answer to that lady, only to whisper threats or bark at them in the car.

Children know the difference between a mother who is saving face to a stranger and a mother who defends their life and their worth with her smile, her love, and her absolute loyalty.”

Read the full post here: Motherhood is a Calling at Desiring God Ministries.