An Excellent Wife

October 31, 2009 at 1:24 am (Flowers of Thought) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

flowers-of-thought-2
Lauryn and I, well, we’re both free spirits—independent thinkers. We get together and discuss important and fresh things: like marriage. Are you laughing at me? Why shouldn’t we discuss marriage? Perhaps it’s not a fresh topic, but it’s sure important. I’m convinced that nobody’s ever ready, considering simple things like lack of experience, but I’m doing my best. I dove into Proverbs 31 to study out what I should be working on—really to be an excellent woman, daughter, wife or whatever the Lord has in mind for me—and came up with an interesting bit of a list. But what really stood out to me was the virtuous woman’s purpose: all of these virtuous things she does, not as a pursuit of charm, beauty, vanity, money or power, but because she pursues the Lord.

Lord, may I never so seek charm
As to bring my Bridegroom harm
And may my beauty never be
A thing that could tempt eyes from Thee.

May my diligence prove more
To freely give to all Thy poor
That I can live my life content,
For Thee, my time and talents spent.

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Telemarketers and Cultural Studies

October 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm (Vignettes) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Am I “unemployed”? I think to myself as the telemarketer rambles off her list of options to describe my situation.

“Are you working full time, part time, retired, or unemployed?” she asks.

Hmm…Well, I guess I could say I work full time, but that wouldn’t be what she means.

“Uh…unemployed,” I answer.

I suppose if we had caller ID I could avoid answering these questions altogether. But since we don’t, I’ll have a little fun musing over these uninvited interactions.

The phone rings. I answer. A man on the other end of the line politely asks if this is the “female head of the house”. I say “yes” while thinking, “I’m not the head of this household, my husband is. And I’m happy about that. You can call me the lady of the house and my husband the head–I won’t be offended!”

This is not to make a big deal over words or labels. I just think it’s interesting how careful our society is to assume that you might be a feminist and you might be easily offended. Hooray for political correctness!

I know being a stay-at-home wife and mother is not the norm these days, I just find it interesting that hardly anyone worries about offending people like me. Maybe stay-at-home moms are in general too busy and too fulfilled to be easily offended???

I did get a rather refreshing phone call the other day:

“Are you working full time, part time, retired, unemployed, or a homemaker?”

>Smile<

“I’m a homemaker.”

laurens-sig

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Three Runners

October 23, 2009 at 2:06 pm (Godly Living, Poetry) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

3 runners

Three runners in a grueling course
All took the same hard way,
And one and all they made the choice
To reach the end that day.

The first decided that he would
Enjoy the pretty sights
And settled for a leisure jog
To bring him in by night.
He saw no reason to rush hard
And miss the runway’s pleasure,
But for each minute that he gazed
He lost the prize’s treasure.

The second ran with bursts of speed
But stopped along the way
And throwing himself on the ground,
“Just resting” he would say.
And stopped at every fountain
“Just a drink to keep me going”.
But the fountain at the end
Was so much sweeter in its flowing.

The third one ran as if for life
So fleet his desperate racing.
He looked not at the flowers
And he passed the first with pacing.
He did not stop at fountains,
Or to even catch his wind.
So he passed the second also
And was first to reach the end

To the casual observer
It would seem that he had passed
All the joy that was in running
And in reaching home at last.
The first who ran more steady,
But who gazed upon the way,
Also crossed the finish line
Before the end of day.
But the wreath they laid upon his head
Was not so very rare,
For his mind was filled with flowers
He had seen while running there.

And the second finished also
Feeling fresh and feeling fine,
But the fountain at the end
Was not so fresh nor so sublime.
For the waters he had tasted
Had oft cut his thirsting back.
So the well of life was tainted
By the water on the track.

But the third received with pleasure
Both the wreath of flowers fair–
Thought he’d never smelled them sweeter
As they placed it on his hair–
And he drank with much thanksgiving
Of that rare and sparkling fount.
Having tasted of no other
He relished a large amount.
And because he had not lingered
He much better loved the end.
And the thoughts of treasures boosted
As he found his second wind.

Though the other two had finished
Ere the night had settled in,
They had only run to finish,
He had run the race to win.

Copyright 2005 by Abigail

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Non-stick cooking spray?

October 20, 2009 at 7:32 pm (Homemaking, The Domestic Economy) (, , , )

domestic-economy

When I read the care information…

…for the set of pots and pans we received as a wedding gift, I found that cooking sprays that you buy in the store are not recommended—they actually can harm your cookware (and some would argue they’re not good for you anyway). Instead, the instructions suggested taking a small squirt bottle and filling it with the oil of your choice. So, I tried it and it works quite well. I keep a little bottle of olive oil near the stove (not too close, you’re supposed to keep stored oil away from heat sources), and whenever I do stir-fry or cook eggs I just grab it and spray the pan. It won’t come out in an even mist, but it allows you to control the amount of oil you put in the pan and coats it well enough. I found a small squirt bottle for less than a dollar in the bathroom/beauty supplies section of a local grocery store.

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Monkeys, Apples, and Diapers, Oh My!

October 15, 2009 at 11:51 am (Announcements, Vignettes) (, , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Lauren

Well, I think it’s about time I posted something.  So here’s what’s been going on in this Scott home (and hopefully this will give you an idea of why I haven’t posted much lately!!!).

Elijah is 2  1/2 months old now!  The sweet little boy is growing strong!  🙂  We had a “reunion” with our birthing class last weekend since all of the babies have been born now (Elijah being the youngest).  One of the other moms made onesies with each baby’s name on it!  So cute!  Gives me ideas…

Elijah is the youngest, so he's on the end!

Elijah is the youngest, so he's on the end!

With Papa

With Papa

With Momma

With Momma

We had a bit of excitement yesterday.  I did tons of laundry and the drier sounded horrible.  Nathaniel said we shouldn’t run another load through it until he had a chance to look at it and fix it.  But at the time that decision was made, a load of diapers was already going in the washer!  So, we improvised…

Living Room Clothes Line!

Living Room Clothes Line

I had another little oddity yesterday…I finally decided to do some baking, making Dutch Apple Bread since we had some apples to use up.  Well, here’s what I wrote on my Facebook status:

Well, the apple bread flopped. Or should I say slopped? It tested done, but that was only because instead of being “too wet” in the middle, it was nothing but wet! I need to check that oven temperature…Anyway, I scooped the batter off …of the kitchen table and back into the bread shell that I put back into the loaf pan–and back into the oven it all goes! We’ll see if it’s salvageable.

It was indeed salvageable, but it didn’t look so pretty.  We ate almost half of it last night anyway!  We didn’t slice it though–it would have fallen apart if we did!

Yum.

Yum.

And here’s a picture of our little monkey today.  🙂

IMG_4246

Grace and Peace!

laurens-sig

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Root of Rebellion

October 14, 2009 at 9:11 pm (Articles, Attitudes, Godly Living) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

root of rebellion

With the great response to “Identity Crisis“, I thought you ladies might enjoy a peep into the past–a look at the literary outcome of my first Identity Crisis, when I was about sixteen.

There it is again: those horrible feelings of rebellion, that I seem completely unable to stifle. The “I don’t care what my parents think, I don’t want to do it!” is back in full force, and I can’t seem to quench my snotty attitude. I love my parents—I really do—but this is more than I can handle! I’m just so sick of obeying!…Why?

In the midst of such feelings the tears come, and in the desperation aroused by my frustration and depression I beg the Lord to show me my sin. Where could I have gone wrong, that such emotions could gain a stronghold in my heart? Am I wrong to blame my parents? Am I wrong to seek my own way?

I want to share with you an answer to my perplexing questions—a cause for my strange feelings of dissatisfaction, the result of these feelings, and a solution to my frustration with my parents. These emotions are not the natural result of my parents’ actions. They are not caused by tyranny, overwork or flustering requests. They are caused by myself—in reality, they are the product of my own imagination.

Let’s begin with the cause. Rebellion starts with dissatisfaction—a dissatisfaction with myself. I am not pleased with who I am. Whether or not my frustrations ring true, I have come to feel that I am inadequate in some way.

I may be dissatisfied:

  • With my appearance—I feel ugly, fat and unattractive. My face is broken out, my hair is straight and limp or frizzy, my nose is too long.
  • With my wardrobe—I feel out of place in modest clothing, my outfits don’t fit well, or they simply do not flatter me. I am frustrated trying to find cute, comfortable, modest clothing that doesn’t look old ladyish and isn’t miles too big; I envy others around me.
  • With my personality—I feel insecure, unconversational and uninteresting, I feel like a dead-beat, a bore. I feel like I simply don’t fit in—anywhere.
  • With my intelligence—I feel stupid and slow. I am a failure: I just don’t have it. Others expect more of me than I can give; others are smarter than I am.
  • With my talents—what talents? I am not actually good at anything. I try, but I simply have no time to work at or practice anything because my parents…whoops! Feeling a little rebellious am I?

Lastly, when I have become entirely dissatisfied with myself, my life, and anything else about me, I become unhappy in my spirit because I am starving it. But what stands in the way of my changing these areas that I feel unsuccessful in? Shall we say my parents, and the fact that I don’t run my own life? I can’t just turn the house topsy-turvy because I wake up in the morning feeling ugly.

And my parents? “Honey, you look fine!”

Ok, so I’m not so pleased with myself. Now let’s move on to step two—link this all together, and explain what the result of disatisfaction is! How in the world do “fat days” affect my obedience to my parents?

I have noticed, that when I am not satisfied with myself, it becomes very difficult for me to believe that anyone else is satisfied with me.

I hear “Honey, you look fine” but I know she is thinking, “Well, you really ought to lose about 10 pounds, and I don’t know what we’ll ever do about your acne! I really wish you would bring your math scores up, and stay on top of your chores, and your attitude stinks. I think you need to get right with the Lord.”

“I already know that, now would you just shut up!” I feel attacked, before my parents even say anything, because in my mind I am already defeated.

I am a failure. I have failed my parents.

I am a loser—a rotten loser. How could anyone like me? How could anyone enjoy spending time with me? Why would anyone want to put up with me?

I can’t do anything right. My family must think me a burden. I’m just a hump on a log, a disgrace to mankind. <sniff>

I haven’t stopped loving my parents. I haven’t lost a desire to do well, to please them, to honor them.

I have merely given up.

I’m beat. Striving for success feels pointless. I can’t please my parents! Why try? I can’t succeed in anything! Why try? I can’t please God! Why try?

And all she said was “You look fine.”

She never expressed any dissatisfaction with me, or anything I had done. I imagined it, and the insecurity washed over me, causing the rebellion spring up.

It’s just not fair! I try to please them—they don’t care! Think of all the things I do, yet I get scolded for the one tiny responsibility that I happen to forget. It never ends—the same jobs over and over again, and nobody ever thanks me, nobody realizes how much I do! I am so sick of trying to be good! I am so sick of myself! I am so sick of this place! I am so sick of everything I do! I am so sick of my family! I just want out of here!

Like a slow burning fuse, the bitterness builds up until I snap.

And everyone stares at me in holy horror.

I can’t help it! I just feel ugly today!

Is it it possible that maybe I can help it? I believe there is a solution, if I will accept it.

But what can I do? I didn’t plan the rebellion. I didn’t want to explode. I don’t even know where these feelings came from! I’ve been submissively trying to cut out my rebellion, haven’t I? I’ve crushed it down every time it tried to rise, haven’t I? I haven’t been trying to nurse resentment, have I? So why in the world can’t I conquer myself?

There is a reason—a good one, even. I can’t cure my problem, because I am attacking the symptom, not the cause. Every time a weed of rebellion popped up, I cut it down. But the root of bitterness and dissatisfaction continued to grow. Rebellion will come up again in other areas, and I can keep cutting it out, but the root will keep growing until it explodes. I need to attack the root, and the first step is locating it.

Thankfully, I now know where the problem lies, due to much prayer and fasting. This doesn’t mean that stamping it out is easy. There are many things about myself that I am unable to change—ever.

  • I will never be taller than God intended me to be. I can’t change the shape of my face, or the build of my figure.
  • Modesty is a must, though my culture makes it very difficult and awkward.
  • My personality is there—it is my identity. I can hone it, but I can never change it.
  • My intelligence has a limit. I can work hard, but I will never be a genius. It just isn’t there.
  • If I just don’t have certain talents, I just don’t have them!
  • I can’t change the unchangeable.

But I can be yielded. I may not be satisfied with myself through the eyes of the world, but I need to remind myself who I am through Christ.

Why would He love me? I can’t see a logical reason, but He does. He sees the future, and he will perfect me…in His time.

Basically, my rebellion boils down to a lack of trust. I am not trusting God to work through my parents. I am not trusting God to complete what He has begun. I am not trusting God to change me. I am not trusting the God who made me.

I simply need to shift my focus from what I can’t do, to what He has done, and the weed will wither and die—from the root up.

The rebel can submit.

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True Patriotism

October 12, 2009 at 1:35 am (Food for Thought) (, , , , , , , , , )

food-for-thought

Chew on this…

“Allow me to say that it excites both my wonder and concern, that a Christian minister such as yourself, should think it worth his while to attempt political reforms.  When I look around upon the present state of the nation, such an attempt appears to me, to be no less vain and foolish, that it would be to paint the cabin-while the ship is sinking!  Or to decorate the parlor–while the house is on fire!

When our Lord Jesus was upon earth, He refused to get involved in disputes or politics, ‘Friend, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?’ (Luke 12:14)  ‘My kingdom is not of this world!  If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight!’ (John 18:36)  God’s children belong to a kingdom which is not of this world; they are strangers and pilgrims upon earth, and a part of the Scriptural character is, that they are the ‘quiet in the land’ (Psalm 35:19).

Satan has many contrivances to amuse people, and to divert their thoughts from their real danger!

My dear sir, my prayer to God for you is–that He may induce you to employ he talents He has given you, in pointing out sin as the great cause and source of every existing evil; and to engage those who love and fear Him, (instead of wasting time in political speculations, for which very few of them are competent,) to sigh and cry for our abounding abominations, and to stand in the breach, by prayer, that God’s wrath may yet be averted, and our national mercies prolonged!  This, I think, is true patriotism–the best way in which people in private life may serve their country. ” ~John Newton, excerpt from a letter, era 1725-1807

…and tell us what you think.

thess-5

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Caught in the Rain

October 8, 2009 at 5:16 pm (A Time to Laugh) (, , , , , , , , , )

a-time-to-laugh

Nathaniel was always a logical thinker–quick to catch on.

When he was being potty trained, his mom used to hang his wet pants over the curtain rod for the shower. One day he came into the bathroom after his papa had ridden home from work on the motorcycle–in the rain. In horror, Nathaniel announced, “Papa wet his pants!” Of course, his Papa didn’t relish the sound of those words and quickly corrected him: “No. I got caught out in the rain.” But Nathaniel knew what pants hung over the curtain rod meant and he found his mom and told her, “Papa wet his pants.” “Nathaniel,” his Papa corrected firmly, “I didn’t wet my pants. I got caught out in the rain.”

A few days later, Papa came home to discover Nathaniel’s pants hung over the curtain rod. Knowing this meant his son still had a ways to go on the potty training he soberly asked him, “Nathaniel, did you wet your pants?” Without missing a beat, Nathaniel answered, “No, I got caught out in the rain.”

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Identity Crisis

October 5, 2009 at 9:42 pm (Articles, Attitudes, Godly Living, Submission) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

Identity crisisI knew that coming home from Nathaniel and Lauren’s house might be difficult. I’d been away for two weeks, basically managing another home while poor Lauren struggled to survive gestational pemphigoid. So I’d steeled myself. The truth is that God created people to leave and cleave—not to leave and come back and leave and come back. But sometimes we must stretch ourselves to serve others. Mentally I’d reminded myself that my home ran on a different schedule—not just whatever schedule I wanted to create. Like an expert pilot, I glided into the landing without a bump.

But what I hadn’t prepared for was my Mom’s homecoming. See, we’d traded places, and while she took care of my sister-in-law and nephew for a week, I ascended to the throne of Scottsburrow as Queen by proxy. When she returned a week later, it was as if Richard the Lionhearted had come home and I, the pretender, was back to the millstone. Or so it felt. Suddenly tasks I’d been successfully completing for the past three weeks were being scrutinized and redesigned. One morning, two days after her return, I broke down and started crying. “Seriously, can’t you even trust me to make a salad? I’ve been running this house for a week and you come home and act like…” Like what? Like you own the place?

I felt like a newlywed daughter when her Mom comes to visit and takes over the kitchen. Except for one problem: it was Mom’s kitchen. Not mine.

It’s a sad fact that, the older I grow, the more difficult it seems to share working space with my Mom. People who quiz me about being a grown daughter in the home or press me about being single ask all the wrong questions. Actually, I have plenty to keep me busy. And I’m not in a hurry to find a man. But sometimes, I sure would like some elbow room. And I’d like to put things where I would put them to find them, instead of having to think like someone else to find them. When my biological clock starts ticking, it almost invariably sounds like an egg-timer.

The truth is, ladies, I don’t believe it was God’s perfect intention for adult daughters to be at home. Judging from the science of the matter, I suspect His original intent was for us to marry much earlier than is the current mode. However, I know for certain that He works through our circumstances and in my case, I am quite sure that I am exactly where I should be, in obedience to Him, when I’m standing in the middle of my mother’s kitchen.

The difficulty facing me is actually not that I need my own kitchen, but that I need to be reminded of the laws of ownership.

Throughout my entire life I have struggled against the “bonds”, trying to snatch the pen to rewrite both the story and the byline. In my early teens this identity crisis took a different form as I wrestled with God over an unalterable fact: I am a woman. That might seem obvious to you, but to me it seemed an obvious mistake. What in the world was I supposed to do as a woman? Have my own cutesy little kitchen with gingham curtains? If I’d simply been given that elusive Y chromosome, I’d have been a man, able to decide my own destiny, chart a path for my own life and serve God! In fact, I knew exactly what I wanted to be! I’d have gone to the dirtiest, lowest, poorest, most violent streets and neighborhoods and poured out God’s love and truth. I would be able to give myself entirely to God!

Then one day I had the rare enlightenment that scripture and the Holy Spirit conspire to bring. “Shall the clay say to the Potter, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” In that misty, moisty morning, staring into the cool, blue sky I had an epiphany. I rephrased my wish to express the true tones behind my sentiments. “If only God had made me a man, I could really be what He wants me to be!” Actually, I could do what I want to do. A simple truth arrived home on the whisper of a fall breeze. Serving God means submission to His will.

He made me a woman. I must be the most obedient woman I can be. For now, at least, that doesn’t include street-preaching in the ghetto.

That was my identity crisis. Well, my first one. My most recent one came when my Mom arrived home to invade the cozy little nest I’d been maintaining. I’d been enjoying managing “my” home and suddenly I felt as if I’d been cast out on my ear. I didn’t fit into my own house. And just as suddenly I wanted to get out and have my own kitchen. My own laundry room. To do things my own way. And then came the despairing reminder that marriage simply transferred my allegiance. Instead of being stuck in my Mom’s kitchen, I would still be subject to some man telling me what to do and when to do it. I’d almost thought the old thought of complaint, the “I’ll never get to do things my way” thought, when the horror of my attitude bombarded me like a stampede of overweight elephants.

I despised God’s order of authority, forgetting that even Jesus was under authority. He’d praised the centurion for understanding this elusive truth. Jesus didn’t please Himself. He pleased the Father. And with that realization came the reminder of God’s authority, laid out by the pen of Paul. “Children, obey your parents.” And then, “I want you to understand that the head of every woman is a man, and the head of the man is Christ and the head of Christ is God.” Children are subject to their God-ordained authority. Women are subject to their God-ordained authority. Men are subject to their God-ordained authority. Even Christ learned obedience through the things He suffered. All things are subject to God.

I shame-facedly admit that, but for the grace of God, I’d have been a feminist. Thank You, Lord, for Your great mercy. But the fact of the matter is that when we reject any tiny part of God’s authority system or God’s creation or what God has done, we reject God’s authority over us. We deny God’s ownership of us and of all creation. Because it’s not my life that could have been so wonderful if I’d been a man—it’s God’s life that He created in a way far different than I would have. Wonderfully different. With a divine purpose that will likely keep me forever wondering. And it’s not my Mom’s kitchen—or my kitchen. It’s His. And He has put my Mom in charge of it, for now, and He has placed me under her. And someday when I have “my own” kitchen, it will still belong to Him. I will still be under His authority structure. I will still be His creation.

And in the same ponderous truth of nature that proves that life is not a totem pole but a circle, I will belong to God. And He will belong to me. In a personal way, God has promised to be my God. He will be my Creator, my Master, my King—and my authority. In my longing to have something to call “my own”, He is the only thing I can claim, and all creation belongs to Him. I just need to understand where my identity lies.

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