Monday, March 29, 2010

A Proverbs 31 Woman - Week 4

It's another week of studying the Biblical view of a Godly woman.  This last week was tough for me, the whole getting up early thing.  Baby A didn't sleep through the night most of the week, meaning neither did I, but I did get up.  I was tired, but it was nice to have a few minutes each day where I could be still, and know He is God.  I hope to continue this, even if it is only 5 minutes earlier than the family.  How did you do?

This week we are focusing on verses 16 and 17 which state

She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 
 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

So what does this teach us?  First, this woman can make decisions.  She buys the field, the Bible doesn't tell us that she asks her husband if she should buy it, she checks it out, considers it.  I assume that she looks into how it will benefit her family, whether it is a wise investment.  Then after she buys the land, she uses her earnings to plant a vineyard to earn more money for the family.  To me this means that she obviousl has an income of her own.  Now some of you are going to say that a woman should not work outside of the house.  Others will say that of course a woman should work outside of the house.  It is not my intention to jump on either bandwagon.  The thing that I do want to point out is this, the Proverbs 31 woman FIRST cares for her family and those she is responsible for.  She has earned her husbands trust (why else would he be comfortable with her purchasing her own land, planting her own vineyard).  She rises early to gather and prepare food for her family and servants. If you read the rest of the description, she stays busy caring for and providing for her family.  Family is her priority, not working to earn an income.

Verse 17 states that she sets about her work vigorously, and has been doing so for some time, long enough to strengthen her arms for her tasks.  Yet another sore spot for me.  I constantly battle against laziness, or as the Bible calls it, being a sluggard.  Given the choice between sitting in my chair and tickling the keys on my computer and getting up to clean the house, load the dishwasher, wash the laundry, run the vacuum, mop the floor, scrub the tub and everything else, I will always chose the sluggard way of sitting and procrastinating all of the work.  This is a bad thing!  God talks in 1 Timothy 5 about women (in this case young women who are widows and without family to care for) and says they should remarry, care for the family, stay busy or "... they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not."  Satan knows our hearts, he knows women are prone to becoming busybodies and gossips.  We were created to care for others, it isn't that much of a stretch to go from caring for someone and telling others about a persons struggles in an effort to bring them aid to telling others about a person to just tell others.  I know that personally this is something that I struggle with. 

As a SAHM, sometimes my life just seems boring, unexciting, and just less than.  At times I get wrapped up in the life of a neighbor, a friend, a person at church.  That in and of itself isn't really a bad thing.  It is when I start to share my observations with others, not asking for prayer for them, but as a gossipy comparison type thing.  I have caught myself doing the "yeah, I hear what you are saying, but let me tell you about what happened to ..."  I am not telling the story in an attempt to help someone, either the person I am talking about or the person I am talking to.  I am relaying the story to draw attention to me.  THAT is the bad thing, that is gossip, that is being a busybody.  That is what I struggle with.

This is not the only place that the warning against idleness.  1 Thessalonians 4:11 tells us, "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you," and again in Titus 2:4-5, "Then they (older women) can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. " 

So this week make it your mission to avoid idleness, to look for ways you can benefit your family financially.  Let me know how you are doing.

Love,

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Week 13 - Snowflake Saturday

This weeks pattern is actually written for DK weight yarn, but why let that stop us?  I followed the pattern for each of the 3 snowflakes using size 10 cotton and a size 7 hook.  This is what the ended up looking like:



The pattern is from Caron yarn and can be found on Michaels.com or by clicking here.   There is an error on R 2 of snowflake 2.  It says to repeat 5 times and it should be 4 times to give you a total of 6 ch 2 spaces.  On Snowflake 3, round 3 I added a chain 1 space between every set of ch 3. 

Love,

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Proverbs 31 Woman - Week 3

Welcome back!  This week our study of the Proverbs 31 woman is one I really need to focus on.  It is verses 14-15:

She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.

Verse 14 talks about a woman who brings food from afar like a merchant ship.  In all honesty, I didn't get this verse for quite awhile.  Does it mean I am supposed to eat exotic foods?  Or that I should travel a great distance to get my food?  Then I began to focus on merchant ships.


Merchant ships were used as far back as the first century BC as a means to carry items across bodies of water.  In some locations they were used to carry items over a short distance because the terrain was to difficult to travel and in others the cargo was carried over a great distance.  As far as food goes, they typically transported wheat, wine, and olive oil.  Transporting by sea was less dangerous than over land and didn't prohibitively increase the cost of the product.  Merchant ships also provided a LOT of extra grain to the Roman area.  History records that at one point Egypt shipped and fed Rome for four months!    After reflecting on this I have come to the conclusion that verse 14 is telling me that I should provide food for my family that will sustain them at an affordable cost.  Note that the foods that merchant ships provided were foods that were healthy, wheat and olive oil.  These were not filler foods, rather they were foods that have a high nutritional value, that are beneficial to the body.  So not only should the food I provide for my family be affordable, it should be nutritious as well.

I do a pretty good job at verse 14, it is 15 that gets me.  Read the first line, "She gets up while it is still dark".  Eww!  I am NOT a morning person.  I would rather sleep late and stay up late than get up early.  So I started to pray about this.  Here is what God put on my heart.  Getting up while it is still dark is important.  It allows you to first spend some quiet time with Him, without interruption from crying babies, or children's clothing disasters, or anything else that may require your attention if the entire house is awake with you.  Second, if you use the time as directed, to prepare food for the family and portions for servants (umm  servants?  the dog maybe, but no servants in this house) you can ensure that your family gets off to a good start for the day.  Studies have shown that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a child.  It provides what they need for their brain to absorb all that they need to.  If you prepare the food while the family is sleeping, it will also allow you to spend the morning truly WITH your family rather than absently responding to them while you are focusing on preparing the food. 

So my goal, and your task, this week is to make an effort to prepare and serve nutritious food for the family, to get up BEFORE they do and spend some time with God.  Let me know how it goes because I know I will definitely need the encouragement!
Love,

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Week 12 - Snowflake Saturday

I know that I have said that I am not big on patterns in which a lot of the beauty comes from the blocking of the pattern, but i just couldn't pass this one up this week.  I doubt I will make either of these since I am woefully behind on my snowflaking and these really won't work for what I intend to do with them (see this post to find out what that is), but given that St. Pat's day was this past week I couldn't resist!  Yet another pattern from Snowcatcher
 
Love,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Coupon Deals and Steals

Some of these deals that I found this morning were to good to not share with you.  So if you have a Kroger near you, be sure to check this out!  Currently Kroger is running a March Madness sale where many items are discounted if you mix and match and buy at least 8.  Here are the deals I found for those

2 boxes of Ronzoni Healthy Harvest noodles free after coupon that you can get here!
Bumble Bee tuna buy 3 at .49 each and get two more free using the coupon here
two boxes of Kellogg's Mini Wheats for $1.52 each using the coupon found here
if you get the kroger mailings there was a coupon in it for $1 off 2 kraft singles packages making them 2 for .99!
There also was a coupon for $1 off kraft natural cheese and $1 off kraft natural shredded cheese making them FREE
Listerine for $1.5 using the coupon here

And if you have a wal-mart that is closer, just take the Kroger flyer to Wal-mart and they will price match the advertised sales. These sale prices are only good until the 20th so get them while you can!







Love,

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Proverbs 31 Woman - Week 2

If you are coming back to continue this examination of self with me, welcome back.  If you are just now finding this, please begin with week 1.

So, did you do your homework.  I have to be honest with you, it was really difficult for me to flat out ask my husband if he trusted me in ALL areas.  I was nervous that there may be something that he had reservations about and had not brought up.  I want very much to be what he needs for me to be so that he can be the man God wants him to be.  Just as I am sure he wants to be the man I need him to be for me to be the woman God wants me to be.  I did work up the nerve though, and was pleased to discover that there were no areas he had reservations about.

The list of qualities was a bit harder for me.  I have always been the type to focus more on my faults than on my good qualities.  That is why I made it a point to make a list, to force myself to identify the good.  I meant it when i said that that I don't believe that is what God wants for us.  So I made my list, how about you?

That brings us to this weeks verses to meditate on:
12 She brings him good, not harm,
       all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
       and works with eager hands.
Notice that this is a focus on action.  Like many things in the Bible, you heart has to be right first (having noble character) but you have to follow through with actions.  James 2:26 says that, "faith without works is dead".  James had been talking about faith, and had even commented that some say they have faith while we have works and James was attempting to tell them that he demonstrates his faith THROUGH his works.  The works can not replace faith, they are an extension of faith.  I believe that the rest of Proverbs 31 is a statement of how this noble woman demonstrates her value through her works, not to show she is valuable (ie not to earn value)  but because these works are an extension of her noble character.

The first character trait is that she strives to bring good to her husband, to not bring him any harm.  This is a daily effort on her part for the rest of her life.  It isn't contingent on how he treats her, whether he took out the trash or took the kids for a few hours, or remembers to serve her.  This is not an if/then statement.  It is simply a statement.  She does this...period.  I don't believe that this means she loses herself in the process, or that she works so hard at this that she neglects or brings harm to others.  To me this means that given two or more options she chooses the one that helps her husband.  Packing lunches for the kids, take a moment and pack a healthy lunch for you husband also.  You get a phone call to help with a fundraiser at the school that will require you to give up your date night, politely decline and spend the time with your husband.  The big one I had to work on last time I studied this was my tongue.  I had a habit of talking to my best friend at the time when my husband and I were arguing about a topic.  That in and of itself isn't a bad thing, and if the friend is a Godly woman it can even be a good thing.  My problem was that the things I was saying were not things that brought good to my husband.  I attacked him in those conversations rather than his actions or discussing my reaction to his actions.  My words were bringing harm.  This week examine your actions, and your motives.  Are they those that will bring good to your husband?


Next, " She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands"  This is a woman who works, perhaps not at a paying job, but she doesn't sit idle all day long.  She seeks quality materials to work with and then works with them.  My wool and flax tends to be yarn.  I enjoy crochet.  However, I don't think it is so much the material she works with, or what work she is doing with eager hands, so much as that she is working with eager hands.  Admittedly, this is an area that I have slipped away from since I studied this last.  I find that I now spend entirely to much time idle, often in front of this computer screen.  What do you work with eager hands?  Do you work with eager hands?  As women today we are very busy, some of us may work outside the home, others are SAHM's who volunteer quite a bit.  My questions isn't so much do you work, because I know you probably do is some fashion, it is whether or not you do it eagerly.  As a SAHM, I find that I am not so eager to get up and vacuum the house, pick up the toys and various paraphernalia of 4 children, wash dishes, do load after load of laundry every week, cook dinner, and find time to volunteer at the church.  I tend to forget why I am doing this and begin to focus on how much I dislike it.  When I stop and re-examine the why, I find that more often than not these works become less of a chore and more of a gift.  I am blessed to have 4 children to care for, a wonderful husband to cook for, a welcoming and inviting church to volunteer at.  When I re-examine I become eager to do things to help, I begin to work eagerly.  Are you working eagerly? or are you plodding along waiting for it to be done so you can do something else?

I hope that this has helped you in some way today, if so, please let me know! 



Love,

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Week 11 - Snowflake Saturday

I really wanted something extra simple and quick this week.  I just really feel like so much is happening in my life between the weight loss group at church that I started, the study and life changes I am attempting to make with A Proverbs 31 Woman, trying to spring clean the house (YUCK!) and everything else going on I wanted a pattern that was kind of "mindless" for me to do, but still turned out pretty.  This is what I decided to do, the Pretty Picots Poinsettia Snowflake.  Hope you like it to! 

Love,

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Proverbs 31 woman week 1

I have been making a lot of changes in my life lately.  From weight loss, to increasing exercise, to stepping out of my comfort zone, reaching out to people I normally would not, and many other areas.  Through all of this, the thing that keeps coming back to me is that I need to revisit what a Proverbs 31 woman is.

In the past, I started a journal to jot down passages that spoke to me about what a woman and a wife should be in God's eyes.  The journal began with Proverbs 31:10-31.  It has been quite a while since I had picked up that journal to review it much less add something to it.  Sometimes we get so busy doing "stuff" that we forget why we are doing it.  That is where I feel like I am at right now.  So I plan to begin a journey through Proverbs 31 again and thought I would share it with you.  Each week I plan to break down a section of Proverbs 31 into an action plan for the week.  I plan to spend that week focusing on how God wants me to reflect that particular attribute and incorporate it into my own life.  Feel free to take this journey with me.

A wife of noble character who can find?
       She is worth far more than rubies.  

Her husband has full confidence in her
       and lacks nothing of value.
The description of a Proverbs 31 woman begins with her being a wife, which I am, but this is a wife of noble character.  Noble meaning possessing outstanding qualities or morals and character meaning an attribute that makes up and distinguishes an individual.  So this begins with making the comment that a wife who has outstanding qualities and morals as a part of who she is is more valuable than rubies.  What are your outstanding qualities and morals?  Take a moment to list them in a notebook.  Are you kind to others?  Do you try to find an encouraging word to say to those around you?  Do you use soft words when you speak?  Are your actions a positive example to your children?  Do you live what you preach?  It is important for us to know what noble characters we currently possess, because then we can identify those that we need to work on as we progress.  I know, it is hard sometimes to put pen to paper to list our positive qualities.  As women we tend more towards recognizing and dwelling on our negative features.  I don't believe this is what God wants for us though.  Yes, we need to be able to recognize them so that we can confess our failings and then ask God to help us to correct them.  However, when we dwell on them it is as if we are saying that He can not overcome them, that our failings are greater than He is.  So seriously, take a moment to list the good!

Verse 11 simply states that this woman has a husband who trusts her with everything, he has FULL confidence in her.  For many years this was not so in my own marriage.  Often our actions are such that prevent our husband from trusting us in certain areas.  My own was in the area of finances.  I would turn to shopping to satisfy feelings of bitterness or loneliness.  It was extravagant or to the point of bankruptcy or anything, but until I addressed this area of my life my husband was hesitant to trust me to set money aside for savings.  Is there an area in your own life that your husband may be hesitant to fully trust you?  You may need to sit down and talk to him candidly and ask because it may be an area that you don't recognize because it has become part of your life.  If you do sit down to discuss it with him, you can NOT argue with him about it.  This is about HIS perception of you, not the way you think it should be.  Does that mean he will necessarily be correct?  Not always.  His lack of confidence in an area could be due to a misunderstanding, or because it has become a part of who he is.  The point in this is to discuss it and bring it into the open in a non-confrontational way so the two of you can examine it together.  Remember, a husband and a wife are one, we need to strive to not let little things of this world separate us on any level from each other.

So, our task this week is to list our noble characteristics and to determine what (if any) area our husband does not have full confidence in us.  


Love,

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Week 10 - Snowflake Saturday

This weeks snowflake is a little different in that it is a bookmark.  Now I suppose you could leave the tail off of it and just do it as a snowflake if you like, but I like the idea of a bookmark.  The pattern is from Suzies Stuff.   I may do a few of these up, stick them in a devotion book and leave them to be found using BookCrossing  What do you plan to do with yours?

Love,

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Lord's Table Scripture Card

I am trying to get back into the swing of things here.  It is a slow process, but I will get back to everything again!

For those of you who have been following this for awhile you know that I have been having issues with my weight.  Recently I started a Bible based weight management study and liked what I was learning so much that I started a group at my church.  Each week there is a memory verse.  I got to thinking that since I was going to be using the memory verses, and others in the LIGHT (Losing Inches, Growing in His Truth) would be learning the verse and some of them visit here, I would use those verses as scripture cards.  So week 1's scripture verse is 1 Corinthian 10:31



Photobucket

You can download a high resolution image by clicking here

And for anyone who is interested in the Bible study, it is called The Lord's Table and is available free online, or you can order the spiral bound book below



Have a great day and remember to give God the glory!

Love,
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