Saturday, December 11, 2010

Awwww shucks....

This past week I received the following "Awww shucks" email from a charming reader. My first thought upon reading it - honestly - is "Wow, do I have this lady fooled!" What I mean by that is... well, read it for yourself before I explain:

Dear Mrs. Lewis,

Just wanted to let you know how much I love reading your writings- as yet I have mostly been reading your articles on WND, but I plan to start reading your blog too. I am a 40 something stay at home mother of 2 boys, ages 17 and 11. My boys are my heart! All 3 of them... counting my hubby! I have been homeschooling for the last 3 years and we enjoy it, but I feel like such a failure compared to you! You are so efficient- homeschooling- crafting- canning and freezing food, gardening, and EVERYTHING else that goes along with 40 acres! Plus your writing! Please help me! I used to be so good at it- so efficient- I got everything done (and more) every single day, but now I wonder how I will get dinner done each evening. I feel like I am treading water and I can't seem to catch up or get ahead ever. Maybe you have gone through a period like this..? Probably not. You are very blessed with many gifts- you're good at all you do! Hopefully I will someday figure out exactly what gifts the good Lord has given me. I know the abundant blessings He has given me!

Anyways, keep up the wonderful work writing. You write what a lot of us are thinking. This country has become unrecognizable and just knowing that there are you and others out there who feel as I (and so many others) do- gives me hope. I fear for my boys' future, but I continue to hold out HOPE. Thank you for helping me do that!

Thank you so much for your time!
God bless you and yours,
Enjoy your day!
Just a small town Minnesota mom

First of all, Kellie dear, please remove the idea from your head that I'm efficient, organized, talented, or any other misguided goddess-like notions you have about me. Seriously! You are so kind to think so, but perhaps I've managed to mislead all my readers into thinking I'm more impressive than I actually am. Please believe me when I say I'm just an ordinary north Idaho housewife! If you passed me on the street you wouldn't even notice me.

But I'm blessed with a few things that help foster these misconceptions (smile) about my mythical efficiency, etc. Here are some of them:

1. I have the world's most terrific husband. He's my best friend, the best dad, my editor, my household handyman, my I'm-hormonal-can-you-cook-dinner guy, and altogether my other/better half. There is no possible way I could do half the stuff I do without his staunch help and support.

2. Said world's most terrific husband works at home. I always knew how much I loved that, but I came to appreciate it even more when he took a temporary job in town last year and was actually (gasp) gone for a good part of the day. The girls hated it. I hated it. He hated it. We are so used to always being together that it was tougher than nails to have him gone. (But, I might add, he took that job because he's a Real Man who provided for his family during a time when we needed some outside income.) Thankfully he's back in our nest and everyone, especially him, is glad to get back to normal.

3. We homeschool. The older my girls get, the more I realized just what an unbelievable blessing this is. It's not just what they're learning; almost more important, it's what they're NOT learning. They're not learning to be sassy, or snarky, or boy-crazy, or irreverent, or mouthy, or any other deficiency normally associated with adolescence. Because we have decent, wholesome, respectable girls, our house is a place of peace. It takes only a short visit to a home with snarky teens to understand what a true blessing that is. Not, I'm not suggesting that ALL publicly-schooled kids are snarky, but it sure doesn't help.

4. We don't have television reception. Ditto the above thoughts.

5. We have faith. When I have a bad day that snarls me into knots of anger or frustration or whatever, I can take a deep breath and lay it all in the lap of God. Ahhhh, that makes me feel better.

Now Kellie, it sounds to me like you have most or all of this Blessings list yourself, so you're already ahead of the pack.

Recently I listened in awe, mouth agape, to a friend's description of her homeschooling day with her children. Talk about a paragon of efficiency and academic rigorousness! Oh my goodness! By contrast, our school days are pretty relaxed and don't take more than three hours max and usually a great deal less. While I'm awestruck by her schedule and planning abilities, we're a little too relaxed for that. Everyone's homeschool techniques are different, and you can only do what works for your lifestyle and personality. Don't ever ever ever be intimidated by someone else's techniques. Chances are you're doing just fine.

As for the skills you listed, namely my interest in canning, food preservation, etc.,... - well, I'm only good at those things because they're hobbies I enjoy. I could list a million and a half skills I'm NOT good at because I DON'T enjoy them. (Sewing!!!) Doubtless you have a laundry list of skills and hobbies that dwarf my puny accomplishments.

As for barely getting dinner on the table... oh Kellie, I laughed out loud at that because many's the time, at 4 pm, I'll say "What should I make for dinner?" and more often than not it's boxed macaroni-and-cheese or quesadillas. Me, efficient? NOT!!!

About the only thing in your email that sets me a little bit apart from any other housewife is my writing. I'm 48 years old, I've always wanted to write, and now in my middle age I've suddenly been blessed by the opportunity to do so. Have you any idea how grateful I am to WorldNetDaily for giving me an opportunity and a platform to air my views? I'm quite serious when I say they took a chance on a true Nobody when they offered me a column. God clearly had a hand in this and to Him I give all credit, but it was the WND folks who acted on His guidance. What else can I say? It was Divine Providence for sure.

So Kellie, rather than worry about what you can't do, please consider the things you can do. One of those things is to make a blogger's day, because it's a rare thing in today's society to take the time to drop a kind note to someone. You have no idea how much it means to me. So add "kindness" to the top of your list of skills and qualities.

You clearly have your priorities in the right place, namely your husband, your boys, your faith, your homeschooling, and other attributes. To paraphrase an old saying, at the end of your life you'll be glad you put your priorities into your home life rather than a career or other distinctions. So those are more things to add to your list of skills and qualities.

I don't know, Kellie - it sounds to me like you're loaded with blessings. Including the boxed macaroni-and-cheese dinners. Hey, at least you're there to make them!

So truly, the only distinction between me and millions of other dedicated housewives out there is I write about our life. I've said it before and I'll say it again: what makes you a perceived expert in something is writing about it. I'm no better than anyone else, I just write about stuff. But I stand in awe of my friend Enola Gay's skills and abilities, and we both stand in awe of our friend Lady Day whose domestic accomplishments are legendary in these parts.

So I guess the bottom line is this: While I appreciate your kind words more than I can ever say, I hope you don't have the impression I'm some kind of super-woman because I'm not. I'm an ordinary housewife just like zillions of other ordinary housewives. God gave me the talent to write, but He's given you talents as well. And I'll bet if you asked your closest friends what they are, they could rattle off a laundry list that would make you blush with pleasure and say "Awwww shucks."

And thank you for your email. It really did make my day.


  1. I would have guessed you closer to 38 than 48!

  2. I don't know, I might be out of turn here, but when I am reading blogs and writing mine, I try to think of the fact that this is a LITTLE snippet of what the person is doing and probably the "BEST" 5% of their day. This has helped me a lot in reading and comparing blogs.

    I just read this this morning. It was in Amy's Humble Musings side bar links.

    With all that said, I totally understand why this reader would think that you are so great!


  3. Hi Patrice, what a nice letter and what a well-written reply...your writing is great even when you reply to an email! I too admire your abilities, love to learn about your life on a homestead, and I am in awe of all that you accomplish. One thing it shows me is how very much work our great-grandmothers (and -fathers) had to do to survive. Reading about the chores you do makes me realize how much more work they had to do (water from a well, no electricity, homemade clothes etc). Thanks for writing!

  4. Well, shucky darn! Does this mean I have to take down my poster of you in a Wonder Woman outfit that I photo-shopped? Hehehe... For me, Patrice, your most endearing attribute is that you are totally, thoroughly, completely HONEST! Yes, you are! Just when I'm feeling about as low as I can go, I read one of your articles and you pull me right out of my doldrums. I thank you and God for that. If only we had a few dozen (or hundred) like you in D.C.!

  5. This post blessed me so much to read. Really! Thanks so much! Maybe if you started writing about all the ways that you fail... but then again that wouldn't be as inspirational as the stuff you write now. I just love this blog so much. I can't really say how much. I only wish that I had read it long ago when my friend urged me to. (I thought she was nuts about the preparedness stuff back then...)

    Gracie Wray

  6. Extremely well said! I am very grateful that God has not only given you the ability to write, but the platform on which to do it. Homeschooling has been a similar blessing in our lives, as well. We are seeing the incredible fruit of our decision to homeschool as our daughter has gone away to college. There has been few blessings in our lives that have meant more to us than homeschooling!

  7. Patrice, every time you post and respond to an e-mail like Kellie's you seriously undermine my theory that you're really only in it for the glamor. All that diversionary mucking of stalls, shoveling of snow, bucking, hauling, cutting,loading,unloading, splitting, stacking and using of firewood...plowing, planting and weeding a big garden...4 a.m. cow milking in a doesn't fool me.
    [snicker snicker snort]

    But seriously, thank you for the post. It's especially gratifying to see all the additional reader comments that follow.I know I'm not the only one here who reads them and smiles, nodding in agreement. I'm happy to see your numbers steadily climbing, and it's easy to see why they do. Anonymous 6:15 is right about the improvement we as a nation would see if we had more folks with your and Don's experiences, values and work ethic representing us in our state and national governments.

    Hey....maybe it's really DON who's in this homestead thing for all the glamor....that sandbagger.