Monday, June 4, 2012

Something Else

As I was studying about wool and flax for the Proverbs 31:13 blog post, I learned something new. It has nothing to do with Proverbs 31:13 but it does have to do with wool and flax. Or should I say "wool and linen"? Deuteronomy 22:11 says, "You must not wear clothing made of linen and wool together."

There is no reason given for this law, and there are no laws about mixing any other types of materials. I thought about this for a bit, wondering at the reason for it. It crossed my mind that sometimes God gives us laws for practical purposes. Kind of like "well duh!", common sense kind of things.

Wool is a material that would be better suited for winter clothes, blankets, etc while linen would be better for summer items. Of course they shouldn't be mixed! They would work against each other.

Wait! Isn't there something in the New Testament about this? In Matthew 12, when Jesus cast demons out of a blind, mute man, the Pharisees accused Him of getting His power from Satan. Jesus said to them, "Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or a family splintered by feuding will fall apart. And if Satan is casting out Satan, he is divided and fighting against himself. His kingdom will not survive. . . Anyone who isn't with me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against me."

Heavy-weight material can't keep a person cool in the summer, and lightweight material can't keep a person warm in the winter. If they aren't working together, they're working against each other. Then I had another thought: These material are "unequally yoked"!

2 Corinthians 6:14-15 says, "Don't team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?"

I know it's a stretch, but I still wonder . . . did He give that law simply as an analogy for these things???

Wool and Flax?!?!?

I know I'm a weirdo, but I'm so excited about this post! Due to the effects of the caffeine from a late night Diet Dr. Pepper, I was up VERY late. However, even when the effects of said drink wore off, I still couldn't sleep. My mind was going back and forth thinking about different aspects of this verse. God revealed so much to me last night! It may take more than one post to share it all!

Proverbs 31:13 - "She finds wool and flax and busily spins it."

I know right??? Not much here! This is one of those verses that we typically read and are then done with. Since I'm doing a verse-by-verse study of this chapter, I figured I needed to look deeper into it instead of just sticking it in with another verse as if it didn't mean anything on it's own. God wouldn't put it in His Word for His ideal woman if it wasn't important. So, I scoured the Internet. There are many things bad about the Internet, but when used the proper way, it can be an awesome tool!

My search began with reading about wool and flax and what they're used for and how they're obtained. Very interesting stuff here, especially when looked at in light of the lifestyle during Bible times. (There is a lot of background information here, but it is necessary in understanding what the Virtuous Woman in Proverbs 31 is being praised for. So, please bear with me!)

WOOL (1)

 USE: In addition to clothing, wool is used for "blankets, horse rugs, saddle cloths, carpeting, wool felt, insulation, and upholstery". Ancient Greeks used it inside their helmets (used to absorb noise) and Romans used breastplates made of wool felt. It has been used in diapers since the exterior fibers repel water and the interior fibers attract water. It can absorb water up to 1/3 of its own weight. It has been used for undergarments because it prevents heat and sweat rashes. It is hypoallergenic, static resistant, and ignites at a higher temperature than cotton and has a "lower rate of flame spread, low heat release, low heat of combustion, and does not melt or drip". It retains heat well making it good for use in clothes and other items used in cold weather. I think wool would have been a perfect material for the people in cold weather in Bible times.

OBTAINING: First, it would have been plucked out of the sheep by hand or by bronze combs. Then it's separated into 4 categories (fleece, broken, bellies, lock). When taken directly from the sheep, it is known as "greasy wool". It contains a "high level of valuable lanolin, as well as dirt, dead skin, sweat, residue, pesticide, and vegetable matter". So, before spinning it into something to be made, it had to be cleaned - and they didn't have washing machines!! This would have required a lot of time-consuming work. It was a nasty job. Nothing fun about this!

FLAX (2)

I had NO clue what flax was. I had never even heard of it. So I began my search there. 

Flax Flower - isn't it beautiful?

Linen comes from the fibers in the stem of the plant.

USE: Flax is actually native to the region where the Virtuous Woman would have lived. It is thought to have been the first domesticated species in human history. Do you know what material is made from the fibers in the stem of the flax plant? Linen! (It is known as flax before the spinning process and linen after.) According to Wikipedia "Various parts of the plant have been used to make fabric, dye, paper, medicines, fishing nets, hair gels, and soap". Because Proverbs 31:13 talks about her spinning it, she was probably mostly using it for the fibers and making clothing that would have been lightweight and breezy for those hot, dusty desert summers. She may have also been making fishing nets for the fisherman (Hey, James, John, Peter, and Andrew had to get their nets somewhere. Who says their wives/mothers didn't make them?!?), along with ropes and twine. It's even possible she used it to decorate her home by creating "damasks, lace, and sheeting".

OBTAINING: First, the plant is pulled up with the roots. Then it has to dry and the seeds be removed (aka threshing). After that, the flax fibers must be separated from the stalk. To do this the inner stalk must be rotted away by leaving it in the sun/rain for 2 weeks to 2 months. The majority of what is left is the actual fiber to be used for spinning. However, at this point, there are still coarse fibers (straw) remaining. "To remove these, the flax is "broken", the straw is broken up into small, short bits, while the actual fiber is left unharmed, then "scutched", where the straw is scraped away from the fiber, and then pulled through "hackles", which act like combs and comb the straw out of the fiber." The fiber is now ready to be spun into linen.


The Bible says "she finds" wool and flax. It doesn't indicate what state they are in when she finds them, but it's not completely necessary to know. Whether she begins with the very first step of the process by finding and shearing sheep and planting flax and pulling it up by the roots or begins somewhere else along the way, she is obviously a hard worker. She doesn't mind getting dirty. This could also show her as wise with her money. She could probably find someone who would do all of this and sell it to her, but she is willing to save her money and instead get dirty and do the work herself. She is patient and doesn't mind tedious work. I mean, look at all she has to do to obtain these items just to begin spinning it! 

It also says she "busily spins" it. This is not a once-in-a-while task. This isn't something she does on the side as a hobby. This is her life. 


This is all good and well for the Virtuous Woman, but what about now, in everyday life? We don't need to go out and find wool and flax and spin it. So, how do we apply it? I think God wants us to see more of "who she is" than "what she did". Do I work hard? Do I mind doing dirty work in order to save my family some money (example: growing a garden instead of buying veggies; mowing the grass instead of hiring someone; buying an entire chicken/turkey and cleaning it instead of buying boneless, skinless pieces)? Am I patient with my work or am I in such a rush to get it done that it is sloppy, and I'm stressed, and no one in the house wants to be near me?

There is a lot to learn from Virtuous Woman and the other verses in the Bible if we're just willing to spend time searching for them.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Elizabeth Ann - My mothering one

Ready for a concert with her high heels and screwdriver microphone!!

Elizabeth is just a little over 2 1/2. It's hard to believe that, by the end of the summer, she will be 3 and ready for preschool. The only thing keeping me from crying my eyes out over this new phase of life is that we are homeschooling so she won't actually go to preschool! I don't think I could handle it if I had to send her away!

She takes good care of me. If I'm crying, she sits next to me until I'm better. If I need something, she is (99% of the time, after all, she's still a kid!) quick to jump up and help me. She's definitely a nurturer!

She is learning so much. She can say her ABC's and count to 13! She LOVES to sing. She knows the first verse to "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus" and she sang it at our family reunion. She has also learned the Fruit of the Spirit. The chapter/verse still gives her trouble though. She can't understand why it's 5:22 instead of 5, 6! And she is completely potty-trained! No more diapers!! I bought her last package two weeks ago! :-(

She can rock a mean attitude, but she also has a silly side. When she woke up the other morning, she was rubbing her eyes. I said, "what's wrong baby?" She said, "Nothing's wrong. My eyes just tired because I just woke up"!!! Later that afternoon Samantha was very fussy and needed to be rocked (for several hours). I had an empty laundry basket in the living room, and Elizabeth pulled it over beside my rocking chair, put her pillow in it, and sat in it. Jennifer saw her and needed to do the same thing. So, I got her set up in our other laundry basket on the other side of my chair. We sat there eating vanilla wafers and watching Sesame Street. After about 10 minutes Jennifer couldn't sit still any longer! She got out and was playing all alone. Suddenly, out of nowhere, she walked over to Elizabeth and slapped her in the face. It was so unexpected that I started laughing! (It must not have hurt to bad because Elizabeth was laughing too!) I'm laughing now as I think about it. I was laughing so hard I was crying! Elizabeth must have thought I was just crying because she said, "It's okay momma. I'm fine." That just made me laugh harder! A few minutes later Jennifer hit me. I knew I had to keep my composure and discipline her. I did but then pictured when she hit Elizabeth, and I started laughing again. That made Jennifer laugh. I told her "No! It's not funny!" Elizabeth said "then why you laughing?" I said, "because of something funny that happened." Elizabeth said, "You mean Jennifer?" She got me!!! Then at lunch I asked her if she wanted peanut butter and jelly or turkey and cheese. She must have had too many vanilla wafers because she said, "No. I'm not hungry. Thank you though." and then proceeded to send me off with a flippant wave of her hand!

Vanilla Wafers and Sesame Street

She struggles with bad dreams almost every night. So, if we watch TV or movies, it's always cheery stuff. She likes Father of the Bride 2 ("George and the babies") and The Parent Trap and Full House. She is CONSTANTLY quoting lines from those movies and shows! She is definitely a little parrot!

She also struggles with needing to get out of the house. She is a definite "people person". She loves going to Wal-Mart. She loves her cousins on daddy's side of the family, and she had a GREAT time meeting new cousins at momma's family reunion! She misses her cousins and aunts/uncles and grandparents and cried when they left! She is looking forward to playing with Calum and Granger and Adilynn and Carrick in June. She loves babies too so she is excited about meeting Christopher Michael and Kata while we're there!

And she is my outdoors girl! She is constantly asking to go to Gran's house and "wide da hwses" (though she's never ridden)!! She even likes to feed Joey! She loves to tramp around outside and get dirty!! She adapts well to her surroundings - girly girl or tomboy, whatever the situation calls for!

Getting more hay for Joey!

Jennifer Bryce - My smiley face

Always happy! A bit of sunshine even on the darkest days!

Jennifer is going to be 19 months in just 2 more days!

She LOVES to eat!! No one believes me when I say that she will eat anything you put in front of her. However, she has eaten (actually swallowed) a lemon peel, two bites from a candle, and powder laundry detergent! Now tell me I don't know what I'm talking about!!

She is very destructive! I can't leave her alone for 2 seconds! I have a table of pictures at the top of the stairs. They have been there since we moved in, and we have not had any incidents. Suddenly, last week, she just walks to the table and wipes all the pictures onto the floor and she repeats this process MANY times a day though punishment does follow!! Where did this come from? Thankfully, none of the frames have made their way down the stairs! She also climbs onto her big sister's bed and pulls things off the walls - including the nails!!! Life is definitely interesting with her. She keeps me on my toes. But I wouldn't change it for the world! (How else would I get my exercise???)

She is also a little monkey! On the playground, she climbs up the slide, standing up, without holding on! She has learned the arched ladder too. She climbs into her highchair. Not difficult? She does it with the tray on! She just steps over the tray like it isn't even there!

Her vocabulary is growing like crazy too! She has said her first sentence! And what a sentence it was! Elizabeth was talking about Jesus and how He died on the cross and that He is alive again. Jennifer looked at me and, in her baby talk said, "sus uh-ive" (translation: Jesus is Alive!") My heart was full to overflowing.

Elizabeth was playing with her and accidentally hurt her. She told her "I'm sorry", and I told Jennifer to tell her "I forgive you". I didn't figure she could say it, but I wanted to teach her what her response should be. She walked over to Elizabeth and said "gi ew"! I'm loving this little girl!!

She also says "thank you" and "yes ma'am" about everything. I finally gave in and gave them their chocolate bunnies that the "Easter Bunny" brought them. (Why, oh why did I buy those?!?!?!?) I put her in the high chair and she said "tain to momma"!

She looks grumpy but she was actually still trying to wake up!

Oh how stubborn she is! We took the side railing off of her crib. It's not a convertible crib, but the way it's built it can be used without that piece. An hour after they went to bed we heard Jennifer crying. I went in and found Elizabeth in Jennifer's bed, and Jennifer standing in the middle of the floor. She wasn't crying because she fell out of the bed. She was crying because she couldn't get back in!! I put both of them in Elizabeth's twin bed because it's a little bigger, and I put Jennifer next to the wall. However, after about 3 weeks of this and still not having learned to stay in bed, and momma's patience wearing VERY thin, we decided to put it back on until she is a little older!

Does it get any sweeter???

Oh! I almost forgot! She has started potty training! She tells me when she needs to go (#2) and then holds it until I get her on the potty!! We're almost there!!!

Samantha Brooke - My quiet, serious one

So, I started this blog to share the things God is teaching me as I study His word - currently Proverbs 31. However, I have 3 wonderful blessings (among many) that encompass the majority of my days . . . and nights! They say and do the cutest things on a daily basis and constantly amaze me with how much they change. We make so many memories - good and bad! I thought I'd share 3 of the 4 blessings that make up my world!!

Isn't she precious????

Samantha is 3 1/2 months old, and putting on the lbs MUCH quicker than her big sisters did! She is finally getting adjusted to life outside the womb and is getting on a schedule. And for this organized, OCD momma, schedules are vital to life!!!

She eats 8 oz at 9 am, 1 pm, 5 pm, and 9 pm. She wakes up for an hour at each of these feedings and then sleeps for 3 hours until the next feeding. Then at 9 pm she goes to sleep for 12 hours!!! "Praise the holy Lord above!!!"

Her carseat is her "happy place" and though we've been working on laying flat on her back and on tummy time, she screams through it all as if she's enduring some form of mistreatment!

She no longer takes a pacifier. Don't even offer it. It only makes her scream louder!!

She rolled halfway over the other night, and if I hadn't had bumpers in her crib (Please don't judge my use of them. This is not the time or place for that!) she would have made it all the way over. I placed her on her tummy to sleep (see above note) and she was not happy with me. She wanted to be in her carseat. So she screamed and - almost - rolled over!!

Her first time in shoes!!!

She has been - by far - my most difficult baby, but we have finally started to bond, and I'm beginning to feel the "warm, fuzzy" feelings! 

She doesn't like the high-pitched baby talk. She responds more often to normal voices. She knows her daddy too. He walks in the room, and her face lights up! She hasn't laughed for us yet, but we do get smiles - BIG smiles, mouth open wide!!!

She has already been spoon fed by her big sisters. Granted, all she got to eat was air, but she managed the spoon and toothbrush (thank you Jennifer for sharing your version of a spoon!) quite nicely!!

It's like having a real life baby doll!!

Past, Present, Future (part 7) - Spiritual

I have to admit that, while I have been VERY busy caring for 3 little girls that I love more than life, I have been intentionally putting this off. This is a very tough subject, one that I am working through right now. God has been showing me that, in order for my girls to bring good to their husbands, they have to learn now to put God 1st!


A woman has many fears and insecurities. Anyone who has lived any number of years knows that man - father, brother, uncle, cousin, grandfather, boyfriend, friend, husband - is going to contribute to those. 99.99% of the time it will be unintentional. 0.01% of the time it will stem from anger, jealousy, selfishness, etc. and will be intentional. Hey, they're human just like we are. If a woman is looking for her safety and security in a man, she will be sadly disappointed. He CANNOT meet those needs 100% percent of the time, without fail. And to ask him to is, in my opinion, wrong. That is not what he was created for. Only God can provide the security we need in every situation and circumstance.

When my dad passed away suddenly, I experienced a deep, agonizing pain. I turned to a man for my comfort, and though he was sweet and kind and caring and let me cry all I needed to, he couldn't provide the relief my heart needed. It wasn't until I searched for God's face that the darkness lifted, and I could smile again. This was an incident that would be considered "unintentional" on his part. It was not that he didn't care or didn't want to relieve those hurts and insecurities, he simply couldn't. He didn't have the ability.

There have been times in my marriage that my husband has made selfish choices. We, as humans, are all selfish by our very nature. I'm selfish. My husband is selfish. When he has made those choices (even something small like walking off while I'm in the middle of a sentence because he is simply not paying attention), he has "intentionally" contributed to to my fears and insecurities. No, maybe it wasn't his goal to hurt me, but he also wasn't thinking of me when he made his choices. The times he has done this and God was not 1st in my life were some of the darkest days in my marriage. See, when God is not first, Satan's lies are louder and can be heard clearer. He does not want marriages to survive and thrive. So, during these times, I would hear "He doesn't love you" and "He wants out of this" and "This isn't worth working on". All of which are lies of the Devil. However, when my husband has done these things and God is 1st, I see my husband as the human he is. I see that he needs my love and support more than ever. I see my opportunity to be his helpmeet - which I was created to be - and I have a desire to help him learn. That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt when he is selfish and that there are no tears shed. I just have a different outlook. The saying "God will not give me more than I can handle" is NOT true. Sometimes people (not just husbands) make choices, in their sinful nature, that are more than I can handle. However, God will help me handle anything He allows me to go through. When my husband makes selfish choices that hurt me, and God is 1st in my life and heart, this is my outlook.

(**These two instances are NOT meant to compare a previous boyfriend with my husband. That first instance was just the most life-altering situation I have lived through. The situations with my husband are the most "real" because it is my life now. I love my husband dearly, and I am 100% devoted to him!!!**)

This is why I need to teach my girls - NOW - the importance of putting God 1st. I truly believe ANY marriage can survive if each partner puts God FIRST!!!

So, how?

This is where I'm struggling with words. What does it look like when God is 1st? Reading the Bible? Praying? Going to church regularly? Going on the mission field? Serving at church?

A person who has God in 1st place will do most, if not all, of these things. However, I've known people who have done these things and later realized they were not even Christians! They were just good people. So, even though these things can be a sign that God is 1st, doing them does not mean that He is.

So, how do we teach our children how to make God 1st?

Like I said, I'm still learning this myself. As God shows me more, I will continue to post on this subject. I just felt like I had to share what I've already learned and stop putting it off just because I haven't finished learning.

Feel free to share your feelings on this subject. What do you do to teach your children HOW to put God 1st in their life and heart? (And I'm referring to after salvation.)