Thursday, October 24, 2013

Home/Singleness/Productivity||Q&A

{photo courtesy of HannahElisePhotography}

Today's post is going to be answering a few more of the questions I received from
this post back in September.
First off, just as a little disclaimer-
I so do not have the perfect answers to all of these. I do not have it "all together" (not even close!)
and some days I wonder what in the world I'm doing even running a blog, period? 
All that said...y'all asked, so you can take or leave the advice of a very simple twenty-two year old girl who still has a lot to learn in life. =)

What you do with your life post school?
this answer could be a book. =) but time is limited.
*work as my father's personal secretary doing all the secretary work for our family ministry. 
this includes processing and mailing all cd orders, answering/sending all emails, booking concerts through email, researching various church websites and venues, getting all concert dates to our webmaster, mailing letters and promotional materials to every concert venue two months prior to the concert, restocking cd/book inventory in the bus before every trip, and working with our photographer and graphic designers for every new photo shoot, album, poster, prayer card, and business cards.
*teach piano to three of my siblings.
*travel with my family half of the year, giving concerts all over the US and Canada.
*study photography and do it on the side as a business.
*create/remake/design clothing for myself, my sisters, and others.
*sing in the choir and volunteer with various other jobs and ministries at my church.
*travel with Bright Lights when I can. 
(which was none last year. =( and just a week this year. I love it when I am able though!)
*make lunch every day for my family
*do all of the laundry for my family
*feed our baby calves every morning
*maintain my blog.

Advice in helping other young girls in the church community?
Your example is the #1 thing. 
As older young women we cannot over emphasize the power of our influence.
It's actually quite frightening, if you actually think about it.
Like when you see a younger girl imitate your hairstyle or something else unique to you and it just really hits you "Wow. She got that from me! What else is she picking up on?"
 You would not believe the things younger girls notice.
Our attitude, response to different situations, conversation, and definitely our dress, 
are all things they  catch onto so quickly.
Make sure that the person you are is someone you would want to see imitated. 
Because if you have younger girls in your life, chances are you will be seeing yourself in a miniature before too long, as they copy and emulate you.

Ideas/advice/encouragement in living life as a single woman to the fullest?
get involved in serving. some way, some how. 
no matter where you live or what you do, there is ALWAYS, and always will be, a need for more people with a servant's heart. 
every single community has either a nursing home, or a homeless shelter, or lonely neighbors, or all of the above.
there will always be the need.
the problem is that many people aren't answering the call to give of themselves and fill that need.
For me right now, God has me busy pretty much full time just serving the needs of my family and church. And that is great.
But if I didn't have either of those outlets, there would still be so many other ways/areas to serve in my community.
Think outside of the box. Get a passion for something beyond yourself, something you can do to 
impact other people for Christ.

Advice for living life at home as an adult?
This can be a great thing or it can be a horrible thing.
What's really unfortunate about the whole topic is that there is this crowd of homeschoolers out there that has almost ruined the reputation of us "still-at-home-after-highschool" ers.
When I say ruined our reputation, I mean ruined the way people as a whole think about young people living at home/not going away to the typical 4yr degree, secular college deal.
They've almost ruined it because there is a large number of graduated girls (and guys, but we're just talking about the girls here so I won't get started on the guy problem)
who do nothing but wash laundry, make dinner, and browse the web.
Now, I'm not saying those things are bad. (I do each of them!)
But if that's all you're doing there is a serious problem.
I've seen way too many girls who have done that.
You will look back years later and realize that you have wasted your single years of life pining away, sitting in your house, accomplishing nothing.
We do not live just to subsist! We live to thrive! To be doing things, going places, making a difference!
Now, I'm not saying you can never have a day at home.
I'm saying that you need to find ways to be productive.
Get out and meet people.
-Organize a get-together for your neighbors. 
(Our family loves doing this, although we haven't done it for quite a while! one of my friends' family recently did a very fun activity with their neighbors-read about it here!)
-Volunteer at a local nursing home.
(another friend of mine did this. The staff noticed her joy, love, and genuine heart for the residents...and they offered her a staff position as the activities directer!=))
-Learn valuable skills
(do this. sewing, cooking, first aid, drama, art, jewelry making, photography, fitness, web design, music, interior design, calligraphy, hair design, film. the list could go on and on, but you get the idea. My parents always pushed my sister and I to excel in the areas we loved and were passionate about. We've worked hard on those and at one time we were each running multiple businesses that we had started on our own, based on skills we had cultivated. Due to our increased traveling and us both working for our family ministry now, we have had to cut back a bit on our personal work. But that's okay! Someday if I'm in a totally different stage of life and wanting a part-time job to do on the side, I will easily be able to resume my piano studio, or give more sewing lessons, or things like that.) 
Do not believe the lie that you have to go to college to be successful. 
Because it is just that-a lie.
I don't have time now but if I did I could go on and on and ON listing people I know who are super successful, who didn't even make it past 8th grade. I've seen way too many success stories come from "uneducated" people, to believe the hype that's out there about the "necessity" of having a degree.
From what I've observed, the following things are way more important than a degree.
-love for God
-love for people
-good social/people skills
-a love of learning, literature, and reading (this is vital!)
-a good work ethic
If you have those five things you will be just fine without a degree, and you will also be about $100,000 dollars richer. =)
Also don't buy the argument of "well, what if my husband dies someday and I need to work full-time to support my family?"
Trust me, if you've cultivated some of the skills listed at the top, and you have those "five things" I talked about, you will have no problem providing for your family.
Now, I am not saying college in and of itself is bad. Not at all. I have lots of friends who are in college, with a vision and a purpose and a plan. They know what they're going for, they are studying hard to finish, and they work through the summer to pay their tuition. 
What frustrates me is that there are so many people who go just because its the "expected thing". 
they go with no purpose whatsoever.
And the percentage of people who get a degree and end up doing something totally unrelated to the degree, for the rest of their lives...well, the percentage is high.
I know I'm getting into stuff here that isn't really related to the question, but it all does kinda tie in when you consider everything involved.
When you choose to stay at home, you will get lots of criticism, from both well-meaning people, and from people whose main goal is to make you look stupid. 
(trust me-I've been at home post school for 5yrs and I've heard it ALL)
You need to have a good, solid, intelligent answer when people ask you "so what do you do at home all day, since you're not going to college?"
They want to hear "welll....I'm helping my mom...and making supper...and I do all the laundry!"
That will convince them that their daughters are so much more well-prepared for the "real" world, than you are.
(note: cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry are all excellent accomplishments and I don't want to slight them because our calling as women is caring for the home. but those things should be learned by the time you are twelve. once you are out of high school, you should easily be doing those things every day as well as practicing ministry, building skills, and being involved in church/community projects, etc)  
I love to watch people's expression when they ask me the "what do you do" question
and I give them my answer. 
Usually I don't even go into everything I do. I just have to list a few things 
(ie. listed at the top of this post)
 and they usually tell me "wow, I guess you are really busy!" =) 
I understand that we're not here for approval of man, but at the same time our lives need to be a good witness. 
A good testimony. 
We want the world to look at us and see something different. 
Something that's vibrant and alive and WORKING.
Slowly but surely, people are understanding that just because someone went to college and got a 4yr degree...doesn't mean they know how to work hard. It doesn't mean they automatically are successful.
People are starting to realize that there is a problem with the way "everyone does it".
We have an awesome opportunity to give them the answer to that problem!
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy HEART, and with all thy SOUL, and with all thy MIND, and with all thy STRENGTH."
Mark 12:30
This verse is what I'm talking about! We need a heart that loves people, a soul that is sensitive to need and hurt, a mind that is sharp, honest, and filled with truth, and the strength and energy to work hard both physically and spiritually.
So... my biggest advice for those of you living at home post-school:
 be involved in things. be productive, busy, happy, energetic. do things in your community. in your area. in your world! 
study. read. discuss. disciple. make a difference.

Along these lines, a book that is highly beneficial in this area is "Preparing to Be A Helpmeet".
 I've never recommended this book here on my blog before because there are a couple things in it that I definitely don't agree with. 
But for the sake of the part of it that is really, really good, 
I'm giving a little endorsement, 
without totally endorsing it. (if that makes sense =))
On the topic of the importance of preparing yourself, and spending your single years wisely, this book is the best I have read. So many books on this subject don't deal with the problem in a practical way.
But this book is all about honesty and practical application.
(if you know anything about Debi Pearl, you know that blunt truth is her specialty! =))
Again, I'm not saying I agree with everything in the book. So don't read it and be shocked if you find something that you don't think I would agree with. Cause chances are, I don't. =)
But for sake of the topic above, I really wish all girls could read it, and apply the truth to their years at home.

I'll end with one of my favorite quotes of all time, that really sums it all up:
"Wherever you are, be all there!"
-Jim Elliot

Anyway, that's it for today. I'd love to hear thoughts back from y'all!
-chels 

34 comments:

  1. I have been reading your blog for quite awhile but just really never got around to commenting. I have been greatly encouraged already by your Christ-like example. Thank-you so much for sharing your heart today!! God Bless You!!
    In Christ Alone,
    Sara Ann Ebersol

    ReplyDelete
  2. also I love your picture at the beginning of the post...I am also very interested in photography and would really want to get into it. I do have a question tho'....I was wondering what for editing program you use. Thanks a lot!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sara Ann! I'm blessed to hear that my blog has been an encouragement to you! Praise God!
      As far as editing programs, I currently use iPhoto. I have purchased Photoshop Elements but am waiting to install it until I get my new laptop.
      My friend Hannah (who took/edited the picture/s of me on my blog) uses Photoshop.

      Delete
    2. sorry, I was wrong...Hannah uses mainly Lightroom. =)

      Delete
  3. "who do nothing but wash laundry, make dinner, and browse the web.
    Now, I'm not saying those things are bad. (I do each of them!)
    But if that's all you're doing there is a serious problem.
    Trust me. I've seen way too many girls who have done that.
    You will look back years later and realize that you have wasted your single years of life pining away, sitting in your house, accomplishing nothing.
    We do not live just to subsist! We live to thrive! To be doing things, going places, making a difference!'' This was speaking me bcause I feel that I just waste my teen years. I love that picture.

    ReplyDelete
  4. wow, SO GOOD. love everything you had to say and totally agree. PREACH IT. :)
    inspiring!! love your heart.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very well written! I defintely 'don't have it all together' either but I do agree on what you said about using your time as a single girl for Christ!
    I have seen WAY too many girls who wasted their single years thinking all they were supposed to do was sit around at home and wait for Prince Charming. Being a stay at home daughter doesn't mean you can't be involved in ministries!

    BTW I have read "Preparing to be a Help Meet" and thoroughly enjoyed it!
    Being involved with Bright Lights I'm sure you've read "Before Prince Charming"?
    I enjoyed that one as well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I have read BYMPC. =) Great book!

      Delete
  6. What a blessing you are to so many of us. It is so true what you said about younger girls. I am the oldest single young lady in our church and the young girls watch everything I do, to how I do my hair to what I am wearing. It has made me think of what I wear, do, or say. The Lord has blessing me with many older women as well as my wonderful Mom (who is a wonderful blessing to me) to encourage me and show me what to do. I am the oldest in my family as well. My younger brothers and sisters watch everything I do no matter what it is.:) How would/do you communicate with single young men?
    I have been reading your blog for about 4 or 5 year now and have really enjoyed reading it and have been blessed with thing you have written.:) Thank you for sharing so much with all of us young ladies.
    ~ Ashley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your question on communicating with young men. Its definitely a relevant topic! And I'm working on a post (for hopefully next week) on that subject, so stay tuned, and pray for wisdom for me if you think about it. =)
      thanks!

      Delete
    2. I am looking forward to reading it.:) I will be praying for you.
      ~ Ashley

      Delete
    3. Hey Ashley,
      I don't know if you will ever read this comment, but..... I just read the most amazing book EVER talking about how we interact/communicate with young men. It totally changed the way I thought about that subject! They use tons of scripture, and pretty much base all their arguments, points, and thoughts off of the word of God. I think every young young girl should read it. DON'T WAIT! Go read it. You'll be glad you did. :)

      Delete
    4. so..what book are you talking about? =)

      Delete
  7. Wonderful post. Graduating this year I'm really trying to figure out I'm supposed to do with my life. I really want to get into ministry work,but haven't quite found my niche yet! Thank you for your awesome post Chelsy!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Chelsy you have me very curious! What does your family not agree with the book Preparing to be a helpmeet?? Krista

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm just speaking for myself here. (my family hasn't even read the book)
      The biggest thing is that I don't believe in family planning, and the Pearls do, and they talk about that in Preparing. I agree with that section of the book as far as that couples really need to talk about those things before they get married so they know that they are on the same page/convictions in those areas. And I agree that a girl needs to know all those things Mrs. Pearl talks about...but when it comes to family planning I am a firm believer in the Biblical basis that family planning should be left up to God, and that we as people shouldn't take matters into our own hands and plan our family size however we think best.
      To me, thats a pretty basis principle, and so that is why I can't give the book a total endorsement. the rest of the book though, as a rule, is excellent.

      Delete
    2. Children are a blessing from the Lord, and who wants to miss out on gifts from God?! :D ~Carolyn

      Delete
  9. Thanks for sharing so thoroughly. This is what it is all about. Marinda

    ReplyDelete
  10. This article was simply amazing, and came at a perfect time for me. I just graduated from homeschooling and am praying for God's will in my life. Thank you soooo much for these helpful blog posts. I look forward to them every weekday, knowing I will get something encouraging for each day. Serving the Lord is truly a pleasure! God bless you and your family!

    ReplyDelete
  11. The article struck home. Young ladies really should be involved in some sort of ministry. Whether it's helping an elderly neighbor, passing out tracks to the girl at the feed store, volunteering at local events, etc. etc., serving others while keeping the Lord at the foremost of our thoughts is so important. Not only are we being a blessing to others, we're also keeping ourselves busy. I also agree that too many girls seem to think that Prince Charming in shining apparel is just gonna appear. Before even thinking of marriage, we need to focus on Jesus, and how we can better serve Him.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I really enjoyed this post, Chelsy! Thanks for sharing these things! The picture of you is simply beautiful! ~Tashia

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is a great post.

    I did go away to college, and it was a great, and in many ways necessary, experience for me, but I think you've made some strong arguments here - especially for those in the secular world who often have blinders on for the less productive stay-at-home daughters.

    If I could add one thing, it would be to not wish away these years. Regardless of what you are doing or where you are, I think many of us who feel God's desire to be a wife and mother are eager to wish away the uncertain post-high school single years. There is so much maturity and growth that can happen between high school and marriage and I love how you emphasized taking the time to serve your family and community!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Lovely post Chels!:) I really liked it! I read somewhere once that these years while we're young are our foundation years for our relationship with Christ. Or something like that.:) And that just always stuck with me that right now I am/can be, building the foundation of my relationship with Jesus for all my life!:) Its very motivational!;) What I do with my life now does really matter!:) Love you dear!! I just really love being around you a lot!!;) Christmas time is going to be Most Excellent!!:) A Large Hug!!:) ♥Rhoda

    ReplyDelete
  15. Amen, sister! This is exactly what I've been trying to explain to confused relatives and friends for the last 2 years! Thank you for posting! I LOVE reading your blog, Chelsy!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Chelsy, thanks for this post! I've been "lurking" on your blog for several months now and have enjoyed reading your posts. You summed up the life of stay-at-home daughters nicely.

    Amongst other activities as a stay-at-home daughter, I blog over at The Blue Tree House. If you have a moment, I'd love to have you stop by.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is right on Chelsy!! 110 % agree. Like you said, so many young people think they need to attend college or university just because....--but actually don't have a goal or plan in mind. This nonsense is wasting their money and precious young life etc. Thank-you for posting this I really enjoyed it. Your blog has been and is a blessing to me:)
    Priscilla Gerber

    ReplyDelete
  18. Mmm...thank you so much for writing this, Chels. Your thoughts really blessed and inspired me. One of my favorites of the posts you've done...and, haha, that's saying a lot since all of your posts really are truly edifying/inspiring. =) Thank you so much for sharing, friend, and for your set-apart example. Love ya!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I do not usually have time to comment, but I have enjoyed every post you have written for the last couple months now and you have been such an encouragement!! This article is something some of my extended family should read, so that they see my family and I are not the only ones with these "radical" thoughts. :P

    My grandparent's are always giving these "what-if's" on the exact same thing you pin-pointed (husband losing job) and it was so refreshing to hear your views on that! Another thing I told my grandfather is that my future husband should be worrying about what he should do if he loses his job; not me. That's one reason us gals should pray for prepared and wise husbands! :) If we believe that God is calling us to be at home serving the family, that is what we should continue to do even when the times are tough. Because once the "neck" (if the husband is the head of the family, the wife is the supportive neck, right? :) abandons the place she is most needed, chaos will ensue. Now I am not experienced in this, I am just repeating something my mother told me. :) What you wrote on just making sure we are prepared in what matters really spoke to me, so thank you!

    And another thing; my grandfather pushed my mom to go through college and get a degree in math, and she is never going to use it unless she goes and teaches at a college. It is doing nothing to help her teach math to her children, which is why if we do decide to go to college it should be for something we plan on using later in life. :)

    Thank you so much for being "real" and such an encouragement to us readers! ~Carolyn

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow; thanks, Chelsey for being so open about it. I did some time as a stay-at-home wife(my late husband and I didn't have kids) and I got some of that too.It was good time; to keep up the house, to encourage others online, and I did do some volunteering as well. And I had energy to relax with him when he came home from work.
    Mostly I had casual work, or I had part-time work. When I was offered full-time, we agreed I should take it, but keep it flexible as needed. He then was having his health troubles and probably wanted to be sure to keep me where I could support myself if need be. Yes, college/university can be useful. I went, and I struggle with how useful it was to me. I was denied the degree I started with; which WAS job-specific. I tried a course in a trade school, same thing. Employers are looking for skills and experience. So, nothing wrong with you or one of your siblings working part-time in a restaurant or store. I did a fast-food job for 5 years and it was VERY valuable; and I was in my 30s and 40s!
    I'm glad your parents encouraged you and your sister, and brothers as well, to use your gifts and passions to build skills and employability. I have heard of many homeschooling parents who seem to encourage just what you were describing. Or, at least don't let them leave their sight; even as adults! They're lucky if there's a family business/ministry to work in, but if not, stay home with mom and do housework and let their lives be micro-managed! And then what; a husband is supposed to drop through the ceiling? So, it's good you are prepared for that, and even if you continue to stay living at home, never marry, and your parents die, you will be prepared for that too. A 50-something single orphan with no employable skills is also something to avoid. I know a number of women, some aunts included, who never married and lived with their parents till they died, but they still had jobs and lives outside the home and were able to support themselves and be productive then. God bless you, Chelsey.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hello, I have read Debi Pearls whole Preparing to be a Helpmeet book, and have loved it. Think it is a great book for girls as well, just wondered what in particular you disagreed with?? Only respond if you get a chance:). My name is Annette and I am 18:).

    ReplyDelete
  22. The most important thing to follow when preparing for "after high school" years is to follow what God's will is for your life. That might be serving in all the ways you are doing or it might mean getting that college degree. It's not a matter of "What do I want to do?" but rather, "What does God want me to do?" Pursuing college shouldn't be looked at as the "unnecessary evil" when God is leading one to do that. I've recently read the book, "Of Knights and Fair Maidens" and found it to be a really good book about how a couple became attracted to each other's character before the feelings followed. I highly recommend it to add to the growing number of good books out there on relationships. Kath

    ReplyDelete

Comments containing profanity and/or hateful language will not be published.