Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What if Proverbs 31 Wasn't Written for Women?

Proverbs 31 has come to be known as a standard for Christian women to live by...or up to. Books, devotions, and blogs have been written about it, with just as many agendas.

Its upheld as the one chapter of the Bible, as thee chapter, on instructing women how to be Godly women.

Funny, considering the book is written as a representation of verbal instruction a mother is giving her son. 

What if we started reading Prov 31 as if males were the intended audience?

With that thought, Prov 31 reads as a book with instructions for every member of the family...not just women...and it reminds others of the *value* & *equality* of women...

The opening credits have most commentators speculating in agreement that it is a written representation of an oral instruction to King Solomon, from his mother, Bathsheba. WHY are we then using it to instruct women? Why did Bathsheba give her son these instructions, that seem to highlight all the capabilities of a female of their time?

During Old Testament times, women were regarded as nothing more than a piece of property to be bought, sometimes sold and with out many, if any, rights of individual personhood. Yet, here is Bathsheba, extolling the virtues of a cunning, intelligent woman who has many gifts, talents and abilities, a shrewd business woman, whom she describes as honorable and noble (vs 10). The woman described in Proverbs 31, actually sounds like a very independent female. She can handle her business, provide for her family and afford servants (vs 15), she produces a profit (vs 18) from her work. Her children and husband call HER blessed (vs 28). She is compassionate and shares what she has with the poor (vs 20). She is a realtor and property owner (vs 16), seamstress (vs 22, 24), teacher (vs 26), and more. Does this sound like a chapter describing a piece of property? 

Perhaps, Bathsheba was giving her son a call to action. Challenging him to recognize the true Godly value of females, as God created them to be...not as objects to be demeaned, bought, sold, used and abused, but as intelligent, capable, independent human beings who should be held in as much high esteem as the males around them.

Maybe Bathsheba was going against the current belief system of female inferiority and bringing to her son, a profound thought process to counter act the false beliefs that had been created by men, not God. A voice of reason, alone and still to this day, often over looked.

Many will say, Proverbs 31 was written as a guide on what to look for in a woman, potential bride and mother of a man's future children. Ok, then why is the woman described, already running a household, with children and a husband (vs.11, 23, 28)?

The woman in Proverbs 31 is NOT known by what her husband does. She is never addressed as *so and so's wife*...her husband is addressed as HER husband (vs 11, 23, 28). 

The last verse calls the reader to honor her for what she has done. It does not state to respect her for the achievements of her father or husband. It is a call to praise her for her own achievements and accomplishments. Which means she is perfectly capable of accomplishing them (vs 31) and worth being recognized for them. She does not live in the shadow of anyone.

I challenge, that Proverbs 31 was NOT written as instructions for women to strive to achieve or look like...but as a reminder to MEN, of how God created women. Not as inferior pieces of property. This is the inspired Holy Word of God, isn't it? The reader (men of the day, right?) is reminded how fleeting the outward appearance of a female is...That is definitely advice every young man needs, in order to not make life long relational choices based on looks (vs 30).

I want to know WHY then, are we teaching (brow beating?) Proverbs 31 to women as a standard of femininity? Why aren't we using Proverbs 31 to instruct MEN, how women should be viewed, and not only viewed, but what females ARE capable of? Why aren't we using Proverbs 31 as a warning and admonishment against the oppression of women everywhere? Why don't we quit using it to guide women and start reframing it as an example to men (and women) of how women SHOULD BE viewed, treated, respected, honored and praised.

I'd like to see a Proverbs 31 sermon and theme used for the next men's event.

Proverbs 31 is leveling the playing field and everyone has been ignoring the game!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Church Lady: Black & White

The temperature has dropped enough to wear a sweater...at least for a little while. I pulled out a black, A-line skirt (hand-me-down) with an embroidered design along the front side.

Paired with a plain grey tank top and refashioned white cardigan (it was originally a plain sweater) worn with a thin belt over it. A simple outfit for sure. 

I accessorized the outfit with a petite pair of gifted earrings and floating white bead necklace, both from my oldest.

The shoes are the *cheap* floral print ones I purchased for the wedding. Standard vintage white hand bag.

I actually curled my hair this morning too. Haha! This ensemble was fairly simple to put together. I'm not really a fan of black, which is why I added the cardigan. I often feel too tired to put in the effort--and this is the result. 

Don't be afraid to dress up when you plan to show up this week! 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Church Lady: Casual Sunday

As the title implies, this outfit took minimal effort. The weather has been hot, hot, hot. Skirts are cooler and this one is super comfortable since I can slip it on. You might be able to tell, it's too big for me...but that's what makes it comfortable.

I love the loose and flowy feel. I paired it with a plain white T, tucked in. Again with my stand-by neutral vintage hand bag.

I chose a simple layered chain necklace that was one of my rejects for last week's wedding, dainty pink beaded  earrings and two bracelets.

Then my other favorite stand-by, strappy heeled sandals.

With such extreme temperatures and a congregation that meets in a non-air-conditioned facility, hair-up was a must. I pinned a pink flower clip to my pony-tail faux bun.

My regular photographer is away at summer camp so I was forced to call upon the expertise of my six year old. These were the two that weren't blurry and didn't have my head chopped off. Haha.

Very little thought went into this outfit as comfort was the primary concern. I also injured myself on Friday. It's nothing major but it is extremely painful!!! This was another reason for the minimal effort outfit.

Here's to the end of another week and the start of the next. Stay beautiful!

Friday, August 14, 2015

The heavens

The heavens serenade me with their glory. Softly they call to me with pastel whispers of golden pink. Barely audible, they sing of peace and rest, repeating; shalom, shalom...shalom.

Friday Hike Day: Fish Canyon Falls...almost again

We ventured out to a hiking location we visited months ago...a warm day last spring. This time it was almost 100 degrees.

We went hiking today...but being humble hikers...when one of our crew became overwhelmed by the heat, which increased the intensity of our hike dramatically, at 45 minutes in-we agreed to not go any further and head back. It's a tough call but we all need to feel safe and be able to trust and look out for each other. This is part of training and learning to be good leaders. 

A visible working mine owned by the Vulcan Mining Company.
One of the main things I love about this hike is how it leads through a real mining company. It fascinates me to see machines push rocks and boulders over the edge of a hill. Watching the debris initially slide and then begin to plummet like meteors, barely touching the side of the hill, is addicting.

What part of the dusty and dry trail looks like.
You have to walk under a conveyor belt transporting rocks from the mine. There are large CAT diggers daring the dirt and rocks to slide on top of them as they dig into the side of the mountain.

A few steps along the way.
Eventually you leave the mining company's private property and enter the public forest and trail. 
Though initially it was only one of our group, on the way back, one of our Adventure Moms also became overwhelmed by the high temps...getting chills, feeling light headed. It was a good call that we made to turn back.

Part of me was initially afraid of disappointing the others by choosing to turn back. As a parent, we are forced to make the hard and disappointing choices sometime. I am learning to own these hard choices. It develops our authority when we can acknowledge that others may disagree with us but we choose to make the decision anyway.

Our crew is maturing though so everyone understood and there were no hard feelings. When we can be compassionate, caring & empathetic toward each other, it builds trust. Knowing we can say we are too sick, weak or whatever, to continue, with out back lash, is what builds trust and makes us feel secure with each other.

It was awesome...up until right after this picture! I mustve hit a sprinkler or rock but I injured my tail bone so painfully, it makes me believe it's fractured.

Afterward, we went ice blocking. I thought this would be a great cool down activity. It was even hotten when we returned home and that made it even more worth it. A few of the kids had never tried or even heard of ice blocking. We went to a local park with a gigantic hill. 

'The boys attempting an ice block train. It failed. haha.

Besides my minor but extremely painful injury it was a great Friday Hike Day. I am proud of all the life lessons we are unintentionally learning and how our kids are maturing.
See you next week!
Remember to Start the Day Out Side!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Super Tutor Thursday: Rechenka's Eggs

My DIY Babushka inspired costume.
This week's costume was inspired by the book Rechenka's Eggs. We did language arts and math exercises with worksheets related to the story.

A few of the exercises we did this week were:

We reviewed parts of speech by going through the story picking out nouns, verbs and adjectives.

We created math equations on a page of egg outlines, numbers and  symbols were each written in individual egg shapes.

We came up with the equations by rolling a giant sized dice. If a larger number was rolled first, it would be a subtraction equation. If a smaller number is rolled first, it would be an addition equation.

They also used a worksheet of egg shapes to fill in the missing numbers, counting up to 100.

Bird theme sensory bin, inspired by somtehing I saw somewhere online.
The students drew pictures of their favorite part of the story, which predominantly was the end...when a little goose hatches from a wondrous egg.

At one point I was having the students chant and repeat: a noun is a person, place or thing. I then asked each student individually to repeat the phrase on their own. The first cutie chants, "A noun is a person plays and sings." Haha! I obviously needed to clarify.

I used the same bird themed sensory bin as last week. It worked out that way. The base is birdseed and there are a few fake birds, bird houses, feathers, fake flowers and berries with small owl buttons hidden among the seed.

The last thing I did to end this week, was have all the students sit with me on the floor, as I read the book to them. It was a peaceful ending to another busy week.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Church Lady-Mother of the Groom Blue

This isn't my typical Church Lady Sunday post. This particular Sunday was my oldest son's wedding. A very special day indeed, to put it mildly.

To honor the occasion, the rest of the ktbunch and I, all had pieces of our hair colored blue and wore blue clothing. It all worked out that way except for the youngest, who was required to wear olive green pants. I wasn't able to make him a bow tie like I hoped so all he had was the blue hair.

I made my dress, of course. I procrastinated a bit and was up very late into Sunday morning.The dress was finished but Sunday morning thought I would do a few more adjustments which was a bad idea. Haha. I had to UNDO every adjustment I tried to make on Sunday morning...Yep--pretty much: if it ain't broke, don't fix it-type of situation.

I felt proud of that belt I made though. It ended up being the easiest piece to accomplish. This dress also included a lining, which I absolutely hate having to make. It's like making another dress that no one gets to see so it feels like a waste, though I know it's necessary.

It may be hard to tell in these pictures but the dress is an ombre blue, lighter at the top and darker at the bottom. I accessorized with a layered beaded necklace in various shades of blue that I found last minute from...ahem...Walmart, for $5. I know-I'm sorry, I was desperate. The earrings were from another cheap store in the mall.

I actually purchased three different necklaces in total. Sigh. In the end I was afraid this one disappeared into the color of the dress too much but I accepted it as is and all was well. The day wasn't about ME anyway, right? :-)

I also found these adorable floral print shoes at another cheap store for $10. I was about to give up or purchase a pair of blue sandal like heels that I wasn't %100 keen on when I saw these as I walked away from the shoe section. They actually have highlights of the same blue in the floral motif and I knew a soon as I saw them, they were THEE ones.

No bracelet. That's my old stand by neutral tan vintage hand bag.

Mother-Son reception dance.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Super Tutor Thursday: Make Way For Ducklings

Quack! Quack!
This week began my switch to the first grade class and instead of being an assistant--I was on my own! I chose a literary theme based off the book, Make Way for Ducklings. I think this book is one of the sweetest stories.

I used duck shapes from Dollar Tree to create a small book of adjectives. I also found a printable counting book online, along the lines of 10 little monkeys jumping on the bed, where you keep adding ducks and the other you keep taking away ducks.

I printed the sheet of small ducks and had the students cut them out and paste the correct number on each page. This took waaaaaayyy longer than I expected!

I also found a few duck shaped dot-to-dots for them

Beautiful and friendly chickens came by to say hello!
During the last class day of the week (absolutely perfect timing!), a parent of a private student came into the center, saw me dressed like a 'duck' and asked if I wanted her to bring in her chickens for the students to pet and see.

She returned a little while later with two of her lovely chickens. So nice, friendly and fluffy! We discussed the difference and similarities between ducks and chickens. The students also cut out a dusk mask to wear as my own little ducklings.

This is only an example of a few exercises we did this week...I have four mornings a week to fill. There is so much fun to find online! You can pretty much find free printables to match almost any theme you can think of!

Monday, August 3, 2015

When Mom Needs a Time Out

I turned the cold water on full blast, hoping to mask my uncontrollable and desperate sobs. I could hear angry stomping and crying outside the bathroom door from at least one of my kids, adding to my misery. 

Since the water is on, I might as well get in.

I sat on the edge of the tub and plunged my feet into the cold water. Tempers were raging, confusion filled my thoughts. Resting my head in my hands and my elbows on my knees, I prayed; 
How do I get out of this mess? How did we even get here? Lord, please make it clear. What do I do now?

I considered sitting in the tub completely except I felt that would have been over the top dramatic and ridiculous. The cold water was refreshing and produced the desired affect as my brain began to clear. I literally began to emotionally cool down and could think straight again. No, all hope was not lost. I, we, could move forward from this moment in time. This horrible moment that felt like we couldn't ever recover from. 

A simple instruction had turned into a yelling and screaming match. Plans cancelled, frustrations building, everyone hurt and angry in the end.

When we posed and took this picture, a foam heart showed up.

I called them into the bathroom with me. Hurt and anger pained their faces. "Put your feet in the tub."
They obliged.

With out explanation, excuse or blame, I took full ownership of my actions. I apologized for every thing I did wrong. I asked for their forgiveness, right there with all our feet in the tub. I affirmed how we all wanted to be heard more than listen and because we felt unheard, we couldn't listen. I asked for forgiveness with out expecting a request in return. I resolved in my heart, they owed me nothing.

I stopped talking and listened. With out interrupting, with out argument, with out trying to set the record straight, I simply sat...staring at the toys floating in our bath tub pool, listening to their words, feelings, frustrations and eventually fears.

One of them spoke for both of them. Finally, though reluctantly, the other spoke, of fears deeper and greater than what had transpired over the last 60 minutes. The heart opened and the tears spilled out. The pressures, the fear of not being good enough, the desire to not have to feel responsible but be allowed to remain a child. The pent up burden of unwanted transition and change was released.

The cooling water continued to bathe our feet and miraculously sooth our heavy hearts. The rushing stream from the faucet moved the toys and odds and ends around.

The heat of the escalation had cooled. I couldn't take back anything that happened. I couldn't fix or change it. It can't unhappen. All I could do was admit the fault and sit right in it, hoping to move forward, reiterating my need, as much as theirs, for grace and Jesus.

I had no solutions but in that blink, water was the answer.

Sometimes you have to let it flow, stick your feet in, as ridiculous as it seems, and have a family meeting in the bathtub. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Church Lady: Monochrome with Classic Looking Sweater

I really AM smiling! I promise.
With the weather being sp unpredictable but mostly hot, I wanted to wear a skirt with a cool fabric.

At the last minute I found this pink shirt to wear and wondered if it would work. Saw this sweater while I was looking for a different one & voila!

You've seen these strappy sandals before and this vintage handbag.

The sweater looks like a vintage style though it isn't. My hair was being remarkably good so I didn't mess with it. Isn't that what always happens right before your appointment with the stylist? Ha!
Yah, rainboots and my jar of lemon water. 
I can't say this was the most figure flattering but it worked and was super comfortable.

I accessorized with brown beaded earrings and a brown bracelet my oldest brought me from the Phillipines. They worked with the sandals and the tan of the bag and sweater. The sweater is perfect for summer with those breezy holes.

The greatest thing about this skirt is the pockets. I need to make more skirts with pockets. (I didn't make this one, it was a hand-me-down from a friend...so was the sweater I think too.)

It was warm morning of dancing and church. A couple relatives of very dear friends of ours were in town and paid a visit. I felt like they brought the spirit of my friends with them. I still miss them so much, I can't even believe it. Sigh. I think I need to plan another road trip. The ktbunch has been asking for longer than I'd like to admit. I want to make that more of a priority.

Anyway, I liked the look over all. I think the boxy shape of the sweater would do better with a more streamlined or fitted skirt. It worked for today though. It was a good compromise. Have you ever made a fashion compromise?