Monday, October 24, 2016

The Proverbial Woman: A Lasting Harvest

31:16  She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

 Zayin in pictograph looks like a sword and the meaning of the word is sword or weapon, but the root word means sustenance or provision.  The word is paradoxical. It implies that sustenance must somehow be wrested by an act of destruction of some sort. 

The word which begins with zayin in this verse is 'zammah'.  It means 'to consider', not in an offhand manner but to think long and deeply, with purpose and planning.

On the surface of it,  this verse points out that women in that time period were able to own property in their own right.  She considers a field...and she buys it. She assessed the possibilities of the land, she knew the value of it. Perhaps this was the decision that she struggled with.  Perhaps the wresting has more to do with the planting: with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 

A woman who plants a vineyard. It doesn't say she bought a vineyard, she bought a field.  Turning a field into a vineyard is hard work.  And here I think is a portion of the meaning of the paradox in zayin.

The Hebrew word which represents 'fruit of her hands' is 'peiry' and translates 'fruit of her efforts'.

The letter zayin is the seventh letter of the Hebrew alphabet and represents the number 7, and the seventh day, the Sabbath.  The Sabbath day is a day of rest.  The paradox of a letter that represents the seventh day in a verse about something that is clearly labor is not without purpose.  Nor is the symbol of a sword, a weapon of warfare, without purpose. And let us not forget the 'sustenance' meaning of the root word.  Just exactly what is going on here?

"...Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." Deut. 8:3

Exodus 20:8 tells us that the Sabbath day is a day of rest.  I can tell you sincerely that in my experience keeping the Sabbath involves a lot of work!  In order to rest on that day, I must prepare our meals the day before.  I have to plan well ahead and anticipate what our needs might be (consider the field) during that day.  While we are not legalistic and we do sometimes prepare food or even wash dishes if there are a good many of them, it's always a struggle to not get caught up in the busyness of the usual weekly work day and to stay mindful of the spirit of the day: to rest, restore, refresh and renew.  It is a 'new crop' of sorts, a refreshed energy for the week ahead, that drives us to observe Sabbath, as much as the opportunity to spend the day acknowledging the wisdom of God's word and work in our lives.  It is truth that to reach this day and fully relax, it requires a good amount of work.  I find it is more than worthwhile, but there are six days to do seven days worth of work.  

I believe what we see in this verse is the Proverbial woman carving out time for God, considering the goodness of her God,  planting a crop of obediance thru the Torah law of keeping the sabbath.  And the example she sets becomes the long lasting harvest represented by the vineyard . That example is the fruit of her efforts that comes from living righteously.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

This Week In My Home: Finishing Up October

In my home this week I...

...realized that next week is the start of November...And that means it's time to finish off October.  I took time to look over my goals for the month and see where I've ticked the boxes or forgotten things entirely.  It stayed so hot and dry, I never did get out in the yard except to clear the pots and baskets.  It's looking pretty grim outdoors just now and I hate it.  But I can't plant cool weather plants if the weather insists on being in the 90's, now can I? Basically if it's in the yard, it's been pretty much ignored.

Indoors things have been unsettled enough.  I tamed the guest room to a dull roar on Thursday and aside from clearing off the sewing table and moving the boxes of stuff to the shed, I'm calling it done for now.  Every time I moved a stack of something, I found things that had been buried.  Books, junk mail, clothes, etc.  It. was. not. fun.  It was pure shame that pushed me to finish it off as much as I did.  Mama came by on Wednesday and said "Oh....Terri!" when she saw the unholy mess in the room.  The next day it was a pure stranger, a neighbor, who had come in and stepped to the music room door to speak to John.  I hastily pulled the guest room door shut but that was incentive enough to make me hustle.  I tossed two bags of trash (empty boxes, padded envelopes {as though I couldn't get all those free at the post office or very nearly free}, ragged scraps of wrapping paper rolls and poster board with nary a school project for which to utilize it).  I packed up two bins of things I simply cannot use in decor because the house will have none of it.  I moved furniture and vacuumed and decided that since the bed was all clear and the room was neat enough, I'd call it quits that day.

Mama pronounced the floors beautiful but she was unimpressed with the house overall.  She said it looked cold and uninviting.  I confess I was puzzled by this assessment.  There are quilts and pillows on every chair.  There are lamps for ambient lighting and extra seating.  True, it's far less fussy than it was and there's more space than before.  There are a few pieces missing and those will be missing until I find what is needed to fill the area but for the most part, we really like what we've done.  It's peaceful and calm.  It's fresh.  I don't read it as cold or uninviting...So go figure. 

...plan meals for now and later:
Meals for now are just below.   The 'later' part is to use up leftovers in the fridge to make a freezer entree and a dessert as well as planning meals for the first weekend in November.  I have to plan them now because family are arriving at end of pay period when things are generally short.  I need to make sure I have the items needed for the extra foods required.  So I shall add them to my shopping list this week.

KFC leftovers

Pot Roast with vegetables, Lettuce Wedges, Apple Hand Pies.

on my own xs two

Sausage Pizza, Green Salad

Grocery Day Leftovers or deli

Roast Beef Hash, Green Beans, Orange and Pomegranite Salad, Rolls

...plan my work for the week:

Do a trial run of Thanksgiving for Two table.  Crud...I gave away the main plates I'd meant to use.  I'l have to re-think this one...

Paint the cabinet in the bathroom.

Bills, errands, groceries.

Purchase and place landscape blocks.

I hate to even say this but start a room by room declutter.  Yes, honestly.  There's nothing like shifting 5 rooms of stuff twice to make you aware of how very much you don't typically use.

Connect DVD player.

Spend time doing some shopping for self and home. 

Most of my work this week involves our food supplies:

Pantry organized and inventory done.

Freezer inventory and defrost.

Clean fridge very well.

Organize food cupboards.

...plan some real leisure time...honestly!

Watch a movie... or two!


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Weekend Reading

Rebecca at Renaissance shared this post a couple of weeks ago.  It included this link.  Beautiful!

I'm always fascinated by what can be found in the world that accurately depicts the past.  Even dinosaur bones...besides some of you might like to share with your grandchildren...

Not necessarily fun information but there are to be changes to social security next year.  This slideshow has information on these changes.

I'm always fascinated by unusual structures.  These underground ones area amazing.  Personally I like slide number 2.  The color contrasts alone are gorgeous.

Short and sweet this week...It was all I had time to save in between my work sessions. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Proverbial Woman: Woman of Prayer

31:15  She rises while it is yet still night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.

The letter Vav (vahv) represents this verse.  The pictograph for this letter looks like a tent peg or the hooks used to  fasten the curtains of the tabernacle.  It  means to 'be fixed', in the sense of not being moved, of holding something together.

The first word in the Hebrew verse is 'vatakom' but it was not in the lexicon.  The word used in the lexicon was quwn  which means to rise, stand up, to establish, continue.  I had to research how vatakom  was used in other verses to gather a full understanding of what it means. 

Genesis 24:61: Rebecca arose and her maids and they rode upon camels and followed the man.
In this instance, Rebeccas is arising with a certain purpose.  She has made the choice to leave her family home, to leave immediately, rather than delay her marriage to Isaac.  She is leaving her family and her home forever.  She is leaving all she has ever known to travel into an unknown country, to unknown people where she will live the rest of her days.  I can't imagine this was an easy choice but it certainly took a lot of faith to make it!

I Samuel 1:9:  ...Hannah stood up.  Hannah was the much loved, but barren wife of Elkanah.  Elkanah had another wife, who had children.  Hannah longed for a child of her own.  Each year, when they went up to make offerings, Elkanah would go to make his sacrifice and he would give a portion of meat to Peninah and a double portion to Hannah.  Peninah would taunt Hannah over her childless state and Hannah would become so distressed that she'd cry and be unable to eat.  In this verse, Hannah has had enough.  'Hannah stood up.'  Perhaps a little angry and fed up.  Perhaps determined to change her fate.  She goes to synagogue and kneels to pray to God, asking him for the son she so longs to have...She rose up with a determination to change something if only her own attitude about the acceptance of her circumstance.

And so this is the emotional value of the word vatakom.  It seems to mean a bit more than 'she arises' doesn't it? There is in this word a value of rising up to face the future in a new way, with a sense of determination to change and be changed.

She rises while it is still night...for years I've accepted that this verse was just further proof of the industry of this remarkable woman.  But I was curious...why is it so important that she is awake and up obviously before her household? 

Mark 1:35  Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up and went away to a lonely spot and stayed there praying.  Is our Proverbial Woman getting up extra early to have that necessary time alone to spend with God in prayer? 
She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and portions for her  handmaidens.  In another translation, the word 'food' is replaced with 'meat'.  In the lexicon the Hebrew word for meat is 'prey'.  I thought this odd, but perhaps what she was providing for her family was more than meat.  It was something she'd had to seek to find and work for... Most assuredly she was up early, and she did provide food for her household of the physical kind and kindly set out a portion for her maids as well.  Considering the verse in a spiritual light and having determined that it might well be her time to pray, she most surely prayed over her household including her handmaidens, as well. And in the prayer life, she surely was seeking something, pressing in to get hold of something which she wished to give to her entire household: a life that God would consider a right and good one.  A personal relationship with Adonai.   In

Deuteronomy 8:3 He humbled you, allowing you to become hungry, and then he fed you with 'man'(manna), which neither you nor your ancestors had ever known, to make you understand that a person does not live on food alone but on every thing that comes from the mouth of Adonai.

I believe our Proverbial Woman had a sound knowledge of Torah and this time of prayer was her way of providing for her household spiritually. 

Frugal Friday: Fresh Change

Moving the wingback chair to the mantel wall allowed us to shift John's chair over a little...and pushing back the other two chairsa little closer to the bookcases made the living room look way more spacious.  It's amazing how a little change can create square footage.  Of course, it was always there, but now we're getting more use of it.

Saturday:  I did not have time last week to prepare food ahead for today.  I kept it fairly simple and made chili and rice with a pineapple salad for our dinner.  I used a full pound of ground beef but we'll easily two meals from this with a little leftover for a couple of plates of nachos. 

I made up John's work lunch while I was prepping food.

Josh loves jello.  I boiled water and made jello, then refilled the pan with more water to make mac and cheese, rinsed the pan well and put in water and rice to cook to go with the chili. 

I find rice with chili offsets the spiciness and increases the satisfaction of the meal.  Not to mention stretching it to go further.

Put a full load of dishes on to wash.  I used a shorter cycle and air dried.

When a two year has a melt down, a rocking chair is mighty handy in restoring calm.

Sunday:  Packed John's lunch.  Made him breakfast.

Josh gets up fairly early so I hurried through Swagbucks and earned as many points as I could prior to 7am, then rushed in to shower.  I dressed just in time to hear the boy call out.

The day was a bust so far as accomplishing anything went.  That's okay.  My main goal was to make it through day 2 with this little boy.  I did.  We were both glad to see his Mama when she returned, lol.

Monday:  Made pancakes this morning. I used boxed mix which requires only added water. 

John did laundry, two loads.  He hung all the sheets on the lines to dry.  He hung clothing on the dryer rack and from hangers to dry indoors.

As soon as Bess and Josh left this morning, John and I cleaned house. 

We found a dark spot on the new carpet in the hallway.  Neither of us had a clue what it might be.  I dabbed at it with a damp cloth and that helped but not quite enough to eradicate it. I damped a cloth with a little water and Dawn detergent and rubbed it a little.  It took it right up.  We know the floors aren't going to stay perfectly clean forever, but we'd sure like to have it look new a little while longer.

I was able to put the entire plastic storage unit in the chiffarobe which keeps it nicely out of sight in the guest room.  I also was able to fill the drawers with everything that came from the armoire and had enough leftover space to store my sewing basket and the pictures we removed from the wall and aren't quite ready to put back in the living room.  Wow!  I'm so happy I moved that piece out of the kitchen and into that guest room.  It gave me a ton of storage space.  Conversely the armoire in the kitchen gives me less storage space but forced me to rethink what I'd stored and why.

Moved all my vintage magazines into the trunk in the living room (formerly linen storage).  They will be easier to access in this spot.

I was distracted by a wandering two year old this morning and ended up walking the full property.  The exercise was great and had I not been accompanied by the dog and the boy I likely wouldn't have taken advantage of it.  However, it also made me forget to take something out to thaw for dinner.  By the time we'd done a bit of housework and I'd worked in the guest room it was well after 12 noon.  I opted to make tuna fish sandwiches for our meal, with leftover jello, fruit and chips a decent enough meal.

Tuesday:  We ran errands today: pick up mail, drop off mail, banking, voting.

Went into the dollar store.  I bought dog food (on sale), Vitamin C, triple antibiotic ointment, 81mg aspirin, paper towel.  That's the very things I went in for.  No impulse items went into the buggy.

We drove to Macon to the grocery where I like to buy meats on Tuesday specials.  John has never been to the store and it was fun to have him feel as excited about it as I did my first time there.   We bought meats and some produce that was especially nice and well priced.  This was over my budget but I'll adjust next month's budget to cover the expense.

We bought a sandwich from the deli to share on our way home.

 We took the long way over to Macon and back home.  It's still warm here, very warm, but the trees are just beginning to show a bit of color.  We have not had a single day of just fun since this month started.  Remember when I said October used to be vacation month for us?  Well this year it's been a month of hard work for us both.  It was nice to break the mold and do something different and enjoy the time out to talk, hold hands and admire the views.

We bought a steak at the market. It was on sale.  John cooked steak and potatoes  for us.  I made a very simple tomato salad.  It was an awesome meal.  We shared the one steak.

I cleared the closet in the guest room, cleaned it and then moved in two bookcases to expand my pantry storage.  This allowed me to clear my closet.

Moved the sewing chair to the desk in the kitchen.

I culled another box of books.

Wednesday:  I washed a full load of clothes and a full load of dishes. I used shorter cycles for both washes and hung the clothes to dry while I let the dishes air dry.

I moved the small white bookcase next to my chair.  It is taller than the bench I was using.  I moved the bench next to my chair in the living room, which is where I had it originally.

Found among my things two cloth baskets I was sure would fit my CDs.  I remembered I had a third one in use elsewhere and removed the contents to use it as well. 

While hanging clothes and feeding pets, I noted a little canvas I'd bought last year and weather proofed.  I decided to hang it in the living room.

Mama came here this morning, mainly to see the new flooring.  We were going out to lunch in the little town in the foothills we go to about every six months.

After dinner (my turn to pay) we went to the grocery store that we like.  I have a member card and scanned sales sheet to see if there were any especially good sales. There was a great buy on Chuck Roasts.  I bought one but would have loved to have bought more.

Mama bought doughnuts and apple fritters which she shared with me.  I'll put all but two in the freezer and mete them out as treats for John and I over the next couple of months.

At home, I went outdoors to bring in laundry.  I looked at the window frame on the porch and decided to try it on the living room wall. 

I had put out some other accessories this morning but wasn't happy with the things.  I sent Katie photos and asked her opinion.  With her help I was able to better use some of the things and edit out others.  Another reason I love modern technology...

I worked hard at trying to clear up the guest room.  I culled another box of books from the shelf in that room.  This allowed me to swap bookcases and then move all out photo albums to the guest room where they are out of the way but easily  accessible.

The last two new pillow covers arrived today and now all the pillows in the living room have lovely new covers.  Less than $20 for all 6 including shipping, although I ordered and received two of them back in the spring.

Shifted several accessories about and feel the living room is coming together nicely, the dining area is done except for a centerpiece for the table.  I still have work to do and have ordered two custom pieces from Katie to go on the living room walls. 

Thursday:  I slept very hard last night and didn't wake all night long.  That is rare and it was pretty awesome!  Some things money can't buy and sound sleep is one of them.

Made breakfast for John and I.  I heated two of the apple fritters, then I wrapped the rest in waxed paper individually and put them into a zippered bag in the freezer.

John washed a full load of clothes and hung them to dry.

I fed the pets this morning then tackled all the dead potted plants in the yard and emptied or cut back hard.   I noted a tomato plant coming up in the verbena.  I told John I'll just leave it there and see what happens.  We aren't near frost just yet...or cool weather either for that matter.

Noted that the pesky faucet I won't use was steadily dripping.  Again.  I swear we replace or work on that faucet at least every fall for the past twenty years.  I won't even use that faucet except under duress since it's so pesky.  John ended going into town to buy yet another faucet.  The one he came back with this time is all plastic.  The handle, the spigot everything.  Since brass ones don't last we might as well try this one.  Happy to report that bit of plumbing work is done.  Here's hoping it doesn't leak ever again!

I cooked the squash Jason brought to us last week.  I scooped out the seeds.  There was enough squash for two meals.  I'll make squash casserole from the rest.

I cut one of the breast halves into two thinner filets.  The other half I put in to poach and will use for sandwiches this weekend.

John brought home a slice of cake from a church dinner for first responders.  We shared that as our dessert today.

I managed to get all of the house under control.  Except the guest room.  That is next on my list but only after rest.

Planned the menu for our Thanksgiving for Two, menus for the family visit in two weeks and menus for this weekend.

Friday:  Woke this morning to sunshine and a heavy northwest wind with a cold undercurrent...Could this be autumn at last?  There's a bright red bunch of leaves on the tree outside the window and this wind has swept the yard clean.  It is the sort of wind that shakes pecans from the trees.

 I've little work necessary today.  Food prep for the weekend and prepping John's work lunch for Sunday.  I did only very light housework and that's okay after a couple of months hard work.

John painted another section of the kitchen cabinets. We've very little left to do to finish that room, except finding a rug and chairs and a table for the breakfast area.

Unpacked the china today and put it away.  I rearranged the pieces so that I can better access them all and there are less stacked pieces.

Went over my bookshelves and culled more books.  This allowed me to comfortably fit all of the rest on the shelves.

Found two pieces in the bedroom I'd like to add to the living room wall now that the red window frame has gone up in there.  I shall hold them in reserve to see if that thought holds true after a few days.

Checked the fridge and found I had some leftovers I need to use up: chili, rice, pineapple, tuna salad.  I will use those to make our meals for today instead of the menus I'd planned yesterday.

And here I shall end this week of savings.  How did you do this week?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Coffee Chat: Golden Autumn Daze

Come in...Forgive the mess.  The house, sigh, is the way the house is mostly these days.  John says it's 'in flux'.  I feel like I'm running from one fire to another and not putting a single one out fully.  But it's lovely, truly, to have this time to play house .  My goal is to make spaces calmer and clearer. 

There are Spekulaus cookies to go with the coffee.  Not so terribly sweet but lovely spicy, crisp cookies.  They are seasonal at Aldi and I was so happy to see them in stock.  I'll buy them routinely from now until they are no longer available just about the end of the holiday season.  They are just perfect for dipping.  I sat down last week with a cup of coffee after I finished putting away groceries and dipped one in my coffee.  It made me think of Granny.  She often had windmill cookies at her house and she always dipped them in her coffee.  I sighed a little and said "Oh Granny!  How you would have enjoyed these cookies!"    For half a moment it was as though she'd joined me. It made me smile.

Last week was a little hectic and a little confining.  We were super busy on the previous Sunday with two engagements: a Newcomer's breakfast before regular church service and that evening a Newcomer's small group at the pastor's house.  We came home for just 4 hours in between service and the evening engagement and I put John to work moving small items that I'd not gotten to on Friday. It took the two of us another hour or so of work to get down to just the largest bits of furniture in each area.  And it's a good thing we did do it then because we didn't get home until late and I was so weary! I washed my face and crawled into bed with the book I was reading.

We were up early last Monday morning and I'd barely gotten breakfast finished when the workers showed up.  In less than ten minutes, they'd cleared our bedroom and the kitchen.  These guys were no slackers.  Small talk wasn't much and what was said was quietly said.  Mostly they just worked really hard right up until lunch time and when they came in after lunch they were right back at work.  And before supper time, they'd put everything back, offering to rearrange any pieces I wanted to put elsewhere, cleared up and were gone to return the next morning to move things from the living room.  Sensibly I took advantage of that offer to rearrange!  It meant a much more efficient moving and I already had a good idea of where I wanted to set big pieces.

John had to work on Tuesday.  I was just barely done with my small amount of housework when the workers showed up and cleared the living and dining room.  The guys set me up a chair in the kitchen and  there I worked at quiet work, read and day dreamt until the end of the day.  It wasn't as easy as you'd think.  It was a lot like being in a waiting room for all that time.  I got up and moved around a bit but I was very limited in what I could do and where I could go.   Just about the time for afternoon coffee, the work was done.  The boss and two others showed up to help move furniture back into place and I was left with beautiful bare bones rooms. I fluffed a bit that night but didn't do much.

I said I'd go slowly in putting things back but John kept bringing in the boxes of books on Wednesday and Thursday and I worked for a good eight hours putting them on the shelves and culling hard.  It was not as hard to cull as I'd anticipated.  I have a full shelf of books I've never read that I mean to work my way through and then that shall empty that shelf.  I had several books I'd enjoyed long ago but for one reason and another no longer cared for.  I had duplicate copies of a few books.  By the end of the session I'd culled 5 boxes of books out of the 12 boxes we put away and have added two more boxes from the guest room.  I have one small empty bookcase in the bedroom now and put two others into the pantry to use as extra storage space.

Some of the changes made were not planned ones but simply happened.  We moved the linen chest into the living room when they cleared the bedroom and it 'fit' perfectly under the windows.  Bess had mentioned the previous weekend that putting a bench under that window would extend seating when we had company.  Well, there was my bench, without buying another piece.

The ivory swivel rocker was lovely in front of the TV cabinet until Josh started swinging it wildly about.  He's not the first grandson to ride that chair like a wild horse and I decided that my nerves just couldn't take another such bit of jockeying with it.  That chair was moved into the corner in the master bedroom, next to the window, where grandchildren will not ride it like a wild wind.  I set a small bookcase nearby with a lamp.  Perfect new reading corner!

That left the spot in front of the TV cabinet open and I knew it needed a smaller chair.  The wooden library chair went into that space with a cushion on the seat.

We altered the arrangement of the chairs in the living room and the bookcases and that opened up the floor space beautifully.  So much so that even when Josh pulled toys into the space there was plenty of room for walking about.

I got busy and painted the dresser meant to become record storage.  I had three cloth baskets that just fit and held all our CDs as well as a basket that went into that space on the right hand side. I've got paint for the file cabinet.

...You see how things keep finding new purposes?  And new placements?  I feel a great deal like I've been caught up in that book, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie..."  only in my case, it's "If You Do One Thing Different..." lol.  Here's two photos from the kitchen:

This little armoire replaced the old black chiffarobe.  I finally managed to get all our things back into it...or at least, all the most important items. And there's room for my cookbooks.

You can see my freshly covered notebooks and bill box here on the desk.  And the chair is a nice change.

It is all very much a work in progress.  I have paint for the file cabinet and intend to buy proper bun feet to put under it and perhaps new hardware to class it up a bit.  Then I am going to purchase a finished board to cover the top of both pieces so they appear to be more of one unit.   I mean to get new chairs for the breakfast area and a butler's tray or tea cart where we might eat a meal or read or visit.  Ideally the chairs will be comfortable enough for reading and sitting a spell,  but lightweight enough to move to dining area for extra seating when needed.  And I need a storage cabinet for the master bath...  But that is all part and parcel of our 'a little at a time' approach just now.

I'm not entirely happy with my accessories in the main living area just yet.  I've commissioned two pieces of artwork from Katie, getting larger sizes of two pieces than she'd previously had in her shop.  Katie is more than willing to duplicate previously sold pieces or to specially produce pieces in customized colors, by the way...and YES that is shameless promotion of my talented daughter's goods.  I plan to order two holiday signs from her next...but I'm concentrating on the living room walls just now.

I worked hard last week, so hard that I literally fell into bed at night exhausted and slept hard all night long.  I was asked, early in the week, if I might keep Josh this past weekend.  Plans had changed again and I agreed despite my weariness.  But I told John last Thursday evening when we finally stopped working that I was most definitely done for the week. I knew unless I rested some on Friday, I'd never make it through the weekend with a two year old boy.  So Friday morning I slept in just a tiny bit later, put out a very easy breakfast and John and I wandered away from home mid morning.  He was in search of a haircut and I took magazines and my phone and planned to get myself a coffee from the pricey coffee shop.  I haven't had one in ages upon ages and needed that treat though I did go sugar free and lite.  Our eating habits have been so erratic that I didn't see any point in running my blood sugars through the roof over a cup of coffee!

I called Mama and talked with her a bit, then sat on the patio and had my coffee and perused magazines I'd let sit in my basket all month long. Gee but it was nice to sit and 'do nothing' which is never really the case with me.  I was looking through those magazines with purpose: pulling recipes to try, clipping out needed tips for health  and looking for post inspirations...but it was nice to be in a different environment and to indulge myself with that pricey (!gracious!) delicious coffee.  When John was finished he suggested we could go by Mama's new place so that he could see it and I agreed.  Mama, of course, wanted to take us out to lunch.  It was a very relaxing afternoon and just what I needed to rest up for that rambunctious little boy.

John has found himself in a dilemma.  He found a barber he liked a couple of years ago at one of those mass haircut places.  The guy left to start his own shop, a full on men's barber shop with hot shaves and multiple barbers.  It's a nice place and John was pleased to go to a 'real' barber shop once again.  Over time the place has become super popular with young men who lean towards full beards and man buns... We knew just how popular it had become when John had to start calling for an appointment instead of just walking in as he'd done before.  But this week when he called for an appointment, he found that he'd have to wait a week to get in.  That was the straw that broke my husband's patience.  He went back to the cut rate mass haircut place and got his haircut.  He's learned a thing or three in his time at the barber's and knew just what to tell the stylist he wanted.  He came out a happy man with a little more money in his pocket than before.  I know he wants a real barber but  the barbers of old that John remembers simply don't exist any longer.  They are right up there with library book cards and 15 cent sodas:  a nice memory from the past and unlikely to return in our future.

I babysat all weekend long and let me tell you...Two year old boys are not for wussies, even if they are generally a very good two year old.  Last week when Josh came to visit I was "Ganna"...Close enough to Gramma.  This week I was "Genny" (rhymes with penny) and by Sunday I was "Genny Genny", lol.  He was a typical boy.  He jumped, he ran 'super fast', he walked all over the place and attempted to follow Maddie into the woods multiple times.  He played in the dirt and in a box.  He piled pillows on the floor and dove into them.  Gramma was exhausted and when he had a mini meltdown on Saturday I urged him to sit in my lap and rock with me.  He was asleep within a few minutes and stayed asleep for about 2 hours.  I will not lie.  Gramma had a bit of a nap during that time, too!

On Sunday, when it was just the two of us, he wasn't having any of that business of rocking with Gramma. No ma'am.  I unashamedly turned on the TV and used it as a babysitter helper.  Josh climbed into my chair to watch 'Mulan' and when I looked over at him, there he was:

Doesn't he look sweet?  Well he was right up until that nap ended! After that nap all he wanted was Daddy and Mama and home.  Not Gramma's!  When Bess came in about a half hour after he woke, he pitched a right proper temper tantrum.  I stepped back and let Mama deal with him.  Gramma's methods are different and all right for the most part but some things it's just best to let Mama handle in her own proven way.

Bess and Josh were still in house when I 'booked' the guest room for another family visit in two weeks time.  Bess commented that she and Sam had planned to stop over that weekend as well.  I assured her she still could.  Accommodations would just be crowded.  I told you all I felt sure our guest room was due a workout this year and I have been proven quite right.  It has really made me aware of short comings in the room some of which have been corrected.  A dresser (and a mirror I haven't hung yet) went in and John has just acquired a TV for the room, as well.  I have plenty of work to do in that room yet though with all the clearing of the closet and putting things back in place and culling books...Gracious I only hope I can get stuff I don't want into the shed because there's no place else indoors to put a thing!

So here we are with the whole of the house being refreshed in some way, inside or out and projects a plenty to work upon.  I've spent this week putting the pantry closet back to rights.  Well, I at least have cleaned out all the stuff that didn't belong.  I put in two of the bookcases we'd used elsewhere in the house yesterday.  That will give me additional storage for paper products, tools and paints.  The guest room is a horror at the moment but I'll keep working at it.  I've two weeks before we need it to be in use once again and surely in that time I can clear it up?

We had a lovely day yesterday.  Our purpose was to run errands.  We voted early, since John was meant to work on election day.  Then we did a couple of local errands and took a long lovely ride over back country highways to that market in Macon where I like to buy ground beef and chicken breasts these days.  The leaves are just beginning to show some real color and things starting to look autumnal.  It was warm, which is not in the least surprising.  We're now at 113 days of 90f or above temperature.  And almost as many days without any measurable rainfall! Oh the many field ponds that have dried up during this spell of weather.  Despite this, the views were lovely.  We took a wrong turn and kind of got lost on our way back home but that too proved a beautiful drive and we enjoyed it.  It felt a bit like a mini vacation right in the midst of a time of hard work and was that much more appreciated because of all that hard work.

John had never visited that market and was duly impressed.  Granted he is easily won over.  The store plays classical music and has thermoses of hot coffee for shoppers and those two things were enough to win him over.  But the courtesy we met from every single employee we came in contact with in each department really wowed him.  He looked over the meat case and it is true that the meat over all is greater in selection than at the meat market we formerly visited.  The pricing is similar but the specials on ground meat and chicken breast makes it all a much better budget fit.  I might well like the market but if John  had the least reason to be unhappy there we'd shop elsewhere.  That might sound odd, but he's worked hard to earn his money.  He's the one who literally stays up two nights a week most weeks and worked hard for 24 hours to earn those funds and I'll not spend it in places he feels aren't worthwhile.  Fortunately he was duly impressed and continued to praise the store all afternoon long, repeatedly telling me the things he liked about it.

I mentioned that we voted.  We made up our minds earlier in the campaign about which candidate we'd vote for and we haven't changed our mind in all this time.  We figured we might just as well go ahead and vote now that the polls are open.  We also agreed yesterday that watching political debates, reading political posts on Facebook or elsewhere, listening to newscasts about the candidates, are over.  We prayed and watched and listened and we made what we feel were reasonable decisions about our votes.  I don't know how the election will come out but I'm not going to worry over it.  I've read some dire predictions on a few blogs about riots and empty store shelves and such should this election not go the 'right way', with no one saying out and out what the 'right way' might be.  I trust God to care for my needs regardless of who is in (or out) of office.  He's far more reliable than any dire predictions and fears created by man's opinions.  I've learned over and over again in the past two years that God's provision for my needs is remarkable and has very little to do with anything I personally can do, how much we have in savings, or what we earn.

And on that note, I shall end.  I need to send Katie some photos so she can help me think out some of this decorating stuff.  I'm stumped!  It's hard to cull things out and try to go for a 'new' look and have to use the same old things in a different way and try, at the same time to not put back so much of what I've used, but to make it look a little more simple and clean. And honestly, I don't know how long it's going to take to achieve what I want to see...

Well you can see I am very much a house bug at the moment, decor being my second and fourth thoughts nearly every day and not nearly enough thinking of other things.  Perhaps next time you stop in it will be all done.  Here's hoping!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Proverbial Woman: A Laden Vessel

Proverbs 31:14  She is like merchant ships.  She brings her food from afar.

The Hebrew letter associated with this verse is the letter 'Hey' (prounounced hay).  It means 'look! behold!' and the pictorial representation is the figure of a man with his arms raised skyward. It represents the divine breath, revelation and light.  It is said by the Jewish sages that the sound of breath leaving God's mouth refers to the sound hey.  Holy Spirit is called Ruach Hakodesh and the word Hakodesh means Holy Breath, so Ruach Hakodesh is the breath of the spirit of God.   It is in many ways the source of  inspiration.

In our verse, the word associated with hey is haiteh and it means 'she is'.  You might have already noticed, but most of the words we'll be studying are verbs.  It certainly shows how actively involved the Proverbial woman is...and I do say 'is' in the present tense because all of the verbs used to describe her are present tense.  Surely a sign that there are still Proverbial women!

I struggled with this verse more than the previous ones. At some point I'd written the word haiteh by the verse in my Bible.  I have these words courtesy of a Hebrew teacher I studied under very briefly.  To write these posts  I had been using a Bible website with a lexicon to break down the meanings of the original Hebrew text.  In that text, the word put before me was cachar (sha khar).  The meaning of the word completely threw me off. The meaning of that word was merchant and yet there was already a word for merchant.  I looked for two days for a Hebrew version of the verse that contained the word haiteh.  I was completely stumped with the meaning 'she is'.  I had to walk away and pray for three or four days before I could come back to it. 

Of course, as a homemaker, I related it at first to her provision for her family.  I thought long and hard about the implications of her role as the planner of meals and all that entails. As with all these verses there is a physcial earthly meaning to each of them... So yes, she likely did provide foods for her household, buying them from merchants, perhaps even stocking a pantry.  Haven't I myself referred to 'shopping' when I retrieved items from my own pantry?    But I felt strongly I missed a great deal in relegating her to just that role in this verse. 

As I prayed, I saw those ships, sails filled with wind,  moving along the ocean towards harbor...I wondered about what cargo they held, where they came from.  I wondered how the Proverbial woman knew what to buy...or if she even lived near a sea port!  I pondered on these things but felt in my spirit I was still missing the point of the verse.

I began to let go of the concept of cargo and food for a bit and dwelled simply upon the ship.  Ships follow routes. In those days they navigated by a plotted course, using sun and stars and moon to guide them.  When the ships were unloaded, the goods were moved inland via trade routes. I went back to the original Bible lexicon I'd been using and to the word cachar.  The word also has an interpretation of 'to go about'.  Back to the letter 'hey',  I found sages also related it to the five fingers of the hands, the  five physical senses and the five spiritual dimensions.  This verse is not merely about the purchase of home goods as I might have thought long ago,  but about her physical passage as a female: from infancy to adulthood, from daughter to wife, from student to teacher. 

It is also about  her spiritual growth in her relationship with God. Hey is seen as a window, open between man and God, allowing the breath of God to touch him.  According to an ancient commentary hey is God within the 'open window' of the heart of man.  As proof of this the commentary points out the name change of Abram to Abraham (in Hebrew the English 'h' is represented by the letter hey)  and Sarai to Sarah., the change coming about after Adonai appeared to Abram.  (Genesis 17: 1-15).  In Jewish wisdom there are five levels of spiritual sense: instincts (Nefresh), emotions (Ruach), mind (Neshamah),a bridge of transcendence (Chayah), and oneness (Yechidah).

So the Proverbial woman has grown in the spiritual sense, keeping her heart open to God and allowing him to fill her spiritually.   This portrays a true sense of Deuteronomy 6:5 in which  we are commanded "and you are to love Adonai your  God with all your heart, all your being and  and all your resources."

Jesus  was asked by a Torah teacher, "What is the greatest mitzvah (commandment) of them all?"  Jesus replied, " The most important is, "Sh'ma Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad (Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One) and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, wtih all your soul, with all your understanding and with all your strength."  Mark 12:30

Jesus was in synagogue and was asked by a Torah teacher and asked what he needed to do to obtain eternal life.  Jesus replied 'What does the Torah say?  How do you read it?"  The man answered up, "You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your understanding; and your neighbor as yourself."  "That's the right answer," said Jesus. "Do this and you will have life."  Luke 10: 27-28