Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nevermore


Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
  Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
   As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
  "'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-
                Only this, and nothing more."

    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
  And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
    Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
    From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
  For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
                Nameless here for evermore.

    And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
  Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
    So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
    "'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-
  Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
                This it is, and nothing more."

    Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
  "Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
    But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
    And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
  That I scarce was sure I heard you"- here I opened wide the door;-
                Darkness there, and nothing more.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering,
        fearing,
  Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
    But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
    And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore!"
  This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"-
                Merely this, and nothing more.

    Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
   Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
    "Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
    Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-
  Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-
                'Tis the wind and nothing more."

    Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and
        flutter,
  In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed
        he;
    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-
  Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-
                Perched, and sat, and nothing more.


   Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
  By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
   "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no
        craven,
   Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore-
  Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
                Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
  Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
    For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
    Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door-
  Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
                With such name as "Nevermore."

    But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
  That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
    Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered-
    Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown
        before-
  On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
                Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

     Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
  "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
     Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
     Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-
  Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
                Of 'Never- nevermore'."

    But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
  Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and
        door;
    Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
    Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-
  What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
                Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

    This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
  To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
    This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
    On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
  But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
                She shall press, ah, nevermore!

    Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
  Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
    "Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee- by these angels he
        hath sent thee
    Respite- respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
  Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
                Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!- prophet still, if bird or
        devil!-
  Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
    Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
    On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore-
  Is there- is there balm in Gilead?- tell me- tell me, I implore!"
                Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil- prophet still, if bird or
        devil!
  By that Heaven that bends above us- by that God we both adore-
    Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
    It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
  Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
                Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    "Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked,
        upstarting-
  "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
    Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
    Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above my door!
  Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my
        door!"
               Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
  On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
    And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the
        floor;
  And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
                Shall be lifted- nevermore!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Book Club Event and Book Review: Run With Me

   Hey there fine citizen! This past Thursday evening our famous little Oklahoma book club, known far and wide as Dinner Club With a Reading Problem, enjoyed an especially wonderful discussion dinner. Our selection this go-round was Run With Me: An Accidental Runner and the Power of Poo, by Jennifer Luitwieler. Have you read it? Also, do you read Jen's blog? It is a refreshing balance of philosophy, inspiration, culture, and family. Check her out at jenniferluitwieler.com



   This book was recommended to us by Margi, author of that cool, smart blog called The M Half. Y'all know her as the chick who tried to get me killed in the Pine Forest. Margi reviewed Jen's luscious little piece of non-fiction way back in March of last year, and you can read that right here.

   Okay. Thursday night's event was much more than another pot-luck-and-gab session. We were honored to welcome the author herself into the cramped but cozy living room here at the farm! We circled around her with plates made heavy from comfort foods and desserts, and of course there was plenty of sweet tea and butter. We had a blast and also managed to mostly behave ourselves.


Except for Steph. She is one of our oldest common friends, 
and I am sorry to say that she rarely behaves herself.
Which is mainly why we love her so much.

   Jen indulged us with answers to our questions about her faith, her journey through different churches and role as middle child/ Pastor's daughter, running as a sport, and depression. Depression, so you know, is an important theme in her book, and our little group learned a lot that night. We learned more about this illness and about each other. Some of us shared about personal struggles with depression, and others of us admitted to needing to know how to help loved ones who suffer from it.



Kudos to our guest for maintaining her focus and composure 
while I tried repeatedly to get a focused photo of her pretty face. 
Over anxious hostesses with cameras can be annoying.

   We shared varying perspectives on life and family, family patterns, marriage, the hurt and healing of church and coming of age, and so much more. Six hours of fantastic socializing flew by in a minute, it seemed, and we all agreed that it was the best book club event to date. (We actually say that every single time we meet, but truly, it's gonna be difficult to top an author visiting us in the flesh!)

   My guess is that if we asked each of the ten women who attended Thursday night, "What was the discussion about?" We would hear ten different answers. Because while we probably spent most of our time exploring Depression and its attendant* complications, every varying slice of conversation was meaningful to different women in different ways. For example, I was highly motivated by Jen's chapter on Grace and some of the spiritual observations she made in her book and in our visit. Another couple of our members seemed to be most interested in hearing more about running (me too, by the way... Jen just ran 18 miles on Saturday and is training for another half marathon!). Still more book-clubbers were thirsty for Jen's' guidance in writing and publishing original work. Had we been successful in convincing our guest to stay overnight, we would surely have kept her awake until dawn with the brain-picking. Small wonder, then, that she opted to drive home at night.


This mantra, this slice of her benediction, applies to anything you choose.

   Whatever our specific takeaways, though, one strong theme runs all throughout. And it is actually what Jen uses to end her book, the encouragement to find your thing, whatever it is, and do it well.

"Run far. Run short.
Run north and south, east and west.
Run with me.
Run to everything you were ever meant to be.
Run with me.
Run hard. Run easy. 
Run with me. Run with me. Run with me."
~Jennifer Luitwieler

   I do hope you find or download a copy of this book and read Run With Me. It is a comfortable, smart, witty, conversational offering of one woman's imperfect and nourishing life experiences and how she has profited in surprising ways by lacing up and hitting the pavement.



   You stand to gain so much by reading this book. But the fact remains that we are the lucky ones who got to chat her up and share roasted chicken, cheesy grits, and coconut cake. She shared even more generously in our suppertime conversation. So...Just for fun, how about a list of special facts we learned about this lovely woman during our hours together? This was such fun!

  • She also has a book club. And she belongs to various writers groups and leads a weekly writers' discussion on Twitter. All of this, on top of being active in her church and running marathons and mothering three children and homeschooling two of them, AND she perfectly put together and polished. I am in awe.
  • She wrote this book in less than a year, originally as a series of blog posts, and revised it over and over.
  • Her husband still hasn't read it. tsk-tsk... But we all surmised he was there for most of her stories. He knows what happens, right?
  • All of her family's pets are rescues.
  • Jen has done several telephone and Skype interviews, but Thursday night at the Lazy W was her first in-person appearance!
  • She places high value on small but daily doses of solitude.
  • Her unique take on modern Christianity is fascinating. Her remark, "We go to a really weird little church," garnered lots of belly laughs. Then, her descriptions of its uniqueness and community ministries brought smiles to all ten of our faces.
  • She just finished her first novel, YAY JEN!!! She wrote Seven Days in May, a volume of historical fiction set right here in Oklahoma, as a participant in NaNoWriMo. This means that she fleshed it out in one month, folks. She is currently shopping agents for its publication and promised us a return visit after its release. We are so excited!!
  • Jen is actually a fellow fan of Aimee Bender, author of our group's much-debated read of 2010 The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (my review here), a fact which when revealed sent peals of laughter through the high-carb room. I do not mind admitting a feeling of vindication. Aaaannnddd... Now I'm craving lemon cake again. As I sit here writing, I may settle for a slice of leftover coconut-lime cake!
  • Her running playlist is so rad, ranging from Eminem (yep) to Mumford and Sons (double yep). And I suspect that a few of our ladies will be dipping their polished toes into Couch-to-5K after hearing from her. 
  • Jen Luitwieler is one of those women who, though fascinating on paper and perfectly lovely in photos, makes an even more profound impact in person. She is glowy in every sense of that expression: She has the sheen of good health, certainly, but she also emits a lot of love and peace. Wisdom beyond her forty-one years. I am so happy to have made her acquaintance, and I know that all of Dinner Club With a Reading Problem feels the same way.
   Many thanks to Margi for not only selecting this title, but also for inviting our esteemed guest and coordinating this event. Of course, too, many thanks M for running around town with me on Thursday and then letting me boss you around in the final hours before our shin dig. She even dusted artwork and cut flowers for us, ladies!


Part of our Book Club, from left to right: 
Amber, Stephanie, Desiree, Kerri, DeLana, me, Tracy, Margi, Misti, and Melissa. 
And of course our lovely guest Jen in front. 
While snapping photos for us, my husband suggested 
she lay sideways and let us hold her up, cheer-leader style, and she said no.

   Thanks to Kerri for taking charge of our group's token of appreciation. Thanks to Melissa for the thoughtful party favors, the delish cake, and time spent neatening up our brainstorm of questions. Stephanie, Tracy, Amber, DeLana, Misti, and Desiree, thanks for helping to supply such a gorgeous spread of comfort food, including roasted lemon chicken, rolls, sweet corn casserole, garlic-cheddar grits, chocolate cheesecake, fresh salad, and too many beverages! Seri, thanks for bringing your appetizer early even though you couldn't attend! Too sweet. We are the world's best book club for a lot of reasons, and team work is one of them.

"Run to Everything You Were Ever Meant to Be."
~Jennifer Luitwieler
xoxoxoxo

*Jen's artful use of this word in this way has me hooked. I must credit her influence.


 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Proverbs 31: Guest Post by Amber, Happiest Color of Crazy

   This morning I would like to introduce you to another lovely and generous guest poster, Amber. She is a stay-at-home Mommy to three beautiful and precocious little girls,and in a thousand ways she radiates the spirit of a young, traditional Proverbs 31 woman.



   I asked her to contribute because while so many women spend precious energy complaining about the drudgery of  domestic life, she celebrates every detail and magnifies God in fun, believable ways. I can feel her joy through her Facebook posts and original poetry, which is what she chose to share with us today...

   Enjoy...


The Happiest Color of Crazy
When I was young I had big dreams
romantic visions of all life could be.
I wanted to fall in love, be swept off my feet
have a beautiful home and a loving family.
God sees the desires of my heart
hearing the prayers my fears won't let me speak.
He knows just how to fill my lack
becoming my strong knowing my weak.
My picture of happy has changed over time.
Things aren't always what they might seem.
I do have love, a home and three kids
but life is all but serene....
We find ourselves always behind
trying to do all that's needing done.
The kids are loud making a mess
keeping us on the run...
The bills keep coming but sleep rarely does
Life's demands pile up like the dishes.
No time for dates, or leisurely mornings.
An endless list of empty wishes...
That's when I can tell my heart has turned
and I must humbly repent.
Losing my joy by forgetting my thanks
is the surest road to discontent.
I must forget about what I want
and seek Him first in ALL things.
Looking around for His gifts of grace
in the simplest moments that each day brings.
My days are painted the happiest color of crazy.
My God supplies my every need.
I have everything I never knew I wanted
and my heart is full indeed!

    I especially love this line toward the end, "Losing my joy by forgetting my thanks is the surest road to discontent."

   Thank you, Amber! Thanks for this poetry, and thanks for sharing on Facebook the delicious minutiae of daily life with your young family. You make me homesick for those days and grateful for my memories more than you can imagine. When people tell you it goes by quickly, they are speaking the truth. Soak up this happy color of crazy. May all of your dreams come true, if even in wildly unexpected ways!

"My heart is full indeed."
xoxoxoxo

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dad's Double Nickel

   Last week my dear ol' Dad passed a milestone. Not a kidney stone, thankfully. A milestone. He had a birthday. So my parents, my youngest brother Philip, our nephew (who is recently driving, FAINT!) and his best friend Matthew came to the farm to celebrate Dad's double nickel birthday! Our other nephew Koston, from my husband's side of the family, had been spending a few days at the farm (I need to tell you all about that soon) and he actually helped me prepare the family meal!

   We sat down to the table and shared a giant lasagna with all the trimmings and laughed and laughed and laughed! Then almost immediately after dinner Dad sliced his birthday cake, a butter pecan layer cake with browned-butter cream cheese frosting.


Please note Dad's strategically placed napkin-bib. 
He thought perhaps the cake was all for him?


   We sang to him and asked if he feels any older. He answered in the affirmative. We spent what little weeknight time we had left watching hilarious videos and laughing some more. Being with my family and laughing is on my sparkly list of favorite things to do. Seriously, it feels so good. And I love to see my parents happy and worry-free for a few minutes. They deserve so much more of that.


My sweet Momma and my Baby Brutha from exactly the same Mutha, Phil.

   The older I get the more I am keenly aware of what a gift it is to have both of my parents alive and in my life, loving me and spending time with me. Handsome's parents are very much a part of our life, too, and we are so grateful for this. Looking around at our friends, I see more and more people who have lost one or both of their parents by now, so these family events are golden to me. Big holiday occasions are also fabulous, but my soul is nourished by regular doses of easy get-togethers and homemade food.


Koston, 10, eternally dorky me, and Dante, 15. 
I cannot even tell you how much I love these guys.

   To finish his birthday celebration, I would like to tell you a little bit about my Dad, about why I wish you could have a Dad like mine...

********************

   He played with us all the time growing up, and he helped entertain my friends when I had birthday parties. In fact, as my friends got to be of the "crush having" age, lots of them had crushes on my Dad. This is actually rude, ladies, and weird, but it is nice to have a Dad everyone likes.

   Along this vein, Dad was my first teacher of practical jokes. Pranks. Pretty big ones. I'll just leave that at that.

   He has taught me a thousand or maybe a million things just by example. His style has always been showing, not telling, and I bet he has no idea how impactful that has been over the years.

   Dad's work ethic is incredible. He doesn't stop when he reaches an obstacle; nor does he lose his patience when frustrated; he just works and adapts and continues working until something is done.


   Also? He literally* whistles while he works. No lie. But he's not a very good whistler, but still.

   Dad has always made me feel like he had a special love for me, and he always seemed to go above and beyond to take care of me, personally. I grew up thinking it was because I am the oldest, maybe because he was so young when I was born, or perhaps simply because of my daughterly awesomeness (not). But in comparing notes with my adult siblings I realize we all have felt loved like this. Without ever once saying the word favorite, Dad and Mom made us all feel that way. And you know what? I am not disappointed in the truth. Not one bit. Watching both of our parents love my siblings through thick and thin, whatever the circumstances or special events, has been one of the most eye opening learning experiences of my life. Way better than continuing to believe I'm their fave. 

   Anyway, it is likely that his heart belongs more to the grand kids now...



My Dad in his first months as a Grandpa, 
pictured here with my first baby.


   To my knowledge, Dad has never missed a grandchild's birthday party (locally, and I am sure missing his California grandson's candles has hurt). Here he is at my youngest's 13th birthday party a few years ago. Dad had just shattered his leg terribly and was probably in a lot of pain, but he came to the farm anyway. We delighted in teasing him about his walker, and against his wishes we decorated it. Well, I mean, the kids did. I had nothing to do with it whatsoever.




   My Dad has always fostered creativity, just by being creative himself  You should see him light up over an invention idea, or a new lamp or furniture design! And to help with his creative streak, Dad can operate any machine you give him. A few Christmases ago he and Mom gave me the serger machine from Village Art, our family's now retired lamp company. Dad vainly tried teaching me how to thread it and operate it, but the truth is I would much rather him just come out and do it for me so we can talk. Not that we would talk. Because of the whistling.

   One lesson I wish I had learned from Dad a lot earlier in life is humility. He exemplifies it and proves it in his life year after year, and it breaks my heart for him.

   Dad is an excellent cook, and I wish I could find a photo of him wearing his chef's apron and hat.

   Do you know what the invisible ball/ paper bag trick is? Pretty sure my Dad invented it, and if you visit the farm I'll teach it to you. It's amazing. Maybe I can get him to do it on video and upload it some day.

   But I do not wish upon you the horror of a knee-grabber. This is serious business, folks. 

   My Dad is a Power Napper, and he has been known to watch entire television shows through his eyelids. Then he looks at you like you're crazy if you call attention to his sleepiness.

   Also, he is the fastest walking person on the face of this earth. It is because of growing up around him that I am physically unable to take a leisurely stroll anywhere. 

   I don't know whether Dad is more talented at tile work or carpentry, because he does beautiful work in both areas. But I can say that the fragrance of fresh sawdust makes me very, very happy. It brings me back to childhood in a split second, and I love that.

   I have reached the age where I am thrilled by my parents' love and romance, instead of being weirded out by it. Seeing them live their marriage in front of us kids, prop each other up, whisper compliments behind each other's back... I love every bit of it. Can't get enough of it now. Seeing how much my Dad loves my Mom, and vice-versa, is such a wonderful gift, and I am deeply thankful for it.

   Among the many things Dad has taught me by example is a love of reading. We only have a slice of overlap in genre appreciation, as far as I know, but I grew up watching him recline in a bustling living room with either a newspaper or a paperback perched studiously in front of him. To me this is relaxation. And I love Dad for teaching it to me.

   No matter what the need, no matter how last minute or inconvenient the request, my Dad will help any of kids in any way that is humanly possible. Same goes for his friends  too, I am sure. We probably never know when we put him in a bind, because he is always the same. He always acts with a steadiness that offers us calm. We know he is always there, no matter what.

********************

   I could write and write my love for my Dad, and he deserves it, but by now he is probably rolling his eyes at me a little and feeling itchy to get back to work. So go ahead and go walk fast and get something accomplished, Dad!!! I love you and I appreciate you more than you know. Happy 55th Birthday!!!!!

From Your Favorite Offspring**
xoxoxoxo

* Let's all pronounce this "lit-chrul-lee"
** JUST KIDDING you titty babies!!! I'm probably not is favorite. Probably.
   
   

   
   

   

   

   






 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Five Senses Inventory, Keeping Happy Vigil

   What a week! Whew. From a family funeral last weekend to celebrating both of our dads' birthdays, some work travel for Handsome, and a few days of fun with our nephew for me, we have stayed busy and wrung out emotionally. I have lots of photos and stories to share, and happily Proverbs 31 themes are warming up my heart at a nice, healthy boil. But yesterday one of our fuzzy babies showed up with a cut leg, and everything came to a standstill. He's fine, already healing nicely, but it definitely got my attention and sort of wiped my calendar clean for most of the day.

   What follows is a Five Senses Inventory of the hours I spent with the Bachelors yesterday, keeping our tenderhearted patient company. I sat on the ground near the front field and ate a bizarre lunch of saltine crackers and Coke. Real Coke, not Diet. I know, I was shocked too.

Side note: 
From now on, when I refer to the Bachelors, 
I mean Dusty the gray and white pony, Chunk-Hi the buffalo, and Romulus, the llama.

See: Our unblinking Romulus seven feet to my left, staring at me with incredible focus. Dusty and Chunk-Hi three feet to my right but behind the fence. Dozens of yard birds in a happy struggle against the wind. Summer's last zinnias, just now starting to fade, waving in the wind. Sky-scraping pine trees waving in the wind too.


In case you missed it on Facebook, our great llama name debate has been settled. 
He has officially been dubbed Romulus.
But he still answers to "LLAMA!!!"
Except, so do I. Because it's really close to "MAMA!!!"


Hear: Gusty, thrilling Oklahoma wind.Crows. A rooster echoing from inside the metal barn. More wind, like the ocean.

Touch: Cold breeze slicing through my Grandpa's hand-me-down canvas jacket, its furry collar soft against my face and neck. Goosebumps where my jacket is unfastened. Rubber boots encasing my bare feet. Sun hot on my french braided hair.

Smell: That wonderfully sweet, organic bovine odor, the one that only Chunk-Hi's velvety body can put off. Also, hay (I adore the smell of hay) and a sort of clove-like smell from my Coke.

Taste: The salty-sweet residue of my terribly unhealthy but satisfying lunch.

Think: I am constantly, constantly thinking of my beautiful daughters. I think of them as babies, as toddlers, as children, and as young women. I think of what they might be doing elsewhere as I sit here. I think of their futures and the untold possibilities there.

Feel: Romantic, hopeful, grateful for our families, confident in the potential for all kinds of healing, fascinated by the political climate right now, and overall inspired. I feel inspired to pick up broken pieces of things and make new, even more beautiful things. I feel inspired to control my body in new ways because now I know I can. Now I know that very few physical things are left to chance. I feel close to my animals but not in an owner-owned kind of way. Today they look at me deeply.

********************

   I hope you take a few minutes to inventory your world. Notice what's going on around you and inside you. Imagine amazing things for yourself and your loved ones, dwell on the best things, count your blessings. I'll be checking in again soon for some excellent family stories and more of Proverbs 31.

Happy Weekend Friends!
xoxoxoxo

Monday, October 15, 2012

Proverbs 31:10-12 Stand By Your Man


   Thanks again for joining me on this slow exploration of Proverbs 31. The rest of this month should feel a lot more relevant to us ladies, to those of us craving to be intentional, spiritually meaningful wives and homemakers. It's kind of like the long awaited cheese and dessert buffet when all you've eaten for hours is a rice cake and some limp celery.

   No offense to the first nine verses; they are important in their own way. But now that we have context and voice nailed down we can really start having some fun.

   Real quick, do you ever do this: Do you ever feel super guilty for referring to a Bible passage like this, "Oh now that's a good one!" As if to imply the rest are not so hot? I digress, but it's a thinker.

   Okay.

   Proverbs 31: 10-12


"Who can find a virtuous woman?
for her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her,
so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."

   Beautiful and complex.

   Even without all of the supporting instruction that follows, these three verses pretty much summarize the importance and purpose of a good wife. She is priceless. Her husband's heart trusts safely in her. I love that, the notion that his heart trusts in her, his innermost self, his unspoken core. That's powerful. For her entire life, she only helps him; she never brings him harm. Everybody needs someone that devoted, right? Apparently, men especially need this. And women are well suited for the job.

   These qualities probably seem easy enough to possess as a newlywed bride, or at any time in life that the swells of romance are cresting high and frothy. It's easy and fun to strive for excellence at those times. Because it just feels so darn good.


Our first kiss as a married couple, 2001.



   I love taking excellent care of my husband when we have been trading lots of love notes and such. I am long on inspiration of how to spoil him when we are clicking along in sync with each other, feeding greedily off of the sugary, if shallow, nourishment of romance.

   But since all relationships have fluctuating glamour, since every marriage has its challenges, we will eventually reach a point where it is not so easy to lavish each other with goodness. That doesn't mean we're off the hook!

   Personally, I must learn to be just as devoted and trustworthy to Handsome when I am feeling insecure and afraid as when that lovely swell of romance is carrying me easily above our problems. He doesn't need my devotion any less just because I am feeling un-spectacular.

   Virtuous. This could encompass so much about the woman's character, and perhaps it varies from person to person. But I think it's worth noticing that virtue is mentioned ahead of beauty.

   No need of spoil. What does this mean to you? To me it conjures up ideas of living within our means, financially. A husband whose wife overspends their resources will eventually find himself in need of spoil, in need of finding money somewhere to cover the gap. But a man who trusts safely in his wife knows that she will not abuse their cash or credit cards, for example.

   Or perhaps it has to do with fidelity and loyalty. What do you think?


   She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. I mean, that sounds simple and obvious. It should be. But back to the less enchanted times... How much effort does it take for a wife to do her husband good when she disagrees with his decisions? Or when he makes a mistake or outright hurts her? This verse doesn't offer the comfy caveat that a desirable, priceless wife is only meant to do good to her husband when it is easy to do so; rather, it says that she is always good to him. She is always his supporter and his ally.

   Moreover, she does good to him. That to me is an active suggestion. She isn't just waiting around being reactive, as is so natural for women to do. She is actively helping him, finding on her own ways to bless him and support him, all the days of her life. It doesn't end when the honeymoon is over. And it doesn't end when the children leave the nest. And it doesn't end when you both retire or have mid life crises or whatever, or when one of you is sick. The direction to love and help and do good only evolves with time, with our changing needs.

   Is anybody else resisting the urge to sing Stand By Your Man?








   Twang away, ladies. Just twang away.

   I definitely realize some of you are rolling your eyes and maybe even flipping me off right now. Relax. It's just a song.

   The thing is, wherever you fall in the broad spectrum of modern feminism, these Bible verses clearly state that a husband thrives with the support and love of his wife. How could he not? This is not useless, meaningless stuff. This is how we were created. This is how we are designed to complement each other in marriage.

   At least that's how I see it.

   Give him two arms to cling to.

   Be proud of him.

   Stand by him, and not just when it's easy.

   Be priceless.

xoxoxoxo

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Proverbs 31: Passing of a Matriarch

   Late last night my husband's grandmother passed away. She was the matriarch of his Dad's family and the woman who helped carry the moniker of The Lazy W from the Oklahoma Land Run generation to her children's, and now to ours.

   Was she a Proverbs 31 kind of woman?

   Absolutely.



   Mrs. Myrtle Wreath was a devoted wife and mother. She thrived in her home and made it a haven for her husband, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

   She sewed extensively for her family, including beautiful matching square-dance apparel for herself and her husband. In their youth they were practically famous in Oklahoma for their dancing! She quilted magically by hand, often from scraps (a woman after my own heart for sure).

   Grandma Myrtle was known as a magnificent cook, perhaps especially of sweets. Her grandchildren have fond memories of old-fashioned taffy pulls at the holidays, a tradition I really hope to revive soon at our much smaller Lazy W. I have a stack of her handwritten recipes that will get dusted off this weekend for Handsome and his Dad, starting with Snicker-doodles. She drank strong coffee with real cream, no sugar, and plenty of it.

   She always kept a clean, comfortable, and well appointed home and opened it constantly to loved ones. She also worked outside the home when necessary to provide for her young family.

   This is a woman who helped build a successful farm in the western prairies of Oklahoma. Together with her husband Paul, she raised three beautiful children, two boys and a girl. She helped him farm wheat and cattle commercially, and they grew productive kitchen gardens and kept chickens, dairy cows, and pigs year after year.



   Grandma Myrtle was a strong, gentle, industrious Oklahoma pioneer, as true as they come, and she was a Proverbs 31 woman naturally. Even without claiming much religion publicly, she embodied these values, and her family was blessed extensively by that. What a lovely thing to strive for!

********************

   As our family huddles up for the weekend of grieving and remembrance, I may miss a few days of posting for this Proverbs 31 project. But I am so grateful to have the image of this woman fresh in my heart, as well as images of my own grandmothers, to delve deeply into the best parts of these scriptures next week.

   Thanks in advance for your warm wishes to Handsome and his Dad, and please feel free to share memories of the special Proverbs 31 women in your life!

xoxoxoxo


 


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Proverbs 31: Guest Post by the Lovely & Fascinating Periphery

Where Is My Mind? 
King Solomon and The Pixies

For starters, a giant thank you to Marie for her thoughtful contemplation of Proverbs 31 this month. She has given me new perspectives on some dear old verses. Not to mention, llamas. And thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me guest post here today, Marie. I am truly honored that you would let my words fill your space for a day.


Do you listen to The Pixies? No matter. That's what Youtube is for.
I married a die-hard Pixies fan, so I've seen Frank Black close enough to almost reach out and rub his grumpy bald head twice and this song features heavily in the soundtrack of my life. Not a fan? That's OK. It's an acquired taste.

With your feet in the air and your head on the ground,
Try this trick and spin it, yeah.
Your head will collapse
If there's nothing in it.
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?

We are busy people. There are never, ever enough hours in the day. (Except sometimes we have those days that have far too many hours and it's not bedtime soon enough, but those are just as bad.) Stress related illnesses and injuries are killing more and more people. It's serious, folks. We are busy people. 

Where is my mind?

Read about the woman in Proverbs 31:10-31. She's a busy woman. She stays up late and gets up early, she cooks exotic meals, she gets the shopping done, she and her family are well dressed, she makes her own clothes and then sells some too, she's a philanthropist, she does real estate deals, she's got her own vineyard! And after all of this, her family blesses her and tells other people how awesome she is. Is she for real? What's her secret?

We have different work now than our busy friend of thousands of years ago. Not many of us are seeking out flax and wool out of necessity (although, the knitters among us may have some stashed away for fun.) Our work varies from household to household. Some of us have children and spouses, some of us have animals, some of us have demanding day jobs, some of us have lots of land, some of us have health issues to manage. Some of us have all of the above. Are we stressed? 

Where is my mind?

She does good and not harm... she works with willing hands... she dresses herself with strength... she makes her arms strong... she perceives... she considers... she is not afraid... she opens her hand... she opens her mouth with wisdom... the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

These all work together to paint a picture of mindfulness: of conscious and considered choices, of intelligence and purpose, of planning and forethought. This is no harried housewife, running around to put out fires. This is no resentful martyr. This is a strong and mindful woman.

Where is my mind?

Perhaps this woman is a myth. No one gets it right all the time. The work of daily life can wear us down and discourage us - no matter what our particular work is. There are sometimes fires to put out, despite our best efforts. Sometimes we find ourselves spinning with our feet in the air and our heads on the ground. Sometimes our mouths open with exhaustion and the teaching of kindness isn't anywhere near our tongues. These are realities. It is also a reality that there is no escaping this work of being alive. But I believe in another facet of this reality, too. That we are all given the ability to choose how we live, to aspire, to want to do better, to succeed. 

Frank Black is no King Solomon but he has a point, though: Your head will collapse if there's nothing in it. Mindfulness. It's not easy. We may not get it right all of the time, but are we living with conscious choice or merely reacting to our circumstances? How often do our heads collapse from lack of content?

This mindful woman Solomon's mama is telling him about? Give her the fruit of her hands, let her works praise her in the gates. She reaps the rewards of her mindful life and her life speaks for itself. It not only speaks for itself, it sings for itself. I want a life that sings.

Where is my mind?

********************
Okay friends, did I deliver or what?? 
Thank you so much, Suzanne.
Thank you from my guts and ribs and fingertips.
That was beautiful.
Iespecially love the assertion that the Proverbs 31 woman is 
"no resentful martyr," but rather a "strong and mindful woman."
And yes, Frank Black, we collapse if empty.
Excellent.
Please keep track of Suzanne's constant stream of brilliance over at Peripheral Images
~Marie


"Out of the corner of your eye is where the magic happens."
~Periphery
xoxoxoxo



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Three Things for Tuesday Night

   Hello there you fine citizens! 
I need to take a one-day hiatus from the Proverbs 31 project
in order to touch on a couple of things. 

   Item #1: Our llama adoption is proving to be quite the memory maker. Since Sunday afternoon when he arrived, we have witnessed a steady stream of four-legged drama. All is well, really; we have neither injury nor illness to report. It's just that the llama is a whole lot more interested in buddying up with Daphne, our moody mare, than she is interested in even being in the same field as him.
   She runs and snorts and screams and then runs some more, and he just stares at her and gives a little chase now and then. It's not a menacing stare exactly, but I'll admit it's unnerving. If a strange man stared at me like that I'd have to get all Charlie's Angels about it.



   And Chanta, the alpha horse, continues to be annoyed by the whole situation. He has capitalized on the conflict by simply eating everyone's sweet grain each morning. You might say he's an emotional eater.



   The normally wide-range geese are steering clear of all this west-end commotion, barely venturing past the Talking Tree in fact. And it is just a matter of time, folks, before our little buffalo Chunk-Hi feels an urge to socialize that is stronger than the gate holding him in the front field. Eventually he will catch a good, solid glimpse of this loping, table-backed creature and not be able to contain his joy. I rue that future day, Sirs, I rue that day.


   The other thing about this llama is that I have never in my life had so much trouble naming an animal. The flurry of brainstorming with my friends, though, has been endlessly entertaining. I have boiled and reduced the options into categories, and perhaps tomorrow I'll finally decide. It's not like he answers my call yet anyway.

   Item #2: I ran my first 5K this past weekend! It was a crazy fun event in Guthrie, Oklahoma, called the Zombie Bolt. I ran it with my friend Trisha, and Handsome accompanied us in our recently dolled up Ford farm truck, now affectionately known as the Zombie Hunter. I can barely tell you in a short paragraph how much fun this was! We laughed almost constantly and made a thousand fun memories more or less evading really aggressive zombies. As for the running part, I am definitely hooked and plan to train for some competitive races this coming year.



Here's a riddle for you:
Q. How did you know when someone has run a marathon?
A. Oh, don't worry. They'll tell you.
   
   Item #3: Please make a point to click back over here tomorrow for an incredibly well written guest post on the whole chapter of Proverbs 31. My guest is Suzanne from over at Periphery, and she flat out honors me with her virtual visit to the Lazy W. Please click here for a link to the first post of hers I ever read, "In This Economy." You will understand how her deep-seated optimism, blooming warmth, and intelligence captivated me from the get-go. She writes fluidly and as though you are following her through a deep, complex maze that is both padded and fragranced but also plenty challenging.
   Please do check in tomorrow. And give yourself the gift of a quiet room and a cup of something steaming and delicious for when you read what she has to share. I have already read it four times, and I am in love all over again.

   Okay, sweet dreams everyone! Thanks so much for reading! Hope to see you tomorrow for a delicious spin on Proverbs 31.

"If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams 
and you will always look lovely."
~Roald Dahl
xoxoxoxo

Monday, October 8, 2012

Proverbs 31: Learning and Seeking


For the next skinny little slice of Proverbs 31, verses 8 & 9,
I am rebooting my entry from October 9th of last year.

********************


   The next two verses are rich enough in their own right, but they also are accompanied by a long list of references in the Schofield text.  In my opinion this stuff needs very little expounding, though each of us, depending on our stations and functions in this world, may learn to apply the directives uniquely.  First, the lines from Proverbs:

  "Open thy mouth for the dumb in the course of all 
such as are appointed to destruction.  
Open thy mouth, judge righteously, 
and plead the cause of the poor and needy."

********************
These references follow:

"I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. 
I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out."
~Job 29:15,16

"And Johnathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, 
Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good."
~I Samuel 19:4

"Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment:  thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty:  but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour."
~Leviticus 19:15

"And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him."
~Deuteronomy 1:16

"Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him."
~Job 29:12

"Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow."
~Isaiah 1:17

"He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him:  was not this to know me?  saith the Lord."
~Jeremiah 22:16

********************

   In what ways are you exposed to the poor and needy?  The widowed, the orphaned, the lonely?  How do you personally cross paths with those who cannot speak up for themselves or who are appointed to destruction?  Granted, these lines might be directed to an actual ruler, a king, but then again it could be advice or instruction for the church too. Which means it's for us.

   Also, how are we doing in the judging righteously department?  Not so awesomely most times, I suspect.  We are all naturally shaped with unique filters, feelings, preferences, grudges, politics, indoctrination, just all kinds of multi-faceted, self-protective words that really mean, "personal opinion."  And personal opinion has a way of affecting how we treat others. Personal opinion also has a way of being wrong.  Ever been called to jury duty and felt, whether you expressed it or not, a strong bias, despite the evidence?  Ever catch yourself being cold to someone you don't know based on another person's opinion of him?  I have.  And worse.

   These events are common and natural human behavior, but if we read these words in the Bible then we hear a call to do better.  To strive for a life past what is natural and easy.  Stretch, not stagnate.

   I am reminded that every story has more than one side, very often more than two.  And I have been wrong a thousand million times in my life, siding with the wrong person, standing on a moral I later discovered to be flawed or at least incomplete.  This is scary; it impresses on me the gravity of the job of judges who decide the fates of people daily.

   These two little verses have excavated out of my heart more guilt and greater challenge than I expected.  I have a lot of work to do, but I believe that it can be turned around.  I believe that love and mercy are powerful, and I am hoping for second chances.  Checkout the above reference in Isaiah; the words learn and seek are loud to my eyes.

   Learn to do well.

   Seek judgment.

   These are active verbs, words that immediately acknowledge a position of lacking and then command work and hopefully progress.  Ignorance and error can be overcome, so do it.  (I am bossing myself around, not you guys.)  I am flat out thrilled by this idea, this encouragement.  
   
   That's all for tonight.  Handsome and I have bellies full of homemade chicken pot pie, and we need to cuddle. Then we had better go outside and check on that llama. He is so spicy you guys!

xoxoxo

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Proverbs 31: She Might Have Been a Llama Momma

   I mean, really, it's totally possible that the fabled lady of Proverbs 31 would have kept, in addition to so many other creatures, a llama. This charming and idiosyncratic animal is highly practical, a characteristic she would have prized. It is hard wired to protect its neighboring animals; it doesn't eat that much (compared to pigs, cows, or horses); and it is hardy in tough conditions. Also, besides being practical, llamas are incredibly joyful. And this coming week we are going to discover just how much the Proverbs 31 woman prizes both practicality and joy-making!

   For this application alone, 
really just to support my 31-day foray into Proverbs, 
today Handsome and I adopted a llama.
My husband is extremely supportive 
of all of my crazy projects.

   Our new addition arrived this afternoon via trailer delivery from our wonderful friends and mentors Dean and Maribeth. He was laying down comfortably and munching what I can only assume was manna straight from heaven. I climbed up on the back on the trailer to peek at him, and when we made fleeting eye contact he looked away firmly with that snooty, Roman nose thrust into the frosty air.

   Anyway, he is now strolling his regal self around the middle field, temporarily segregated from the horses and buffalo. He is unaware that, being the newest guy on the block, he is lowest on the totem pole. He and our biggest horse, Chanta, are jockeying for position Numero Uno over the wire fence.


   If the Proverbs 31 lady did in fact keep a llama, I predict she would trim his hooves on her own, brush that matted and mysterious fur daily to a gleaming sheen, and also make sure he is so well socialized that only intruders are spat upon.

   Time will tell if I meet the llama criteria for Proverbs 31. Until then, I just plain love him. I love his arrogant expression. I love his bright white face markings. I love his perfectly straight back and fluffy tail. I love the way he runs downhill and then charges into the pine tree. I love the way he frightens my mare and challenges our alpha. I love that he doesn't yet understand how much time we will spend together. So, so much time you guys. Tomorrow I will finish my reading goals aloud in his field so he grows accustomed to my voice. Maybe.

   We haven't named this guy yet. he is only a few months shy of three years old, and he is kind of full of himself. Do you have any ideas? Over at this blog's Facebook page, some fabulously entertaining people are already cooking up ideas. Join the fun!

   Tomorrow I expect we will be back on track for Proverbs 31, and as we go along I will share more about our llama and his fuzzy companions. Have a lovely evening, have a spectacular beginning to your new work week, and thanks so much for reading!

"You enter into a certain amount of madness
when you marry a person with pets."
~Nora Ephron
xoxoxoxo



 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Continuing Proverbs 31: Waiting for Renewal, Trusting in Love

   In a few short days our family will pass the one year anniversary of a terrible and significant loss. My little sister's husband, from whom she was then recently separated, took his own life. He left behind three beautiful children and a large, loving, extended family.

   In the midst then of attempting the first Proverbs 31 study, I suspended it and wrote this on October 16th of last year:
Breathing Deeply
   Eight days ago the lives of some of my most beloved people changed forever.  Our family was thrust into grief and shock, worse than any I have ever before witnessed firsthand.  All week long we have responded to each other the way I hope all families everywhere can manage to do.  I feel as profoundly grateful for my parents, my siblings, and my husband as I feel sad for the incredible loss being suffered.
   Having just now opened my laptop for the first time since the terrible news, the first thing I notice is that life goes on.  Whether we think we like it or not, the world is still turning.  Other people are still maintaining routines, relationships, and the pursuit of beauty in daily life.  Still oceans of happiness and possibility remain unexplored, and this is good.
   I'll now be gradually stepping back into reading and writing, trying to revive my study of Proverbs 31 and also sharing some of the things we learned this week.  Prayers are still needed and appreciated for my sister, her children  our parents, everybody.
   Rather than leave you on a sad note, I want to assure you of the power of love and hope.  The potential for old hurts to be soothed, for flaring tempers to be cooled.  Love is not just soft and romantic or even sexy; it is truly powerful.  Love motivates; it emboldens; it focuses and multiplies our energy.  Love is miraculous, and it causes me to KNOW that all things are possible.
   Late last night we witnessed the marriage of Handsome's nephew and his young bride, and I could feel in my lungs and my bones that Love is alive.  I breathed it in deeply, let it saturate my body, and savored the realization that what lies ahead of us is better than what lies behind us.
Best wishes, be as happy as you can, count your blessings.
xoxoxo
      

   In the wake of Tim's suicide, as I hope you can only imagine, everything that remains has changed forever. His children continue to grow and mature without him. They are very young and in such pain. His parents continue to live their lives, but they grieve constantly. And my little sister has almost fully self destructed. 

   Exactly one day before this awful, gut wrenching anniversary, my family will be binding together hoping for some good news for my sister, our petite, flaxen haired social butterfly girl, now all grown up and hurting worse than we can imagine. We'll be hoping that her year of extreme mourning is coming to a close and that she can bury some of the debris of this destruction and become a mother and a happy person again.




   I still believe this... That LOVE IS POWERFUL. Not because WE are powerful who give it but because it comes first from LOVE Himself. As flawed and ugly as we sometimes are, we are also drenched in mercy and forgiveness, grace and blessings beyond what we deserve. The more we share it and pour it back out to others, the better it flows back to us.

   Those of you who read the Lazy W and consider me a friend, I am asking for your prayers this coming week. Beyond just thinking positively and making the most of life's heartache, this is a serious need, and I would be so grateful if you would share some of your love and faith with my little sister, her children, and our parents. I firmly believe that prayer can change things, that LOVE is the most powerful force on earth and beyond it. And I would be so happy for some relief to rain down on our family.

   Thank you ahead of time, because I know so many of you by name who will already be praying before you comment or email me or anything! 

   We'll pick back up on Proverbs 31 tomorrow.

XOXOXOXO
   

Friday, October 5, 2012

Proverbs 31, Motherly Advice for Sons...

   Since Proverbs 31 starts off as advice given from a mother to her son, presumably Bathsheba to King Solomon, a man who would hold great influence in the world, I thought it would be fun to collect bits of advice some of my guy friends have received from their own sweet mommas. You will quickly see that not everyone took this assignment too seriously. But that's okay; I appreciate every single submission greatly. Enjoy...

Brian:  "When you're eighteen, you're outta here!" Ha!! Thanks, Brian.

Fairo: "Be good. And if you can't be good, be safe." I just love this. I can totally hear my Grandma Dunaway saying it to my Uncle Chris and me as suntanned, barefoot kids. And she might be laughing as we run outside to play in the wasp-filled barn and hide in the trees from angry cows. Thanks Fairo!

Brad:  "Don't kill your sister, because one day that might make you sad." He claims this advice was often given during a regularly scheduled beat down session between him and his sister. That is a direct quote, folks. Thanks Brad!

Brandy:  "Go to church and always put God first." This is my husband's foremost memory of advice from his Mom, but I can assure you she has taught him thousands of wonderful things, from money management to overall stewardship of your blessings, hard work, and charity. What's beautiful is that the foundation of putting God first kind of covers it all. Oh, and she also taught him all about hot rods and street racing... Ahem...

Pete: "Don't leave fingerprints on the coffee table." Okay. Pete's lovely wife Tracy submitted this on his behalf, and I just want to say that teaching good habits for a clean home might be a skill more future wives would appreciate. Very cool.

Greg: "Please don't put that milk in your ear. It only goes in your mouth." This is my nephew. He is flat out adorable. And two years old. Also, when his Mom and I chat on the phone he likes to yell constantly in the background, "Love you Rie!! Love you Rie!! Love you Rie!!" This is what my siblings called when when they were small and adorable, a long long long time ago (well, Gen still does), and I think it's so funny that he picked it up naturally. Okay, watch that milk, Greg!! xoxo I love you too!!

Bruce:  "Kill them with kindness." This is advice given for dealing with jealousy or anger. I think it's brilliant. Simple, age-old, and applicable to just about any relationship. Thanks to Bruce's wife Serena for submitting this!

Doug:  "If you want to see how a man will treat a woman, watch how he treats his mother."  Also, "Never hit a woman." Have you guys ever heard this before, that a man will treat his wife the way he treats his mother? What are your thoughts?

Zane: "Don't do anything you would be ashamed of or embarrassed to tell your future wife." Ha!! This young man's mom is my gorgeous, smart, and thoroughly lovable cousin Jen. I have spent a lot of energy in life pretending we were twin sisters, that's how much I want to be like her. She's giving you good advice, there, Zane!

Jon said that his sweet Mom gave him mostly practical advice: "Chew with your mouth closed, brush your teeth every night, and don't eat your boogers." I cannot help but wonder about the relationship between these three bits of wisdom... Thanks Jon!

********************

   And now, for a touch of the timeless, a few little scraps of wisdom from people we don't know:

"When you teach your son, you teach your son's son." ~The Talmud

"I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life." ~Abraham Lincoln

"Giving your son a skill is better than giving him one thousand pieces of gold." ~Chinese Proverb

"Let France have good mothers, and she will have good sons." ~Napoleon Bonaparte

   That last one slays me. How beautiful! To me, this speaks directly to the notion that nourishing our hearts first will inevitably result in an outpouring of health, love, and growth, in all areas of life. We need good sons! So ladies, be good mothers.

********************

   Thanks for reading, everyone! I hope you have time to share your mother-son advice or thoughts on any of these here. Have a wonderful Friday, and if you're in Oklahoma bundle up. We're getting excited for the first truly blustery weekend of the season.

xoxoxoxo

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Proverbs 31, Rebooting Alcohol Text

Hi there!! Thanks for stopping in!
Today is a wonky reboot from last October, 
some remarks on Proverbs 31, verses 3-7.
If you would like to read other entries, 
check out my tab up top.

********************
  
   I will try to mostly avoid the Grand Bossy Soapbox on the plain issue of alcohol consumption and just try to let the text (though it is slightly confusing) stand on its own. Alcoholism is real, that much I know. And it destroys lives. That much is immutable. But I do realize lots of people see a vast gray area here, which I will leave each person to explore on her own.

   We'll just lay some stuff out today, okay? If you happen to have some insight or expertise, or really just an opinion, then as always you are 100% welcome and invited to post comments or email and share! That's what this is all about!


   In the light studying I have done, it seems to be a generally agreed upon point that verse three is simply foreshadowing of events in King Solomon's (Lemuel's) reign. As most people know, Solomon was known for his wisdom. So the building of his character is pretty fascinating. The instruction given him by his mother is vital.

"Give not thy strength unto women,
nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings."

   Are there any take-aways here for us, the common people? Not sure. I will resist the temptation to extrapolate meanings where scholars have already explained something clearly and simply.  A King's mother was giving her son advice which he would later need in his reign. I can accept that much and move on...


The Judgement of Solomon, where a mother sacrifices her child to keep him whole.  
A powerful story that is painfully close to my heart.

   The next four verses seem clear enough at first blush but have incited plenty of debate.  This is where I will step back a bit, quote the scripture and references, then keep my remarks brief.  For a change.  LOL.  

"It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgement of any of the afflicted.
Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more."

Schofield References:
  • "Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!"  ~Ecclesiastes 10:17
  • "Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart."  ~Hosea 4:11
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   Okay.  Last October I felt free to give my personal opinions on alcohol and strong drink. Not so much this year. This seems to be part of an evolution in my heart, the distinction between gladdened and mocked. Please feel free to read my thoughts then or ignore me altogether, but mostly please share yours. This all is wildly interesting to me, and I love to hear how other people sort it out.

   Okay.  Thanks again for reading! Tune in either tomorrow or Saturday for something totally different!

"We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe;
the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible.
You cannot educate a man wholly out of the superstitious fears
which were implanted in his imagination,
no matter how utterly his reason may reject them."
~Sir Oliver Wendell Homes, Sr. 1872

xoxoxoo






pinnable

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