These short fictional accounts reveal that while women over the years share many of the same concerns about the welfare of their families, the tangible nuts and bolts of running a household have evolved significantly. This will be an epiphany for the many modern women harboring guilt-inducing notions that the housewives of earlier generations were better at running their households despite the absence of the time and effort saving conveniences that clutter homes today.
On the contrary, Gregoire convincingly points out that these technological advances have actually added more lines on today's to-do lists. And while all of this is helpful, the real value of Gregorie's book is in its discussion of the principles that should guide the division of labor in the home. As the back cover says, this is no "women's lib" book and Gregorie does not fail to mention biblical verses referring to wives submitting to husbands. Nevertheless, she does a masterful job of exposing how commonly held ideas about gender roles within the home are of a cultural construction and not a biblical construction.
Furthermore, she points out that these traditional gender roles aren't effective for many families existing in our modern economy. With this in mind, she suggests innovative ways to devise a truly harmonious living and working environment.
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Having the 'perfect house' as a standard can be very debilitating, constricting our ability to share with others. Maybe you'd like to invite that new couple over after church, but you can't possibly let them in your home right now because there are still crumbs on the counter from breakfast and the kid's toys are lying on the stairs. When we think this way, we are putting things ahead of people. Creating a family friendly home means creating a home where people feel comfortable.
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Pastor Kevin Dowling, a friend from our hometown says that Christians should aim to be hospitable, not to entertain. Our aim is to share our homes and our lives, not to put on a show. So instead of putting your energy into keeping a perfect home that few see, try creating a comfortable one the people feel welcome in. Though this book is especially aimed at women trying to juggle children, households and husbands, even those like myself who only have the husband and the household can find useful tips on time management, re-ordering priorities, and spiritual balance.
She explains the need for genuine independence and mystery as a key to keeping romance blooming. Wray Gregoire traces the differences in the lifestyles and levels of support our grandmothers and mothers had to the lives we live now where the nuclear family is often isolated from other family members in anonymous neighborhoods. She tells how those principles can still work, despite these changed circumstances, if they are applied with a proper balance.
She acknowledges that sometimes certain aspects of Christian teaching have been misinterpreted to promote the idea that a woman should be like a doormat or a maid in the home instead of a loving wife in a relationship of mutual respect. At the end of each chapter are some deeper questions to ponder that would make ideal assignments between meetings.
This book could be reread several times because so much wisdom is distilled into it, and its style is fresh enough to make rereading a pleasure. Sheila Wray Gregorie has done a great job with her book. She doesn't talk down to moms as an expert--she comes alongside as a fellow struggler and gives scripturally-based, insightful commentary about the role a Christian mom and wife should play in the family.
I was challenged, motivated, and encouraged by her practical ideas, her warm tone, and the real-life anecdotes she shared. As a working mom, I didn't feel that Sheila "bashed" me, but she gave helpful ideas for cutting back on time away from home and making family dinners, etc. All in all, it was a delightful read. I can't wait for her next book--it's about sex, and that chapter in "To Love, Honor, and Vacuum" was my favorite!
Author and Speaker, Heidi St. John
One person found this helpful. Other Formats: MP3 CD. To Love, Honor, and Vacuum May 23, Only 1 left in stock - order soon. To Love, Honor, and Vacuum: Another Reality Check Jun 1, How Big Is Your Umbrella? Oct 10, Get it by Friday, Feb 15 Only 13 left in stock more on the way. How Big Is Your Umbrella?: Weathering the Storms of Life May 19, More Information.
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