Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dragon Invasion

I have to brag on my daughter a little bit.  Look what she made out of my polymer clay...without any tools!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Proverbs 31:28-29

http://aproverbs31wife.com/category/of-family-matters/helpmeet/  marriage mondays 
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

I think I'm a little off-target on this one, as on most things.  Do my children wake up and call me blessed...well....not exactly.  Granted, my daughter still stumbles out of bed sleepily in the morning and comes to Mom for a quick hug and snuggle.  And my teenage boys (15 and 16) will still submit to the occasional motherly hug...in public, no less!

Is it something I have to wait for until my children have children of their own?  How else will they be able to make an informed decision on whether or not my parenting skills are up to snuff?  Maybe, if they have some vision of what their future holds, they can/will judge on the basis of how and what I teach them and whether it will bring them happy, productive adulthoods.

And oh, my poor husband.  Now this is partially due to my depression, but sometimes I don't give him a whole lot of actions to praise (or, to 'brag on', as we say around these parts).  But I have been making strides in showing my appreciation for him, which is something I think he lacked growing up.  Why?  He had some learning differences before they were given that name, and was therefore labeled a 'lazy' student.  When he was preparing to go back to college a little over a year ago, I heard people express concern over his ability and determination.  I told him I would support him however I could and for the most part I have lived up to that bargain.  In his first two semesters he has achieved a 4.0 GPA each time!  Yay him! :O)

And, well, I know I will never excel everyone at being a Proverbs 31-style wife and mother.  But that's ok.  Most of the time I do my best.  When I fall off the bike, I get back on.  And the cool thing about that?  My children, my husband, and my Father in Heaven love me regardless of whether I'm "Mrs. Proverbs 31" or not!

So, this week, I'm going to ask my family to describe their perfect days.  Then I'm going to take a step (for each one) in seeing how I can help them get a little closer to it.  How will you serve your family this week?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Proverbs 31: 26 - 27

  Marriage Moment  http://aproverbs31wife.com/category/of-family-matters/helpmeet/

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; 
and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

She looketh well to the ways of her household, 
and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Verse 26 seems to me to warn about 'idle talk'.  But to leave the analysis there would be to leave out far too much meaning.  Gossip is an obvious target.  If a subject or bit of information is bothersome enough to pass along to friends and acquaintances, it also needs to be brought up in our prayers.  In even more intimate communications, wisdom and kindness in our words are even more important.

Who better than our husbands, children, families and ourselves with whom to share our well - considered, kind words? No couple, no family is 100% happy 100% of the time, not this side of heaven anyway.  Words spoken in the heat of anger cannot be retracted.  Feelings take time to heal.  Wouldn't it be better to think before we speak?  There's a lot of wisdom in the theory of 'counting to 10' before you open your mouth.  While your active mind is counting, you subconscious mind-librarian is searching furiously for the right words to say.

I'm going to have to watch my own-self talk after being soundly convicted by verse 27.  Part of me wants to cry when I think of the hours (ok-days) I've wasted playing games online and spending time on pursuits of little eternal worth.  A little entertainment is enjoyable and arguably necessary ... but it is not life.

Traditionally, a married woman would be judged on the state of her household, at least in terms of organization and cleanliness.  This is not to say that individual women can or even should be responsible for each little chore that needs to be done to keep a home running smoothly.  For the first 10-12 years of my marriage, I was the one that went out, worked and brought home a paycheck.  It might not have been ideal, it might not have always been what I wanted, but that was the way it was...and it wasn't all bad, either.

In a case like that, or if there is a single-parent family, some of the household management chores of necessity fall on the other members of family.  And it is a good thing if children take on duties as well.  This will teach them order, time management and give them a sense of 'ownership' of their living area.  This process is part of "looking well to the ways of the household".

The best thing I've got going for me in this (and any) area is the love of God.  He loves all women, regardless of whether or not our pictures are ever pinned to the "Top 10 Proverbs 31 Women Ever" board.  But if our goal is to move in that direction, He is there to help us every step of the way.  We just have to ask.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

10 Fun, Inexpensive Activities for Families

1.  attend a worship service
2.  attend a church potluck

1.  movie night at home
2.  board games

1.  keep a family journal
2.  family garden

1.  walking/hikes
2.  playing with and/or training the family pets

1.  make family Christmas cards.
2.  attending fireworks

I thought I'd limit myself to ten things, so many other options also came to mind.  If we worked at it for a while, we could probably come up with a list of thousands of things families could do together that did not require 'an arm and a leg'.

And, of course, the concept of 'inexpensive' will vary from family to family.  On one end of the scale, frugality in family activities might entail vacationing at Disneyland instead of a tour of Europe.  Others may be stretching things simply using gas to drive to a location where the family can hike or have a picnic.  Most families fall somewhere in between.

The point is that family activities are more about spending time together rather than spending money.

What are some of the activities your family enjoys?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Proverbs 31: 24 - 25

Marriage Moment http://aproverbs31wife.com/category/of-family-matters/helpmeet/

Proverbs 31:  24-25

24 - She maketh fine linen, and selleth it;  she delivereth girdles unto the merchants.

25 - Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in the time to come.

First of all, I'm glad to be back on this series of Proverbs 31, after taking April off for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  Regardless if you are re-visiting, here for the first time, or hanging around after the show as it were, welcome!  I'm glad you are here!

OK.  Here we go.

A Proverbs 31 woman is able to make beautiful things with her hands (or nowadays her keyboard as well - for the tech-savvy amongst us).  It is an honorable profession to be able to create things with our abilities and knowledge and to receive just compensation for our efforts.  Sometimes the money must go for the support of the family; sometimes items may be donated to charitable organizations for fundraising, or as gifts for family and friends.  Each person in our society has an innate need to be able to contribute and receive in our society and economy.  The rewards may be concrete or intangible; the fact that it is there is often, but not always, more important than what form it takes.

As P31 women receive value for their creations (even if it seems to come only from God), so must they put forth their best effort, moment by moment.  Everyone has good days and bad days, but when you exercise a muscle, it becomes stronger.  When you practice strength of character and honor, your ability to exhibit and use these qualities also increases.  At this point, some will say, "But I can't do as much or as well (or as whatever) as so-and-so can.  We're not running against each other.  As long as we put forth the best effort we can at the moment it is required, that is 'enough'.  

Even if we are starting from 'ground zero', the important thing is to start.  I used to work with adults who had mental retardation and developmental disabilities.  Some of them may take years to learn the skill of pulling a comb through their hair one time.  Most of us do this many times a day without much thought.  But the moment they do this, even one time, means as much to God as Moses parting the Red Sea.  It doesn't matter what level we are on when we start our journey, we just need to put one foot in front of the other until we get there.

Many years ago, I started going to a gym before working in the International Department of a bank in downtown Salt Lake City.  There were Stairmasters and that was my 'weapon of choice'.  The first day, I aimed for 5 minutes of exercise.  I know, laughable, right?  And I was winded and sweating at the end.  But I did those 5 minutes every day that week.  The next week I did 10 minutes.  Towards the end of the week, it would seem to be too easy almost, and part of me wanted to bump up my time, but I held to my plan.  After many weeks, I was up to 45 minutes a day.  If the gym was busy on a given morning, maybe I could only do 30 minutes due to a time limit.  But I did my best each day.

When you have strength and honor as your clothing (or an essential part of your daily routine), you can have the satisfaction that only comes from giving your best.  You don't have to worry what each day will bring, because you have laid the groundwork and prepared for eventualities.  Sometimes bad things do happen to good people, the unexpected storm of life takes us by surprise.  Depending on the situation, we may even need a period of time to grieve.  But the skills we have developed, the honor with which we conduct ourselves, will have become second nature by that time, and when the right time to proceed appears, we will be packed and ready to go.