Friday, November 15, 2013

Are You Crying Over Spilt Milk?

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. 

My little girls in the blue house on Battle Ave. Franklin, TN 1987 - 88

     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.

Can you see what caught my eye in Historic Strasburg?

     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,
Karen Andreola


  1. A baking dish of mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and nuts exploded on the eye (yes, the eye was cool) of my stove when I took it our of the oven. The gooey mess ran down into all the burners. It was on the ceiling, on the walls, in my hair (somehow, gratefully, I was not burned at all), all over my glasses, and even splattered on the floor. I cried. My husband, who had heard the giant pop came to see what had happened. Had we been independently wealthy, I would have cheerfully called someone to deliver a new stovetop and take the old one away. Those potatoes, by the way, were to be taken to a friend's house for a dinner that evening.

    Interestingly, it's still not funny at all to me, even after all these years.

    Ma Ingalls is a literary encourager for me.

    How wonderful when sweet fellowship is extended to us by our children. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your sweet daughters and your patient-let's-look-for-goodness-in-others response to them.


  2. I am sorry , but had to laugh at the timing of the spilt apple juice. I remember such a time--red kool-aid. Oh, how I wish I had handled it with as much grace and patience as you. I think I cried then sent them all to their room...LOL! Thanks for the review of series, something to read for my Lydia:-) So glad I could provide some useful tips on my Holiday BootCamp, thanks for stopping by for the visit.

  3. Good morning Karen! What a lovely book series! You are definitely not the only one to cry over spilt milk!I can remember a few occasions! The picture of your daughters when they were little is adorable! ;o)

  4. I like your new header for your blog. I haven't been around for a while so it may not be that new. I enjoyed this post. You are an example to how it is best to listen to the Holy Spirit. Thank you for sharing because I have a 7 and 10 year old and I don't always listen. Thank you

  5. Thanks for the reminders about mothering with grace especially during the years I am in now with little ones. I so appreciate viewpoints like yours.

    I needed the little reminder at the end as well. This week I dug out the fabric stash and began laying out a colorful quilt from scraps in need of using up. Square by square I am giving my mind that much needed airing from daily tasks. Dusted of a book too. Sigh. Yay, mother culture!!
    Bobby Jo

  6. This reminds me of words you had written in the companion. To show emotion without being emotional. And the day I read that, my mind clicked to form a new idea...I see I thought. Yes. This is what this is all about.

    It's always special to see these family photos you share and the stories. Thank you.

  7. I too have cried over many spills of different types :) The books sound wonderful...something I would love to read aloud to my granddaughters, that are growing up way to ways I find sad. I do see what you spotted in that wonderful eye would have caught those too..right away. So sweet! Blessings friend

  8. Oh, I remember when the "spilt milk" in my house was a toppled Christmas tree...and I had the flu. But I am afraid that I had a meltdown. Oh dear. (Thankfully, I don't think that my children are scarred by fact, they still laugh about it these many years later!)

    Thank you for the book recommendations! I am always on the lookout for worthy books. A few of these may make their way to my Christmas list...

    I always love your posts. They are like little pools of refreshment.

  9. These past few days seem to be a season of spilt milk for me. I made a shirt on Friday from a pattern I have used before and really like and some purple plaid flannel. The flannel is soft and snuggly. The shirt went together beautifully, but I look like a giant upholstered chair while wearing it. I was very disappointed. Today, I made two new recipes (butternut squash with orange/cranberry glaze and wild rice with chestnuts, onions, and celery) for our lunch only to find that my husband has a lunch appointment with a man we worship with today. That means I'll be eating alone. Poor me! I am smiling as I type, but it did take a few minutes to walk through the disappointment.


  10. Wonderful! I am always looking for book for my granddaughters and I think they would love them.

    Oh, yes. Especially when Christopher was in his early years and I was not getting enough sleep. Many spilled milk kind of days.

  11. This is an oldie it's true, but I thought it would be excellent to share with the Facebook homeschool groups I'm connected with and with my Harvest Lane Cottage fb followers this morning.
    Be blessed,

  12. Oh, by the way, our worst spills were a gallon of paint on a carpet and a half gallon of syrup on a carpet.

    Somehow, I survived both.