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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Motherhood and Elzabeth Elliot

Found this on a blog and wanted to share it as well.......the following by Elizabeth Elliot:

"OK now, which one of you clowns put that bag of M 'n' Ms in the grocery cart?" The mother looks harried.Two boys, maybe five and seven, eye each other and race away toward the gumball machine near the supermarket door. There is an infant strapped to a plastic board on top of the groceries, and a two year old occupying the built-in child seat in the cart. The mother picks up the M 'n' M candy bag and starts toward the aisle to return it. The two year old screams and she relents, throws the bag in with the rest of her purchases, patiently waits her turn at the check-out, fishes five ten-dollar bills from her purse, receives her small change, and pushing the cart with the babies in it, herds the two boys through the rain to the station wagon in the parking lot.

I go with her in my mind's eye. Jump out in the rain. Open the garage door. Drive in. Close door. Babies, boys, bags into the house in how many trips? Phone rings. Answer phone, change baby, wipe muddy tracks from kitchen floor. Feed baby, put groceries away, hide M 'n' Ms, start peeling vegetables, take clothes out of dryer, stop fight between two older children, feed two year old, answer phone again, fold clothes, change baby, get boys to:1) hang up coats,2) stop teasing two year old,3) set table.Light oven, put baby to bed, stop fight, mop up two year old, put chicken in oven, answer phone, put away clothes, finish peeling vegetables, look peaceful and radiant--husband will be home soon.

I see this implacable succession of exigencies in my mind's eye. They come with being a mother. I also see the dreams she dreams sometimes--write a novel, agents call, reviews come in. TV interviews, autograph parties, promotional traveling, a movie contract--preposterous dreams. Try something a little more realistic. Cool modern office, beautiful clothes, make-up and hairdo that stay done all day. A secretarial job perhaps, nothing spectacular, but it's work that actually produces something that doesn't have to be done over at once. It's work that ends at five o'clock. It means something.I know how it is. I have a mother. I am a mother. I've produced a mother (my daughter, Valerie, has a two year old and expects another child soon). I watched my own mother cope valiantly and efficiently with a brood of six. ("If one child takes all your time," she used to say, "six can't take any more.") We were--we still are--her life. I understand that. Of all the gifts of my life surely those of being somebody's wife and somebody's mother are among the greatest.

But I watch my daughter and other mothers of her generation and I see they have some strikes against them that we didn't have. They have been told insistently and quite persuasively that motherhood is a drag, that tradition is nonsense, that what people have always regarded as "women's work" is meaningless, that "roles" (a word we never bothered much about until a decade or so ago) are changing, that femininity is a mere matter of social conditioning, that it's time to innovate. If the first-grade readers show a picture of a woman driving a hook-and-ladder and a man doing a nurse's job, see what happens to the conditioning. Abolish the stereotypes and we can abolish the myths of masculinity and femininity.

I hear this sort of claptrap, and young mothers often come to me troubled because they can't answer the arguments logically or theologically. They feel, deep in their bones, that there is something terribly twisted about the whole thing but they can't put their finger on what it is.

I think I know what it is. Profanity. Not swearing. I'm not talking about breaking the Third Commandment. I'm talking about treating as meaningless that which is freighted with meaning. Treating as common that which is hallowed. Regarding as a mere triviality what is really a divine design. Profanity is failure to see the inner mystery.

When women--sometimes well-meaning, earnest, truth seeking ones say "Get out of the house and do something creative, find something meaningful, something with more direct access to reality," it is a dead giveaway that they have missed the deepest definition of creation, of meaning, of reality. And when you start seeing the world as opaque, that is, as an end in itself instead of as transparent, when you ignore the Other World where this one ultimately finds its meaning, of course housekeeping (and any other kind of work if you do it long enough) becomes tedious and empty.
But what have buying groceries, changing diapers and peeling vegetables got to do with creativity? Aren't those the very things that keep us from it? Isn't it that kind of drudgery that keeps us in bondage? It's insipid and confining, it's what one conspicuous feminist called "a life of idiotic ritual, full of forebodings and failure." To her I would answer ritual, yes. Idiotic, no, not to the Christian--for although we do the same things anybody else does, and we do them over and over in the same way, the ordinary transactions of everyday life are the very means of transfiguration. It is the common stuff of this world which, because of the Word's having been "made flesh," is shot through with meaning, with charity, with the glory of God.

But this is what we so easily forget. Men as well as women have listened to those quasi-rational claims, have failed to see the fatal fallacy, and have capitulated. Words like personhood, liberation, fulfillment and equality have had a convincing ring and we have not questioned their popular definitions or turned on them the searchlight of Scripture or even of our common sense. We have meekly agreed that the kitchen sink is an obstacle instead of an altar, and we have obediently carried on our shoulders the chips these reductionists have told us to carry.

This is what I mean by profanity. We have forgotten the mystery, the dimension of glory. It was Mary herself who showed it to us so plainly. By the offering up of her physical body to become the God-bearer, she transfigured for all mothers, for all time, the meaning of motherhood. She cradled, fed and bathed her baby--who was very God of very God--so that when we cradle, feed and bathe ours we may see beyond that simple task to the God who in love and humility "dwelt among us and we beheld his glory.

"Those who focus only on the drabness of the supermarket, or on the onions or the diapers themselves, haven't an inkling of the mystery that is at stake here, the mystery revealed in the birth of that Baby and consummated on the Cross: my life for yours.

The routines of housework and of mothering may be seen as a kind of death, and it is appropriate that they should be, for they offer the chance, day after day, to lay down one's life for others. Then they are no longer routines. By being done with love and offered up to God with praise, they are thereby hallowed as the vessels of the tabernacle were hallowed--not because they were different from other vessels in quality or function, but because they were offered to God. A mother's part in sustaining the life of her children and making it pleasant and comfortable is no triviality. It calls for self-sacrifice and humility, but it is the route, as was the humiliation of Jesus, to glory.

To modern mothers I would say "Let Christ himself be your example as to what your attitude should be. For he, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his prerogatives as God's equal, but stripped himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as a mortal man. And, having become man, he humbled himself by living a life of utter obedience, even to the extent of dying, and the death he died was the death of a common criminal. That is why God has now lifted him so high. . ." (Phil. 2:5-11 Phillips).

It is a spiritual principle as far removed from what the world tells us as heaven is removed from hell: If you are willing to lose your life, you'll find it. It is the principle expressed by John Keble in 1822:

If on our daily course our mind
Be set to hallow all we find,
New treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.

"Anything, if offered to God, can and will become your gateway to joy." Elisabeth Elliott

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Journey continued-Door County, WI!!

Well, let's see....where did I leave off. Rules are overrated (see previous post), that's right. So, we arrived at our campsite in Door County, WI late that night. Due to the office being closed we had to follow a map to find our site. The campground we stayed at was beautiful!! Each site was pretty secluded with trees, it was such a great campground. Thankfully this time around there was much less hassle in getting everything set up. Although we did have a small scare!! As we were setting up we left Connor buckled in his car seat, this seemed like a good idea at the time. The bigger boys were helping us, until I went to check on Connor. In a very small amount of time Caden and gotten in the van before me and thought he would be a "helper" and handed Connor a magazine. Connor then proceeded to put it in his mouth and attempted to eat it! He must have gotten some in his mouth because by the time I got there he was choking and gagging! Long story short this continued on for awhile, so we had to wake up the owners so we could use their phone since we did not have reception. Connor finally stopped choking and coughing after what seemed like an eternity, and all was well. Ummmm............about that rule..............nah!

While we were in Door County we went and took part in a fish boil (which is a must:0); went to Ellison Bluff park which had limestone bluffs; saw "Cave Point County Park" which had limestone sea caves; took the ferry to Washington Island; and had some homemade ice cream! What was so unique about this area is that you won't see McDonald's or any other chain like restaurant or store there, it is truly getting away from everything. One of our favorite towns was Fish Creek, it was such a neat little town with fun shops and restaurants it was fun to bike around the town. Another thing I love about Door County is all of the sailboats, it is so picturesque!!
The boys hanging out at the campsite, we made campfire donuts for the first time they were a huge hit!

The Fish Boil! Check out the link and it explains what it is and why it started, very cool!!

The boil over!

The bell rings and everyone lines up!

The downside is that it has the bones in it, Big C was not too crazy about that although M'C liked it. Chad and I loved it!

Limestone bluffs

The catwalk, no I did not walk out on it. I ask you, how is that even fun!?!

Limestone caves

Oddly enough they are standing almost exactly the same, funny thing is I took a pic of when they first stepped in and they are standing the same there as well! Too cute!

Freedom from the front carrier;0)

Climbing to the top

The water was so pretty, and very warm!

On the ferry to Washington Island, we met some people on there that were from the same town as us. Talk about a small world!

We rode a "train" that took us around the island so we could learn about life on the island as well as other interesting facts.

They have an ostrich farm on the island, and als0 other exotic animals. Sadly, blogger will not let me add the ostrich pics;0(.The above pic is a Den Norsk Grenda (it has grass on the roof), the goats climb to the top and graze. There is two of these that were shipped in from Norway. It is super neat!

Biking around the island was fun, although we biked around 10 mi and it was super hot that day. It took a little longer than we thought, so we were racing back to catch the last ferry of the day, I do NOT recommend doing this!! Big C did great although he was very tired poor guy!

Schoolhouse Beach was amazing! They claim there is only five total beaches like this in the world. The entire beach is covered in these smooth flat limestone rocks. Please note: if you take a rock it is a $200 fine. Seriously!? We left the rocks.....

Our Ferry

Homemade ice cream! It was yummy!!

We took our ice cream and headed to sunset park! It was amazing!

Now you probably know what's coming...........yep, we drove off into the sunset!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, not really, but I just could not resist!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The last of our Sabbatical!! Road trip!!!

So, last summer we took part 1 of our sabbatical. Our church gives pastor's a sabbatical after 6 years of being there, we split ours up (thanks to the Osborne's idea;0) and took 2 mon.'s last summer and 1 mon. this summer. We decided to make a big loop and hit the road this summer! We went to WI Dells, Door County, Chicago, Dayton OH (to see my big sis' and her fam'), Itasca (and camped with my other big sis' and her fam'), and then split our time up north to see both sets of parents and extended family! We have had such an incredible time, and feel so blessed and incredibly thankful for all the quality time we have been able to spend together as a family!! What we really loved about this trip was the wide variety, from touristy things to all nature/state park places. It was a trip that totally fit our family's personality and provided some great memory making opportunities!!

There were times when I just sat back and thanked God for giving me such a wonderful family, and for the amazing opportunity to create such fun memories! Do you ever do that? I find myself more and more trying to step "out of the moment" if you will, and count the blessings God has given me as well as to really cherish the "moment" I am in. I am going to spread out our trip over several "blogging days," so here is the first part of our trip!!! I hope you enjoy!!

Road trip baby!!!!!!!!!!!! We left on Father's day right after church! We left about 1:45, and it is only a 4.5 hour trip! We would get there in time to swim.......right!?!?

Hey, I had to make sure my kids know I was on the trip too, right!?!

We stopped at Culver's and grabbed a bite to eat, they had a custard eating contest for kids and their dads!! Big C got one scoop and dad received 3!! You can guess who won!:0)

Very proud of the t-shirt that he won!!

While at the dells we took the "Ducks tour." They are ready, Little C sat in the Kelty back pack!

They loved it!!

On a side note our tour guide was funny but went a little overboard, if you know what I mean! You know it's bad when your 5 yr old leans over and says "Mom, he's pretty funny, but you know when people tell a lot of jokes they are a jokester! Some people tell to many jokes though and then they're not funny anymore!" Well said!;0)

We stayed at Jellystone in the dells! So, due to many, MANY pit stops; we ended up arriving at our campsite around 9:30 that night (1:45-9:30, that's 4.5 hrs-mmm, no)!! This unraveled a bunch of fun, first they canceled our reservation due to a computer error, then our pop-up got stuck on the hitch, and finally we got everything set up by 11:30!! Not cool! Thus"Englund Camping Rule #1" came to exist! The rule is as follows, "We will arrive no later then 6-6:30 pm at our campsite." Yep that sounded good, we felt better, and then we went to bed!

We had such a fun time, they had a great little water park there, as well as lots of fun activities! We took part in the hay ride, and outdoor movie ("Yogi Bear" of course). It was such a family friendly campground, great for little and "big" kids;0)!! We loved it!! Above is the water slide/water playground at our campground.

Hot tubbin'!

Monkey see...............

Monkey do...................

(Kind have wish I would have tried, what was I thinking!!:0)

On the hayride!!
Chad suprised us with pizza that night (which is a big hit in our world), and we watched Yogi Bear and ate pizza.;0)
M'C being.....M'C!!! Love that!!:0)

Day 2-So we were torn between "Noah's Ark" and "Kalahari" we decided on the later due to it seeming more small kid friendly! We were so GLAD we did!! There was a heat advisory on that day, and Kalahari has both indoor and outdoor water parks and you are able to go back and forth between the two! We LOVE water parks, and this one rates as one of the best!! Big C struggles with heights a bit, and M'C has no fear at all!! M'C wanted to go on all of the "big slides", and they had a few "family rides" so he was able to go on those. Big C eventually warmed up after watching his brother, and came to LOVE a lot of the "adult slides!"

They had cookie decorating for the kids, it was a nice mid-day snack!

Love these swings!!

The water playground outside, it was super fun! They had lots of big slides, our (Chad and I) favorite was the "toilet bowl" slide; on this slide you rode on a tube and went down super fast it was tons of fun!! Sadly, Big C and I saw a man that became disoriented and started to "drown" after going down a tube slide (those are the slides that are completely dark and you have to lay flat), he was ok thankfully but we were a little freaked out!! Big C vowed never to go on a slide like that, and me being VERY claustrophobic had just went on one for the first time inside and thought I was going to die (really I did!!). The "lifeguard" said many people feel as if they are going to suffocate in those slides. Needless to say I was ok with Big C's vow;0)!

Above is one of the "family slides!"

We had a blast at the dells, but our time came to an end and we set out for our 4.5 hr trip. to Door County, WI with our "Englund camping rule" in tow. Well, it was in tow, until we came across this......................
Yep, this was the rule breaker! We had good intentions of keeping it, but before we knew it we were inside and signed up for a tour, the last one of the day!! We knew that our rule was not going to come to fruition!!

Sitting in box seats!

Notice how I am in the picture!! Yep, someone (Chad;0) was SO EXCITED that they ASKED if they could have the camera to take pics!!:0)

Don't walk on the grass, there will be a big fine and you could be arrested-really!! Well, that is what they told us after they saw M'C running on it!! Such great memories! We had awesome tour guides though and we were with a small group since it was the last tour of the day, so it was lots of fun!
Ok, for those of you who are sport's illiterate this is the Packer's coach Mike McCarthy!! Yep, not part of the tour in case you are wondering (or hoping;0)! It went like this....we are on the tour headed towards the tunnel the Packer's run out of when we stop, I hear my husband go crazy (really he did:0) and say "Look it's the coach!" He was so excited he could not think of his name, let's just say everyone else got VERY excited as well!! Chad goes up to him and asks if he can get a pic with him, he was on the phone and kept walking. As we watched though he stopped at the corner finished up his phone conversation and came back to take pics with everyone!! It was SUPER nice, and made some "people's;0)" day!:0)

My Dreamer's!!!

Hut, hut!!! The lines on the inside of the building line up exactly with the field outside.

All in all an amazing tour!! In life one must always make room for pit stops, it is in these pit stops that amazing memories may form!!:0) So, we jumped back in the mini van and hit the road.......rules are overrated anyway, right!?!?!