Tag Archives: Dear Hallee

Dear Hallee: Real Food & Visiting Family

dear hallee notebookDear Hallee:
I have really been trying to feed my family better. We’ve recently switched to mainly organic foods, when we can afford them. My question comes in an upcoming trip to visit family. We’ll be there around 3 nights and they don’t really eat the way we do. When you travel, how do you eat? Do you just eat what the host fixes, regardless of what’s in it? Do you take food and possibly offend the host? I’m stuck in the fact that I really don’t want to mess up our newly established eating habits, but I also don’t want to offend anybody either. Signed, Traveling Mama

Dear Traveling Mama:

We eat what is offered in hospitality, without exception. If something is offered that doesn’t fit the Levitcal Diet (pork, etc.) and we can avoid eating it without appearing rude, we avoid it (and sometimes that’s not always possible).  But otherwise, we bless the food with a thankful heart.

My kids love eating at my mom’s house. They get Apple Jacks, those gummy fruit snacks, and doughnut holes.  But my mom also buys them beef hot dogs and turkey bacon because she loves us and respects our desire to follow a Biblical diet.  Fresh fruit is in abundance, good yogurt in the fridge, and whole wheat bread is a standard there.

ThanksgivingFeastLong ago, when I was married to Kaylee’s dad, we lived in the same town as his entire, extended, real-food eating family. We didn’t eat that way. But, I was a good cook with my “SAD” (standard American diet) diet and was proud of my culinary skills (think of the woman who does the show “Semi Homemade”). The last year we were married, it was my turn to host Thanksgiving. They all called and asked if they could bring anything, and I told them I would do the cooking and they didn’t need to bring anything.

I cooked all day – turkey, stuffing (Stove Top), two kinds of potatoes, gravy (homemade), breads (probably refrigerated dough, if I remember correctly), pies, cakes, veggies. I had a big beautiful spread laid out.

They ALL showed up with their own food (including a turkey) and my food was barely touched. I was humiliated and left to feel unaccomplished, less-than, and unworthy.

I wouldn’t ever bring my own food to a host’s home — even family.  Ever.  Unless the hostess asks me to bring something.  Never.

 

Hallee


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Dear Hallee: The Law, Levitical Diet, & Acts 10

These questions, and hundreds just like them, came as a result of Our Diet page and the Give a Pig a Pancake post.  If you’ve never read them, I encourage you to read about what we eat and why we eat it (and why we don’t eat what we don’t eat).

dear hallee notebook
What about Acts 10:9-16? God showed Peter a vision of many “unclean” animals and told him that what God had sanctified we are not to call unclean. It is probably more healthy to eat a Levitical diet, but as far as it being a present day biblical mandate I cannot agree with that one. I applaud all who hold high standards in their diet for our present culture makes it hard to do. I myself am trying to get back to the basics more. It helps that I am staying in a foreign country right now. Fresh fruits, veggies, and meat are at the market every morning. For pretty good prices too.  ~Hannah in the comments section of Our Diet

-AND-

I was wondering as you are journeying through the Levitical Diet, have you had anyone comment about God showing Peter that all foods were declared “clean”? I’d love to hear your interpretation of this verse! ~A Facebook Follower

Hi Dawn and Hannah.  Everything I’ve read has suggested that Acts 10:9-16 was that Peter’s vision was directly about him associating with Gentiles. Immediately after his vision, he was summoned by a Gentile (Cornelius), whom God had sent to him. He went with this man, stayed in his house, ate his food. In the same chapter of Acts, Peter said, “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”

fatty pork chopThat said, I think that Acts 15 directly speaks to non-Jews and what to follow within the law. The Council at Jerusalem wrote a letter to the church at Antioch. Verses 24-30 say: “We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said… It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.”

I think that is much more to the point than Acts 10.

As far as it being a present-day Biblical mandate, I don’t necessarily agree with you. I do know that my salvation is NOT contingent upon what I eat and how I treat my body. But I also know that in Leviticus, God said that some meat was unclean and not to eat it – and He is the same God yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It isn’t “probably” more healthy to eat a Levitical diet – it absolutely is more healthy to eat a Levitical diet. And why wouldn’t God want us to be more healthy?

Thank you so much for posting all the biblical references. I have, recently, become more aware of the laws in Torah. I have been trying to feed my family healthier, whole & freshly prepared foods. My husband is a bit of a hard sell on this. He is partially there but not all the way (he loves his bacon & processed snack foods). He grew up pPntacostal and says that in the New Testament, we were given the okay to eat pork. I don’t agree. His mom said that it states in Matthew, God blesses all food for us to eat (I’m putting this in my own words here). Do you have any idea what she is referring to? I want to continue to try to get my husband fully on-board but need more info so I truly know what I’m talking about. ~Dawn Marie, in the comments section of Our Diet

torahHi Dawn Marie:  There are two parts to which she may be referring. One is Matthew 5:17. Jesus says, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” The popular translation of that verse says that Jesus was releasing us from the Law by fulfilling it.

What I believe it means is that Jesus rejected the Pharisees’ charge that He was nullifying the law (as the popular thought goes today.) If you look at Matthew 5:18, He further said, “For assuredly I say to you till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” The word “fulfill” means “to fill out, expand, or complete.” It does not mean bring to an end. Jesus fulfilled the law several ways. (1) He obeyed it perfectly and taught its correct meaning. (2) He will one day fulfill all of the Old Testament prophesies. (3) He provides a way of salvation that meets the requirements of the law.

Even if a Christian thinks that means that they’re free to eat whatever they want, if our bodies are a temple for Christ, and eating food that God has determined is bad for us and in fact defiles us, we are in turn defiling Christ’s temple.

She might also be talking about Matthew 15:16-20. Where Jesus said whatever goes into the mouth is eliminated, but it’s what comes out of the mouth that can defile a man. If that’s the verse she’s using, I think that’s a bit of a weak argument, personally.

I’d recommend getting your husband The Maker’s Diet: The 40-day Health Experience That Will Change Your Life Forever by Jordan S. Rubin to read. Even if he isn’t convinced Biblically, he would be convinced for health reasons alone. We originally changed just for the health reasons. Our sense of worship and obedience came later.

 

Hallee


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moldy tupperware

Dear Hallee: Moldy Plastic Containers

dear hallee notebookI know that you can answer this question for me…. If you have something in Tupperware [or any other plastic storage container] and it gets moldy, is it safe to keep the Tupperware or toss it?

This is a good question, and something any of us who really just hate cleaning out our refrigerators encounter on an all-too-often basis.  Depending on my mood at the time of cleaning out the fridge, I’ll either toss containers into the trash arbitrarily, or go through the process of emptying them out (yuck) rinsing them off, and appropriately cleaning them.

What do I mean by appropriately?  The thing is, just standard washing in hot soapy water isn’t going to clean the mold out of your container.  So, the answer to your question is: You can keep it, but you need to kill the mold.

moldy tupperwareThe best way to do this is to fill it with a half vinegar/half water solution and let it sit for a week, then wash it really good.

Use vinegar and not another kind of cleaner (like bleach), because plastic is porous and will soak up what you put into it. Vinegar kills almost all molds and is non-toxic, so it won’t matter if the plastic soaks it up.

 

Hallee


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Dear Hallee: Drying Sheets

I absolutely DESPISE washing bed sheets because inevitably they always end up wound in a ball with stuff inside and still wet. Do you have any tricks to fix this problem?

For a stupidly expensive price (quick online glance gave me a figure of about $18.99) you can get some “dryer balls” and put them in the dryer with the sheets, they will keep the sheets from balling up in each other while they spin around in the dryer.

But, I have a much more economical trick.

Tennis balls.

Seriously.

Place your sheets in the dryer.

I’m pretty sure Jeb’s cuteness doesn’t have anything to do with the effectiveness of the tennis balls.  It’s just an added bonus.

Throw in a few tennis balls.  I use 3.

That’s it.  They’ll bounce around inside your dryer as the drum spins and keep the sheets from balling up in the process.

From what I understand, they’ll keep pillows from clumping up, too.

Once your sheets are dry, check out my vLog on How to Fold a Fitted Sheet and my trick on Storing Sheets.

 

Hallee


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Meat Vintage Sign

Dear Hallee: Eating Dairy & Meat

Hallee the Homemaker Helps

Hallee the Homemaker Helps

What are your thoughts on dairy and meat? I am so confused about it all, there is so much conflicting info out there.

As much as I wish otherwise, there isn’t a simple answer to this question.

In the beginning of the 20th century, Americans consumed, on average, 120 pounds of  meat annually.  In 2007, the average American ate 222 pounds of meat in a year.

In 1913, the average American consumed  40 pounds of processed sugar, on average, annually.  In 1999, the average American consumed 147 pounds of refined sweeteners.

In 1909, Americans consumed, on average, 294 pounds of dairy per year.  In 2006,  the average American consumed 605 pounds of dairy.

That’s a significant increase in the span of just a few generations!

What changed?

Fish Vintage Sign

Meat Goes to War

Post World War II brought us burger joints and supermarkets.  Supermarkets were stocked with “convenience foods” – processed delicacies designed to make life easier.  Cheeseburgers, tacos, deep fried butter on a stick – food became starchy, fatty, salty, and processed.  By the 1960′s heart disease was on the rise.

More than 40% of Americans are obese, and over 50% take some form of prescription drug for a chronic disease every day.  There are unprecedented amounts of Type II diabetes in children, and we are now seeing hypertension in children in grammar school.  Lipitor, a cholesterol medicine, is the most prescribed drug in the world.  The generation growing up today will be the first generation of children in the United States to live less time than their parents. 500,000 Americans a year have bypass surgery.  Every minute, a person in the United States is killed by heart disease.  Three hundred people a day die from cancer.  Combined, over one million Americans die every year from either cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, strokes) or from cancer.

We spend $2.2 trillion dollars a year on healthcare – over five times that of the defense budget.

First do no harm … Let your food be your medicine and medicine be your food.  ~Hipocrates

During WWII, Nazis invaded Norway.  When they did this, they confiscated all of the livestock to feed their own troops.  The Norwegians, in turn, were under strict rationing with their sugars and fats.  They had to turn to fruits, vegetables, and fish for sustenance.

Heart disease plummeted during the war.  When the war was over, it rose back to pre-war levels.

Meat Vintage SignIn 1974, China did a massive cancer study – the biggest study ever of its kind (The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health).  600,000 scientists tracked mortality rates due to different kinds of cancer all over China.   Using this study as a guide, in 1980, scientists did a more focused study on 65 rural areas of China and discovered 94,000 correlations between diet and cancer.

The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.  Thomas Edison

What scientists are discovering is that a whole-foods, plant based diet can not only stop the course of many chronic diseases, but can actually reverse them.

One of the benefits is, obviously, weight loss and weight maintenance.  500 calories of natural plant food (cereal grains, vegetables, fruit) will fill your stomach, triggering density receptors (which help your brain determine caloric density) and the stretch receptors (which help your brain measure the volume of food in your stomach), thus allowing you to feel full.  But, 500 calories of unnaturally rich or processed foods (think Krispy Creme donuts or Chef Boy Ardee) does not fill our stomach and tricks our bodies into thinking we need to eat more.  We almost have to over eat in order to feel satisfied.

Overeating will cause weight gain.  Weight gain leads to obesity.  Obesity causes blood pressure problems, cholesterol problems, diabetes, stroke, heart attacks, cancers…the list can go on.

But, it’s a balancing act, like everything.  Let’s take just cholesterol.  Too low of cholesterol, and you are at risk for cancer, mental illness, infections, etc.  Too high of cholesterol, and you’re at risk of cancer, heart disease, etc.  Cholesterol is found in animal fats.  (Some plants have cholesterol, but their numbers are minuscule.)

Dairy Vintage Sign

Is it really "Farm Fresh" if it's homogenized?

Part of my study on this topic included the Bible.  What does God say about it?  Adam and Eve and their following generations all the way to Noah did not eat meat.

God gave Noah and his family meats to eat — that is the first time eating meat is mentioned in the Bible.  With Moses, God specified which meats were clean for consumption. When the Israelites were wandering in the desert, God said to them, “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread.”  God sent quails in the evening and manna in the morning.  The father of the prodigal son killed the fatted calf for the celebration of his son’s return.  When Jesus appeared to seven of his disciples after his death, they’d been fishing all night, having caught nothing.  Jesus told them to throw their nets over one side, and they caught so much fish that they could not even pull the nets up.  Jesus met them on the shore and cooked fish for breakfast.

Best I can tell, God approves the eating of “clean” meats.

Milk is used throughout the Bible as a positive substance.  Cheese is mentioned.  Never is it forbidden.  ”He nourished them…with curds and milk from herd and flock…” Deuteronomy 32:13-14.   However, the dairy that we have today in our culture is a bastardized version of the kind of dairy my mother had growing up.

Today, cows producing the milk on mega factory farms are not healthy – they don’t wander free in the fields eating grass and making their way to the barn at milking time.  They stand in a milking barn their entire lives and eat corn and grain pumped full of industrial grade chemicals (euphemistically called vitamins), steroids, and other hormones.  Milk today is pasteurized and homogenized, processes that destroy the vitamins and denature the proteins in the milk.

DairyRaw milk is neither pasteurized nor homogenized; however, in the last 40 years it has become illegal to purchase raw milk in many states.  I cannot purchase raw milk here in Kentucky.  I can, however, find non-homogenized, low-temperature pasteurized milk.  When I cannot get that, I use organic cream and organic fat-free milk and “make” my own whole milk – which is the best I can do with what I have.

Good dairy, raw dairy, free-range dairy, goat dairy — those are good, God given, healthy foods.

What is my take?  To what conclusions have Gregg and I come?

As impressive as the study in China was, the standard diet for China is full of pork and shellfish. The same thing goes for the Scandinavian countries – a massive consumption of pork. I’d love to see a study in the same sphere with an area that largely follows a Levitical diet – Israel for instance. Or even a diet that just removes pork – like areas in the Middle East.

According to the studies, plant based, whole food diets prove to be healthier to entire populations. I think another thing to also point out is that there weren’t processed soy products in the Scandinavian countries at the time. So, when the animals were gone, the population was left with sustaining themselves with plant based whole foods. No artificial products, no soy based products, no processed and refined to the point of obscenity foods. And, I think importantly, they increased their fish intake by 200%

Fish

Fresh Salmon is a Favorite

I believe that a vegan diet – and that is a diet that is all vegetarian – all plant based with no animal products at all is only a healthy choice when there are no processed and artificial foods, no processed soy-based proteins introduced regularly into the diet. When the consumer is knowledgeable about what to eat to attain maximum protein and nutritional consumption, then it can be a moderately healthy diet.  However, we believe that at least dairy is necessary for all around health.

As a society, we consume entirely too much meat and meat products. This became apparent to Gregg and I when we were finishing our Daniel Fast in October and November. I had no real desire to return to eating meat. It occurred to me that I could very happily continue on as a vegetarian if I also ate dairy products.

Gregg and I have spent many hours researching this topic and have concluded that we are going to drastically cut back on our meat consumption. We’ve made a big change and are only eating meat twice a week for breakfast and no more than three times a week for dinner – with at least one of those meals being fish. We feel that this is an incredibly healthy change for our family.

Meat

Beef, Lamb, Bison, Chicken, Duck

That said, we only eat good meats – and those meats that are approved in God’s dietary laws. When we purchase those meats, we purchase good meat – grass fed beef, free range poultry, local organic lamb, wild caught seafood. Complimenting the meat are good, whole foods – non-processed, non-refined, whole grains, good-for-you foods.

When we purchase dairy, we purchase good dairy — no raw milk can be sold in our state, but I buy local non-homogenized, low-temperature pasteurized milk. I make my own yogurt. We purchase organic cheeses and local cream.

We do our best to make sure that our dairy products are as good as we can get without making our own (and that will come one day.)  When we eat out, we try to stick to vegetarian menus, because we don’t know the sources of the meat and the dairy.

So, the question: Is it okay to eat meat and dairy?

It really depends. Are you buying “Value Chicken” label from Mega-Lo-Mart and serving it with a side of boxed (processed) mac & cheese and frozen cauliflower drowning in processed cheese sauce? Then, no, it’s not really okay to eat that. It’s actually bad for you to eat that.

Are you, one or two nights a week, eating locally raised grass-fed lamb, homemade hummus, homemade whole wheat pita bread, with a side of Greek salad and some organic Feta cheese crumbled on top?

Then, yes, that is very good for you.

Hallee


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Dear Hallee: Baking with Small Children

With it being the week before Christmas, many of us will spend many hours in the kitchen cooking, baking, and candy-making.  I thought it was perfect timing to get this question posed to me on my Hallee the Homemaker facebook wall:

It’s amazing to me how much time you spend cooking/baking – seriously – do you have hired help? You have young kids – who I’m assuming make messes and require your attention – any tips?   ~Miranda

I do not have hired help – although, while Gregg was in Afghanistan, I did have help.

(1)  I encourage my kids to help me in the kitchen – especially with baking.

The first time Kaylee ever kneaded dough, she still had a pacifier in her mouth (I wish I could find that picture.)  That made her younger than 3.  Now, at 14, she can make anything.  She can read just about any recipe, follow the instructions, and create.  I let her cook without restraint.

The boys stir, mix, knead, measure, pour, grate, and zest.  If I have something soft to cut up (a melon, for instance) they even have a plastic knife that looks like an alligator that they can use to saw through the softer foods.  They are  learning what the measurements mean, the basics of fractions, and the difference between baking powder and baking soda.

They each have their own chair and stand on them when they’re in the kitchen with me.  I often have to reach to work around the chairs because they’re crowding the work space.

(2) My house is extremely compact.  It’s not necessarily small, but no matter in what room I’m working, I can hear what’s going on in any other room in the house.  Sometimes, they’re playing in their room or in the living room while I’m in the kitchen.  That doesn’t bother me.  I am extremely efficient in the kitchen.  I can get a totally from scratch cake in the oven in less than ten minutes.

(3) I’m not averse to popping in a DVD or turning on Netflix.  Mater’s Tall Tails or Spectacular Spiderman will completely tree them and buy me 20 solid, safe minutes.

Oh yeah – and, oh my yes, they make messes.  Wow.  My kids are pros at that.

 

Hallee


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Dear Hallee: Date Night

I have a date night question for you. My husband and I were talking about finding more time for each other and I told him about you and Gregg and your once a week date night. Could you give me some good advice on how to make it successful. Do you all do it on the same night each week? Do you always have a babysitter or sometimes wait till the kids are asleep? How do you make it inexpensive? We want it to be about our time together not the money we spend. Do you take turns planning the dates or do you plan them together? Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated. My husband and I are very much in love and enjoy each others company outside of being parents. It seems like we spend too much of our time on the daily tasks of living and raising a family. I really like [my husband] and want to spend more time focusing on him. :-)

We just take each week as it comes. One night, we went to a mystery dinner theater. Another night, we went to see a cheap movie and then had a picnic dinner with homemade food. A few weeks ago, we went and looked at houses with a real estate agent.  One week, we didn’t have a free night, so we had lunch.  This past week, we spent $8 for two tickets and enjoyed a show about the night sky at the planetarium.

In jeans at the planetarium - an inexpensive but fun date

What we do is meet every Sunday afternoon and purposefully discuss the previous week and discuss the coming week’s schedules and activities. Date night is always discussed. If there’s something that one of us wants to do, we typically email it to each other prior to the event, so that tickets can be bought and we know when it’s coming up. I’m subscribed to Living Social Deals and Groupons, which are daily ‘deals’ — sometimes it’s spend $20 on a $40 restaurant certificate, and sometimes they’re total busts — but they come every morning and provide ideas for restaurants or activities. I also am a Facebook follower of Lexington 365 — a daily “do this in Lexington” idea page.

We always have a baby sitter. Sometimes it’s Kaylee, but she’s our standing Monday night sitter for our volunteer work on Mondays, so we try to get someone else to sit on our date night, or hire a girl from our youth group to come and hang out with her while they both babysit.

It’s not always expensive – though sometimes it is. And it’s not always easy to juggle in a date – this week would be an example of that. It’s Tuesday and we’re still trying to figure out how we can have a date this week.  But we’re committed to doing it, and we both really look forward to it every week.

Good luck! I love love. :-) And I love loving and happy marriages.

 

Hallee


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Dear Hallee: “Help!”

I’m embarrassed to say how long ago I received the following letter – several weeks at least.  I read it, and started mulling over it and just never got back to it.  It took me a while to decide how to respond, and then it took me a while to decide to respond here.  The subject line in the email was “Help!”

I think discussing this here is safe because this is a pretty anonymous arena and there are absolutely no signs that would say who this person is.  But, if it’s you and you’re upset that I addressed it so publicly, I apologize.  I just really think that you would do well to hear several different opinions, and I really think that what I have to say will help someone else.

So, here’s the letter.  Read below for my response:

I have 3 kids, ages 11,8, 4.  I homeschool the 8 y/o full-time and homeschool the 4 y/o part-time and she attends a co-op 3 days/week that is 30 minutes away.  I have a 6000 sq ft house on about 2 acres.  I also work every other weekend and most nights. My husband earns a wonderful living for us, but doesn’t want to help out in any aspect of parenting, housekeeping, yardwork, or fixing stuff. He is also very messy and makes really big messes for me to pick up. He criticizes me all the time for not doing a good enough job in any aspect of anything. I have broken down the house into zones, like you have suggested.

I try to cook meals ahead of time. I try to at least get the kids to help me out, but my 8 y/o has ADHD and cleaning and organizing is very difficult for him.  This is a life skill I am trying to teach him, but in the meantime he is little help. My husband also doesn’t want me to ask the kids to do too much work – he thinks it should be my job. In addition, my husband likes the kids to be a few years ahead in their academics so we do extra lessons and schoolwork on top of everything else (swim team, tennis, basketball, therapy, gymnastics).

I have tried for years to explain that I can’t do all of this, but he thinks I’m being lazy.  I know if anyone could handle all of this you could. My husband won’t allow me to stop working, won’t allow the kids to back off activities or extra schoolwork and won’t let the kids help me more with housework.

Gregg and I are looking for property right now.  We looked at a 4300 square foot home on 15 acres.  We loved the home, but knew it would not be for us.  As we walked from floor to floor and room to room we agreed that if we had a home that big, every minute of my day would be spent maintaining it.  I’m just not willing to devote that much time to a home big enough that my children could hide away in separate rooms and never even have to interact with their family.

As for the homeschooling: the thing about homeschooling is that it takes your time and attention.  You must devote that time and attention to your homeschooled student, or else you will surely have a failed program – especially when you have a very young student and a very attention-required student.  You have both.  In order to effectively homeschool, other areas in your life that would require your time and attention simply must be sacrificed.

I am an extremely capable person.  I work quickly and efficiently at all tasks, and am very good at multi-tasking.  I left my job after Scott was born and my bosses were forced to hire two people to replace me.  I believe the skills given to me are God-ordained and are to be used for His work and His purposes, even if right now they’re just to manage our home with parenting with writing with blogging.

That said, as capable as I am, I know that I would not be able to handle full time homeschooling, a 6000 square foot house and large yard, and work part time — and continue to devote myself to God as I am called to do.  There are simply not enough hours in the day, nor are there enough ways to multitask that kind of work load.

Another thing that really stands out is your relationship with your husband.  A marriage is to be a partnership – not a dictatorship.  I can assure you that if my Gregg saw me overloaded and needing help, he would go out of his way to find a way to help me.  He has done so over and over during the course of our marriage.  On more than one occasion, he has bagged up all the laundry and taken it to a pay-per-pound laundry service.  He is not averse to doing dishes, taking the garbage to the curb, doing yard work, keeping the cars maintained, and he makes the bed most mornings.  He lovingly limited me to one morning per week in the soup kitchen when it began to consume my time and attention.  When I hear of a ministry activity I want to get involved in, he never says “no,” he simply asks what ministry I intend to give up so that I don’t overextend.

When Gregg read this letter, the first thing he said was, “Assuming her husband isn’t a jerk, I wonder if her husband has ever tried to help her in the past and she criticized him so that now he just doesn’t even try.”  Maybe Gregg doesn’t make the bed as neatly as I would.  Maybe he doesn’t load the dishwasher the exact same way I would load it.  But I would never criticize or disrespect his efforts.   If I ever did, I would certainly be asking for trouble.  Understand that neither I nor Gregg are suggesting that it may be so cut and dry as that.  However, in study after study, book after book, case after case, in even secular literature this is a cycle that is quite common whenever wives feel their husbands are not helping enough in the home.

What is certainly true is that there was a beginning to this current situation, and — unless he’s always been a bully — you need to trace back to where your relationship started to fall apart.  You need to have a LONG sit-down with him, away from your home and your children, and let him read this letter and let him see how far beyond your very human limits you feel like you’ve been pushed.  Then let him help you fix it and don’t criticize or disrespect.

If it were me, I’d say to my husband, “You have two choices.  No negotiating, no ultimatums.  It’s just come down to this, and you must chose one.  A housekeeper or a private school for the kids.  Period.”  I wouldn’t back down.  I’d research schools and contact agencies for the housekeeper and go to your husband with the list.  You must get help.  You simply must have help.

I would also insist that if he didn’t want to start maintaining the yard, then he needs to hire someone to do it until your son is old enough to take on the chore.

We limit our children to two activities — on top of church.  Currently, that’s horseback riding and softball.  It looks like your children are overloaded with activities, academic and otherwise.   Your husband is going to end up with a resentful wife worked into an early grave and some extremely resentful and exhausted children if he doesn’t learn to back off the demands and chill on the dictates.

That said, I read through your schedule that you sent me and your zones look good.  I don’t know if I would do a whole lot of meal cooking ahead of time.  At least for me, this just creates more stress.  I don’t understand why people think freezer cooking is a time-saver, because it takes at least two days of prep and cooking to pull it off, and I don’t have two full days to devote to it.  However, I’d get a crock pot cookbook and just start cooking in a crockpot every night.  Throw most crockpot meals together with a salad and you have a decent meal.

If you don’t have to work for finances, if it were me I’d stop for now.  You have enough on your plate without the burden of being away from home for so many hours a week.  If you must work, or if your pay would have to go toward the housekeeper or the gardener or the private school, then on the nights and weekends you work, you need to leave a chore list for your older children and a honey-do list for your husband.  Keep it light at first and gradually add to it.

Your letter sounds like you’re sinking and gasping your last breath.  I pray that this situation is resolved for you.

Hallee


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