Yes, I am still alive, and I apologize for my severe lack of blogging inspiration as of late. Okay, got the disclaimer out of the way, now to what's really been on my mind lately. Our dear friend Katelyn recently loaned us this book, and lest you think from the title of this post that I disagree with it in any way, let me just say now that I am thoroughly enjoying it and find it honest, truthful, and inspiring. Any stay at home daughter, any parent of a stay at home daughter, anyone who's wondering what being a stay at home daughter is like, anyone who dreams of being a stay at home daughter, anyone who thinks being a stay at home daughter is about the most ludicrous idea some dimwitted person ever came up with, and probably many other people I've failed to include, should read this book. In a nutshell, this book discusses the Biblical basis for being a stay at home daughter, how daughters should view their unmarried years, what to say to people who look at you like you've gone off the deep-end when you say you've decided to stay home instead of going to college, and many other aspects of the whole concept of stay-at-home daughterhood. Because I feel like I've covered the reasons why I chose to stay home in plenty of depth in the past, I won't go through them again. They all still apply, though I will say I understand them much better now then when I made the decision in the first place (I can honestly say I had no clue what I was getting myself into). Instead, I want to discuss a question that came to me almost from the moment I started reading the book. For the first time since my high school graduation, I had to ask, "Can I still consider myself a stay at home daughter?" When I first started working at Kal's, I was very frustrated because I had visions of myself being busy at home, cooking, cleaning, hosting, ministering. But I found that being gone all day left me with little energy or time for everything I had been looking forward to. As God began to open my eyes to the opportunity He had given me, I began to cherish every moment I had to be with my Dad, to further his business, to grow in the presence of many Godly men. No, I wasn't at home full-time, but I felt very much like I could call myself a stay at home daughter. When Kal's closed last November, it was obvious that lots of things were going to change. And change they have. After the whirlwind of my job situations this spring ended with me getting a job at TransCanada, the dust has settled and here I am now, asking myself this question. After 30 hours a week at TransCanada and the hockey/event season starting up at the Sanford Center, meaning one and often two nights a weekend (and sometimes a night or two during the week) there, can I legally call myself a stay at home daughter? Wrestling with this has not been easy. Because here's the thing. When people ask me that wonderful question everyone my age has heard more times that any of us would like to count, "So, where are you going to school?" (or a host of variations all getting at the same thing), it's a lot easier to say that I'm a clerk for the TransCanada Pipeline Corporation than that I choose to stay home because ____________(fill in the blank with whatever one of my reasons will either get the person to stop asking me questions. or get them really riled up, depending on the mood I'm in). But in my heart, I still think of myself first as a stay at home daughter, then as the clerk at the TransCanada Pipeline Corporation. So can I still call myself a stay at home daughter? Without flowering it up any more than it needs to be, the answer God has put in my heart is YES!! Because more than anything, it's a mindset. A mindset that says, I am going to use my single years, be they 2 or 15 or 70 to bring glory to God through devoting time to my family, church, and community. My job title has changed and I might not be physically in my home for as many hours during the day as I was before, but many things have not changed. I believe God has given me the job opportunities He has because He had things He wanted to teach me. He has placed me among many unbelievers so that I would learn how vital it is that I stay in step with the Holy Spirit at all times in order that He might use my frail life to shine the light of Christ. He has placed me in a family that is not perfect because He knows that there are many things in my character that need to be put to death and living in close quarters with anyone for any length of time will bring those flaws to the surface lickity-split. I still desire very much to be married and have a family. Lord willing (and I don't say that lightly), He will bring a visionary, courageous, honorable man into my life who will see our marriage as first and foremost a tool to bring glory to our Father. Yes, sometimes I daydream about him, I'll admit it. But not nearly as much as I used to. Jesus, the man who gave up His life, His holy life, as a sacrifice to bring me into communion with God, He is my first love. (As a side note, I recently discovered John Waller's song "The Marriage Prayer," which puts this idea that God is to be first in our hearts and marriage beautifully. I have decided I will be playing this at my wedding, so there, I claimed it, no one getting married any time close to me better take it. And I hope you all realize that last part was completely facetious.) Being a stay at home daughter says that I willingly place myself under my parents guidance, protection, and authority because it will teach me how to better put myself under God's guidance, protection, and authority, and someday perhaps, my husband's. Being a stay at home daughter says that I realize there are many hurting people around the world, and it breaks my heart, it really does, and I am thankful that God has called certain people to physically go to them, but for the time being, God has led me to reach out to the many hurting people within the reach of my family. Being a stay at home daughter sees that our churches need believers of all ages working together to bring glory to God. Being a stay at home daughter who chose not to go to college means that I choose to pour my energy into learning things I will use throughout my life, rather than paying large sums for a piece of paper that I would hopefully (again, Lord willing) put away someday to minister full time to my husband and children at home. Most of the points Jasmine makes in her book are things I have heard before, read many times, and preached to myself when I was so weary of explaining my choice to stay at home. I am thankful for God's leading in her life to write them into a book, but I am most thankful for the thinking it's made me do in reevaluating what I am doing and how I view it. Sometimes I just get to comfortable and I need something like this to ask me an uncomfortable question. The marvelous thing is that those questions that jar my mind for days never catch God off guard, and He's just waiting for me to see the answer He has prepared.