Sometimes I get confused. I suppose that isn’t too hard to believe, because I almost always have way too much going on in my brain. Many days I am in serious brain overload, and in the midst of that chaotic fog of remembering homework, answering emails, making decisions about everything from lunch money and gym shoes, to dental bills and dr. appointments, I forget to return the library books on time. I apologize for all my faux pas while just trying to get through a day!
I suspect, however, that I am not alone in this struggle to keep all the “plates” spinning, every day, all day long, and make sure that not one of them slips to the floor and shatters into a million pieces. We are all busy . . . . most of the time many of us are just way TOO busy. But what’s a mama to do?
All of that reminds me daily of one other thing that I have found a bit confusing for many years. It has been my experience that those of us who seek desperately to honor God with our lives, and who daily search for God’s guidance in ministering to others, are reminded (at least once a year) of the virtue of being that proverbial “Proverbs 31 woman.”
You know, the one who searches for the best wool to spin into yarn so she can make clothing (and probably socks) for her family (and probably all of her servant girls, too). She’s the lady who more than likely clips coupons so she can drive from store to store shopping for all the best deals in town, and to do that, of course, she gets up at the crack of dawn (wait, it’s still dark here this morning . . . can I go back to bed for a little snooze before it is time to get the kids up for school?).
Well, and the reason she has to get up so early is to cook breakfast for her family (and her “servant girls”?) before she flies out the door to meet with her real estate agent to check out the property on the other side of town before she buys it with extra money she has earned (doing all that other stuff), so she can plant a garden.
This is the woman who apparently goes to the gym at least three or four times a week, because she really has strong arms. She is definitely one whose work ethic is to be applauded for she works all night long to make sure that her business is profitable (hmmmm . . . . if her lamp does not go out at night, how can she get up early? I guess I’ll try to figure that one out another day!).
This girl spins her own thread and sews her own clothes (and all of the clothing for her family AND her servant girls), and in her spare time she works at the soup kitchen in town once a week. She bakes cookies and takes a casserole to her neighbors who are in need, all while watching carefully to see that her children are dressed in the latest fashions.
While she is stitching up all those beautiful garments for her children et al, she manages to squeeze in time to make a purple bed covering (and probably matching pillow cases and curtains), and then before you know it, she has whipped up a brand-new outfit for herself.
Which, of course, she will need for the upcoming holiday dinner at the city gate. Because she absolutely must make a good impression on all the others who will be there; she wouldn’t want her husband to be embarrassed by her presence.
As she finishes the last stitch on her new outfit, she remembers that the local merchants are expecting her to deliver an order for 100 new linen garments . . . by Friday and it is already Tuesday. Oops, don’t forget the sashes that go with all those linen thingies!
This is the woman who is always happy, spreading joy to all she meets; she never forgets to go to the women’s Bible study class on Wednesday morning . . . .after all, she is the teacher, so it is her responsibility to speak with wisdom and faithful instruction.
This is one busy lady! No wonder she can’t find time to sleep – she watches over the affairs of her household, and she does not eat the bread of idleness. Whew! I’m amazed at all she accomplishes in a day. But the reward makes it all worth it. Her children arise and call her blessed, and her husband praises her. It’s all in a day’s work, I guess, for this busy woman.
So, why am I confused? Well, because then once I think I just about have this “Proverbs 31” woman thing figured out (really?), I fly out the door on a Sunday morning (to teach Sunday school, sing in the choir, and then scoot on into the nursery to take care of the babies and toddlers so the young mamas can listen to the sermon in peace), and while rocking a screaming baby and keeping a toddler from eating the wad of toilet tissue that looks like a marshmallow, I manage to hear snippets of the morning’s sermon.
And that’s when I wonder how I could have gotten it so wrong for so long. Somehow, in the midst of all the flurry of “Martha” activities like feeding my kids, washing the dirty dishes and doing the laundry, I have forgotten that Mary “had chosen what is better.”
While Martha was bustling around making sure there were enough appetizers for everyone at the party, rushing back and forth filling glasses with water (or wine?), and pulling the pizza rolls out of the oven before they burned, Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus. Sitting. And apparently not feeling guilty. Why can’t I find some of that guilt-free sitting time?
To add a bit of insult to injury, Martha was then gently reminded by Jesus to “Cool it, kid! Sit down and take a break.” Really? Is that how it works? Then who is going to do all that “Proverbs 31” stuff? Apparently I need to figure out a way to do all that virtuous woman business while sitting at the feet of Jesus.
It is always a good reminder, especially at this time of year, that we need (really need!) to slow down, take a break, and spend some time at the feet of Jesus. I know that we all feel pulled and pressured, stressed and anxious over all of the extra stuff we have to do around the holiday season.
I mean, after all, just because there’s a holiday in a particular month does not mean that God automatically gives us extra hours (and our paychecks do not automatically increase!) to accommodate all the added tasks, responsibilities, and expenses.
So, somewhere in the midst of all the busyness of our days, and along our journey towards becoming that virtuous “Proverbs 31” woman, we need to figure out how to add one more thing to our “To Do” list . . . . sit quietly at the feet of Jesus.
How to do it? I have no clue! I guess we just have to give it our best shot, ask God for guidance and pray that we figure out how to sit quietly for more than 30 seconds without feeling guilty – and maybe someone else will feel inspired to spin the wool and knit those socks, buy a field, plant a garden, and clip coupons and wash the dirty clothes.
All those things are good, but we just might get lost in the Jungle of Too-Busy if we aren’t careful. Come on out of that jungle and catch your breath while you listen to the words of our Lord. After all, isn’t that what Christmas is all about anyway?
One of my most favorite things to create is applique designs. I haven’t had much time to work on new ones since I started my part-time JOB, but I really am hopeful that I will be able to come up with a few new ideas this winter. Maybe I’ll work on a couple of fun Valentine’s Day designs, and then something for Easter and springtime, and then it will be summer again!
When I was designing children’s boutique clothing full-time, I created this little outfit for Annie (she was only about three or four years old at the time) with the theme of “Christmas Presents.” The t-top is easy to applique and the shapes are pretty simple, but when you combine this little design with all of the yards and yards of ruffles that I put on the whole outfit, it turned out kind of cute!
If you are interested in learning to applique for your own family or your crafting projects, here’s a tutorial that will teach you, step-by-step the technique to use to create this design or any other design you might want to use to embellish a plain white t-top, jeans, skirt, jumper, or anything else.
Another applique project that I designed for our little munchkin was a sweet pink and brown gingerbread man set. Hmmm . . . . now that I’m thinking about it, I can come up with lots of ideas for seasonal and holiday applique designs! Stop back again soon to see what I come up with next!
I hope you will join us for the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop today – link up your latest blog post or a post on some of your favorite things, and then “hop” on around to the other participants and make some new bloggy friends this week at the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop, sponsored by Katherine’s Corner.
It’s Time for the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop!
The Thursday Favorite Things Blog hop is where you can link your favorite post of the week or write a post about your favorite things and share it with old and new followers. Your blog link will appear on 6 different blogs. At Katherine’s Corner, Sew Crafty Angel, Cuddlebug Cuties, Over 50 Feeling 40, Vintage Mama and The Tablescaper. Six times the opportunity to make new bloggy friends and to share your wonderful blog and discover others, too!
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Thanks to my dear friend Ramona at Create with Joy, I was invited to participate in this exciting opportunity! During the entire month of December, we will be joining with 20 other bloggers in the Advent Tour and Book Giveaway for the new book, The War on Christmas. Here are a few of the questions and topics that are addressed in this book:
- Is it a bunch of pagan symbols “Christianized” for the celebration?
- Why is our concept of Christmas so important for those who don’t believe in Jesus?
- Most may say Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, but are we truly worshiping Him or just celebrating the earthly gifts we give ourselves?
Filled with family get-togethers, office parties, breaks from school, decorating the tree, and more, Christmas is a time of peace and love. So why has so much controversy clouded this sacred holiday? It has become ground zero in an ongoing culture war where Nativity scenes are nixed, Merry Christmas becomes Happy Holidays, and even the word “Christmas” is considered by some as offensive. Find the truth about Christmas and the Christian’s response to a culture that seems to be declaring war.
This book just might completely change your perspective on Christmas!
Take a minute to watch this intriguing video and see if you can answer all the questions:
The War on Christmas Advent Tour and Giveaway will run from December 2nd – 24th. Each day you can visit the host blog and read the post that will give you a bit of insight as to what each blogger learned from the specific sections of this book that we are each reading for our designated tour day. I hope you will stop by on December 23 when I reflect on the chapter “Getting Rid of Christ.” Please support all the other bloggers who are participating in this important book tour.
You will be able to enter to win the giveaway of The War on Christmas right here at mamas*little*treasures all month long!
Also, please stop by the Inspire Me Monday Blog Hop at Create with Joy and link up with other creative bloggers. Make new friends, find fresh inspiration for your holiday crafting, and have fun connecting with others around the blogosphere. Hope to see you there!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book The War on Christmas free of charge for the opportunity to participate in this book tour and giveaway. The book will be given away to one randomly selected participant using Rafflecopter.
We have been making gingerbread houses in our family during the Christmas holidays for many years. Here’s a fun video about the history of gingerbread houses . . . . why not give it a try with your family this holiday season?
Snowflakes were swirling around us yesterday as we had our family photos taken by our good friend Jolene Kessie . . . . sometimes the snow was drifting down gently and landing on coats and mittens, and even on already frosty noses. But the girls were laughing and having great fun trudging through the brittle golden stalks of now-dead weeds and branches. “Stand over there . . . . yes, I mean over there . . . . I know there is snow on that log, just go over there. Now sit down – yes, sit down there . . . . yes, I know there is snow on that log, just sit down!”
And so it went, with the girls giggling and posing, tripping and falling in the mud and the snow, but we got the pictures taken. For the first time in several years, mostly because of just being busy and not really having the extra money for such frivolous treasures as family photos. But it was finally time, so we made the appointment, and even though it was snowing (at least it wasn’t windy!) and cold, it was a beautiful mostly sunny Sunday afternoon. Perfect for taking family photos.
Even though it is no fun to be cold (especially when you have to stand out in the cold, trying to look like you are really enjoying yourself, freezing your nose and your toes), it is truly beautiful to see the snow in the woods behind our house and on the lake. Actually, if you think about it, winter (and snow) give us all a great opportunity to slow down and cuddle up with a good book, or have a family movie night, or play games together.
On our little autumn mini-vacation we all learned how to play chess. Well, actually, Mama and Daddy already knew but it had been years and years since there was time for playing games, but we taught the girls how to play and it was really great fun. We will be honing our chess skills this winter, especially when some of the kids come over for the holidays. One of our “little guys” wants to learn how to play chess, so I promised him that the next time he comes to Grammie’s house that we will have a new chess set and we will play together. That’s something to look forward to, especially now that it is snowing and the kids won’t want to play outside as much as the do in the summer.
One of the other joys of winter (and snow!) is that we have more time for working on crafts – and we LOVE to work on crafts together! This sweet little mitten banner was made out of card stock that we painted in iridescent shades of pink, blue, lavender, and turquoise, then embellished with lots and lots of glitter. Can never get enough glitter around here! Then we decorated each mitten with various other designs and punched a hole right in the top so that we could string them up, just like the Three Little Kittens who lost their mittens!
This is a super simple craft to make with kids of all ages. It is inexpensive and adds a joyful touch to your home as you celebrate the arrival of winter (and snow!) So if you are dreading the dark, dreary days of winter, cheer up! Pull out the crayons, the markers, the paint, the glue and of course, the glitter, and make something fun together like this adorable “Kitten’s Tale” banner. I would love to see yours when it is finished!
For the complete tutorial, please visit the “Kitten’s Tale Banner” page right here on the mamas*little*treasures blog. And leave me a comment so I know you stopped by! Celebrate winter (and snow!) and have great fun with your kiddos and your whole family.
Please join us today for the Inspire Me Monday blog hop at Create with Joy – and share your blog post about what you have found to be inspirational today. Hope to see you there!
Sometimes the poetry of famous poets can be rather obscure, filled with imagery that is not familiar to us, and it is easy to see why many people don’t “get” it or take time to try to understand it. But then there are other times, when a poem is discovered, that is filled with meaningful and touching phrases or word pictures that capture the imagination.
Emily Dickinson’s poetry has been that to me along my life’s journey. An American poet who lived in New England in the mid-nineteenth century, her life revolved around her family, friends, and her home where she eventually became a recluse, writing her poetry on scraps of paper, locked in her bedroom for hours and days on end.
Expressions of love, loss, grief, and her perspective on eternity have intrigued me for many years, and as I have read more of her life story, and more of her poetry, I have come to recognize and appreciate so much of her poetic turn of phrase.
Today, for Thursday Favorite Things, I decided to share a few poems of Emily Dickinson which I have found particularly meaningful to me.
I hope you appreciate them for the depth of feeling that they express, as well as her intricate weaving of concepts of life, love, and eternity through her poetic pictures.
Homeless at Home
To the bright east she flies
Brothers of Paradise
Remit her home,
Without a change of wings,
Or Love’s convenient things,
Enticed to come.
Fashioning what she is,
Fathoming what she was,
We deem we dream –
And that dissolves the days
Through which existence strays
Homeless at home.
And this one vividly describes the loss and heartache when hope is dashed . . .
The Birds She Lost
Quite empty, quite at rest,
The Robin locks her Nest, and tries her Wings.
She does not know a Route
But puts her Craft about
For rumored Springs —
She does not ask for Noon –
She does not ask for Boon,
Crumbless and homeless, of but one request —
The Birds she lost —
Do you like poetry, or do you think it too difficult to understand? If you have never read the poetry of Emily Dickinson, it might be worth it to take a few minutes to read some of her writing and see if it doesn’t resonate with you, as a woman, right where you are today. I hope you will give it a try . . . . you just might be surprised to find that it touches your heart!
There have been many challenges in my life that I have conquered. Many mountains that seemed insurmountable, but with a bit of determination and stubbornness, I have climbed those huge obstacles and reached the summit. But there is just one thing in my life that I have always believed that I simply cannot accomplish. For most people this is a pretty easy thing to do, many people do it very well and it comes naturally to your average person . . . . but not me.
I managed to rise above a childhood of minimal opportunities, in a small rural community, from a broken family where the local bar was our second home and alcoholism tainted every day with fear. I escaped from a world of negativity and sadness to discover that God gave His very own Son to forgive me and redeem me from this world of sin . . . . and that He loves me no matter where I come from.
I returned to college at the age of 35 just to prove to myself that I wasn’t, really, as stupid as I had been made to feel by those who should have loved me and encouraged me; and I managed to figure out how to write, edit, and publish an online women’s magazine that now reaches thousands of women every month. I have taught myself how to maneuver around cyberspace, learning how to manage HTML code to make websites and blogs do what I want them to do.
I have gained weight and lost weight; I have overcome illness and discouragement to become healthy and joyful; I have loved and lost more than I could ever have imagined, and I have had the courage to walk away from abusive relationships. I have traveled to the other side of the world when God called us to bring our daughters home from China; I have faced financial challenges with the attitude, “I can do poor!” – I grew up that way, and I knew that if we had to eat Cheerios or oatmeal for supper that no one was going to die.
I faced criticism and gossip when I finally had the chance to return to college after all of my older children were in school; “friends” and family who all had an opinion about a mother (of all people!) “abandoning” her children (some of whom were teenagers at the time) to take a class and be away from home for two hours, three times a week. When the Greek professor at said Christian university, looked me in the eye when I was the best student in the class (all the rest were men, of course) and said quite sincerely, “Why don’t you go home and have another baby?” – I simply smiled and continued memorizing Greek verb conjugations. Or whatever it was called ;o) I did it – and I did it well – in spite of sometimes overwhelming obstacles.
And when my marriage fell apart, after 25 years of smiling through cycles of infidelity, deceit, and emotional battering (using the Bible as the weapon of choice) . . . . those same “friends” and many family members heard, listened to, believed and repeated lies about me. But I’m still standing, it hasn’t killed me yet, and so I go on. Why would people listen to and repeat absurd rumors about a woman who had never given anyone a reason to doubt or question her morality, her commitment to her family or to her God? I guess because it made a pretty good story!
And I learned that people will think, say, and do whatever they want to, and I can’t do a thing about it. Except hold my head up high and keep on moving, knowing that God is very well aware of the truth even if everyone around me didn’t care at all about “truth” (all while claiming to possess “TRUTH” with a capital “T”) . . . . . and I kept on walking even when people in my life made it clear to me that “Well, God might have forgiven you, but I’m certainly not going to!” For what, I’m not sure, because whatever they thought they were not going to forgive me for, probably never even happened . . . . . . even so . . . I’m still standing, and it hasn’t killed me yet. And so I go on.
But there is one thing, just one thing, that I can’t seem to learn, I can’t seem to overcome the fear, the obstacles that hold me back from conquering this one mountain. But apparently, “I can’t” isn’t really part of my past experience, so I’m trying not to let it become part of my experience today and for all my tomorrows. So, today “I can’t . . . ” will become “I WILL!” and I will choose to believe that I can conquer this mountain, too.
PS A BIG Thank You to my friend Jackie McMullen for sharing this inspirational image with all of her FB friends the other day . . . . it inspired me to finish this blog post and actually publish it!
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