Scripture Motto

"Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." Matthew 5:16

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Saga of a “Not-So-Desperate” Housewife (Part 2)

“Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:8 AMP

I folded towels at the dining room table while the boys watched television. “Hi Honey.” I turned and gave my husband a welcome-home kiss. “The dishwasher flooded the kitchen floor again.”

He continued toward the bedroom choosing his steps through the maize of toys strung out on the living room floor. “What’s for supper? I’m starved; I didn’t have time to eat lunch.”

“I thought maybe you could grill some hamburgers.” I motioned to our ten- and five-year olds to pick up the toys, and then followed my husband to the bedroom. “What are we going to do about the dishwasher?”

My husband made a sudden about-face. “I don’t care.” His eyes fixed on mine.
 The next morning, I attended my weekly Bible study with several other stay-at-home-women from our church and recounted my story. “What do I do?”

“He needs his house to be a safe haven,” Irene, the matriarch of our group said. “He wants a stress-free zone in his life.”

“How do I do that?” I searched the faces of these experienced wives for answers.

Donna, the mother of five smiled at me. “You know what time he comes home every day, right?” I nodded yes. “An hour or so before he normally comes home, create a peaceful atmosphere. Have the boys put their toys away and turn off the TV. If time permits, run over the carpet with the vacuum cleaner.”

“I use a menu to lessen the dilemma of what to cook for dinner. By the end of the day, I’m too tired to think about it.” Jo hinted. “I also try to take a 30-minute mid-afternoon break to reenergize me for the late afternoon rush.

“You might even take a peek in the mirror.” A sheepish grin lit Irene’s face. “A little touch up to the face and hair plus a splash of perfume makes you feel better and is a nice way to say, ‘Welcome home’ to a harried husband.”

I went home and heeded the words of my mentor friends. I considered what my husband experienced when he walked into our house.

I gathered clutter and dusted the furniture. I put the kitchen in order, gathered the ingredients for dinner, and set the table. I selected a change of clothes. And then, thirty minutes before the school bus stopped at our driveway, I relaxed in the recliner.

 The boys ate a snack and shared their day with me. I explained to them about our new way of welcoming Daddy home. They did their homework, practiced piano, and played with a few toys while watching TV. When they heard the garage door opening they turn the volume low and rushed to put the toys away; I glanced into the mirror.

When he opened the door, I saw my husband lift his nose to catch a whiff of dinner simmering on the stove. His eyes were first drawn to the uncluttered floor, and then to me. I greeted him with a kiss, and he returned it with a hug. The boys giggled.
 That day I learned a homemaker sets the tone for a peaceful, stress-free, and welcoming sanctuary, contrary to a world of chaos.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Saga of a “Not-So-Desperate” Housewife (Part 1)

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15 NASB

“You iron his shirts?” The teenager in my Sunday school class hopped onto her soapbox. “I’ll never iron my husband’s clothes. He can do it himself.”

My example of ironing shirts lit the 15-year-old up, as it probably would many young women. Jesus wasn’t talking about being a slave to another and neither was I. The point I was trying to make was “if you love another, you’ll do what they ask you to do.”

Last week I shared my review of “So You What to be a Stay-at-Home Mom,” which spawned a need to share a few things I’ve learned as a Stay-at-Home Woman (wife and mother) for more than 35 years. However, I don’t want to stun you as I did my SS student.

Lesson One: It ain’t easy

Key definitions:
Housewife = someone married and committed to the care of a house
Homemaker = someone dedicated to creating a family sanctuary
Helpmate = a constant, consistent partner, cheerleader, best friend

Even before our wedding vows, and way before our first baby, my husband and I decided my job title would be housewife. My mother was a housewife, however, I had no idea—no definition of what it meant.

Mind you, this was at a time when the women’s lib movement was riding its second ardent wave. Women not only went to college but dreamed of high-level careers, and considered the title of housewife as demeaning. And so the battle for my role as a housewife began on the playing field with a powerful opponent.

Typically the role involves cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, and laundry. None of which I truly knew how to do. I only knew my mother did them but she hadn’t taught me and I hadn’t paid close attention. My husband, on the other hand, had been taught by his mother.

With my patient new husband, I learned on-the-job. He showed me how to clean a toilet and mop a floor. With his help, some remembrances from my 8th grade Home Ec class, and my most precious asset—the red-and-white Better Homes and Garden cookbook—I accomplished the skill of cooking. I began to make menus, clip coupons, read store ads, and pick out fresh meats and produce. The back side of detergent as well as most washing machines instructed me on doing laundry. Because I knew how to sew, I knew how to iron.

The first couple of years weren’t easy to ignore the debasing murmurs of society, but I worked hard at my new position in life. I was never desperate, bored, or miserable; in fact, it gave me great joy. My house wasn’t the cleanest—no white glove inspections for me. I would never win a cooking contest, but my simple, edible meals sustained us. I could starch and iron heavy 100% cotton fatigues, yet didn’t love ironing. My husband was pleased. I was fulfilling my role of housewife, which was all that mattered
…or was it?

God sent more coaches (lots of them) to guide me to the level of homemaker.

In the next few weeks, I’ll explain how we, as a very young couple, derived at the decision for me to be a stay-at-home-wife.I’ll share how I went from novice housewife to experienced homemaker and loyal helpmate. And, I'll suggestion ways for you to be a stay-at-home-woman, wife, mother.

Please, share your comments, experiences, or ask questions below.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Needs to come with a highlighter and notebook

Get your copy at
Book Review: “So You Want to be a Work-at-Home Mom”

When I began to thumb through “So You Want to be a Work-at-Home Mom” by Jill Hart & Diana Ennem all I could think was “where was this book thirty-some years ago when I was a stay-at-home wife and mother?” I instantly knew I wanted to pass the information it contains on to my daughter-in-law and apply what I learned to my writing adventure.

Jill and Diana guide women—Christian or not—through the decision making process of running a home-based business to types of enterprises to consider. They didn’t miss a beat when they talk about marketing and networking. They suggest creative ideas for office space with an activity place for the kids. And they didn’t forget about the necessary disciplines of time management, bookkeeping, and record-maintenance for making it a successful venture.

However, I kept wishing they had put the basic marketing information in the chapter with reference to an appendix for details. Nevertheless, the valuable information is all there for working at home.

Their little 224 page book needs to come with a highlighter and notebook because it is jammed packed with so much I didn’t want to forget. (BTW – I did give a copy to my daughter-in-law.)

You can find more great information for you work-at-home ventures check-out their websites:
Jill at  - Diana at

Monday, January 9, 2012

Here we go again…

The Christmas tree is undressed and ready to be packed away along with 2011. Now on to those 2012 New Year’s Resolutions

…or in my case, pull out last year’s list.

First thing on my uncompleted 2011 writing goals was: Work on website, blog, and Facebook. Well, I’m happy to say I hit the ground running—by accident, but nonetheless, I’m running with God’s blessing.

I say “with God’s blessing” because the technical ability to do what I’ve accomplished came from a confidence and knowledge which is not my own. Yes, I had some help from my oldest “techy” son as well as my computer guru husband, but for the most part God led me to do it myself.
My old website has moved. Actually, I combined the BlogSpot with my website. (I hope you’ll add and/or to your internet favorites.) There are a few kinks to work out, but hopefully those will be smoothed out soon.

Old posts are listed in two ways: “More Livin’ Out Loud Posts” and by “Labels.” I have the option of putting the “Labels” in a topic list format or a cloud—where the subjects are in more of a paragraph form.

Home page devotional posts will be new every Monday. I plan to update the What’s Up page quarterly and will let you know on the home page.

And a new Merrie Hansen, Christian Writer Facebook fan page is setup…when I figure out how to add a LIKE button to this site, I hope you’ll LIKE it!

All in all, I’m ready to get to work for the Lord in 2012. I’m certain there will be obstacles to overcome, doubts to drive back, and crashes to correct along the way. But I will not be alone as My God will be blazing the trail ahead, walking beside me with words of encouragement, and guarding my back as I press toward the top of the mountain.

Now matter what your resolutions or plans for 2012, if you trust God to go with you, you’ll make it. So, lace those boots, pick up your pack, and grab some trekking poles…there’s work to be done for the Lord. Let's go!

“Don’t be frightened by the size of the task. Be strong and courageous and get to work, for the Lord my God is with you. He will not forsake you. He will see to it that everything is finished correctly.”    Timothy Botts’ interpretation of 1 Chronicles 28:20