We have tried.
We have every Heritage Builders book in the tool chest.
We have books on family date nights, family vacations, family devotions, and on and on and on......
We have programs for organized chores, scripture memory, christian education, teen dating, and on and on and on....
Never made ANY of it work. You heard me. Never.
It took awhile, but eventually, we gave up following other people's to-do-lists for the most part.
Don't get me wrong. We love hearing other people's stories.
We love advice, listening to teaching and we actively seek out mentors. We read ALL. THE. TIME.
However, we have learned that there is no substitute for praying and trying to hear God's guidance on behalf of your own family. There is no substitute for cooperating with what God is already trying to do in the lives of your children.
We believe this so much so -- that all our parenting advice to others boils down to READ THE BIBLE - DO WHAT IT SAYS. PRAY, COOPERATE WITH WHAT GOD IS ALREADY TRYING TO DO.
In a nut shell, I guess, we are just simply better at writing our own.
When Elizabeth and Hosanna were babies, around early '97, I found this book....
It starts off with the sentence, "I'm a lousy mom." I sympathized.
Basically, it's a sweetly written, honest look at Carol Brazo's journals during the years she stayed at home with her 3 children. 3 children which she birthed in just under 3 years.
A blog - before we knew what blogs were.
In her accounts of every day life, she referenced reading a book by Sue Bender called Plain and Simple - and the journey she took to the Amish.
Bender is provided a unique perspective when she's allowed to live with an Amish family for a time and absorb their culture.
Carol Brazo wrote of Bender's book, "Many books provide enjoyment. This book nourished deep places inside me."
When you love a particular author and they suggest a book they love -- you just go right out and buy the book, yes? So, I did. And I've read 2 times a year ever since.
I've been accused of being boring, ridiculas and well, obsessed with the Amish. I, however, am pretty sure I am none of these things.
The author writes of the Amish, "No distinction was made between the sacred and the everyday...their life was all one piece. It was all sacred and all ordinary."
I told Billy once, "What if we (and our children for that matter) are just...ordinary"? A question I think about often. I, like many, many of you, crave a life of meaning.
This little gem can be read in a couple of hours. And provide you with an awesome dose of soul nourishment to boot! It's out of print, so plan to buy used.
That my ordinary life is sacred -- and therefore wrought with meaning...is well...words I longed to hear way back then, in 1997, as well as right now, today.
Blessings my friends.