Sunday, February 26, 2012

It's All about Your Heart

Here in my little corner of the blog-iverse, I share some pretty strong opinions on marriage, having children, being more feminine, etc.. Many of my posts are a bit heavy-handed-- I want you to know I recognize that.

And because of my strongly-worded posts, I'm sure there are probably some women who come here and think: 
"We can't all have large families."
"What about those of us who struggle with infertility?"
"I'm single and lonely."
"I was a victim of abuse, and you're telling me that modern women treat their husbands badly?"
"You. Are. NUTS."

As I state clearly in my side bar, the thoughts I express here do not neatly fit in with the accepted philosophies of society at large. They are not meant to; I have no desire to "fit in." However, I am not seeking to drive away any woman who is hurting, who is seeking, who is needing support and love.

What I AM trying to do with my blog scribblings is to help, encourage, lift-- and yes, MOTHER the mothers and women who come here. I don't write for popularity or acceptance. I created the OFM blog to impact mothers for the better, to encourage them to raise their sights higher and look at the role of motherhood in a new, exciting way.

I have come to know many amazing women in my life and through my ramblings here, and I am in constant awe of the valiant souls and tender hearts that God has given to us, as His daughters.

To me, Old-Fashioned Motherhood is all about the state of our hearts. Are we hard and resistant to the Lord and His plan for happiness? Or are we willing to be formed and shaped under His mighty hands?

When we embrace God's plans for our lives, we are living up to our potential. That doesn't mean we don't have problems, or that life flows smoothly and perfectly onward. And it does not mean that we will receive everything that our hearts desire. But it does mean that we have our Heavenly Father on our side, loving us, helping us, lifting us every step along the way.

My goal is not to preach, but to uplift! And as I write, I am giving myself the same pep talk I am sharing with all of you.

It really is all about the state of our hearts, which manifests clearly in our willingness to follow God's plans. 

As I've been writing this post, a favorite song of mine has been playing in my head. It's meant to be a love song, but when I hear it, I also feel like much of it is the Lord speaking to His lovely daughters.

May the Lord continue to bless and uplift us all as we strive to give Him our very best efforts.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Urgent Poll

Dear OFM readers,

Tomorrow I will be pitching the idea of an "Old-Fashioned Motherhood" book to a major publisher, and need to include some sample work in my Book Proposal. 

I'm sorry for the late notice, but I would really appreciate YOUR opinions on which OFM posts have helped or inspired you the most.

Thanks for any help you can offer!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wise Home Economy

"Thou shalt be diligent in preserving what thou hast, that thou mayest be a wise steward; for it is the free gift of the Lord thy God, and thou art his steward." 
~Doctrine and Covenants 136:27




Do any of these words make you feel uncomfortable? I must admit, they are not my favorite words in the world.

BUT, they are a very real, constant, nagging part of everyone's daily lives.

As homemakers, we have a big part to play in home finances-- or Home Economy, as I like to call it.

I'm sure we all remember these wonderful scriptures, but I'd like to read them again with an eye toward Home Economy:
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. ... She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. 
Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

As modern women, the above description of a virtuous woman can often seem an impossible standard to meet! But when we consider all of the conveniences we have in our modern lives, and take in the image of the virtuous woman as a WHOLE, and not a checklist of specifics, perhaps we can find hope and inspiration to liken the Proverbs 31 woman to ourselves. 

When it comes to Home Economy, are we careful with the money our husbands work hard to earn? Do we do our best to be frugal in the management of our household finances? We don't need to be perfect. But we DO need to address our finances and household accounts in a open, confiding way with our husbands. Sound financial decisions require communication and work!

Lately my husband and I have been working through *Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. Though we have rarely had actual fights over finances, but we have not been very communicative about our  finances, either. Money management has not been our strength! My husband and I are finding this program to be very helpful in creating an open dialogue about money between the two of us. We're just beginning, but I feel good about facing what has been an uncomfortable issue for us both.

There are other programs out there; the method is not important. What IS important is having a plan that both husbands and wives can agree on and implement.

She looketh well to the ways of her household

This is not really a post about using different financial management methods. It is also not a post about how we can change our husbands. This post is about what WE, the Home Managers of our households, can do to improve in Home Economy practices.

Thanks to my thrifty parents, I grew up to be a person who is relatively careful with money. (Read CHEAP!) Don't get me wrong-- I can spend money on "stuff" we don't necessarily need. But when I blow money irresponsibly, it's usually at garage sales and Goodwill/Deseret Industries. However, that doesn't make it a great thing to do! This is a weakness I'm continually working on.

How do we view the money that is deposited in our bank accounts each payday? As wives, do we have an attitude of entitlement or one of gratitude?

When we are given care over our household, as the Proverbs 31 woman was, do we remember that the money our dear husbands earn is precious, and that we have a sacred charge to spend his wages wisely? 

This is not always an easy attitude to have! But I know that when I take such a view of our finances, I am more thoughtful and careful over the money I spend.

Three Tips for Wise Home Economy

Here are a few ways of managing household expenses that have worked well for us:

  • Find the Deals: Once a week, I try to carefully look over all the weekly grocery ads, and make my shopping list from the best deals and loss-leaders at each store. On shopping day, I then buy as many of these items as I can wisely purchase. Whatever we don't need to use immediately in our menu goes into rotation as part of our food storage.
  • Food Storage: We store food in case of emergency, as our LDS Church leaders have been counseling us to do for MANY years. We are far from perfect at this at our house, but we consciously buys a few extras of the things on sale and add them to the food storage rotation every time we go shopping. We do also make a few big, bulk purchases a few times every year to keep the essentials in reserve. (Things like wheat, powdered milk, oats, salt, sugar, yeast, etc.) We constantly USE our food storage, naturally rotating it, rather than just letting it sit and hoping we never have to eat it. For LOTS of information on food storage and rotation, I recommend Food Storage Made Easy and the LDS Church's Provident Living website.
  • Use Resources Prudently: Waste is a HUGE problem in our modern society that is used to having every convenience immediately. As the first scripture at the beginning of this post reminds us, the resources the Lord gives us are literally sacred stewardships from Him! Nothing we have is ours-- it ALL belongs to our Father in Heaven. That is not a casual charge! We need to use our money, our food, our blessings, in ways that the Lord would have us use them. Thoughtless (or thoughtful!) waste is INGRATITUDE. I have two friends that are great examples to me on how to be frugal and careful with my blessings from the Lord. My friend's helpful blog at Thrifty Like That has some great ideas on how to save money every day. My other friend shares how she and her family lived only on her garden and food storage for several months at The Prudent Homemaker.
The Lord seeks to daily help us in our role of Homemaker. When we remember to treat the management of our household finances as a sacred stewardship, we are given the strength to make wise decisions that bless our families and homes.

May the Lord help us all to be more Virtuous Women!

Love, Mama Rachel

*PLEASE NOTE: I do NOT sell Dave Ramsey materials, and I have not been asked to endorse him, his philosophies, or his products. I'm just a homemaker who's trying to be more responsible with our household money!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

An Ode to Motherhood

Our Family Portrait in 2002

Eighteen years ago I was a very inexperienced, exhausted young mama with a tiny new baby. We lived in a cinderblock apartment located in Jr. College Town, U.S.A.. I remember how my sweet husband drove 45 minutes each way in our sole vehicle to work in a computer store. 

I would park myself on the couch all day with my wee one-- heaven knows she would want to eat again any second-- and watch mindless drivel like Oprah or Ricki Lake while thinking, "This mothering business is not so hard."

That first winter, when I would get overwhelmed by cabin fever, I would bundle up my precious babe, haul her and our used stroller down two flights of stairs, and trudge through buckets of snow just to go grocery shopping or sometimes a mile or two down the road to the pediatrician's office.

Looking back, it's funny that I didn't feel picked on that I had to walk anywhere I wanted to go. In the cold. Through the snow and mud. With a tiny, new baby.

What was I thinking?!

Actually, it makes me smile to think about it now. I was totally clueless. 

But they say ignorance is bliss, right?


I now have 4 teenagers, ages 18 to 13. And a son turning 12 in March. Not to mention the rest of them, ages 10 down to 20 months.

Some days, I think "This mothering business is not so hard."

And other days, I look around at the houseful of people that surround me and ask myself, "When did all this HAPPEN?!"

No matter how many years are behind us or how many kids we have, none of us know it all.

We're all still pretty clueless-- just in new, exciting areas.

I'm so thankful that the Lord has blessed us with the trust of His children. I stand amazed at His courage to send these sweet babies down to us, to let us figure the whole parenting business out. Sometimes we fail-- a LOT. 

And then once in a while we succeed. 

But our kids survive, life goes on, and sometimes these children of God astound us with their kindness, their wisdom, their greatness.

They teach us so much.

I'm so thankful that a little over eighteen years ago, I became a mother. It's been an awesome partnership with our Father Above. 

I'm looking forward to all the many years to come.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Faith is a Verb

Have you heard the saying "Love is a verb?"

Well, today I can tell you from personal experience that FAITH is a verb, too.

Without going into too much detail, yesterday I was given the choice between  fear and despair, or faith and hope. It was quite difficult to trust in what I could not see and move forward with peace and comfort. But as I kept praying and saying "faith is a verb" to myself, the miraculous happened. I was calm. I was hopeful. And my prayers have been answered.

Do you know that faith is a verb? Give it a try. The Lord is there waiting for each of us, if only we ask and trust in His plan.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Worthy Cause

Dear Sisters,

 I realize that between yesterday's and today's posts, things have been a little heavy here at OFM. But we are living in perilous times, with a battle on the family being waged from many directions.

I share the video below with the following quotes by Julie B. Beck in mind:
"Relief Society is meant to be a compass and guide to teach the truth to faithful women. Righteous women today seek an outpouring of revelation to resist distractions, FIGHT EVIL and spiritual destruction, and rise above personal disasters by increasing their faith, strengthening their families, and providing relief to others."
"We have a huge problem in our families with pornography and the influence that it is having in our families. The powerful feeling that has been coming over me is, 'Sisters, fight—fight, sisters.' You have the responsibility in your homes. Many of our women are being drawn into this behavior also. At our last general conference, President Thomas S. Monson gave 'a word of caution to all—both young and old, both male and female.' This is our responsibility."
We MUST stand for truth and righteousness. WE MUST FIGHT THIS EVIL in our hearts, our homes, and our society at large.

I encourage you to watch the video, support the project, and share it with everyone you can. This is a wonderful opportunity to do something really GOOD.

Thank you!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Sad Day for Marriage

It's a sad day for Marriage in California. And for FREEDOM. AND for the right of the people of California to vote and choose their own laws.

When a judicial system begins legislating from the bench, it's called TYRANNY. It's called an imbalance of power. It's called a blow to the people, the true leaders of this nation.

And we're neck-deep in it.

Here's the official statement from the leaders of my Church:

And here's an important scripture:
For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted. ~Helaman 5:2 (The Book of Mormon)
Our laws have indeed become corrupted. I am praying today for the future of our nation and for the future of our children and grandchildren.

Will you join me?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Kindness in Marriage

"At Newport-Bains" by Isidor Verheyden

This morning, my husband and I read a cute and funny post called "Things Your Husband Does Not Want to Hear" over at Middle-Aged Mormon Man. 

Unfortunately, we also read the comments together, and by the time we were finished, we both felt really uncomfortable, and-- well, SAD. Some of the comments were cute and harmless, but some of them were downright disturbing.

We were both shocked at the mean things that some of the wives were saying to-- and about-- their husbands. In general, the tone of many of the women was pretty condescending toward their spouses.

I have written on this subject before, but in this day and age it bears saying again. Kindness in marriage should not go only in one direction: from the husband to the wife. 

Of course, we know that worthy Priesthood holders need to practice righteous dominion in the home, as it says in Doctrine and Covenants 121:39-44:
We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men [and women], as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
Hence many are called, but few are chosen.
No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile--
Reproaching betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; 
That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
BUT, does the scripture above only refer to the men of the Church? Does it apply only to husbands, fathers, and Church leaders?

I submit that the scripture above is for ALL of us. In fact, it reminds me of a similar scripture in the New Testament:
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 
Sadly, I have found that the prevailing attitude of the women in the world today is that "husbands are stupid/brutes/incompetent/insensitive." And it's not just among "worldly" women. Here is a sampling of titles from Deseret Book when I did a search using the words "Husband":
 Ladies, what kind of uproar would there be if we changed one word in the titles above? What if we took out the word "husband" and inserted the word "wife?"

Let's see:
  • "Strangling Your Wife is NOT an Option"
  • "How Do I Change My Wife?"
  • "Have a New Wife by Friday: How to Change Her Attitude, Behavior, and Communication in 5 Days"
  •  "I Almost Divorced My Wife, but Went on Strike Instead"
I don't know about you, but that made me squirm-- a LOT.

Why is it perfectly fine and normal for women to talk about their husbands this way, but it's horrifying to have husbands talk about their wives in the exact same way?

Today, it is accepted and expected that women will complain about their husbands. Women talk about their husband's faults and weaknesses to their mother, sisters, friends, and complete strangers.


Let's apply the Golden Rule, here. Does ANY wife like the idea of her husband complaining about her to his father, brothers, buddies, and co-workers? I don't.

Can you imagine your husband confiding in his friend how messy his wife leaves his house? Or how incompetent his wife is about the laundry? Or how much his wife complains about and avoids marital intimacy?

Yet wives frequently joke about how their husbands won't ask for directions or won't share the remote. Or that their husbands just don't "get" how hard motherhood and housework is, and that GOOD husbands should come home and take over the household duties when they get home from work. Or that men are selfish and always harping about their sexual "needs," when they just want to sleep. (Oh, yes-- I went there, ladies...)

President Gordon B. Hinkley once said:
"I am satisfied that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one's companion." 
This message is not for the men only. It is true for husbands AND wives. 

Too often in marriage, we feel like we have to "keep score."
He gets to go off and do something, so I should get to go out with my girlfriends.
He spent all that money on [frivolous item], so I should be able to go out and spend the same amount. It's only fair!
He gets to go out and socialize at work all day, so it's only fair that he puts the kids to bed/does the dishes/makes dinner when he gets home.
I have been there-- I have done these things! But I know that not only is it not the way the Lord wants us to treat our spouses, it is also VERY damaging to the marriage relationship.

I challenge every wife to take a good, long look at how she treats her husband, and how she talks about him to others.

Do we have "anxious concern for the comfort and well-being" of our companion?

Let's reexamine ourselves and our attitudes toward our devoted, hard-working husbands. I know our homes, families, and marriages will be happier if we do so-- today.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Blog Spring Cleaning

The Laundry Woman by Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin

Have you noticed?

I'm so excited!

The OFM blog has been spruced up and revamped by a very sweet, dear friend. (Hi Misty! I'm so loving it!) 

She has cleaned up, de-cluttered, and created a blog I thought I could only dream about.

Aren't blogging friends WONDERFUL?

Thank you, Misty, for helping this little blog of mine get the good Spring Cleaning it needed!

Love always,

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