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Keeper at Home

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #65– “You Cook” Night

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 57  of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.


This one’s a real keepers-ar-home training night as, each time you do it, your daughter will become more proficient in the kitchen, and, pretty soon, you will be able to depend on her at any time, to step in and cook for the family. Start simply, the first time, even using a pre-packaged entree that just goes in and out of the oven. Show her how to add some mozzarella at the last minute to the freezer lasagna or how to add a half block of cream cheese to the Kraft macaroni and cheese to make it more like homemade. That’s how it starts, but next time you can teach her to boil her own noodles and add all the ingredients . The crock pot is you friend while you teach a young girl to cook. Easy layer desserts and dump cakes will seem like magic to a six-year-old!

Then, when it’s time for the family to come to the table, don’t forget what is, at first, the most important part. Make a big deal about how “Sis cooked the whole meal!” Brag about the taste of every dish you try and even have her take a bow when you’re all done.

Next go-around,  have her set the table while the food is cooking, teaching her the lost art of fork, knife, spoon and napkin placement. Maybe even have some yard flowers she can arrange for a centerpiece. Have her make the tea from scratch. And this time, brag even bigger.

I know this all seems intuitive, but I recently attended a retreat for women who aspire to be Biblical keepers at hime in the Titus 2 way. I was a little taken aback by how much of the intuitive-ness of keeping at home we have lost somewhere along the path of America’s journey of feminism. I was amazed that some sisters had never learned to sew on a replacement button or tack up a hem. This gathering showed me two things: (1) Titus 2 needs to be a “thing” again in our Bible classes and women’s workshops, and (2) Women are willing to bunk in cabins and get up early to strive to be what God has divinely called them to be in Titus 2. That realization instigated a little party in my heart!

Here’s a sampling of some first recipes from our house:

Hannah’s Signature Recipes:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dessert

1 pkg. Chips Ahoy Cookies

1 medium tub of Cool Whip

1 cup milk

Pour the milk in a bowl and dip enough of the cookies to cover the bottom of your serving dish. Cover this with a layer of cool whip. Repeat till all used up (ending with cool whip) except a couple of cookies. Crumble these cookies and sprinkle on top. YUM!

Hannah’s Macaroni and Cheese

4 c. cooked and drained macaroni noodles

½ c. milk

3 TBSP butter

½ c. cream cheese

1 ½ c. shredded cheddar cheese

3 TBSP sour cream

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all these ingredients in a big bowl while the cooked noodles are still piping hot. You can put it in the oven and bake for a few minutes if you want, BUT my favorite right from the bowl I mixed all this in!

Caleb’s Signature Recipes:

Monkey Bread

¾ c. sugar

2-3 tsp cinnamon

2 large cans biscuits

1 stick butter

Cut biscuits into quarters. Combine sugar and cinnamon in bowl. Add quartered biscuits and shake till well coated. Drop in grease round pan and add 1 stick of melted butter on top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or till golden brown. (Caleb made this in a Bundt type pan and so it came out as a wreath. He then would sprinkle green sugar or red and green sprinkles on the top and make a wreath to take to people at Christmas time. Sometimes he would put red hots and a green sprig at the bottom for a bow. You could do this, of course, any time of year using candy corn for fall or jellybeans for spring, etc…)

Honey’s Peanut Butter Cookies

½  cup peanut butter

1 stick margarine

½ cup brown sugar

½ c. white sugar

1 beaten egg

1 cup flour

½ tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt


Cream first four ingredients. Then add the rest. Chill this dough (or not, if you can’t wait!). Roll dough in marble sized balls. Mash with bottom of glass that has been dipped in sugar. (350 for 10-12 minutes)

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guest Writer: April Cothran…In Deep Retrospect

Today’s words are potent. They are from a digger who is soon to be reaching the real treasure that we are all seeking. It needs no commentary. I’ve shared this on my personal feed, but it needs to be everywhere in the spirit of Titus 2. If you are the obstacle in the way of children having what this mother wishes her girls could have had, and you still have time to fix this, make a decision that will be very comforting in your last days. That’s her message.  Here is April. I love her heart.
A friend from a church we attended many years ago recently posted about quitting her job outside the home to take a sabbatical. She is not sure about long term plans on going back to work in some capacity, restarting homeschooling or being a stay at home mom. It is a brave decision to go from 2 incomes to 1. She inspired me today to post a commentary from the perspective of someone with a terminal illness and few days left on this earth. (And I realize no one knows the number of their days in this life, but I have been told last July-12 months to 18 at absolute best—and I know God can change that if it be His will—or it could be shorter—none of that is the point.)
The point—
You really start reflecting on the life you’ve lived when you get this diagnosis. Of course, I reflected immediately on any unforgiven sins in my life and made that right with God. After that you start thinking about what you should have done differently. My biggest regret is working outside the home while my children were with me in my house. Even when I started working from home in 2013, many times my office door was closed while I worked late. I dare not condemn working moms. I know staying home with your children is just not possible for some families. It was possible for my family, and I chose a different path. I could have spent more time with my precious girls. I could have done more work for the Lord. Some of these decisions led us places where we met amazing church families, awesome neighbors, and amazing new work colleagues and friends. There was some good from the decision to work, no doubt. But, my priorities were in the wrong place for too many years!
I missed so much of the really important to do the really unimportant when viewed from an eternal lens. I could have spent so much more time putting God’s word in the hearts of my children. I could have spent more time teaching them how to love others by your actions. I could have spent more time putting better Bible study habits in their lives. They are, thankfully, all faithful Christians now, but I could have done a much better job making sure they have the tools to stay faithful for life. I could have sacrificed more of this world’s goods to store up more treasure in heaven.
Advice from a terminally ill mom to other moms, take it or leave it. IF you have the ability to stay home with your babies, DO IT! From where I am now, I can say you will never regret it, but you may regret not doing it. IF that is just not an option for your family, resolve to limit overtime as much as possible so you can spend that time with your family. In my job, many times my employer didn’t require me to work over as much as I did. I thought it would put me ahead in their eyes. WOW! Why did I care!?
Wish I’d really had the faith to believe and live out the following verse long ago.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you” (Matt. 6:33).
“all these things” = the necessities of life.
May God bless you all!
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Moms Should Know about Keepers and Providers…

Because several are asking about a couple of programs that help prepare our children to be home-and-parent ready, when the time comes, today I’d like to share the introductory videos about Keepers and Providers. While these are Lads to Leaders programs (and I highly recommend that powerful tool for your family and/or church–, you can certainly use the templates for these programs in your family even if you are not officially participating in Lads.

This year our Keepers participants did two projects within the sewing category. They completed quilting and embroidery. Can I just say that the preservation of such “lost arts” is a personal blessing of encouragement to me? More than that, though, the lessons of goal-setting, diligence, cooperation and generosity that accompany the completion of projects within these programs is foundational for future homes that model the Biblical format.

Here are the videos.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Still in Scrubs

I recently got a note from my friend Abby, who came a few months ago with her family, to spend the night in our cabin. I happened to be out of town when she visited, but  soon afterwards, I met her at a series of lectures I was giving, as assigned, on being a keeper at home at a conference called Polishing the Pulpit. As I read the following, I remembered that our admonition to be “oikouros” (keeper at home) is sandwiched just in between the admonition to teach “sound doctrine” and the reason for being said “keepers” —so the Word “will not be blasphemed” (Titus 2:1-5). The instruction to be “oikouros” is also attached to the characteristic of sober thinking. The young mother is commanded to be sober (or serious) in her view of Christianity.   There’s a lot of God’s authority behind our command to be keepers at home. Abby wanted to reflect the importance that God attached to her role in her personal decisions. Here is what she wrote:

I wanted to reach out and let you know what a profound impact your series on being a Keeper of the Home (at PTP) had on me. I have struggled to create the structure in our home that a homeschooling mama of four boys NEEDS. As I have reflected on your words and studied more, a light bulb went off.

I worked as a registered nurse for 11 years before I came home full time. The majority of those years required me to be up and ready very early. I worked in high stress environments and thrived, but being at home was a struggle. As silly as it might sound, part of my solution has become physically putting on my scrubs every morning. I’ve got many questions from friends and family when they have seen me out and about recently, but it works for me. Our days go much smoother when I wake up and prepare myself for my most important work as a mother to our boys.

I suppose in doing this, I am giving my husband and boys the same “best version of myself” that I gave my patients.

I like that phrase “The best version of myself.” Isn’t that what we want to give our families…the “best versions” of ourselves? Now I am not saying that means donning scrubs for all of us, but still, I love that Abby has found her version of venerating the position in her own household.

Because of the situations in which many find themselves in a culture gone awry on so many levels, I always want to add this disclaimer: I realize that some must have primary and supplemental incomes to provide basic necessities for those in the household. I’m aware, too, that not every activity that provides a supplemental income is prohibitive, in every situation, of being a keeper at home. Having said this, I rejoice that many mothers in 2018 are  finding their ways home. The best versions of ourselves are always those renderings that are seeking to follow the recipe for sound doctrine so specifically formulated by the Holy Spirit in Titus 2. 

And finally, here’s the definition from Strong’s Greek Lexicon for the word the Holy Spirit used—the word translated  “keeper at home” or “worker at home”:

g3626. οἰκούρος oikouros; from 3624 and οὖρος ouros (a guard; be “ware”); a stayer at home, i.e. domestically inclined (a “good housekeeper”): — keeper at home.

AV (1) – keeper at home 

caring for the house, 

working at home 

the (watch or) keeper of the housekeeping at home and taking care of household affairs 

a domestic

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Oikouros. Do You Do This? (Part 4)

At this point, I need to interject an important truth. We do not always get to do exactly what we want to do. Of course, we simply do not.  Have you ever read something or heard a sermon about faithful attendance to all the worship services and then left that article or sermon feeling discouraged because you are having to take care of a very sick parent or because you are having to work an extra job while your spouse is suffering from cancer or because your own immune system is low ( or because of one of a thousand other things that’s been making you absent yourself  from your favorite activity in the whole world)? After all, the sermon or lesson called for repentance and you just can’t even fix the problem right now. That’s discouraging. 

I have a friend who is a faithful single mom. She understands that her situation is not the one God would have planned for her and her work schedule has been keeping her from being at the services of the church consistently. She has elicited the prayers of faithful Christian sisters as she strives to get to a point where her hours are more conducive to being there each time. She’s had us praying for specific job interviews and, at last, she has been given the job that will allow her to be at every service. Now, where was her heart all along? Was she living faithfully? Of course, she was. And God is blessing her. 

Do you know what the key is to whether or not you should repent of being absent from the assemblies? Of course you do. It is your heart. it lies in whether or not you have chosen to be absent. it lies in where you WANTED to be, 

The heart is the key. The greatest command will always be about the heart (Luke 10:25-28). It’s what you are choosing there. It’s what’s the priority there. It’s what you are doing IF you get to do exactly what you WANT to do. 

Let me just emphasize that the same is true of our word oikouros. Yes, it is an injunction from the Holy Spirit for older women to be teaching younger women to do this. It’s in a list of imperatives that keep the Word from being blasphemed by those around us. It is important. 

But every woman reading knows exactly where her heart is about oikouros. Some women, because of medical emergencies, loss of a husband’s job, sin in the past of which they are fully penitent, or a thousand other factors, may go through seasons of being absolutely unable to fully be the “worker at home” that they really want to be. But it’s about the heart. It’s about the priority there. It’s about what I am choosing. It’s about what I want for my home and family. It’s about what, given the chance, I will choose.

And, of/for those sisters, who are, at least for a time, not getting to do what they deeply wish they could be doing, we should be supportive, encouraging, prayerful, resourceful and, yes, we should be helpful. The Golden Rule goes a long, long way in helping those who are desperately wanting to be oikouros

One more illustration. I have a dear friend who has failed this week. This week she has not even cooked for her dear husband. She has not done laundry or cleaned up her house and it’s a wreck. She has not sent out her regular cards to weak members or kept up with her prayer group. If oikouros had a grading or merit system base on achievement, she has certainly failed this week. 

But her house was hit by that obliterating tornado in Jacksonville, Alabama last week. That factor makes all the difference. See, we don’t go to her right now to chastise her for the fact that all of the main things in her world are undone. We go and help her do the best she can with what’s on her plate at the moment. Because it’s all about the heart. It’s about the “want-to.” What does she want to do right now with all her heart? Because of the answer to that question, we know she is succeeding rather than failing. 

Because of my conscience about what is happening on a large scale to children in our culture…(that is, parents are choosing to relinquish their care and training to others), I will keep saying, with all of my small influence, the importance of oikouros, in conjunction with all the remaining and equally important characteristics of Titus 2:3-5. But may all of us constantly remember, that from the heart flow the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23). And may we pray for the changes that a pure heart desires. May we love, encourage with our words, support, and pray in behalf of sisters who are not getting to do what they really want to do. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Oikouros. Do You Do This? (Part 3)

I realize I have a propensity to oversimplify. I am thankful for the Titus 2 instruction embodied in the Greek word “oikouros.” It is straightforward and simple (though hard to do, in our culture). At the same time, I’m thinking I could figure out that moms of young children need to be with those children, nurturing and training them, even if I did not have that specific instruction in the New Testament. Just like the commission of murder and theft and adultery surely would violate my conscience if I were marooned somewhere and had missed exposure to the Bible,  I think I would, albeit perhaps through a bit more of a process, figure out that my children need me to be a fairly constant caretaker. 

But it would be even easier to figure it out from my community in Huntsville, AL. I’d figure out the “natural-ness” of it when I cried that first day I had to leave her to go to work. I’d figure it out when I watched moms in my neighborhood rushing out the door on freezing mornings before dawn with babies and toddlers in their pajamas. I’d figure it out when I looked down the street at the in-home daycare run by my friend and watched those dressed-for-office-in-heels moms hurrying those children into her home, while handing her the antibiotic, the clothing, the diapers and the comfort toys. I’d figure it out when I heard about moms (lots of them) who birth children who have to go in the NICU and then the hospital staff does not see those moms again until it is pick-up day. I’d figure it out when I talked to young teen girls who find themselves pregnant. Conception almost always occurs in the afternoon hours when school is out, but mom is not yet home from work. I’d probably think about it when my daughter worked in a museum for children and there were multiple occasions when children were accidentally left behind after hours by day care workers who failed to count heads correctly as buses were loaded. (Sometimes they never even missed the children till my daughter called to report there was a child still in the museum and it was closing time.) I’d figure it out through counseling kids with porn addictions, gang memberships and eating disorders…a common denominator, in my experience, often being parents who dropped the “involvement” ball somewhere along the line. I’d have figured it out that day at summer camp when Brianna’s mom did not have time to come and get her for an emergency doctor visit. After the emergency, and having understood that her mom was sick,  I asked Brianna “Now, what is the matter with your mom? I am so sorry that she is in pain.”

“Oh no,” Brianna said. “She is not in pain. She is in paint. This is her one week off work and she is trying to get a room painted, so she could not come to get me.” It’s not a wonder that Brianna was already deeply into a very dangerous eating disorder. 

Kids are not cows. Cows need food, water, shelter, a place to exercise and someone to give them some attention when they are sick. It doesn’t really matter to cows who the someone is. But kids are different because of the souls placed in them. It matters. It matters that the someone is consistent, conversational, deeply concerned about their well-being, and connected to all aspects of their lives. These factors have been proven to be important to success over and over again. They are especially important to spiritual success; the only kind of success that really matters.  The someone needs to pretend with them, make them laugh, and wipe their bottoms and clean up their vomit without it being a disgusting job. The someone needs to, in fact, truly wish she could be sick instead of the child. 

See, the Deuteronomy 6 type parenting (you know, the rising-up, sitting-down, walking-by-the- way and lying-down-at night-kind) is not possible in circumstances where small children are not even with their moms during the vast majority of their waking hours. Convictions happen in conversations. 

Just because you are the birth mother does not necessarily mean you are the mother in all respects. If you hurriedly get up in the morning—almost every morning—and rush your little one off for someone else to dry his tears, read him a story, feed him lunch and put him down for his nap, you maybe should think before calling yourself “mama”. Someone else could be filling that role more fully than are you. Someone else may actually be more responsible for the values being placed in your child. And it is especially sad when it is a lot of different someones with  multiple, varied and confusing sets of values and standards. 

I really don’t want to be harsh. But I think articulation in behalf of children is important. I cannot write a blog without occasionally speaking this glaring truth that’s so often ignored by a society in which the children are often left behind in a quest for financial and social success. Children are sometimes not able to articulate even the basic golden rule. But they are in desperate need of the application of it in America today by the adults in their volatile little worlds.