I follow Courtney Josephs blog Women Living Well fairly regularly for awhile now. I read one of her blog posts that seemed to go "viral" in the Christian mom facebook realm. Then another and...When I first started to look at her stuff I watched her Rachel Ray segment in the side bar.
Women Living Well: Finding your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids, and Your Home- fabulous book! It is not so much another "how to" book, more of a refocus type. I loved reading it as a mom because it was easily broken up in sections that were quick enough to read in one nursing or rocking session;-). I truly really fully enjoyed this book and HIGHLY recommend it!
Here are a few of my favorite quotes as she talks about Your walk with God,Your Marriage,Your Parenting,Your Homemaking and Media:
" Do you want to be a better wife? Study your Bible. Do you want to be a better mother? Study your Bible. Do you want to be a better homemaker? Study your Bible.”
“Why is it noble to help men in the workplace, help orphans, help widows, help your pastor, help the neighbors, or help your parents, but degrading to help your husband?”
“Ask yourself, ‘If the pastor of my church put up on a large screen all the comments, status updates, and pictures I’ve posted for the entire congregation to see…is there anything that would embarrass me?”
“Yelling at the bud won’t make it bloom.”
"Take hope in this: it was flawed mamas who raised the greatest world changers. Abraham Lincoln reportedly said, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my mother.” The Statue of Liberty was modeled after the sculptor’s mother. Hundreds of people each day go and visit Lady Liberty and look up at the sculptor’s greatest influencer: his mom! Do Super Bowl football players look into the camera and say, “Hi, Dad!”? No! They say, “Hi, Mom!” We know of many famous women who have accomplished much in this world. Their names are in lights, but think of the many unnamed women who rocked the cradle of great men and women who changed the world. They will forever be unnamed, but their influence is forever with us.Dear mamas, do not lose heart. Do not grow weary of doing good (Gal. 6:9). We are raising the next generation, and we can’t do it alone. We need to daily be on our knees in prayer, not just for our husband and children, but for ourselves! Walk with the King!"
"As I looked at my little guy, I saw a mirror. So many of my son’s flaws were my own flaws. It was painful. I would tell him to be patient with his sister while I was impatient with him. I would tell him to use self-control while steam was pouring out my own ears when he got into trouble. But each year as he grew older, I noticed that I also had grown one year older. As he matured, I matured. It was during the preschool years that I realized together we were growing in our walk with the Lord and becoming more like Christ as God revealed our flaws through the flow of family life. "
So, what makes Courtney's book so much different than all the other christian "self help" books. Courtney is very clear that there is no cookie cutter answer and that our foundations should all be the same Biblical principles but how they are applied in our different marriages and homes may look differently depending on the people who are in them. For example some things are disrespectful to all men,whereas each husband has his specific things that he may say are disrespectful and those get to be defined by him,not you or anyone else.
Another thing I loved that she talked about was school choices. Normally when I think about Deuteronomy 6:7 which says "You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up." I think of homeschooling, for our family that is the way I see I can BEST accomplish diligently teaching my children. My husband and I agree on it and although my kids can " drive me bonkers" I LIKE being home with them, I want them in my care, I enjoy teaching them things and for now as long as we feel lead that is what we are going to be doing. However Courtney actually has some very encouraging words on the schooling. She herself home schools but she speaks about her parents and how they diligently taught her and that they worked their best to protect her and her siblings and put their foot down when necessary with friends and just really had some good things to say about school choices. She is not judgmental, she is not rigid or legalistic. Here is a quote" I faced spiritual warfare in school, and my parents joined me in the battle. When we moved from our old house years ago I stumbled across this note from fifth grade that my mom had written to my teacher..." It goes on to talk about a film that was PG rated and how her mother did not want her to watch it, that the note made her squirm and she did sit in the hallway but that her parents made that decision for her when she was too young to stand for herself/needed help.
The other part I really enjoyed was how she talked about her parents in regards to media and other "strict" rules and something I found which explains why there was probably no rebellion in the house is that her parents followed the same rules for themselves as they gave to them in regards to media. Here is a exert of their movie standards:
1. If an unmarried couple came into your home, would you allow them to make love on your couch? Certainly not!....
2. If you were taking Jesus in the flesh with you to the theater, would you take Him to see this movie? Or would you be embarrassed about the sin displayed, for which Hew as beaten and then nailed on a cross?
3. Your eyes take in images that your mind cannot erase....(Philippians 4:8 "Whatever is true,whatever is honorable,whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is any worthy of praise,think on these things."
Courtney talks about the Media revolution and its affects our parenting, she talks about changing the atmosphere of your home, she talks about submission in marriage, just so much that is beneficial. I love that in each section she has a little list of overview points, I am tempted to print them all out and put them around my house;-). Really though, this book has been so helpful to me and I highly recommend it. You know how we talk about women being empowered with the women's movement, birth control, womens rights of all sorts and that type of thing? Courtney's book is true empowering a little more counter cultural-frankly its more CHRIST cultural-finding empowerment through what Christ intended for us as women. If we want something to empower us and make us feel great about our roles, maybe we should stop looking elsewhere for our fulfillment and start looking at Christ and what HE values. He values us having a relationship with him, and serving.
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27