Time for Change: Making Our Money Work Harder For Us

I might well have taken off time from working hard this past week and not spent a lot of time doing any hard thinking on much but there is one area where I've decided it's time to change what we've been doing in the past.  It began with a plan that fell through...

I was really disappointed this week to find I could not pay off the house insurance in full as I'd thought I'd try to do.  Mind you, we've been making monthly payments on that insurance for the 21 years we've been here, so there's no shame in making monthly payments again, but it just seemed to me that paying off the house and car insurances in one swoop would free up a bit of our funds. 

Well...It was a nice try on my part. I did save a good bit but not enough to pay it off. I wrangled figures and I simply cannot swing it. At best, I can manage just about half.  So I'll make that first payment.  It has, however, made me determined to do all I can to front load all those annual fee accounts and set those funds aside in full, immediately.  I've thought long and hard about this and how to go about it.  I said earlier in the year I'd use overtime, windfalls and holiday pay in smarter ways.  It seems to me that tackling those small fees and annual renewal accounts first with those monies and having it all set aside is a good way to do that.  I can put them in a separate savings account meant just for that purpose. 

The Proverbial Woman: Verse 19 Casting Her Cares

Psalm 31:19  She puts her hand to the distaff and her hands hold the spindle.

The tenth letter of the alphabet is Yod (rhymes with "mode").  The pictograph for this letter looks much like an arm with a hand attached.  It is the smallest and most frequently occuring of all the letters.  One description said that it is the 'atom' of the consonants (which all of these letters we're studying are by the way) of the Hebrew alphabet.  It is referred to as the atom because all letters either begin or end with Yod.  It is also called the atom because it is considered the divine point of energy, representing the omnipresence of God because every letter contains this form within it.  Yod is considered the evidence of the presence of God in everything.

It is believed that this letter contains the portion referred to as the 'tittle'.  If even one portion is missing, it makes the entire Torah  invalid according to Jewish scribal law.   Jesus mentions the tittle in Matthew 5:18  and  in Luke 16:17 .  Although it is the smallest of letters, it is a reminder that God delights in using the weak and the small to accomplish great things.

Yod literally means 'hand' or 'arm'. 

In My Home This Week: Slowing Down

In my home this week...

...I have been thinking about what's really important to me.  I've put off buying flowers for autumn because it's so hot and dry but it occurred to me last night that I might well employ deeper water saving tricks such as I'd used in the past to see us through this dry autumn...and incidentally water plants.  So I think I'll invest in a few flowers this week.   I really love flowers and enjoy having pretty things and spaces indoors and out.

This thought started as I watched a blue jay splashing happily in the bird bath outside the window.  How I have enjoyed watching those jays at that bird bath!  I smile every single time and it took just a few inches of water to bring me that easy smile.

Besides planning for flowers and finishing up two projects that are in progress but very nearly done, I've decided that since November begins with a family visit and ends with the first of the holidays that I'm going to cease making huge goal lists with big projects upon them until January.  I can see all about me the results of the  hard work we've put into our home and yard this year.  At this point, it's time to stop and think about what I want to change or do next year, plan for and enjoy the holidays and rest a little.

Iced Tea Chat: Water Bugging

Her mums look autumnal, don't they?  But yes, you can see we're back at the 'Iced Tea' stage of things. Ugh.  It's not that the heat is so awful, though it's bad enough if you're trying to work outdoors, but the gnats, the blasted gnats that simply must get right in your ear with an obnoxious high pitched 'bzzzzzzzzz' or fly into your eyes, mouth or nose if they possibly can.  So we'll do as this cool looking lady has done and take our tea indoors.  How's that sound?

My title says it all: Water bugging.  Water bugs do nothing much but skim along the surface of the water.  They never swim or get down into the deep of things.  They are strictly all about what's on the surface of things and to be honest, that's  exactly how I feel I've been of late.  True, there are those Proverbial Woman posts which are proving to be even more difficult to work out than I'd thought they would and I'd figured on them being plenty tough as it was.  So there's that bit of depth to my existence these days but the rest?  Skimming along.  I look busy enough but am getting little done for all the show of going places and doing things. Prayer time, Bible study, menus, goals....Just skimming.

Frankly I'm not fond of this state but it occurs now and again whether I mean it to occur or not.  Sigh.  I'm not bored, not in the least.  I'm not over tired nor overly busy.  I'm just not accomplishing much of anything for all that I appear to be busy at all times.  And my mind just won't truly quiet off, as I like it to do so that I can read and study and delve and create.  

Frugal Friday: Hurrying to Save for October

Reusing old things (this frame has been on the front porch for the past five years) is one way I stretch and stretch my decorating budget...

Saturday:  The cold wind of autumn finally blew in yesterday.  It was cold enough to snuggle last night and we did turn on the heat for a moment this morning, just long enough to bump the indoor temperatures up to 67F.

I'd planned to have leftovers today but with a bagel and coffee for breakfast, something more substantial and warming seemed in order.  Pot roast with a pineapple upside down cake sounded good to me and came together in minutes.

The Pineapple upside down cake used up the half can of pineapple rings I had left.  I used the juice in the cake in place of the milk the recipe called for.

I used the electric frying pan to make the pot roast since I decided a little late to start it.  I don't use that fryin pan very often...And honestly after today I'm thinking there's little reason to keep it.  It cooked awfully fast compared to the stovetop.  This appliance was a gift to me and wasn't something I'd normally have chosen for myself.  I think today made up my mind to let it go to a home that will appreciate it.

Last night after supper, before sundown, I put together the rice and chili left from last weekend and made up 7 burritos to go into the freezer. 

The Proverbial Woman: Vs, 18 A Light Seen From Afar

Proverbs 31:18  She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.  Her lamp does not go out at night.
Tet ('tate' rhyming with mate) is the ninth letter of the alphabet.  Tet is first used in Genesis 1 where '...God saw the light that it was good '.  The pictorgraph of this letter is of a snake in a basket and is said to represent the choice between good and evil and a possible perversion of goodness. 

The Hebrew word which begins with tet  is  Ta'amah.   It means 'she perceives'.   She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.  In some translations she 'discerns'... Either word here truly works well. Perceive means to 'become aware or conscious of, to understand'.  Discern means 'to recognize; to distinquish between'.  The word used here for merchandise is 'chacar'  the same as the word used in verse 14.  It means to 'go about, to travel'.  I believe that in this instance she is continually examining her motives and actions, distinguishing between them what is all too human and what is spiritually right.

Her merchandise in this instance is truly the value of her character and her actions. 

Isaiah 23:18  For her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness...

This woman knows her personal value is truly based upon her character, who she is in private as well as in public.   I think we as women struggle with this.  I know I did.  I had no clue what my value was as a person, as a woman, a wife, a mother.  I had to learn these things and if I could change much about my past, I'd choose to change those choices I made that failed to recognize my worth and the 'profit' of my example to others.  I would not have allowed certain behaviors, on my part or others', that discounted my worth.

Her lamp does not go out at night.  Immediately, this passage reminds me of the passage of the bridesmaids in Matthew 25:1-13 where five of the ten bridesmaids showed up without oil for their lamps.  They were unprepared and missed the coming of the bridegroom.  This Proverbial woman is prepared spiritually.  She is, I think, also secure in any battles she might face.  Dark times come to us all.  We struggle with big issues at times.  This woman is aware that even in the darkest hours,  her spiritual lamp does not go out. She is safe in her God.

Matthew 5:14You are the light of the world...

This verse too speaks of this woman, of any of us, who  have sought after that personal relationship with God (and for Christians the relationship with Christ). We take on the light of his presence, and  shine out into the dark world about us. 

Proverbs 31 Woman: Strong At Heart

31: 17 She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

Chet (Cate as in mate) is our eighth letter and is represented in pictorals by a fence.  Some Jewish mystics say that Chet is the light that comes through from the doorway of heaven.  It represents life and wisdom and because it is the eighth letter it also said that it represents grace.

The letter Chet is formed from both Vav and Zayin connected by a thin line.  This is believed to be because it is love which makes us as one with God.  The letter is often used to represent life and because of it's shape, it is said that it is the same form in which the blood of the lamb was painted upon the doorposts of the homes of the Israelites in Egypt on that first Passover.  Often this letter is associated with new beginnings.

The word in the verse is chagrah and it translates "to gird oneself, as with a belt or armor".

I happened to hear a commentary on this verse just the other day.  In it, the teacher said that the woman had pulled up her skirts and tucked them into her waistband much as peasant women had done while working in the fields for years upon years.  That is certainly a vision of a woman hard at work isn't it?  And coming on the heels of reading of her purchase of a field and planting a vineyard it is most certainly an apt vision.

For all this I could not forget that the letter's pictograph represented a fence.  Why a fence?  What do fences do?  They protect.  They keep out the unwanted and contain that which is valuable to us.  Fences are usually our first line of defence in battle.  

I cannot help, in reading this verse but   to think of  Eph. 6:10 Finally be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you can stand against the Devil's schemes.  Reading the Lexicon verses in which the word chagrah nearly all of them refer to armor or weapons.

So I do not feel I am far wrong in thinking that this verse, in a spiritual sense, represents the preparation of this woman for battle.

In drawing closer to God, we must, above all, learn to be spiritually strong.  Otherwise we will not grow in our relationship with him because we will be distracted and overtaken by a world of cares orchestrated by satan to keep us from our purpose.   In the same way, when the blood of the lamb was painted upon the doorposts of the Israelite homes, God told them to spread that blood in order to protect themselves during the spiritual battle that raged about them.   Hence, when this woman dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong  it is surely a simile of her readying herself for spiritual battle.  Sometimes it is enough to put on the armor, to show oneself ready for battle and aware of the raging wars between earth and heaven.  But  we see in this verse that indeed, she makes her arms strong.  She has gone the extra distance to be fully prepared to fight if necessary.  She has disciplined herself as a soldier, going back to verse 10 and  the word chayil which I shared had a meaning of army.  She is an army because she will not fight alone as a solitary soldier but has aligned herself with God and his hosts of angels to do battle. 

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.

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!


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. 

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!

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.

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.

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!

Sneak Peek

 After weeks of slowly moving things out of the rooms, we were down to the big pieces of furniture.  John and I had a very busy day on Sunday and I worked him in between our obligations to move the last of all we could move that day.  The house fairly echoed with the lack of furnishings.

We were up early last Monday morning and I barely had time to get breakfast cleared off the table before the workers arrived.  I kid you not, within an hour the four guys had the big pieces of furniture moved and the floors looked like this:

And by lunchtime the floor in the entry was laid.  Oh it was pretty!
Formerly this area was just a little 2 foot x 2 foot space. There was carpet against the wall there.  I think it looks so much nicer and so much more intentional.  The space didn't allow the planks to be laid in a way that looked like a wood floor without a lot of waste.  I liked the way they worked this space.

In My Home This Week: A Fresh Start

In my home this week:

...We will continue to work away.  The rearrangement of furniture is almost done.  I have to clean the guest room in order to shift the work table and then fit the chiffarobe into the space where I want it.  It's been an exhausting month and I mean it.  And it ain't over yet.  There's no ornaments of any sort anywhere yet, no pictures hung (except in the dining room).  Our closet is still packed, and the pantry closet is, too.  It took the better part of 8 hours to sort and place books on the shelves.  I culled five boxes.  It was not the most painful thing I've ever done.  The truth is, I think I could cull a few more.  I seem to just be ready to let go of a lot of things at present.  Good thing... there are more books in the pantry closet.

 John is caught up in his own thing.  He started painting cabinets and doors.  The master bath is very nearly done, the guest bath is about half done and the kitchen just started.

Somehow the house is urging us onward.  We've asked for a tentative quote for the two back bedrooms and bath.  It feels like the right time to move forward with that, but we're thinking it will be after the holidays.

Frugal Friday: Fresh

Saturday:  Overtired this morning.  I was up later than I'd meant to be.  Just as I readied for bed last night, Sam called.  He was a little worried over the wind and rain in his area of the state, was home alone and then the power went out.  Naturally he called the one  other person he knew to be alone.  I checked weather station and the full brunt of the hurricane over Jacksonville was hitting, with bands that reached well above Sam's area. We talked over three hours.  Sleep eluded me after that and I read in bed.  When John called this morning, he was disgustingly cheerful.  I made sure to get both a shower and a cup of coffee before he got in.

I made buckwheat pancakes and sausage for breakast.  Kept lunch a simple sandwich meal today and we had more sandwiches for supper.  Bulk of our day was spent snoozing, out and out napping and lolling about.

The Proverbial Woman: Diligent in Prayer

Proverbs 31:13  She looks for wool and flax and works with her hands in delight.

This verse is represented by the Hebrew letter dalet (dah-let), which is portrayed by the symbol of a closed tent door.  As a door, it suggests a choice to open ourselves spiritually to hope or to be closed off.

The words in this verse which begin with the letter dalet is darash, "she looks". Darash means to seek, to look for, to request, to resort to,  to frequent a place, to inquire, to ask, to consult God in prayer and worship, to practice and study, to seek with diligence.

The talit or prayer shawl is considered a prayer 'tent' or closet and because this letter dalet is pictorially a 'closed tent door',  I would hazard that this Proverbial Woman goes before God in prayer and worship and meditation. She would have done so with a prayer shawl draped over her head and shoulders, pulled closed in front of her face so that she would be enveloped in a private 'tent' of her own in which to commune with God.  I think this prayer shawl also symbolizes the need for a one on one, personal relationship with God.  I love how the definition of darash includes the words 'to seek with diligence'.  To do something with diligence speaks volumes.  If you are diligent you aren't showing up occasionally or by accident.  You are putting forth real effort and sacrificing time that you might spend elsewhere.  You are giving up something in order to purse God.  I love that!

Anabelle pointed out in one of her posts that the Proverbial Woman was a creative woman.  In Jewish culture, creativity is seen as the ultimate reflection of a heart's desire to be more like God, who Himself is the Creator.  I think this seems to be true in this verse.  Wool and flax most likely would have been used in embroidery work.  Could she have asked God to provide the material to work with?  Why not?  Haven't I expressed a physical need for material at times when I'm in prayer?  I can't name the number of times I've had them turn up in wonderful ways, too!

The Proverbial Woman: Lovingkindness

Proverbs 31:12  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.

This verse is represented by the letter gimel (geeh-mel).  The gimel is represented in pictorial form by the camel.  The camel represents a moving from one place to another and being transported rather than walking under one's own power.  The letter itself is said to represent the freedom of choice to run after the Torah and practice the art of lovingkindness.

Gimel is the first letter of  the first word "Gamal", a verb, found in this verse and translated in English as "she does".  Gamal's meaning is 'to deal bountifully with, to wean, to ripen , recompense".

The verse says "she does him good and not evil all the days of her life..."  The definitions of the word gamal say a great deal to me about what she does.   In her desire to minister to her husband's needs she does so 'bountifully', meaning that she holds nothing back.  Her pursuit of goodness is such that she withholds nothing of her affections and love and gentleness from her husband.  This wife will never treat a stranger more kindly than she does her husband!  The Proverbial Woman has learned well and shows her husband just how much she values him.

In My Home This Week: Fresh Winds

In my home this week:

We will be getting new flooring Monday.  I mopped the kitchen Friday and ran the vacuum over the carpet one more time, then again.  Why?  Not sentimentality but just wanting to continue to be a good steward of what has been a blessing.  Yes it is worn a bit and dinged up, too but there are no places worn through to the sub flooring as I had in one home.  There are no hard beaten paths that look like they were glued in place as there were in another house.  And come Monday and Tuesday, my house will take on a fresh new appearance. 

Currently the house literally echoes about us. It certainly feels like a fresh slate.  I should have emptied out rooms long before now and started over, one piece at a time!  Bess and I talked over the living room on Thursday evening and I made three decisions lickity split.  The little ottoman that rocks is out of here.  Josh spent the whole evening pushing it over and then back up again.  I realled that Daniel was forever flipping the little swivel rocker that is it's mate up in the air and very nearly crashed it upon Hailey one morning.  I think the chair will move to the bedroom but I'll have to find a replacement chair. I simply can't have the nerves jumping every time grandchildren play with those two pieces.  

Weekend Reading

You might think of late the only reading I get around to is what's on my Microsoft Edge home page from MSN and you'd be just about right.  I'm ready for the weekend though and thought I'd share what little I've saved this week between writing jags and packing up moving jags.  Next week I have a few posts pre-scheduled and I expect to be back at work the week after.  No holiday.  Just flooring, groceries and moving things back and forth and suffering aching muscles!

I thought this story about a 1934 Plymouth Coupe was pretty cool.  I love old cars! There was something very majestic and elegant about some of them and something dead solid about all of them.

This slide show about unconventional guard animals is a fun one.  Don't think I'd feel inclined to visit the zoo featured though.

Frugal Friday: Upside Right

Saturday:  Made a roasted chicken for dinner.  I kept the seasoning on it simple and cooked it in a slow oven.  The warmth very appreciated this morning as it was quite cool.

We took morning coffee on the front porch.  The air was crisp, the breeze slightly chilly.  I wore a sweatshirt and jeans.  Maddie seemed right at home in her fur coat.  The sun shone brightly and the sky was clear and blue.  It was absolutely lovely.

I mixed leftover baked sweet potatoes with the leftover roasted butternut squash and made a Sunday Sweet Potato/Squash casserole to have with our roast chicken dinner.  It was delicious!

We had enough leftovers for a second meal from the casserole and chicken.

Ran a very full load of dishes.  Shorter wash and air dried.

Sunday:  I made French Toast this morning.  I just thawed and reheated.  With an egg and sausage each it was an ample breakfast.

Took water and a granola bar with me for after church since we planned to go by Lowes.  It's always Lowes or Home Depot for us these days.  We've decided that either one is the new Walmart in our lives. 

Picked up paint for the bathroom wall and cabinets, the right paint for the last dining room chair, a tub of sample paint for the soon to be record cabinet, hooks to hang my mixer attachments and  something else...All necessary to tend to jobs here. 

John stopped at the supermarket to get a paper.  There were none.  Instead he came out of the store with dinner in the bag.  Unexpected but his treat. Sweet!

After dinner John painted the bathroom wall and then worked on my shed door.  The handle broke and it couldn't be locked but he took care of it.

Light supper after our late late dinner.

Iced Tea Chat: Life in the Fruit Basket

Come in and join me with a glass of tea on the porch.  It's very nice out with that nice breeze.  Not cool but it does temper it a bit.  I've had quilts and curtains and our spread hanging on the line today.  Our bedroom smells so fresh and lovely since the sheets and towels went out yesterday.  I removed the living and dining curtains and washed those and hung out the quilts we use as lap robes in winter to air.  I cleared our bathroom of curtains and bench cover and valances and removed the curtain in the  laundry and kitchen/kitchen sitting,  as well.  All  are washed and packed neatly away until the new flooring is in. It's fall cleaning and removal of unnecessary things at one time.   So it looks a bit like we're in the process of moving really with all the pictures down and the curtains removed and pieces of furniture moved out as well...

I contemplated earlier the fact that with the books packed up the bulk of my home was packed away.  16 boxes...I had no idea I still had so many books!  However, as I put them back on the shelves I shall do my utmost to cull still more.  I know full well I am holding on to some that I've neither read nor enjoyed reading.  I've held on to them because they are sets that I'd purchased long ago. Books I thought I ought to read.  Books I thought I ought to have for the children to read.  Books I've never read...I think it's time to let them go.

Yes, I did say it seems like I'd packed up nearly everything in packing the books but I know too well that I'd be overwhelmed if it came to emptying every single closet, drawer, cabinet, shed.  Yep.  I know because when we moved in here 20 years ago that's what we had to do and I've often wanted to move again to just about anywhere but here but in the end, I am glad I haven't had to pack up house and home to do it!  John used to say that we'd just move and carry along our undies and a few clothes and start again and these days I'm certainly sort of inclined to think I'd just as soon myself!  Not that we are currently in any danger of moving, of course.  We purposely bought the house we did because we knew it would be suitable for older age and for two.  There may well come a day when we need to move into town where there's less lawn and less need of upkeep, but for now that is far in the future.

I've been enjoying the work done on the Proverbs 31 Woman series I've taken up.  It's been fascinating to see a deeper spiritual life in this woman.  It's also been tough at times.  I wrote four posts over the last weekend but when it came to the fifth I very nearly quit.  I questioned who I was to think I could teach a single thing, much less something of this depth.  I worried.  I felt anxious.  I went back and rewrote the previous four posts.  I came very near deleting them all.  Then I had a revelation about the troublesome post and it was like watching puzzle pieces fall into place.   I wrote post number six the next morning in ten minutes time.  I will keep going now I've started but they may be staggered as I catch up with myself.  I know I'll be without Internet at least once next week and we've  had unexpected family come  in this week.

The Proverbial Woman: Home is Where the Heart Is

31:11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value

This verse is represented by the Hebrew letter Bet (pronounced "bate") and the pictorial symbol represents a house.

There are two words in this verse which both begin with bet.  The first is the word 'ba'al' and in translation it is 'husband' 'master'.  Here is a point where many feminists begin to twist and turn in their seats...The idea of husband as 'master' of woman is abhorrent.

I have to share this bit of Jewish history with you.  While it's very popular in this day and age for women to become rather riled at the idea of 'submitting' to a husband, and the word master might well be found offensive, in Jewish culture a woman was not just so much chattel to her husband.  She was a partner and an asset, a helpmeet, as we learned last lesson.  While it is true that a woman came into a marriage via a bridal price, it was not for mere monetary reasons.  The bridal price was to remind the husband that his bride had value.  It cost him something to wed her.  He literally had to 'earn' her. Think back to Jacob who had to work 14 years for Rachel and take her sister Leah as his first wife in the process!  It most definitely is not a picture of a man merely buying a woman!   As well, when the bride went to her husband, she took with her a dowry.  This dowry often was household goods, but it sometimes included jewelry, silk and tapestries, livestock and money, as well.  This was for her own added security, to both provide for her needs now and something for her future needs until her household was established. 

The Proverbial Woman - From the Beginning

For quite a stretch of time, John prayed the Proverbs 31 verses over me every Friday night.  As he prayed, I began to pay close attention to the words and to want to be this woman.  In the past, I'd read this particular proverb and wondered at this woman who is described in various interpretations as a woman of valor, virtue, character, worth, excellence.  I  read from many reputable sources (not the Bible!) what an impossible task it was to become the Proverbs woman, that it was meant only as a guideline, was not relevant to the modern day woman, or the modern day family dynamics where men often cook, clean, become househusbands... but you know I've come to see that women CAN become the Proverbs 31 woman.   She is not 'just a homemaker', which I think is a high calling in any woman's life, nor is she 'just a wife'. She is a woman.

In the opening of this proverb we read that King Lemeul's mother taught him these proverbs when he was young and standing at her knee.  She reminds him that he was dedicated to the Lord in his childhood.  She warns him to stay away from women (in casual relationship) and to forgo strong drink which is apt to harm his judgement.  She reminds him of his duty to those who are needy and the right of the poor to find justice with their king, as much as any rich man.  And she instructs her son in choosing a wife.

During our years as Messianic Christians I  acquired  The Complete Jewish Bible and I noted that the Hebrew alphabet letters were given a place in order beside verses 10-31.  Each of those letters represented a key word in Hebrew that was the heart of that verse. A man who studied Hebrew had kindly given me the word to correspond to each letter.  I'd written them down in my Bible.  What a lot I learned during the study of those words and the subsequent study of the verses!  I'd like to share those with you over the month of October.  I'll do it verse by verse until we've made our way through each one.  Will you join me?

Questions, Answers and Comments, Oh My!

Ushering in a New Month:  I mentioned orphaned containers and lids.  Like Louise I keep my lids if I have containers they still fit.  It's far more common to have a busted lid than a busted container. 

Lana, All was well with Bess and Sam.  They lost power and a live power line went down in her driveway which frightened her badly enough to call me...after she'd called 911.  Eventually they blocked off her drive which upset her further since Sam was out in the storm trying to get emergency quarters set up for a disaster crew if needed.  They didn't need the adjustors thankfully as it proved to be mostly rain.  I checked in on Lori in Kingsland and all was well there.  We barely had a sprinkle.  Katie is two hours north of us and got none at all. 

Lana, Sarah, Susie, Jennifer in Oregon:  I received a note from the Target store manager and she was going to headquarters in Minneapolis and said she'd bring up the issue at the corporate meeting.  I need to go back to Target and see how they've done in my area.  Katie tells me in her area which is more suburban the Target stores have nicer plus sized areas.  So it's definitely store by store.  However, it doesn't hurt to have had it addressed to the corporate heads.

Debby in KS  I saw your comment right away when you posted.  I don't have time to reply immediately so I do these posts monthly where I do reply.  Thank you for your kind words.

Georgene, this is a simple and hearty oatmeal.  It cooks on top of the stove and is super tasty.  John asks for it routinely even in summer!  1 cup of oatmeal, 2-4 tbsps brown sugar (or 1/4 cup maple syrup which is awesome!), 1 1/2 cups of milk and one very well beaten egg.  Pinch of salt.  Put all in the pan and heat over medium heat, stirring until it bubbles and thickens.  Delicious!

Rhonda,  I've found that the Aldi price on the beans changes.  Regularly it's about $.59/can.  This past week it was diced tomatoes and kidney beans for $.49/can.  I stocked up on them at that price, but yes, sometimes, it is cheaper elsewhere than Aldi.  I have found it pays to really look at prices in multiple stores.

First Weekend Reading Georgene/Living With Less Money  I used to worry about thawed meats as well.  And then I was in Publix one day and as I came near the seafood counter one of the clerks said "We're out of Cod..." The other girl crossed the aisle, took out a frozen packet of the store brand cod fillets, and laid them out on the ice...and I wondered, 'What if that thaws and I took it home and refroze it?"  Much later I was in another grocery and was told they couldn't cut the roasts until the portion of meat thawed...Hmmmmm...So I guess we can safely refreeze meat as the article says!

Eat Health: Pt III Protein Power

In feeding the human body we must have protein.  A protein deficient diet can cause weakening of the heart, loss of muscle mass, and decreased immunity.  In children, it can lead to a failure to grow. 

Proteins are made up of amino acids.  These are absorbed into the small intestine,then transported to the liver.  The liver and other body cells use the amino acids to build new proteins such as enzymes, hormones, muscle protein, and connective tissues.   Amino acids are not stored in the body, meaning that a new supply of protein is necessary in order for the body to continue to produce them daily.   Only dairy, meat, fish, soy and eggs contain all 9 of the essential amino acids needed to keep a body producing healthily.   Grains, nuts, vegetables, and legumes only provide some of the amino acids necessary.

Protein provides B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, and magnesium.  Dairy products provide those and calcium and Vitamin D.  Plant sources provide fiber and healthy monounsaturated fats.

Healthy adults require at least 8gm of protein per every 20 pounds of body weight.  If recovering from an illness or injury then still more protein is required.  Growing children and women who are pregnant or nursing also need an increased amount of protein.   Guidelines state that 10-35% of the calories consumed daily should be from protein sources.  Diabetics should be eating 38-130 grams of protein daily. 

In My Home This Week: The Last Quarter

In my home this week...

It is the first week of October, the start of the last quarter of this year and the last sane month before holiday pops and fizzles and fires start up.  This month is really a sort of planning month for me.  It will also be a DO-ing month as well as any other, as you know if you've read my goals list for this month.  But it's also true that it's a month to plan for the holidays ahead, to begin to gather figures and ideas to tentatively set aside for the first of the coming year.  Because like it or not, when October rolls around we must begin to look ahead to the next year if we're to be at all prepared.  Or so say I.

In years past October was a month of vacation for us.  John would take off two weeks of work and with the two weeks he'd normally be off, we'd spend the bulk of the month in play.  I miss those days.  We didn't always get a chance to travel far afield, but we went to the fair, sometimes we might make it to St. Augustine, and sometimes we simply did little day trips here and there in the nearby areas, an hour or so from home.  We'd take picnics and visit places and travel into the foothills to shop for groceries on the first chilly cold day.  In years past, we would also visit the kids in Athens or Kingsland.  But that long month of holiday changed two years ago when John's shifts moved from 1 week on 1 week off to 1 day on 3 days off.  Not nearly so much fun, let me assure you.  Even if he does take vacation days it's not the same as having a full month to play about in.  So now October is business as usual.

Every Frenchman Has One by Olivia de Havilland

Every Frenchman Has One by Olivia de Havilland is a reprint that I recently read.  I was put off by the tone of the writing in the first chapter.  I had the feeling that Ms. de Havilland, while a wonderful actress, found herself so amusing that she must surely have giggled all the way through that first chapter.  I stuck with the book despite this.  It was worthwhile!

As I settled into the book, and I presume as she settled into her writing, the book actually came out rather well.  While it's a small book, it is packed full of short chapters that could easily stand alone as essays on a variety of subjects from the French preoccupation with the state of their liver, to how they viewed the female bosom, child birth, apartments, and more.  It is a lovely representation of Paris in the early 1960's. 

Ms. de Havilland does take up her silly writing again here and there but for the most part she is more than a decent writer. 

I received this book from Blogging for Books in consideration of a review.  The opinion is this review is entirely my own.

The Prayer Warrior

Penny Ann Poundwise Throwback post

September 2006
Final Thoughts

I met Joanne a couple of months ago when she first visited our church. She had a pleasant face and a ready smile. A few weeks ago, I began a project at church and she volunteered to partner with
me. Little did I know what a powerful witness she would be to me.

As we worked on the project and prayed over it, I became aware that she had a strong prayer life, far stronger than my own. I could feel the very deep relationship she had developed with God thru
prayer and I was grateful she had chosen to partner with me on the project.

Two weeks ago, it was announced that Joanne had a severe health problem and had been hospitalized. Yet even ill, her faith stood strong and in record time she was out of the hospital and back at church.

In My Home This Week: All Routine