Every Woman a Theologian
— Lord, I'm Going to Hold Steady Onto You —
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Dear friend,
The snow descended again: this time in a constant flurry, a storm warning. It falls out my window like powdered sugar from a baker's hand, turning hay bales to cinnamon rolls. Farmer Bob's steers scatter across the dead fields, black dots on a white landscape. A poet my mother read as a child said snow on a tree branch is like an ermine shawl – the fur of a white weasel – and I can't forget that phrase. When I look out my office window at the apple tree, round red orbs still clinging on as figments of fall, I see that ermine shawl on every branch. There's peace here.
There's peace out there, actually, but not in here - not in my natural self, anyway. I find myself with a gnawing urgency that just won't leave. It's caused by a pile of tasks I keep trying to get to, keep trying to knock out, only to have them pile higher. The biggest of these is a manuscript due next week (on a theology of home), but there is a podcast outline on the early church, this newsletter, three new quick theology books to edit, a pile of emails I haven't answered (including from some of you!) and our lovely Bible in a Year Club groups to tend.
Add to that phone calls, appointments, meetings, piano lessons, homeschooling, farm animals, and … parenting! It is hard to discern what to prioritize first.
I have practical ways I do discern that, but these days I'm reminded of something Charles Stanley said in a sermon once: “There will always be more to do.” His point was that the list of to do's will never be completely empty, and trying to make it that way is a losing game. Instead we must become content with reliance upon God. “We wonder why we can't figure it out… but God doesn't want us to figure it out, He wants us to rely upon Him.” (Sermon here)
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This morning my “plan” for the day was interrupted by multiple parenting opportunities. It was frustrating. I found myself pausing to pray, to express that reliance on God Dr. Stanley talked about. I hoped to start homeschool at 9 AM so I would have more time for work. It didn't happen. I felt anxiety choking me. How will I ever get everything done? How will I meet these deadlines? Who will I let down next? 
As we read from our history picture books (on Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, two of my heroes) I stumbled upon a page in the book Moses. 
"The next day, Harriett tells not a soul her plans.
She grips the ax to chop wood, breathes deeply and murmurs:
“Lord, I'm going to hold steady onto you.”
And God whispers back in the breeze:
“I'm going to see you through, child.”
But God. With Him, there is always enough time. He is the master of it. Somehow, He makes the difference.
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My time may not be made up, and I may be down to the wire (as I am with most things) trying to finish a manuscript in the margins.
Lord, I'm going to hold steady onto you.
I am in the throes of discipling the smallest among us, in minutes and hours that require intention and attention.
Lord, I'm going to hold steady onto you.
I have dozens of emails to answer, some heavy and hard to bear.
Lord, I'm going to hold steady onto you.
I have the opinions of others to release to God, refusing to let their opinion be my identification.
Lord, I'm going to hold steady onto you.
There will always be more to do, but Lord: we are holding steady onto You.
Five Faves

A few things I'm using from our own shop lately:
  • At mealtimes, I let the kids pick whatever page they want in our Kids Theology Handbook. It's only a few minutes but always leads to great discussions.
  • We also love reading Good News is Coming by my friend Pricelis. It gives a simple gospel presentation my kids love. (Pricelis is bilingual and wrote the Spanish and English for this edition!)
  • These candles. I can't get enough of them!!
  • This mahogany book stand sits on our dining room table for all our bible study supplies. 
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Ask Anything Q/A

What would the Arminian view of God's sovereignty be?
That God's sovereignty is real, biblical, and an essential part of His character. But sovereignty does not mean “determining/causing human choice". Arminianism was further developed by John Wesley: “To be Wesleyan means to affirm the cardinal doctrine of justification by grace through faith. Salvation is grounded in the merits of Christ's righteousness and is appropriated by faith, which is a gift of God's grace. Wesley insisted that we must respond to God's gift through acts of obedience that flow out of faith. Wesley believed that humans can never do enough to merit salvation; still he taught that God in his sovereignty grants us a measure of freedom to respond to his transforming grace, and if we refuse to respond, then we will neither be saved or transformed.” More here
Theology on using anointing oil symbolically?
This may be in reference to anointing a home to pray over it, or to anoint objects to cast out demons (as some charismatic circles do). In the Bible anointing was a physical act of blessing, often accompanied with a spoken blessing or prayer. James 5:14 mentions anointing with oil when someone is sick as part of the process of healing prayer. Mark 6:13 notes that the disciples cast out demons through prayer and anointing. The anointing itself is not the power; that's all the Lord. The anointing is a bit like a sacrament: a “visible sign of invisible grace”.
What I'm Reading

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
Another great find by a friend of mine. I had never read Hardy and he has such a unique, lovely way of describing nature, relationships, and the narrative. He is unique and the story is a bit slow, but he gives you just enough to stay engaged and curious.
Confessions by Augustine
This is part of my classics list I'm working down in 2024. I usually read it right after my Bible study. I've loved how surprisingly approachable and relatable this is. It's also given me some great perspective on the goal of education and effects of secular education on the mind.
The Fun Habit by Mike Rucker
I'm reading this with 1,000 Hours Outside. It looks fascinating and is aligned with how I already see the world – as a place to delight in God's design!
Gilead by Marilyn Robinson
Another book club read, this time with Modern Miss Mason. Confession: I read this years ago and only made it halfway. I think I had the wrong mentality coming into it… I was looking for a driving storyline instead of a memoir style book. I'm enjoying it this time around!
Making Small Groups Work by Cloud and Townsend
A pastor friend of mine lent me this as I began plans for a new theology group, and wow! Such a wonderful resource. This would be great for any group leader to read.
Other books I'm working on:
  • Heartfelt Discipline by Clay Clarkson
  • Morning Time by Cynthia Rollins
  • Parenting Toward the Kingdom
  • Brain-Body Parenting by Mona Delahooke
  • Arminian Theology by Roger Olson
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At Home with Phylicia

  • Day in the Life, a sneak peek into an average day on our farm, is in my IG stories today.
  • We restarted homeschool co-op this week! As I planned out our semester I changed a few things around to make things easier. I decided to assign our science study to the day we DON'T have piano lessons; it's just too much. I try to schedule our lightest school days on days we have no errands, and I try not to have errands/be out of the house more than twice a week with the kids (in the daytime).
  • I'm stoked about this semester's read alouds! We're starting Little House on the Prairie (we did Big Woods last winter), the Violet Fairy Book, Andersen's Fairy Tales, and finishing Pilgrim's Progress. These are our core, daytime read alouds; at night we read Wingfeather and for history and science we use a lot of picture books to supplement.
for the awakening,