Friday, September 30, 2011

Dignity and Humor

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet...She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. (Proverbs 31:10-21; 25 NIV)

This study of the Proverbs 31 woman has been so rich for me. I hope you have enjoyed it, too. If you're just joining in you can review the earlier posts by clicking on the links in the passage above. The Proverbs 31 woman has always been a bit intimidating to me because of all she does, but recently God has been reminding me that He is more interested in who I am than in what I do. I decided to look into the character of this woman and see if I can learn more about "how to be" from her. It's been really encouraging so far.

There are two interesting juxtapositions in today's verse that I never noticed before. First, earlier in the passage (not quoted above) we are told that this woman is clothed in fine linen and purple (verse 22.) At this time period wearing linen signified that you were part of the noble class, and wearing purple meant you were royalty, or rich enough to be. Still the emphasis seems to be more on her spiritual attire of strength and dignity. There is symbolism in this for us. Personally my wardrobe could use a lot of gussying up. That show "What Not to Wear" would have itself quite a field day with my closet. I have clothing from high school (that still fits!) and mostly wear jeans, big t-shirts, and well-worn flannel shirts. I go for comfort and practicality and most "stylish" things just don't seem to fit either criteria...not to mention they're way out of our budget. However, even if my physical clothing isn't fit for the fashion runway, my spiritual clothing can be pleasing to the eye: noble and precious, strong and dignified. Dignity (honour in KJV) is the Hebrew word hadar (haw-dawr'; ^ over both a's) and means ornament, splendor, beauty, excellence, or majesty. It is derived from the primary root word hadar (haw-dar'; ^ only over the first a) which means to swell up, to favor, honor, or put forth. Needless to say it is a quality that makes this woman stand out in a crowd in a way that draws admiration from others. We can wear this dignity with anything - it is the perfect accessory for every outfit.

The second point is the seemingly contradictory characteristics of dignity and humor. She is clothed with dignity, yet she laughs at the days ahead. I have often wondered at this turn of phrase. When I look at the days to come I rarely laugh, unless nervous laughter counts. I'm usually the one biting my nails worrying about every possible outcome and not at all confident that I'll have what it takes to persevere. There was a time when I would actually worry if I didn't have something to worry about, so I've come a long way, but it's all too easy to let my mind run to the worst possible scenarios. This woman looks at the days ahead with confidence, joy, and a sense of humor. One might think that dignity and humor don't fit in the same personality, but here we see that the strength and dignity to face the future is the very root of good humor. With all of the uncertainty and fear-mongering that abounds in our society the secret of dignified humor will be key to stepping forward with confidence in the days ahead.

Let's join the Proverbs 31 woman and look ahead with joy in our hearts, assured that our future is secure.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Digest 36

It's time for another Sunday Digest - actually it's overdue! Somewhere between technical difficulties, toilet learning (one down, one to go) and other parenting duties you will find the time I was supposed to be getting this done...sigh. Meanwhile, I have found some interesting posts to refer you to, and here they are:

1) 5 Minutes for Special Needs, where I'm thrilled to post weekly, has a new feature, called "Ask the Parents" can go here to read about it and see how it works. The idea is to gather questions from our audience that we can respond to directly as well as reply to in posts. If you have a burning question for other special needs parents, ask away!

2) As always, my blogging friend over at Autism & Oughtisms is stirring the pot with a detailed look into intellect and intelligence, and all the labels that we throw about so casually...

3) I did a guest post over at Books 4 Christian Kids a little over a week ago. The book has little to do with Special Needs, per se, except perhaps that our kids may be more prone to anxiety issues. Ready for Anything, the book I reviewed, could be a gentle entry point for talking about worry with your child.

4) I couldn't have said this better myself. Tammy over at Praying for Parker says it like she means it. Education choices abound in the Special Needs world, and sometimes it seems like everyone has an agenda. No one could doubt Tammy's Special Needs Advocate pedigree, but she chooses to homeschool Parker because it is best for him. Not only can she meet his specific (tactile) learning style, she can protect him from the myriad germs that would make him sick if not threaten his life. I can say, as a parent of a child who is mainstreamed in a general education classroom that I totally respect her choice...I couldn't pull it off with my own child, but I applaud her ability and would never question her decision on some argument that her choice negates or makes mine any harder to achieve. Parents should choose the best education they can find for their own child, and that's the ideal we should be working together to achieve.

5) And speaking of such, doesn't this sound like a lovely neighborhood? Thanks for sharing it with all of us, Kristina White via Hopeful Parents.

Until next time, click away and if you leave a comment make sure you tell them you found them over at The Simple Life.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ugh! and Understanding...

Jenny Matlock

I don't Usually vent here, but Jenny Matlock's Aplabe-Thursday meme is Up to the letter U, and frankly "Ugh!" is the only thing that comes to mind. I am in the last gasps of preschool Summer break. Just. a. few.days. left. Sadly I needed a long break from my twins about three weeks ago. They are at a very trying stage. They just want to be silly all the time. They don't want to listen, even when good things might be coming their way if they can listen. My patience has long since run out...and I really thought I had built Up a good reserve, too. That would be enough, but...
  • The child has resisted homework two out of three nights this week. Given that it's the first week of homework that doesn't bode well for the weeks ahead. I'll need to get a handle on this soon.
  • Little boy has been learning toilet skills, but isn't 100% yet, which is expected, but still no fun.
  • My dear mother-in-law tried to cook something in her microwave and smoked Up her house, bringing the fire department, again.
  • My foot started hurting quite suddenly and Unexpectedly this morning...of course it is one of the days when my husband is gone all day and I had lots of walking to do. I am on my feet a good bit of the day, so it's hard to rest it.
  • There are several issues at school district and city level that I need to voice my concerns on soon. Pretty big issues that I've been following and involved in for several months now.
...And that's just today's load of Ugh!

Still even as I type this I'm hearing on the radio of entire communities without power. Large land masses that are on fire. There are children going to bed hungry somewhere, and a mother trying to figure out how to meet their needs better tomorrow. So for all of my Ugh at the moment, there is also a good dose of Um...gratitude that my little challenges are just that - little. All this stuff I'm venting about will be forgotten (mostly) a year from now. What will not be forgotten is the attitude that I face it all with. I must remember that my children, most of all, want a mom who is calm, loving, and firm, but Understanding.

The well known serenity prayer comes to you know the whole thing? I'm thinkin' I need to memorize it!
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.


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