Monday, December 12, 2011

...I don't really know what to call this one....

It has come to my attention that my posts lately have been too serious, and have given some a false impression of what I'm really like in reality. I do not want my readers(however few, if any, you may be) to have a false idea about me, so I'm going to give you all a brief story to give you an idea of how my mind works.

Last night, I was tired, and ready to get to bed at 7:00. However, I knew that if I were to do that, I would be awake at 2:00 in the morning, crying over the fact that I was so stupid 7 hours earlier to go to bed so early. So, reluctantly, I got back out of bed, and flitted around online doing pointless, stupid things for a few hours. Around 10:00, I started to get that feeling where it feels as though there's a little garden gnome in your head, gouging out your eyes from the inside out. Ever get that feeling? I decided that I should probable get to bed, before I look like this:

But, before I walked up our mountain of stairs, I realized I was kinda hungry, so I went to the kitchen and, naturally, opened the fridge. After standing there with the fridge door open for a few minutes, I reached the point where I became conscious of the fact that I was standing there with the fridge door open. Isn't it weird, how your mind totally zones out for a few minutes, and then when it comes back, you always find yourself in front of the fridge? I think it must have something to do with how our bodies are programmed, because it always happens, without fail. Our bodies must be thinking this:

Anywho, so when my brain finally came back from La La land, and I found myself in front of the fridge, I grabbed the first thing I saw. Which happened to be some left over pizza from the night before. Two days ago, my parents had gone shopping, and picked up some weird Greek Pizza. It was supposed to be really fancy, high-end pizza. And I guess to some, it was. But for me, all I want on my pizza is tomato sauce, lots of cheese, and various types of meat. Forget all the nasty veggies(Oops, uh, kids, veggies may be yucky, but you should still eat them. It gives you an idea of how you can torture your own kids when you're older). It's the good stuff I want. I popped a slice in the microwave, and a minute later, pulled it out. It wasn't until now I that I comprehended what it was I was actually going to be eating. I looked at it. Here's what it looked like:

I thought that maybe I could just pull all the nasties off, and just eat what's left. I did so, and what was left was some weird cheese, and a piece or two of chicken. But I ate it anyways. And, besides finding a mushroom or two(those things are SO darn hard to pick off!!), it was pretty good. I then climbed our Mount Everest of a staircase, and climbed into my oh, so, soft bed and feel asleep, letting my mind to wander and dream magical things.
The End
of a pointless story with no real ending or meaning. Besides, maybe campaigning veggies to kids so they know which ones will torture their kids the most. To be honest, that's the only reason I'M eating ' eat up, kids!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

It had been a long, cold day....

It had been a long, cold day. Tired, cold, and shivering I desperately wanted - no, needed- warmth. Wildly I looked around, storming my brain for how I could find It, losing my sanity over It. And then it hit me. There was a place where warmth was given. A place where you could receive a short, blissful time, before leaving again, out into the harsh, cold world. Hastily, I ran. Ran as if there were a billion spiders chasing me. Ran for all it was worth. And...yes! Yes! I snatched It, before anybody else could claim It as theirs. Before It would turn me away, claiming to be taken.

I entered that place, expecting warmth and a short time where I could be at peace. And I found it. I stood there, as close as I possibly could, absorbing that warmth. That heat. I started to regain my sanity, and I could feel that wonderful, blissful feeling of peacefulness and reassurance creeping back. But as quickly as I had found It, It vanished. Coldness, bitter coldness replaced It. In dismay, I cried out. I started to run away, to try and seek warmth else where, but then I was reminded. This warmth had been given to me for a price. I had made a deal. I had agreed that for that happy, happy time of warmth, no matter how brief, I would complete a task. I had no choice. Hesitantly, I went back, and reluctantly entered that cold, miserable world. Teeth chattering, I went to work, trying to finish it as quickly as I could. But, alas, time was distorted. For every second in the outside world I was there, as I stood there, it felt like a year. I gritted my teeth, and continued.

Twice, I thought of leaving the job unfinished. It hadn't been a fair deal. It hadn't kept up Its side of the deal, why should I keep up mine? But no. I had to be honest, even if It wouldn't. I kept at it. What felt like a century later, I finished. I darted out of there as fast as I could, so fast, even a lioness lunging at its prey would be impressed. I went away disappointed and miserable, continuing in my search for comfort. Maybe next time, I told myself. Next time I wouldn't be cheated out of It. Next time I would be given what I rightfully deserved. Next time.

......I hate cold showers.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Monsters are real

Fear. We all have it. Some more than others. Even the bravest, most daring people still have that one fear that they'd rather die than have to face. But I've been thinking of a more specific fear, instead of that giant list of little things you feel uncomfortable around, or your inability to explore dark rooms alone. I'm talking of a fear that makes you stop and want to hide, that makes you want dive into your safe spot, and never come out again. That fear that we all know we'll have to face sooner or later. I'm not talking about death, but a fear unique to everyone.

For instance, I know guys who are deathly afraid to have kids when they're older, in case they lose their wife in childbirth. But, chances are, that's a fear they're going to have to face. I know girls who are scared stiff to get into a relationship, or even get close to a guy, in case he turns around and beats her, or even rapes her. But chances are, she's going to have to overcome it. I personally am currently scared of growing up. Not the mature aspect, but the real aspect. Like, what am I going to do with my life? I have only one shot, I can't blow it. And I'm reaching that part now when I have to decide. And I'm scared! The ironic part is, I also feel a yearning to grow up and move on with life. Obviously, this is one I'm going to have to work out.

But why is fear so prevalent in life? Why does everybody have at least one thing that makes them want to dive back under their covers, and hide from the "scary monster" like a child at night? Why can't we all just grow up, and stop imagining monsters in our closets?

I think the reason is because there ARE monsters in our closets. Many of these fears are very, very real. Even though we tend to blow them up to be more than they really are, they're still there. Even today, 1 out of every 1,000 women in the U.S. dies during childbirth. Even though that's a LOT better than it was years ago, it's still a very daunting figure for husbands and expecting mothers. On average, 1 out of 5 women will be sexually assaulted by the time she turns 25(I can't remember the exact statistic, but it's something like that....). And as for my current fear today, I've seen so many people die-on TV, in the newspaper, online, even close relatives and friends-and all that their friends and relatives could look at when they were gone was their sad, pathetic, wasted life. I don't want that to happen. I don't want my life to be wasted. I don't want to wake up one day when I'm 80, and feel as though I've wasted it all. Feel as though I should have just ended it when I was 20, and spare the life-long misery and pointlessness.

The fact is, Monsters are real. That scary, tentacled-monster, that you imagined lying under your bed with fangs two feet long, dripping with blood, glowing red, never-blinking eyes, and sharp claws, just sitting there, waiting to snatch you and gobble you up the second you try and poke your foot out of your bed to go to the bathroom was real. And it's gotten even scarier and bigger over the years.

So the question isn't about whether or not there are monsters under your bed. It's about who you're going to run to. Remember how you used to bolt down the hall as fast as you could, and dive into your parents' bed, where you imagined there to be some sort of safety force-field against that monster? Now that that's no longer an option, where are you going to run? Who are you going to seek safety from? I know where I'm hiding. But what about you? That monster is too big to face on your own. Who are you going to hide behind, now that you're too tall to hide behind your mother's skirt? This is a question we all need to ask ourselves. I know where I'm going to hide and be safe. Do you?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rejoice in the Lord always

The past couple days I've been feeling a little...uh, I'm not quite sure, actually. But the main thing is that I feel almost as though Satan is picking at my weaknesses and throwing them in my face. Like, little things that wouldn't normally bug me make me want to punch people in the face. Teasing jokes people say that I would normally laugh over as well, now makes this little voice in the back of my head go, "Sure, they're joking now, but is that what they really think about you when you're not around?"Also, I feel like an utter dork sometimes. Like, really?? What were you trying to accomplish by that??

Alright, getting past the little mini-rant there....

At youth group last night, we were dealing with the first few verses of Philippians. The first few just talked about keeping unity in the church, but the next really spoke to me:

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!...Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
~Philippians 4:4-7

 No matter what's going on in life, no matter how much crap life may throw at you, you can always "fall back" on Jesus. He's always there. You can rejoice in Him, letting Him be your hope and light.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lollipop Tree Weirdness!

Yesterday was a weird day. I honestly couldn't tell you how I felt, even if I wanted to. I felt angry, happy, sad, frustrated, confused, smart, overwhelmed, lazy, hyper, tired, and glad, all at the same time. Maybe it's just my teenager hormones going crazy, but I don't know...yesterday was weird. I went for a long bike ride, and came back with a some-what clearer head. But I must have still been pretty out of it, because I had a sudden urge to paint something. So, I ran upstairs to my room, ran back downstairs, and back up a couple times just to find all the paints, paper, brushes, and LOADS of paper towels. Then I sat down cross-legged on my bedroom floor(With Paramore blasting through my earbuds) and painted my heart out. What resulted certainly won't end up in a museum, but i am a little proud of it. It was a tree. Forget the fact it looks like a lollipop, it's the colors I liked. All the reds, greens, yellows, browns, and oranges, all jumbled together in one picture. Exactly how I felt. So, here it is, folks: My Lollipop tree:

Yep, this is what happens when I try and paint. I'm not very gifted artistically(Although, I CAN draw a very impressive Mr. Mustache Man, mind you...), but I'm proud of my drawing. Lollipop tree, you have made me happy. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Heavenly Butterscotch Pudding

So I made butterscotch pudding for my Dad's birthday, and brought what was left after he was done devouring it to youth group with a TON of sliced apples. This resulted in all the girls there asking for the recipe, so here it is:

~Butterscotch pudding~

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 Tablespoons white flour
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 Cups milk
3 Tablespoons butter
1 Teaspoon vanilla

In a medium sized saucepan, stir together flour, brown sugar, and cornstarch with a fork. Add egg yolks, milk, butter, and vanilla. Stir the ingredients together with a whisk, then place over medium heat and stir. Stir constantly until the mixture turns into a very thick pudding. You want it to be really, really thick. Slice an Apple or two, dip, and enjoy!

Call me a heretic, but I sincerely believe this stuff will be in Heaven.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Proverbs 31 Challenge, Day 13

(30) Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
(31) Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

Welp, this is the last post in this challenge. I don't know how many of you are actually still reading these, and haven't gotten tired of them always popping up in your feed, but for me, it's been a great challenge.

These last verses, for me, are the most important: In an earlier post, I started to scratch on the idea of focusing on you inner beauty rather than your outer beauty, and now I'm going to delve into it with greater detail.

I don't think I'm the only girl who would say that I can literally feel the pressure of the culture to be the "perfect, super star model of a body". It's a daily struggle to not look in the mirror and think "Why can't my nose be less pointy? Why can't that freckle go away? Why do I have to be so darn pasty white? Why can't my hair be perfect, like all the girls' hair on TV? Why can't my waist be just a little slimmer, and my chest a little larger? Why can't I just have the 'perfect body'?!?"
Every time practically any woman looks into the mirror, she immediately seizes out things to pick on. She compares herself to those who have spent millions of dollars on cosmetics, plastic surgery, and even computer graphics. The images we see on TV and the internet cheat us. You've probably already seen this already, but this helps prove my point so I'll post it anway: Dove Evolution-Not what you think you're seeing

That video pretty much takes the words out of my mouth. It proves that yes, "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain". It's all a scam. The culture holds us women up and tells us we must be literally, impossibly beautiful. We must be perfect. If you're not, then sorry, but out of the "social circle" you go.

But the fact is, we can't have the "perfect body". Not just because we don't have billions of dollars to spend on plastic surgery, cosmetics, and whatever else, but because the "perfect body" just doesn't exist.

(23)For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
 ~Romans 3:23

 We can't be perfect, because God alone is perfect. Striving after the "perfect body" is waste of time. Don't get sucked into that black hole. It's sad watching all the celebrities waste their lives over it. No. "But a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

We shouldn't be spending all our time in front of the mirror, wishing for what we obviously can't have. Instead we should be focusing more on our inner beauty. Our outer appearance will, in time, fade away. And we shall all only see what's on the inside. Make what people will see then just as beautiful as you were when you were  young, if not more so. Don't waste your life being sucked into a pointless lie. Devote your life to Christ, and let His beauty be yours.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Proverbs 31 Challenge, Day 12

(27) She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
(28) Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
(29) “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
 Once again, we find this proverb emphasizing the lack of idleness in a virtuous woman.

But here, we also see how her family views her.

I'm going to tackle these verses from two different view points: From that of the family, and that of the wife.

Nowadays, it seems the norm to diss your mom. You're even considered as "weird", "mother's pet", or even "unable to socialize" if you don't.

"My Mom is SO lame, she won't let me stay up all night!" "Mmmoooommmm......Why won't you stop being so paranoid, and just let me go to the freaking party??" "Geez, stop fussing, mom! I'm not a baby anymore!"

You see it everywhere. In comics. On TV. In books. At the mall. Even when I go for walks around our neighborhood. Most kids don't view their mothers as blessings any more. Instead, they're merely this obstacle they can't wait to get around the minute they turn 18.

This verse calls  us to respect our mothers. To encourage her. To thank her. You don't realize how much she does for you, until she's suddenly not there. Think: The laundry doesn't do itself. Your dinner didn't magically pop out of the air and onto your plate. That car didn't drive itself by remote control to your friend's house. Your dishes you had leave in the sink from breakfast as you rushed out the door didn't wash themselves. The kitchen doesn't get cleaned every day by little forest animals. Somehow, all this is happening-beneath our very noses!

As for the second viewpoint, that of the wife, it calls us to be mothers our kids can call "blessed".

In other words, be there for them, and take joy in, well, being their mom. Take part in their lives, and not just throw them a soggy PB&J sandwich every day. Raise them from childhood with diligence and care, and bring them up to be Godly young Christians, ready to enter the world and face its many challenges and snares.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Proverbs 31 Challenge, Day 11

(26) She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
I'm a Jane Austen fanatic. I'm reading all her books, and as I read them, I'm finding out a couple things. One of which is this: The most amusing characters(usually the annoying ones), are the jabbery and stupid (forgive me for being so frank) ones. Mrs Bennet, Lydia Bennet, and Kitty Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, Mrs. Jennings and Mrs Palmer from Sense and Sensibility, Fanny Thornton from North and South (By Elizabeth Gaskell) (And, might I add, she has got to be the most amusing character ever). They all love to talk, talk, talk. But if you were asked what they talk about, you wouldn't be able to answer.

Another thing that I'm noticing is that usually the heroine of each book, generally viewed as virtuous, wise, and a woman to want as a wife, doesn't jabber about pointless things. She puts up with the "jabberers", but we all know that she is tired of them and their pointless talking. She doesn't talk about nothing. Rather, when she opens her mouth, wise words come out. That's what distinguishes her from the other characters. And that's what this verse calls us to do.

The virtuous woman doesn't waste her time gossiping and talking of nothing. When she does speak, it's about things that have meaning and importance. And she never wastes her breath pointlessly dissing others. Rather, she only allows that which will be constructive, useful, and kind leave her mouth.

This particularly challenges me. As any of my family will tell you, I like to state the obvious. "that shirt has a hole in it." "Wow, those lines on the road are bright yellow!". Also, when I don't like somebody, boy, do I let it show. Speaking my mind has run me into trouble a couple times...We all need to learn to guard what comes out of our mouths. Words can be a lot more hurtful than you may think.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Proverbs 31 Challenge, Day 10

(25) Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.

Have you ever seen or known somebody who just LOVES to deck out, everyday, just to show off how well off they are, or to get attention? They are so vain, that they care only about how they look, and they spend more time each day getting themselves ready, adorning themselves with jewelry, then they do focusing on their inner health.
When it says that Strength and Dignity are her clothing, it means that she puts her spiritual clothing first. In other words, she cares more about her walk with the Lord than she does about her external appearance. 
Now don't think that I mean that she doesn't care at all about how she dresses/looks on the outside. Rather, she focuses on her inner beauty, and dresses herself to reflect it. I think that this is a core issue, especially with us teens, and one that I'll get into better detail with in later verses.

But for now, just understand that you should be more worried about your inner health. Namely, that you should dress yourself with dignity and honor.
As for the second part, when it says she laughs at the time to come, I think that it has to do with the fact that she isn't afraid of the future, because she knows that it's in God's hands. She trusts God to provide for her, and to be with her, no matter what happens.

Matthew 6:25:
"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?... (33) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
These verses say it clearly. To put it frankly: Stop. Freaking. Out. Over. Silly. Things! We get so caught up with tiny little things "What will I do tomorrow? What color should we paint the bathroom? What time will I be home? What should I wear? Does my hair look alright? What if the kids get cranky? Should I go out for lunch and ruin my diet, or stick to it? What, Should I, who, when, how, blah!" We forget about what's really important. We start putting our tiny little needs first, and don't realize that we're missing the big picture: God.

To sum it all up, stop putting your external appearance before your inner beauty. Rather, make your inner beauty your main goal, and make the way you dress and look reflect that. Also, don't get caught up so much in the little details, that you completely miss the whole point. Namely, that God is with us and nothing is too big for him to deal with.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Proverbs 31 Challenge, Day 9

(24) She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Today's post is going to be short and brief, because I really don't know how to elaborate on this one. It seems to state it clearly: A virtuous wife is able to bring in a source of income for her family. Ok, how many of us have/are "stay-at-home mom"s? Please don't get me wrong, being a stay-at-home-mom isn't sinful, or whatever. In fact, I actually support it. I believe that God's calling for most of us women is to stay at home and raise the family. It means that we're there for the kids, and take part in their lives. Especially if we're homeschooling them. But this also doesn't mean that we have an excuse to be idle, and just slap them together a PB&J sandwich every lunchtime, and spend the rest of the day on the computer.
No, if we still have time, we can also start a mini-business. The one pictured here is one where she can still stay at home with her family. And I think that if a wife/mother were to start a business, it should be one where she can stay home mostly. Whether it's just knitting scarves and selling them online, or occasionally babysitting other people's kids, or even being a midwife for her neighborhood. She isn't happy to have idle hands, and she puts those hands to good use in helping pay off the bills.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Proverbs 31 Challenge, Day 8

(23) Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
If some of you are creepy enough to stalk me, and know that I missed yesterday's, I apologize. I sat down to start writing it, but then I needed to keep my younger siblings happy outside for a while, and then I never got back to the computer. My siblings have a way of doing that to you.... ;)
Anyways, back to the whole reason this post exists.....

I find it interesting that in the middle of a proverb devoted solely to what a virtuous woman looks like, we find a verse that talks only about men, and has nothing to do with women. Or so it seems.

Ok, to start off, what does it mean "Her husband is known among the gates"? Why is that important?

Back in the Old Testament times, public business and cases were done at the city gates. They served as the city's courtroom. So when it says that he is known among the gates, it means that he spent a lot of time there. People saw him there often, regularly enough for him to be dubbed as "one of the usual comers", and people knew his name. Or, at least his face. Namely, he was a noble and renowned man.

Ok, what does having a "noble" husband do with being a godly, virtuous woman? I think that there are two reasons that lie behind this.

The first is that a "Proverbs 31 woman" would be wise enough not to consent to marry a drunkard of a thief. She wouldn't throw her life away to misery, just to gain the status of "married", or no longer a "hopeless single". She'd guard her heart. She'd take the question of whom she'd marry very seriously, and not lightly. I think a brilliant example of this is Lydia, from Pride and Prejudice:

In case you don't know the story(and you have not lived if you don't. JK), Lydia meets dashing young Mr. Wickham. He seems all good on the surface, until her sister finds out that he already tried eloping with Mr. Darcy's sister. But Lydia doesn't know that. And Lydia, being a silly, foolish girl, who lives to flirt with officers and any man that crosses her path, agrees to elope with him. 

The reason for me bringing this up is that Lydia didn't guard her heart. She was ready to throw it away at the first chance she got, and she ended up marrying a jerk-wad because of it. Don't let that happen to you. Guard your heart with sincerity, and trust God to tell you who the right man is in His own time.

The second reason is that a man's wife is a huge, tremendous influence on him. If she is "the plague of his life", then he obviously isn't going to go too far in life. In fact, he'll probably end up dying early because of it. But if she is the "joy of his life", then chances are, he'll go pretty far. I don't mean that he'll end up being President of the United States, or whatever, because obviously not everybody is called to be that, but he'll be "Known at the city gates". In other words, he'll be happy, noble, and satisfied with life. He won't be a miserable wretch.

Here's an interesting excerpt from an article I found:

{The following is from High Call High Privilege by Gail MacDonald (pages 99-100)}:
By age 31 he had become known as one of America's most effective speakers. One of  Webster's earlier biographers, Norman Hapgood, assigns much of the great orator's success to the quality of his marriage to a woman, Grace Fletcher, whom he married at the age of 26.  Of her the writer says:
She had the goal of keeping alert to those high principles which her husband held.  Her upright New England faith and sweet loyalty must have been one of the strongest barriers resisting the temptations which lay before the impressionable statesman (Norman Hapgood, Daniel Webster, Boston: Small Maynard & C o, 1899, page 64).
When Grace Fletcher Webster died, Daniel remarried a year later.  The biographer said of Carolyn Roy, his second wife:
She brought him money and social position and nothing else that could be traced in his life.
Two  years into that second marriage it was said of Webster:
He steadily declined from a height at which his altering nature could no longer sustain itself.
Daniel Webster began overeating and drinking.  His spending habits soared out of control, and his moral life disintegrated.  By the end of his political life, the man once known for his great integrity had become typed as a political compromiser.  Tragedy mounted upon tragedy, and when he died, he was a beaten and bitter man.
To conclude this, first off: Guard your heart. Don't throw your life away at some worthless jerk. Even if he is "cute", time will fade that away, and his true self will be revealed. Secondly, echoing Day 1's message, be a wife he can boast of. Don't let yourself become(whether literally, or metaphorically) "The Plague of his life". Strive after being a "Proverbs 31 woman", and above all, put God first.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Proverbs 31 Challenge, Day 7

(21) She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
(22) She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
For this part, let me start with what it meant back then:

Back when this was written, they didn't have a "mall", where they could go and buy a Tshirt, or pick up a new pair of jeans. They did have a market place, where they could buy food and imports, but they didn't really buy too much in the way of clothing. It just wasn't practical. Instead, the women would make it themselves. If the wife/older daughter(s) didn't make clothing for the winter, they would freeze. 

But what does the color matter? Why specify the color scarlet? I think it has to do with Solomon making his point clear. While scarlet itself doesn't add warmth, it implies that she took more consideration to what her household wore than letting them walk around in drab, gray colors. Dying clothing took a lot of work.Which means that she cared a lot about her household, enough to spend weeks to dye the clothes she had made for them.

Then next part, "her clothing is fine linen and purple" says that she not only cared about what her household wore, but what she wore, too. She spent time considering her wardrobe, and made sure she didn't end up walking around in a colorless potato sack. She chose her clothing with care and modesty.
Ok, so how does this all apply to us, who just need to go to the mall for the clothes that women would have to make themselves? 
Well, when we get married and start a family of our own, this verse calls us to make sure that our children (and husband) have clothes to keep them warm/cool. That they aren't wearing tattered jeans, or shirts that they grew out of years ago. And it doesn't hurt knowing how to sew buttons back on, either. ;)
Also, it calls us now to care about what we wear. Not to just randomly stick our hand in our closet and wear whatever we happen to grab. Not to walk around every single day wearing shabby sweats and guys' T-shirts. To dress with modesty, wearing clothing that compliments your feminine figure, but doesn't cause guys to feel awkward around you.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Proverbs 31 Challenge, Day 6

(18) She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
(19) She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
(20) She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
 ::Disclaimer:: I'm a little out of it today, so this may or may not make sense....

Today, who sits down and does the bills? The Husband, usually. Who does the spending? The Wife, usually. What's wrong with this picture? Why is it that generally only the husband knows how well off they are, or how in debt they are, and yet it's the Wife who does about 95% of the spending? Shouldn't they both know whether they need "tighten their belts", and if so, exactly how much? And yet, the wife is usually in the dark about it.

I think that this whole next chunk has to do with finances. It calls us women to not be blind as to what is happening with the money that her husband makes. Not to be ignorant and content to just simply spend, spend, spend. 
It commands us to use our money wisely("She perceives that her merchandise is profitable"). Not to waste it on things that she herself could easily-and is expected to-make herself("She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle"). And to be generous with it to those in need("She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy").
I can't count how many times I've had this happen to me: I go into a store, see something, and think "Oh, that would be SO cute!". I buy it, wear it once, and it ends up in the back of my closet, never to see the daylight again. What a waste. 
As stated previously, this verse calls us to use our money wisely. No more wasting it on things that we don't need. No more spending $5 just to get a single-serve packet of Skittles at the Theatre. While yes, we can "treat" ourselves once in a while, we need to realize that the money we're spending is the money that our husbands(Or Dad, if you're not married yet) worked all day for. If they were there right now, would you feel a twinge of guilt buying it? If so, back on the shelf it goes.

Also, what about those who are unfortunate enough NOT to have a source of income? Those who are stuck on the streets with cardboard signs begging us for help? 

Now a days, we're a little hesitant to give money to strangers on the street. What are they going to use it to buy? Drugs? Alcohol? How do we help those in need if they're just going to spend it on stuff like that? 
While these questions are a little judgmental, you've got to admit. It is a possibility. But there are other alternatives that we can give instead of money. Check out this site: Hope 2 Others it exterminates the fear of what you're giving them ending up being spent on drugs and booze, while still giving you the ability to help them. Definitely something worth looking into.

Overall, just be aware of how you're spending  your money. And try to learn a bit about finances now, so that you can understand your husband later on when he's trying to explain taxes to you. Especially with College looming ahead. And be aware of the homeless. Don't ignore them just because you don't know what they will use your money to buy. And if that really is an issue, there are countless other ways to help them. The site I mentioned above is just one of them.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Proverbs 31 Challenge, Day 5

(17) She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
Ok, who else just doesn't like exercising? Sure, you love the feeling you get afterwards, but the work you have to do to get that feeling? Just not my cuppa tea.

But why is exercising so important? Why can't I just enjoy my teen years, when my fast metabolism and growth spurts keep me from gaining TOO much weight, and worry about all that stuff when I'm thirty? I mean, sure, I might get flabby thighs, and not be able to lift heavy things or win arm wrestles when my family challenges me, but what does it really matter?

I think the answer lies not in what we think our body is to us, but what it is to God. To us, it's simply a way to move to places, to live in. It's basically a shell, like a hermit crab. We live in it for a short time, and then we die and leave it behind. Yeah, we'll try to be comfortable, because we feel the hurt when we're not, but beyond a thing for us to live in, it's not that much.

But to God, it's much, much more.

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." 
~1st Corinthians 6:19-20.
This passage states it clearly: Our body isn't ours. It's God's. It's a temple for God.
Back in the times of the Ancient Israelites, the temple was a sacred and holy place. It was kept clean, it was adorned with gold and jewels, it was a sight to behold. And only special people, the high priests, could go into certain parts of it to make sacrifices, and they were only allowed into those parts at certain times of the year. It was sacred. To them, it was a home for God.

This verse calls us to treat our bodies like the Israelites treated the temple. As a sacred place. Not ours, but God's. To treat it with care and diligence. So when we don't exercise, and neglect it, we're neglecting the temple of God. We're saying that "it's not THAT important!" We're letting the dust and cobwebs accumulate on the golden statues, the oak doors to rot away. We're saying that the price Christ had to pay for us wasn't that big of a deal. We're belittling his death.

When I realize this, I feel as though a giant gavel came down from Heaven, and flattened me like a pancake. I feel so ashamed. Sigh. Time to get those tennis shoes out, and start jogging again....

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Proverbs 31 Challenge, Day 4

(16)She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

I don't know why, but this verse got  me stuck for a little bit. Which is why I'm posting so late. Actually, I was going to use the weekend as an excuse, and not post at all, but I decided that this is a "challenge", afterall. So as you read this, please be aware that I kinda don't know what I'm saying. So, feel free to comment and tell me what you think. Even if you think that I'm dead wrong. ;)

Anyways, How many of you have seen a front yard, where the grass is around 3 feet tall, dead, and there are ginormous weeds about 2 feet tall, the hedges are taking over the house, the paint on the house is peeling, and the door looks as though it's made out of cardboard?

I have. In fact, there's one pretty similar right next door to us. And please don't take this the wrong way, but whenever I see a house like that, I immediately conclude that "Oh, a single guy must live there."

As I read this verse, I kept thinking about what it had to do with being a "Proverbs 31 woman"? And I think I've got kind of an idea now.

First off, let me start with what this meant back when it was written:
Back then, average houses didn't really have the gardens that we think of when we hear the word today. They were more practical. Instead, they had farming fields. And they'd grow crops for food. Both for them to eat, and for them to sell. So when it says that she "considered a field and bought it", it means that she thought ahead about what they would eat, and how they would survive financially.

Ok, so how does this all apply to us, who mostly don't farm(some of you might, but for us city folks...)?
Remember that house that I mentioned earlier? How the torn up, neglected outside of the house immediately draws the mind to a single guy? Maybe because it lacks feminity. While yes, not all of us are gardeners(I prefer to let my family do the digging, and I'll do the picking and smelling), never underestimate how far a simple pot of flowers next to the door and a welcome mat goes.

Also, when you have people over, what is the very first thing that they see? The outside of your house. And if it's in ruins, they're immediately going to assume that either you're too lazy to do anything about it, or you just simply don't care.

In speech, there's a basic rule that mostly everybody knows: When you walk into the room, you've got about 8 seconds to give the judges a good first impression, before you even begin speaking.

The same goes for your house. If what they see is sloppiness on the outside, they're immediately going to assume that the people on the inside are the same. Lazy, sloppy, and just don't care. How is this showing hospitality? How is this spreading a good name about your family? And remember, lots of people go past your house without even going in.

So my overall message is this: People say that "It's what's on the inside that matters". But what's on the outside is important, too. You can have a gorgeous, perfect mansion of a house inside, but if the people who are walking by only see a sloppy outside, that's what they're going to assume the inside is like, too, and the people living there. Don't let that happen. Keep care of the outside. It doesn't have to be White-House perfect, but at least make people feel as though you care enough about them to put some effort into what they think of you.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Proverbs 31 Challenge, Day 3

(14) She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
(15) She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
Ok, how many of us-especially us teenagers-when we're hungry, we go to kitchen, head straight for the fridge, randomly stick our hand in, and eat whatever we happen to grab? I can say that I do that. Several times a day. While this is all hunky dory for ourselves, when all we want is a small snack to keep us going until the next "official" meal, would our husbands(and possibly even kids) really want to live off of that their entire lives? "Hey, looks like...some sort of...moldy...opened...thing from a can again tonight, honey." 
While yes, what guys eat amaze(and gross out) us women, I don't know a single guy who would be happy to live off of that their entire life. Maybe just when they're single, or a teenager, when they don't care WHAT they eat, as long as it's SOMETHING.

But their entire life? Really?

So basically what I'm trying to say right now is that this verse calls us not to kill our husbands by food poisoning. Actually, that's pretty obvious, with or without the verse. But, once again, it doesn't just mean that.

"She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar" when this verse was written, foods from far off lands were, of course, pretty expensive and luxurious, because of everything having to be done by hand, and it taking forever to ship. The only people who ate it regularly where super rich people, like royals. So when it says that she brought her food from afar, it didn't mean that she was super rich, and able to eat like the king. It meant that she took great consideration and care into what she fed her husband and household. It meant a lot.
While yes, we're not all world-famous chefs at a 5-star restaurant in France, we should still try our best, and care about what we feed our husband. According to a popular quote right now, "We are what we eat", after all.
The next part, "She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens" states this clearly. She cared so much about what she fed her household, that she would get up before anybody else, and prepare the meals, even for the servants.
Ok, who else just isn't a morning person? When I wake up, I can't do much else besides stagger to where ever it is I need to be, and flop myself down. I can't do any exercise until at least 11:00. If you can seriously do vigorous activity at crazy-early hours, then you are officially amazing in my books. Anyways, I don't think that this verse calls us women now to get up at 2 in the morning, just to pour our husband a bowl of cereal, and collapse on the table. No. I think that these verses are simply calling us to care about what we feed our husband and family. No more "whatever is left in the cupboard". We need to show our love to our husbands by putting more on their dinner plate than mashed beans in the shape of a can.
And even if we aren't married, we can start showing our love to our future husbands now by learning how to cook. Preparing ourselves so that we're ready when that day comes.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Proverbs 31 Challenge, Day 2

(13) She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
Alright, so in my previous post yesterday, I laid down what this proverb as a whole calls us women to be. But how do we be that? We're still pretty clueless. This next parts starts to shed some light on it.

Most of the time, when we do something(Or at least, I find myself doing this way to often), we do it grumbling. Or at least wishing somebody else would do it. And if we're not grumbling, we still had to be told to do it(*cough by my mom cough*), and even if we didn't have to be told to do it, chances are, we're doing it for our own gain. Whether it's because you're being paid for it, or because you're trying to be really, really nice to your mom, so she's in a good mood when you ask her about that party your friends are having, you almost always(or at least, I do) have a motive behind it for yourself.
"She works with willing hands" abolishes the idea of this motive being a good one. It calls us to be willing to work, without grumbling(Philippians 2:14), and without selfish thoughts and motivations. But it still gets a little bit deeper than that.
You see the part "She seeks wool and flax"? Wool and Flax were hand spun by women into yarn, which was then woven into fabric, which was then sewn into clothes, and those clothes were then dyed. And each of these steps didn't just take a day or so. It took weeks just to weave it, and even more to dye it. That's a lot of work, just for one shirt! So when it says she seeks wool and flax, it's like saying that she looked for work. She didn't just do it when she had to, but she actually went out of her way to find it. Basically, she was never happy if her hands were idle.

When I read this, I am convicted. Very seldom do I do something outside of my usual chores without having to be told to. And even if my mom doesn't have to chase me down, and I do it without her telling me to, I make sure she finds out. This verse tells us as women to work for those we love, because we love them. Not to get that little "thank you", or permission from your mom to hang out with friends later, or even to just get on somebody's "good side". To work without telling the whole world. Without grumbling. Without selfish reasons, but because you Love them. And through it, bringing glory to our amazing God, and shedding light on how Jesus died for us, just because he loved us.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Proverbs 31 Challenge, Day 1

(10) An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
(11) The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
(12) She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.

 "She is far more precious than jewels" The wording here is...beautiful. I love it. If I could change any word, I wouldn't. I would just leave it as it is. Solomon knew how to write it perfectly through God. Or rather, God knew how to write it perfectly through Solomon.

As for it's meaning, it means a lot more than it seems. At first, it may seem "Oh, hey. She's worth more than that necklace I bought her. That's nice. Couldn't you think of anything better?" But the truth is, that isn't what it means. Back when this was written, they didn't have any machinery, or drills. So any mining that was done was done completely by hand. With a shovel, chisel, and hammer. It would've taken a LLLOOOONNNGG time. But then they still had to ship it. And once again, they didn't have any airplanes, or trains, or even cars. They would have to ship it across oceans in a boat. And not one of those ferry-boats that has a motor and goes at around 35 mph. No, these boats relied on the wind. No wind? Get to work on those oars, men.

It would take weeks; months just to ship it across the ocean. And even if they didn't have a giant ocean in the way, and could travel by land, they would have to go on foot, or on the back of some horses. So everything took a long time, and a lot of work. Which meant that the price was super high. So expensive, in fact that only the super rich people, like the king and royal family, would usually buy them. So this verse is a lot more powerful than it seems to us who, although jewels are still relatively expensive, most of us can at least afford to get a engagement ring for a fiance, or a necklace for a girlfriend. Therefore, when he says that she is "far more precious than jewels", he is putting her up to almost the standard of the king.

The next part, "The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain." emphasizes this. 
Ok, so I think we are all aware of how easy it is for guys(and even girls) to "stumble". Even in marriage, the struggle not to look at another woman/man and think "wow, she/he is 'hot!'" or "Why can't my wife/husband be like that?" is still there(I wouldn't know for certain-I'm not married, but the fact that there are so many divorces today seems like pretty good evidence).
I think that this verse means that the wife should give the husband no reason to envy other couples. Yes, I know that guys are naturally "visually orientated"-it's just the way they're made, but that does NOT mean they're shallow. While yes, the struggle not to "stumble" will always, always be there, but if that were to ever happen, this proverb means that husband should be able to look at his wife, and who she is, and what she does for him without question, and realize that she far surpasses whoever it was he was "stumbling" over.

This verse also speaks the same to women. You see the part "The heart of her husband trusts in her"? That pretty much means the exact same thing, to the wife. He trusts her to not look at other men wrongly, and if she should happen to "stumble", she should look at her husband, and realize that the guy just isn't worth it. Her husband is WAY better than that guy. Her husband loves her, respects her, and works to please her.

Alright, I know I started off with a kinda large chunk today, but I do want to do that last verse. "She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life."
At first, this part seemed strange to me. My initial thoughts went to physical abuse, and I thought, "generally, the guy is stronger than the girl...why is this speaking to the girl??" 
But then I realized that it wasn't talking about physical abuse, but about mental abuse.
Ok, I bet right now you're thinking "what? That's kinda....weird. O.o" But stick with me:
There's a fairy tale. It's called the "Fisherman and his wife". Long story short, guy finds magical fish, magical fish promises wish, guy tells wife, wife never happy, no matter what she wishes(even to the point of her being pope, lord of the heaven and seas, and queen of all the land). My point of bringing this up is because everytime the guy goes to the fish  to ask yet ANOTHER wish from his wife, he calls her "My wife-the plague of my life".
This illustrates what I'm trying to say perfectly. I'm sure you can agree with me when I say that when the wife isn't happy, NOBODY'S happy. It does harm to the husband.

Alrighty, so I've gone one fairly long about what it means, now how do we apply it? Especially if we're not married yet?

I think that we women should all strive to be that woman, who is far more precious than jewels, unique("An excellent wife who can find?") and not changing constantly(specifically, in her faith in God) so as to fit into the demands of the world, and faithful to her husband, whether or not she is currently married or not. And also giving her husband no reason to to envy other couples, or to think her of her as a "plague".
Exactly how to become that woman will become clearer as we continue to read the proverb.

One other point I want to stress is that as I go through this proverb, I know it may seem as though I'm trying to call us all to be the impossible "superwoman". But this isn't what I'm trying to fulfill by doing this study. While yes, we should strive as much as possible to be like her(and we never will. It's like trying to be like Christ. We strive to be like him, but we never will succeed), remember not to get so caught up in it all that you forget to put God first. If you still  have time, here's an article that I would highly recommend you read, so you get what I'm trying to say:
Girls Gone Wise: The Godless Proverbs 31 woman

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Proverbs 31 Challenge

I think we all know what Proverbs 31 is about. Or at least, the general concept. Many of us girls have probably even got it memorized.
But what does it actually mean? And how can we apply it to our every day lives? I mean, how does a "lamp not going out at night" and "holding a spindle" apply to our lives now, when we merely have to flip a lightswitch for light, and we just need to go to the mall for the clothes which women would have to spin, weave, and dye back when this proverb was written?
I've decided to take up a challenge to find out. Every day, I'll be dissecting the proverb, and taking a look at it, a few verses at a time, to try and understand what it meant back then, what it means now, and how it still applies to our lives today.
I have no idea how long this will take, I'll just keep going until I reach the end.

Also, an interesting thing that I found out when I read a foot note in my Bible last night is that it's an acrostic poem. This means that every verse begins with the next letter in the Hebrew Alphabet. I find this pretty neat, because it's hard enough for me to think of simple objects for every letter of the alphabet, let alone write a whole poem!
Another thing that I noticed is how beautiful the wording is. Solomon somehow managed to not only write a beautiful poem, but one whose every verse begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet, AND it's actually instructive and has meaning! Wow, crazy stuff.
Here's the proverb as a whole, for starters, so we can read it over and get a general, overall feel for it:

(10) An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
(11) The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
(12) She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
(13) She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
(14) She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
(15) She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
(16) She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
(17) She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
(18) She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
(19) She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
(20) She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
(21) She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
(22) She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
(23) Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
(24) She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
(25) Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
(26) She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
(27) She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
(28) Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
(29) “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
(30) Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
(31) Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

~ESV Bible Translation(Especially Spiritual Version. JK. ;) )

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mustache Man

Last night, I was chatting with Shorty over gmail. We were talking about how if you shave your arms, it'll grow back like a mustache. Then we started actually imagining that. Things went downhill pretty quickly from here
An innocent conversation about arm hair growing back like a mustache turned into a Mustache Man on my arm Dominating the world, and making everybody else mutate Mustache Men on their arms. So, you have been warned. Theez mustache Man weel keell you!! Si! Si!! I weell rule ze world!! Hahahaahahaha!!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Super Awesome Mac'N'Cheese

For Dinner today, I got to make my specialty: Super Awesome Mac'N'Cheese!! =D
I would totally tell you how to make it, only, I don't how much of each ingredient we use. It was a recipe handed down to me by my mum, and when she makes dinner-type recipes, she just measures everything by sight...she's really good at that, strangely. Also, I've tweaked a few things since then, so I guess it is doomed to be my "secret recipe". Oh, well. I guess all I can tell you is that it is super awesome. ;)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A long day with a happy ending. =)

As I type this, I'm running on an extremely long day with under 2 hours of sleep (why couldn't I get any sleep? Was it because I was super excited to be leaving for Canada in a couple hours? Not quite....I had songs from the Dr. Horrible Sing-Along Blog Musical that my younger sisers had decided to watch last night stuck in my head. =P). An extremely long day that included a nearly 7-hour trip in a car jam packed with luggage and little kids, including a slightly, well, "mischievous" 4 year old brother who was extremely tired from being woken up at 3 in the morning to leave for Canada. So, apologies if anything, well....weird ends up being said.

Anywho, apart from that slightly stressful and tiring morning(we arrived at our destination around 10:30 a.m.), today was a pretty good first day of vacation. First off, all my younger siblings where WAY too tired from the trip to do the usual "EEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! NEW PLACE!! MUST RUN RAMPANT AND DESTROY ANYTHING IN MY PATH!!!".
That was a big highlight.

And then I went for a walk on the beach and found some pretty shells, and got a major work out playing badminton. Hey, that game takes a LOT more work than you'd think. ;)

But that wasn't the best part. The best part was that I made a super yummy, DELICIOUS blueberry pie. I was pretty proud of myself, because I was able to tweak the recipe, and not only have I never made blueberry pie before in my life, but this recipe was one that my Nana had found somewhere, so I'd never seen it before (I would post pics of the pie, but it got eaten up before I could find the camera. Besides, it looks like any ordinary blueberry pie, only it tastes SO GOOD!!!)

I don't know about you, but most blueberry pies I've had are either too bland, or too sweet. This one was just perfect. It's all in the amount of lemon juice you put in it.

*I know I really should credit this to whoever actually wrote it, but it looks like she tore it out of some British cooking magazine, so I have no idea whose this originally was. Sorry about that....*

Super Amazing Blueberry Pie
makes one pie-serves around 6 to 8 people

1 homemade or store-bought pastry pie crust
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon table salt (our Grandparents are on a low sodium diet, so we only used a tiny pinch. You could probably use the full 1/4 teaspoon without any problems, though)
2/3 cup water
4 cups blueberries (the fresher, the better!)
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (the original recipe said 2 Tablespoons, but 1 1/2 made it just right. You can add more, if you still want it sweeter)

1. Stir together the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small saucepan. Stir in 2/3 cup water. Add 3/4 cup blueberries and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a full boil, the berries have popped and the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice.

2. Combine the thickened sauce with the remaining 3 1/4 cups blueberries in a medium bowl(or, save a dish and use the saucepan, if it's big enough!! ;) ); transfer to the baked tart crust and spread the blueberries to fill the shell. Let cool to room temperature and serve, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. The pie will keep in the fridge for 3 days.

It tastes really, really good...especially with whipped cream. ;)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

First Blog Post Ever!

My Blog's birthday!!! I feel like having some cake...

Welcome to the beginning of what I'm sure will become a long, rambling journal of my thoughts and creations! I honestly have no idea what I should say when a blog has just been born, except, Enjoy! =)