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Surrounded by Homemakers
My Grandma Joanna makes the juiciest prime rib feast you will ever eat. Her tasty potato salad is unbeatable, too. My Grandma Thelma bakes beautiful loaves of sweet cinnamon bread. She is also an amazing seamstress, sewing quilts for all of her children and grandchildren. My mother makes decorated sugar cookies for each of the major holidays and is always baking a treat or two. She raised my brothers and I in an organized and tidy home. As I grew up, I was surrounded by homemakers and taught by the best how to manage a home.
In August of 2002, I married into a family of excellent homemakers. Justin’s Mother, Grandmother, and Sister-in-law all kept tidy homes, prepared homemade meals, and canned anything that could be stored in a jar. I continued to learn just by watching them and being in their homes.
There Was More To Learn
I was surrounded by great homemakers, but there was more that I needed to learn. There was a huge difference between watching each of these women do something and doing it myself! I could cook, but struggled to have all my dishes ready to serve at the same time. I had frequently gone grocery shopping with my mom, but shopping with my own list and budget wasn’t as easy. Cleaning was easier for me, but developing a cleaning schedule was a challenge. And preserving food through canning was a challenge that was completely daunting to me. So I began to read.
I scoured Christian bookstores for homemaking books just as hard as I scoured my pots and pans! Each book that I read continued to help me cultivate my homemaking skills. I learned how to harness the power of my strengths, develop my weaknesses, and find routines that worked for me rather than just settle for tradition. Each author became a respected mentor in my life.
The Books I Read
I spent hours reading stacks of books. Some of my favorites – and the most impactful ones – were:
- More Hours In My Day by Emilie Barnes and Sheri Torelli which armed me with practical tips for homemaking. This book offered foundational help for homemaking that will inspire those with any level of experience.
- Simple Secrets to a Beautiful Home by Emilie Barnes is another volume stuffed full of wisdom and practical tips for the homemaker in any stage of life. For a newbie, this was like a secret weapon in developing my skills.
- A Woman After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George was a foundational book for me in both practical skills, and more importantly, the biblical overview of homemaking. This is about so much more than homemaking, but every part will overflow into your role as home manager.
- A Wife After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George continued my biblical understanding of my role as a wife and how that applied to the home. This continued to build my biblical foundation for the daily practice of homemaking.
- A Woman’s High Calling by Elizabeth George duplicated some of the concepts in the previous two books, but continued to grow my biblical understanding and practical application.
- Shopping For Time by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Mahaney Whitacre is a short read but so very practical. Everything you learn in this book will impact your homemaking.
- Life Management for Busy Women by Elizabeth George was also very influential in my growth as a homemaker. While I have continued to “tweak” the skills I learned in this book, I can say that I would not be who I am today without God using Elizabeth’s writing in my life.
- Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews is the best book I have read on time management. While this book is focused on time management, applying it to your life means it will impact every role, including homemaking. This book helped me implement routines in my life that have morphed through the various stages of life; giving us consistency that was never there prior to reading.
I still passionately recommend these books to women, but I also realize that not everyone likes to read. Nor does everyone have the time to read all eight books. At the risk of sounding terribly antiquated, in 2002 I did not have access to as many resources as we do today. Neither did I have as many things vying for my attention. At that time, reading was one of the few options and definitely the cheapest one. However, if you chose to read all eight books, it would cost roughly $83.65 and take about 48 hours of your time – if not more. Now there is a cheaper and less time consuming option…
Jami Balmet of The Young Wife’s Guide is hosting the third annual Homemaking Ministries Online Conference that offers lifetime access. You can click here for all the details, but simply put, for $39.95 and about 20 hours of your time, you can get the same kind of teaching you would by reading the list of books above. That’s less time, less money, and it gives you lifetime access without adding “things” to your home. You can purchase a ticket right now and enjoy attending the conference from the comfort of your own home at a time that works best for you and your family.
No Matter What
No matter which option you choose – reading all the books or attending the online conference – I do hope you will take time to invest in growing your skills as a homemaker. I have spent the past fourteen years continually seeking to grow in my homemaking skills and I don’t regret a moment of the time I’ve invested. Some of the benefits for my family have been:
- daily routines that keep us on track and free us up to serve others
- the ability to eat healthy, homemade meals most days
- time for each of us to spend with God each day
- a house that is normally clean and ready to host people at a moments notice
- the ability to be flexible
- the time to learn new skills – like canning & gardening!
- the freedom to travel with my husband if we want to
- fewer days of feeling overwhelmed
- and so much more!
I pray that you will invest in growing your biblical knowledge and practical application in homemaking so that you can bless your family and so many others!