Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Proverbs 31 - How Do You Measure Up?

My husband just left for work.
It's still dark out.
I kissed him goodbye and returned to my bed to read alone before the children wake up.
My reading took me to Proverbs 31.
As I read this famous and familiar passage, I tried to insert myself and see if I "measure up."
"It is hard to find a good wife, because she is worth more than rubies."
My birthstone is a ruby!
"Her husband trusts her completely.  With her, he has everything he needs."
He does trust me, but not so sure he has all he needs.
"She does him good and not harm for as long as she lives."
Um, he's a cop, there are guns in our house, so yea, I don't try to pull anything on him.
"She looks for wool and flax and likes to work with her hands."
I buy amazing chips from Trader Joes with flax seed in them!  And right now I'm working with my hands preparing some fun things for a birthday party (and I'm typing with my hands!).
"She is like a trader's ship, bringing food from far away."
I go to Trader Joe's, it's too far away to walk, and I bring food home from there.
"She gets up while it is still dark and prepares food for her family and feeds her servant girls."
NO WAY!  I just got up in the dark to make my husband a sandwich! 
But wait - servant girls?  I knew it's was God's plan for me to have some extra help. 
Where are they?
"She inspects a field and buys it.  With money she earned, she plants a vineyard."
Now this is just getting ironic - today I'm taking the children to the nursery to buy plants for our garden.
"She does her work with energy, and her arms are strong."
Remember that lawn mower I rocked?  Yep, big, strong arms!
"She knows that what she makes is good."
My tacos last night rocked.
"Her lamp burns late into the night."
I did stay up until 11pm watching Shark Tank.
"She makes thread with her hands and weaves her own cloth."
Um, what?
"She welcomes the poor and helps the needy."
We had 2 college students over for dinner last night :)
"She does not worry about her family when it snows,
because they all have fine clothes to keep them warm."
Check!  I can promise that I have never ever worried about my family when it snows
 here in Southern California.
"She makes coverings for herself; her clothes are made of linen and other expensive material."
Does Old Navy use expensive material?  If so, I'm good.
"Her husband is known at the city meetings,
where he makes decisions as one of the leaders of the land."
Sergeant Newquist, heard of him?  He's well known downtown!
"She makes linen clothes and sells them and provides belts to the merchants."
Once I led a mission trip of college students to Kyrgyzstan.  The only boy on our team didn't have a belt.  Daily his unders were exposed as his pants hung down.  When one of the Kyrgyz teens pointed out how embarrassing it was, I gave him a belt.
Does this count?
"She is strong and is respected by the people."
Well, not sure about the respect, but I think I'm pretty strong, again, remember the lawn mower?!
"She looks forward to the future with joy."
Yes!  Everyday I look forward to 8pm with great joy.  (that's bedtime for the kids)
"She speaks wise words and teaches others to be kind."
Emma - gentle and kind.  Georgia - be kind.  Mack - are you being kind?
yep, I say these words all day long.
"She watches over her family and never wastes her time."
Contrary to popular belief, I do not think RHBH is a waste of time thank you.
"Her children speak well of her."
Best Mommy in the Universe - they tell me every night from bed.
"Her husband also praises her, saying, 'There are many fine women,
but you are better than all of them.'"
WHAT?  You know other fine women?! Hmmmmm
"Charm can fool you, and beauty can trick you, but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised in public for what she has done."
What I call the 'escape clause,' I'm not that charming and any beauty is quickly fading, but I do my best to live and love like Jesus.  So today I'm going to stand outside of Starbucks at 2pm for any passers by to give me some words of praise and encouragement.
Ah, the famed Proverbs 31 woman.  Seems like an unattainable goal.
The bar is set so high.
Or is it?
When we read this passage, or listen to our friends, or read blogs and magazines, aren't the words just left up to our interpretation?  We often take what we read or hear and elevate it to places it wasn't intended to go.  We compare ourselves to others.  We fall short.  We are discouraged.
We are our own worst critic.  We make many standards and goals unattainable. 
But you know what?
If we are following hard after God, doing our best to know Him and love Him more, making it our mission to raise our children to know Him and sharing His love with all we come in contact with, then we've escaped the pressure and unattainable goals of society.
Today, do your best to fear the Lord.
Nothing more.
Nothing less.
It's ok of the house is a mess and the dishes aren't done. 
 Heck, it's ok if you forget to brush your teeth! 
 Just love the Lord.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lower Your Expectatioans

One of the greatest pieces of parenting advice I've ever been given was - if your children are not met by a smiling Moma, then lower your expectations of them! 
That hit me hard because honestly, my children are often met by a scowling Moma! 
 I'm frustrated, shocked, disappointed... these little people can drive me nuts!
And then it hit me, my expectations of these little people are far too high.
That's why they often see me scowl.
Mostly at meal times.
Or when we're running late and "hurry" isn't in their vocabulary.
Or when I see the status of their rooms.
I expect far too much from them and I know that frustrates them.
It frustrates me.
Somewhere along the parenting path I've forgotten this little piece of advice.

Then this morning I read,
"Fathers, do not nag your children.
If you are too hard to please, they may want to stop trying."
Colossians 3: 21

Reminded again to lower my expectations of my little ones
so they are met by a smiling Moma more than a scowling one!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Grateful Not Guilty

"Grammie, do I add water to this?  Should I put in more pepper?"
"No, everyone can do their own."
"Grammie, do I do the next potato?"
"Yes, do them all."
"Who's being so kind and nice over there? Is that little Georgia?  I'm so impressed by you."

The sweet conversations of a morning kitchen where my little girls are allowed to help in ways that I'd never entertain.  Frankly, it's too much work.  And I worry about them cutting he selves or getting burned.  And I love to cook and I'd just rather do it myself.  But not here.  Here they get to do all sorts of things without someone hurrying them or yelling at them or telling them, "oh, just let Moma do it."
Here they learn, they are encouraged and they are praised.





I used to feel guilty when my girls were little and my mom would come visit and play with them in ways I never did.  As they got older, she'd let them do all sorts of things that I never would.  Cooking, painting, picking flowers, filling bird feeders... And I'd feel guilty about that too.

Today as I sat and listened to the dialogue between my girls and their Grandmother in the kitchen, I didn't feel guilty, but grateful.  Grateful that their Grandmother is patient with them, finds the good in them and empowers them to be more.  I don't need to feel guilty that I don't let them cook every meal, do the dishes and laundry, wait a minute, am I nuts?!  But seriously, my mom is now in a different place in life.  She's not rushing out the door, taking care of small children, working... She has wisdom and time that allows her to invite her grandchildren into the everyday tasks that they love and let them participate.  I don't yet have that luxury, so in this season I can't let them participate in everything and I don't have to feel guilty about that.  I'm grateful that in our village, there are those who can give my children what I can't and I will continue to surround myself with those other villagers and allow them to teach and refine my children, guilt free!


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