Are you crying over spilt milk?
Encouragement for girls and grown-ups
The petty conflicts and disappointments in a girl’s day can turn her peevish. It is best to learn before entering womanhood, not to be dramatic and cry over spilt milk. I do remember, however, a day of early motherhood, when I cried over spilt apple juice.
The kitchen floor was shinny and clean. I stood with hands on hips surveying it with satisfaction. As I put the mop and bucket away a wave of fatigue swept over me. I knew it shouldn’t be ignored. My two-week-old baby was sleeping soundly. The little girls were decorating a cardboard box “house” with magic-markers. Around the corner was a small pile of laundered whites on the bed. I could get these folded and out of the way in no time, I thought. Then, I could take a brief mid-afternoon rest. The girls could fend for themselves for ten minutes.
And they did – almost. Very soon one sister with concern on her brow entered the bedroom reporting, “Mommy, the juice fell.”
“I’m coming,” I said, warily. Standing in the same spot where I had only moments ago surveyed my nice clean floor, I was taken aback. The plastic bottle lay on its side in the middle of a widening puddle. Little stocking feet had distributed the juice to all corners of the room. I surmised that the full bottle had been too heavy for even the “big” sister to maneuver.
I put the mop back to work although I was beginning to feel wobbly. This time, buckets of extra rinses were required to set the sticky room to rights. With fatigue as my enemy I was emotionally frazzled. I dropped my head into my hands and cried. My little girls stared in surprise.
Then the baby woke up. “Mommy, let’s play,” the girls urged, thinking, from their point-of-view, that the idea would cheer me up.
“Okay,” I relented, not wishing to nip a kind gesture so fresh in the bud. “After I nurse the baby. Okay?”
It did cheer me up, unexpectedly. I lay on the sofa, dressed and redressed a doll, making it talk to the delight of the children. That’s all it took. Well, not quite all – for I had made a mental note that we would have sandwiches, pickles and apples for supper.
“Sometimes, one of the greatest secrets to joyful homemaking is knowing when to quit.” Mrs. Sharon White, For the Love of Christian Homemaking
Reading good fiction forms a sort of friendship. Perhaps this is because we are put in company with others, not too unlike ourselves, who live with conflict. Others have lived through spilt milk and worse, and have persevered. It helps to know that real girls have come through real conflict. The stories in the Daughters of the Faith Series by Wendy Lawton are based on the lives of real girls. Although meant for younger readers than myself (ages 9-13) these stories have been feeding my soul in a gentle way.
At the start of Wendy Lawton’s chapters I was made familiar with the personality of her main character for whom I very soon found myself caring. Each teen-age girl lives in quite a different setting, yet each contributed spiritual encouragement to my life.
Anita Dittman, who survives the Holocaust in Germany; blind Mary Bunyan who is a help to her father John Bunyan, a prisoner in England; and Pocahontas, a friend to John Smith in Jamestown, all placed a sparkle of hope in my heart. Yes deeds of faith - and the courage that comes by faith - do exist. Throughout history girls have stepped out of their comfort zones in their desire to please God and persevere.
My recent read is based on the life of 13-year-old Mary Chilton of the Mayflower. At the beginning of Almost Home Mary and her family are non-conformist immigrants living in Holland. Like the other English, they feel out-of-place and are put down for their beliefs. Mary helps her mother with daily chores and by sewing. Her delicate stitches contribute to the financial resources. Snatching an opportunity, it is all arranged for the family to quietly step onto the Mayflower in the autumn of 1620 to journey to the New World. Consequently, Mary feels displaced. She longs for a sense of belonging. An odd combination of pilgrims and sailors must get along aboard ship. The journey is a struggle in more ways than one. Patience, courage and physical stamina are required. On the Mayflower there is more spilt than milk.
Hours of research must have gone into each book. I am impressed at how seamlessly events are woven into a plot that carries the reader along. The reading level and topics are suitable for fifth grade up – or a fourth grader who devours books. In my judgment - backed by our years of experience - these stories would lend themselves to the method of narration. No teacher’s guide is necessary but the school-minded will be happy to spy a glossary of terms.
In most instances the events in Daughters of the Faith Series are true, although no one knows the actual words spoken by the main characters. An Epilogue supplies additional facts about each girl. In the story of young Harriet Tubman, for example, Harriet wonders about the Underground Railroad. Little did she know at the age she is in the story, that she would later make nineteen dangerous trips back to the south to lead more than 300 slaves to freedom.
Protect and Prepare
What you will not find in this modern series is: peer-prominent pop-culture, thrilling boy-girl romance, vampires and other dark themes - all too readily available and targeted for the youngest of teens. Yikes. Rather, the stories in Daughters of the Faith Series, in a non-preachy way, support the guidance found on the pages of Beautiful Girlhood.
Protect and Prepare – was a motto we followed while bringing up our daughters. They would have found encouragement in these stories when they were young. (I would have, too.) Am I the only one who has cried over spilt milk?
Keep up your Mother Culture,