Living at Home

I still live at home with my parents and I plan to continue. Many young people these days are desperate to fly the nest but I’m perfectly content staying where I am because I recognize the benefits of being home.

  1. Finances: It costs a lot to live on your own, a lot more than living with your parents. Rent+renter’s insurance+car+car insurance+utilities+food=a lot of money that doesn’t need to be spent. I buy groceries for my household. That is my only financial responsibility. Some young people pay for their cars or cell phones, some families even charge rent. Chances are, the amount of money you spend living at home is significantly less than what you would spend living on your own.
  2. Training: There are so many great things we can learn from our parents still. One of the funnest things for me is cooking with my dad. We often do this spur of the moment so if I didn’t live at home, I wouldn’t do it very often. I have the opportunity to try different recipes and cleaning techniques so by the time I have a family and a home of my own, I’ll be prepared.
  3. Togetherness: So many young people experience loneliness which can lead to a lot of problems. Rather than pretending a boyfriend, roommate, or a dog can be used to supplement your family time, spend time with your family. The family is a natural, God given support network designed to bring peace, comfort, and love.

Too often young people want to be “independent” and move out of their parents’ homes. Problem with that his, we are not designed to be alone, and we aren’t responsible enough to live alone. It doesn’t make any financial sense to move out and yet kids are proud and do it anyway. Just stay under the care of your parents until you are under the care of your spouse.

I also want to finish this post with a clarification. If you are in a dangerous household, leave. No one should be subjected to any kind of abuse so if you are, go to your parish and seek assistance in changing your situation.

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What is a Stay-at-Home Daughter

During my with journey online I came across a subculture of Christian women called stay-at-home daughters The name is self-explanatory but the concept is foreign. I tried to become one of these stay-at-home daughters without my parents realizing and things didn’t go very well at first.

The families of these stay-at-home daughters tend to be more fundamental. They seem to embrace traditional gender roles and see the benefits from having women at home. A stay-at-home daughter is similar to a stay-at-home mom, without the children. I found during my research that many of these young ladies find joy in serving their families and learning what it means to be a keeper of the home. Their families support them in this because Mom usually is a stay-at-home mom and recognizes the importance of raising daughters who will love their husbands and be busy at home.

My challenge is that my parents are modernist. I tend to swing pretty far into the traditional side which baffles them since they didn’t raise me this way. I embrace fully the words of Titus 2 and I have a desire to be a keeper of my home. My parents want me to go to college, get a good job, marry when I’m 30, have a child or two, and return around 70 with a good 401k. For many that would be a great life! That’s the life my parents have and in general they seem pretty happy about it. This is not the dream I have for my life, and I pray it’s not God’s plan for my life.

Education in one’s preferred field of employment is very important. So important, 20 year olds are putting themselves $50,000 in debt for it. I agree education is important, but it helps when it is relatively cheap and in the field you want to work in. My desired field is the home, my job title of choice is matriarch. This means my education should consist of cooking, baking, cleaning, organizing, couponing, thrifting, child rearing, volunteering, etc. All of these things should be done in my household under the direction of my parents.

Many young people these days begin working, interning, and developing portfolios for their desired field. A stay-at-home daughter does the same. These women are writers, artists, and small business owners all while caring for their loved ones. It is possible in today’s age of the internet to make money from home. The girls are talented and use their gifts to crete things that will help them generate income.

I think one of the great challenges some people may have at the thought of a stay-at-home daughter is that they are lazy. the girls are apprenticing under their mothers, helping with maintaining the home and caring for younger children; they are creative and use their talents to make money; they are generous with their time and volunteer and spend time in prayer. “Lazy” is not a word I would use to describe these young ladies.

For those of you who are stay-at-home daughters, I commend you for the work you do. You have encouraged me to pursue my dream and learn my craft. To those who are considering becoming a stay-at-home daughter, be patterned with your parents. Explain the benefits of you being at home and remember the fourth commandment. To those of you who think this entire concept is crazy, I would challenge you to consider how this lifestyle could impact the world. I have found that the objection some have to the stay-at-home daughter movement is that they are oppressed by their fathers and will one day be oppressed by their husbands. It’s my opinion that men are fully capable of loving and caring for their daughters and wives, therefore they should be given the opportunity to show it. I’d also question whether or not the nay sayers feel oppressed by their bosses, corporate America, and the financial systems.

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Trustworthy people are vital to us. Think of the relationships you have and what you feel around someone you trust. I know that when I’m around my loved ones, I feel comfortable, secure, safe, and open. Ideally every relationship would look this way, family, friends, co-workers, and significant others. The reality is, many people can’t be trusted. Too many of us, especially young women, lie, gossip, and manipulate. Are these the actions of a trustworthy person? Are these the actions of a good wife?

Out of the three things listed above (lying, gossiping, and manipulating), lying is the easiest to recognize, understand, and stop. It’s the other two we re going to go more in depth with. Shall we start with gossip? I used to be a huge gossip girl, it was one of my worst character flaws. What made it even worse, was that I didn’t care I was hurting others, nor did I realize I was gossiping. There are often sins we don’t realize we are committing because we do them all the time. This is when a well formed conscience is vital. Gossip is always wrong and should be avoided because it not only damages our relationships with others, but also with God. Here are few tips to help you stop gossiping:

  • Pray: Ask God for his grace to show you when you are gossiping. Recognizing when you are doing something wrong is the first step toward making a change in behavior. Because this behavior has been part of your life for so long, you need the Lord’s gift of self-awareness and humility to recognize when you may be saying something unnecessarily.
  • T.H.I.N.K.: I’ve always been told to think before I speak. Unfortunately I’m not very good at that. I’m a bit of a talker and tend to ramble about non-sense. I also never really considered what I should be thinking about until I started working with children. I saw a picture on Pinterest that a preschool teacher was using to help the kids be nice to each other. It works with adults too: Before you speak, T.H.I.N.K.
    Truthful: is it truthful?
    Helpful: is it helpful?
    Intelligent: is what you are about to say smart and appropriate at this time?
    Necessary: is this comment essential?
    Kind: is this story kind to all the people involved (the speaker, the listener, and any third parties)?

When we take the time to run through this list, I found I talk a lot less about other people. Generally the Lord tugs at my heart when it comes to the necessary and kind. Try using this next time you want to talk about someone.

Now let’s talk about manipulation. It comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. This is one I continue to struggle with. A few of the ways I tend to manipulate others is through puppy dog eyes, a soft smile, and baked goods. Because I have a history of unchecked manipulation, I may become one of those wives that withholds sex because my husband won’t take out the trash. 1 Corinthians 7 would strongly object to that. The thing of it is, what we practice as single women is what we will practice as married women. I praise God that he has shown me that I can be a manipulator now so I have time to correct my behavior before he chooses to bless me with a a husband. The biggest problem with manipulation is that it is extreme pride at its core. It is the thought that I need something from the other person so I’m going to do something to get it. I’m using people as objects for my own personal gain which is completely against God and neighbor. The love Christ calls us to cannot be found when we manipulate people. How do we combat manipulation? Here are a couple tips:

  • See God in others: We are all made in the image of God so search for him in the people around you.
  • Humble yourself: Before you do or say something, consider how you would feel in that situation. How would you feel if you knew you were being manipulated by someone, and used for their own personal gain, not to help you?

A man must be able to trust his wife in all things. He needs to know she won’t blab his personal information to the neighbors, she won’t spend all the money on new shoes, and that she isn’t trying to trick him. People often divorce because trust has somehow been broken. As single women, we have the privilege of growing more trustworthy before we present ourselves to a husband on our wedding day.

  1. Would your friends and family call  you trustworthy?
  2. Are you good with money and secrets?
  3. What can you do to become a more trustworthy person?

Challenge: Today, try THINKing before you speak.

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He’s Not Your Savior

One of the things I have observed in the relationships around me are unrealistic expectations. This can be said of both men and women but based on my position, I’m going to speak to women. We all have a God shaped hole in our hearts that can only be filled by Him. The trouble with today’s culture is that we try to stuff that hole with other things, including guys around us. He isn’t your savior, Christ alone is your Savior. Don’t put pressure on him to do things he just can’t do or become someone he isn’t meant to become. He also isn’t a superhero. He will make mistakes, be selfish, and drive you nuts but all from a place of love. Therefore, out of love you should respect and honor him.

Now for my single sisters, if you are in a bad situation, don’t expect to find someone to rescue you. One of the reasons I have written several posts about being content is that I have seen the girls around me dissatisfied with certain areas of life so they are just waiting for Prince Charming to carry them away. I’m not throwing stones here, because I have done the same thing. God has placed a desire to marry on my heart so I can just wait for my husband, right? No! If I’m not happy with some aspect of my life, I need to change it, not wait for some guy to pull me out of it. He’s not God and he can’t work miracles unless he is being used by God.

Poor men have these dreams of salvation trust upon them. We expect Prince Charming to carry us away on a unicorn to our castle on a private island. That doesn’t exist. The truth is, we have to take responsibility for ourselves by trusting God and working hard. We have to support and love the men the Lord has placed in our lives and not discourage or belittle them when they make mistakes. God alone is God and men are men. Never get the two confused.

Planning a Garage Sale

It’s that time of year again! The weather is changing, the children are playing outside, we are harvesting our gardens and people are jogging outside. Time for a quick fall clean out! Today is about what to do after the cleaning, organizing, and sorting is finished. Those boxes that you have marked “sell” now need to be merchandised for a garage sale. Here are a few tips:

  1. Find out if your neighborhood is having a garage sale. There are many pros and cons to neighborhood garage sales. Many people like that they have their neighbors outside selling their stuff at the same time so they can talk across the street to one another. Also, advertising costs are usually paid by the association or at least split amongst the participants. A few things that make it less desirable are the fact that your neighbors probably won’t be shopping because they have their own garage sales to run. You may have people that only want to spend a particular amount of money through the whole day and if you are the fifth house, their budget is low. Finally, parking can be a pain for your shoppers. They may park two blocks away but they want to buy the heavy bookshelf. Unless they REALLY want it, they may leave it behind. So your best bet is to host two sales, probably on back-to-back weekends or throughout the week. This way, you get the benefits of the neighborhood sale in addition to the benefits of a solo sale.
  2. Advertising for your sale is really important and it doesn’t have to be too expensive. Of course the costly way to go is to buy posters and set them out throughout the neighborhood. This is a great way to gain traffic but you are going to want to do a few things with the posters:
    a. Check the weather. If it rains, cover the posters with a clear bag.
    b. Write clearly. The posters made by kids are cute, but not effective.
    c. Make sure the arrows are pointing in the clear right direction and still write your address.
    d. Place the signs strategically to pull people in from the main streets around you and to help guide people.
    The other, cheaper, form of advertising is though social media. Text, tweet, and message all of your finds and family to let them know some of their favorite pieces from your home are now on sale.
  3. Set your price. Remember your things are used so don’t charge what you paid for something even if it is in great condition. People don’t spend much on things at garage sales so be realistic. Also, consider whether or not you would like to negotiate. Often people negotiate at garage sales so be prepared. If you are willing to bargain, then have an absolute bottom line that you will let the person walk away if they don’t pay. Also, label everything so guests don’t have to ask.
  4. Organize your merchandise. Your most expensive products should be in the garage. You want these things to be protected from sticky fingers so keep them inside.
  5. Do it with a friend. Spending 8 hours a day for three consecutive days in a lawn chair by yourself can be dreadful. Ask your fiends and family to come help. This will also be useful when the crowds come. One of you can handle the transactions while the other can help shoppers. You may want do it with several people and take shifts.
  6. Don’t let anyone you don’t know in your house. I’m all for hospitably, but I’m also for safety and stranger danger is real.
  7. Make sure you have change and a good place to hold your money. A lot of office supply stores have lockable boxes for just this sort of occasion.
  8. Make it enticing. I went to a garage sale one that had music playing and the daughters of the owner selling lemonade. That garage sale had people in it all day because it felt like a fun shopping experience.
  9. Have a plan for the things that don’t sell. It is likely that you won’t sell everything by the end of the weekend so consider your options:
    a. Keep everything and try having another garage sale later in the season.
    b. Try selling the stuff on eBay.
    c. Donate everything to charity.
    d. Leave your garage door open a few nights and let people come raid your garage.
    e. Throw everything away.
    My advice would be to try selling on eBay then donating everything else.
  10. Determine what you’ll do with the money. Remember to calculate the cost of the garage sale (advertising, equipment, change, etc. ) and reimbursed yourself for your investment. After that, spend it, save it, invest it, donate it, split it amongst those who helped you. I’ve heard of some parents giving the teenagers all the junk they want gone, then the kids organize the sale and keep the profit. I’ve also heard of people putting the money toward the vacation fund. It’s all up to you.

My final tip is to have tons of fun! Yes garage sales are work and they are exhausting, but fall is about hard work so we can rest in warmth in winter. Happy selling!

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A Rare Treasure

When I was in high school, my best friend’s dad used to tell the boys, “There are girls you date and there are girls you marry. Never get the two confused.” It’s a pretty funny statement that rings very true. The woman worthy of marriage is hard to find, she is a rare treasure. The girls you date, on the other hand, are a dime a dozen. There are plenty of those fish in the sea. I don’t think most of us think like this in our relationships. A woman of worth does not sleep with her boyfriends. A woman of worth dresses with modesty. A woman of worth, finds that worth in Jesus, not her dad, the culture, or her boyfriend. Do you see your worth through the eyes of God?

We, as women of faith desiring marriage, should conduct ourselves accordingly. Later we will see this woman who has worth beyond jewels is wise, compassionate, and steadfast. During this blessed time of singleness we should grow in virtue, diligence, and develop in our relationship with the Lord. To Christ, your worth is already beyond jewels, so throughout the next few weeks, let’s start viewing ourselves the same way. When we can see how Jesus sees we will live in a way that honors him and the people around us.

  1. Are you a diamond in the rough?
  2. Are you the kind of girl to date or marry?
  3. How can you grow in your relationship with Jesus and in virtue to prepare yourself for marriage?

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The Glue

During the consecration at Mass this morning, the Lord sparked a thought in my head: He is the glue in a marriage. I’ve seen pictures and posts online about godly marriages having Christ at the center. I knew this was a good thing, what should be the goal of all marriages. If Jesus is supposed to be the center of our lives, then of course he should be the center of the marriage. But today he spoke to my heart. He isn’t supposed to just be the center, he’s the glue.

It is through Christ that our relationships are successful. We are incapable of the true, deep, authentic love that is required in marriage while we are in our fallen state. But Jesus shares his love with us and through us. It is only in him that spouses are capable of the complete self-sacrifice that he displayed for us on the cross. The example is a vital component for teaching us to love, but the fullness of that love is found in Eucharist.

Jesus didn’t just die on the cross 2,000 years ago. He makes present for us that sacrifice at every Mass. I wonder how often couples who receive communion regularly get divorced. The Blessed Sacrament is the glue in our marriages. It is in it that we see love, sacrifice, joy, and peace. Frequent reception of Holy Communion should be at the heart of our relationships. We receive the graces necessary to live like Jesus when we receive him sacramentally.

I have noticed that some couples put other things between them. A lot put the kids in the middle. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The trouble is, eventually the kids grow up  and if the only thing Mom and Dad have connected on over the past 20 years is the children, then they’re going to have some trouble when the birds fly the nest. Some put TV, work, or the house in the center of their marriages but this probably leads to a lot of strife. Jesus is the only thing that should be between a husband and his wife. Only Jesus can pull them closer to one another rather than drive a wedge. Jesus will help couples move past their struggles while everything else will cover up, at best. Eucharist is like spiritual medicine, not just for our souls, but also for our relationships.

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