Thursday, November 30

Her lamp does not go out at night

Perhaps if I had more controversial opinions this blog would generate more interest. Those bloggers who concentrate on politics and religion (or a mixture of both!) have comments by the dozen. Personal anecdotes and recipes just don’t get the heart pounding and nostrils flared, if you know what I mean. I like to keep this blog fairly lighthearted because arguing online is rarely helpful for me. I would rather talk in person about such things. I have, however, unearthed a strong opinion on a religious matter that I’m not afraid to share.

By way of Facebook I came across a group dedicated to the support of Ladies Against Feminism. Most of the articles I’ve browsed through seem to contain mostly good and true information and advice. “More Time In A Day” drew my attention because the desire to get everything done is something with which I struggle. Time management tips are always welcome, and this article contains some good ones. But this advice should raise a red flag:

Get up earlier and stay up later. This is the golden key to success for the round-the-clock homemaker! The famous Proverbs 31 wife and mother rose while it was yet night and let not her candle go out by night - meaning that she got up early and stayed up late…. By getting up earlier and staying up later, you can enjoy more time with your husband and children…. one thing’s for sure: you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labors!

Not only is this not what Proverbs 31 is telling us to do—it doesn’t even work! The author urges us to get a good night’s sleep, but how can we if we’re getting up earlier and staying up later in order to work? (Doing one or the other is great advice—but not both; that’s called “burning the candle from both ends.”) Last week I had a lot of things that needed to be done before I left for the holiday weekend, so instead of going to bed I stayed up late and worked until they were done. The next day I got up and went to work as usual. But instead of “enjoying the fruits of my labors,” I felt exhausted and had to go to bed early that night. Which I knew would happen, because I know my body needs sleep.

Proverbs 31 isn’t a list of things for women to complete in order to be virtuous. One read-through will show you it can’t all be done by any one woman. The principle here is to be hard working and diligent. But in order to work hard, our bodies need rest. Telling women the Bible says for them to get up early and stay up late to get their housework done is ridiculous. It goes against common sense and the true intent of scripture.

Wednesday, November 15

True or False

It’s time to play a little game called True or False. Determine whether the following statements are true…or false. Correct answers and explanations follow.

1. Christmas decorations may be put up whenever you feel like it.
2. Star Anise smells divine.
3. You can never have too much Bob Caskey.
4. It’s difficult to work a 9-to-5 and bake your own bread.
5. Hancock Fabric is a great place to meet friends.
6. Nicholas Cage deserves our respect.

1. False. Although I’ve begun planning for Christmas, it is not yet time to decorate. Always decorate for the holiday closest to you on the calendar. This means Christmas decorations may be put up on the day after Thanksgiving, but not before.

2. True. I picked up a 99 cent package of star anise at an Asian grocery in Ridgeland on Saturday. I left it sitting in the car while I ran some more errands, and when I came back my car smelled like pho. Some people may not want their cars to smell like pho, but it was fine with me.

3. False. I’m counting at least 7 barn dances called by Bob Caskey that I’ve attended in the past. Then there’s the time I saw him in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, wearing red pants. I’m trying to decide whether to attend RUF’s barn dance on Friday, and I’m thinking I need a break from Bob and his friend Charles.

4. True. What with all the time needed for rising, kneading, and rising again, I found it very difficult to get a loaf of oat bread made and baked. When I saw the recipe I imagined myself coming home from work to the wonderful yeasty smell of baking bread. Of course this couldn’t happen, because I was not there to bake it for myself to smell.

5. True. Who knew that I would run into three friends at Hancock Fabric? My mental associations of the fabric store are linked to memories as a child of (what seemed like) many, many hours spent wandering among bolts of fabric while my mom flipped through pattern books—feeling my brain activity shut down out of boredom. Now I’ll have to readjust that image. Cool people hang out at Hancock Fabric.

6. False. What is he thinking?

Thursday, November 2

Like the monarchs I just knew that we could fly

When I was invited to a costume party two days before Halloween I immediately began casting about for costume ideas. A few easy ones were eliminated when I realized that most of my winter clothes are at my parents’ house. Martha Stewart's instructions for making butterfly wings looked easy and fun, but neither Michael's or Target yielded crepe paper of any kind. "Okay," I thought. "I'll just paint the wings on brown wrapping paper." But the wire frame I constructed couldn't support the weight of the painted paper. The wings were beautiful but not functional. Unfortunately I realized this too late in the game for the perfectionist art major in me to give up and go to the party without a costume (the perfectionist art major is a stubborn and prideful girl). I am ashamed to admit that as my friends left for the party, I refused to go and instead began rummaging around the house for some way to make the wings work. I decided to sacrifice aesthetics for functionality and duct-tape bamboo skewers to one side. With this supporting frame in place, the wings held their shape perfectly. I added ribbon arm straps and was out the door.

Now the wings are hanging on my wall, serving well as a reminder of my own sinfulness and God’s love in spite of it. It’s a beautiful and painful thing to be smacked upside the head with your sin. He turned around my plans to show off, humbling me and reminding me to be thankful for friends who will put up with me even when I’m being ridiculous. I’m much like the wings—they’re really a big mess, held together with duct tape, wire sticking out of one side and staples showing—but there’s an amazing pattern (simplified monarch butterfly) that God designed.

Since I made the wings, references to them are popping up everywhere. Yesterday another blogger wrote, "I drove by a lot of trick-or-treaters to and from Wal-Mart. My informal research seemed to show that butterflies were the “it” costume for girls this year." So I was an it girl and didn’t even know it! My dad sent me this link to a review of a Sufjan Stevens show in Philadelphia. Evidently Sufjan and his band all wore wings! You can see pictures (and read a review of the same show from someone more familiar with his work here. Some might think Stevens takes himself too seriously. Wings? Come on! These people have obviously never worn wings themselves, or they would know how much fun it is.