Male and Female

Tradition is the province of men,

my womanhood ruminating in the sticky yard

always conjuring something new.

Each day remembers its ancestors,

is fermented and furrowed by them.

But my hands are a seraphim’s gadgets,

my breasts turrets in a house that isn’t mine alone.

A man repeats and repeats,

A warning siren to the beasts of shore and sea.

We will build as we have built,

but will not fight as we have fought.

KonMari

Today I went through my closet and threw out 3 full, heavy bags of clothes I don’t want anymore. Some were just plain old, some stained, some too big or too small, and some that I no longer like. I used the KonMari method. If I took it off the hanger and it didn’t spark joy I put it in the bag.

There’s a few things left in the closet, most of which I will probably get rid of. I am on the fence about a few things. Lately I’ve been wearing the same 7 or 8 dresses all the time, and it finally dawned on me that those are the dresses that I like and look good on me. If I liked the 20-30 dresses in the closet I’d be wearing them. But I haven’t worn them in weeks.

I have a new system for my dresses (which is all I wear except for the occasional skirt). I don’t hang them up anymore. I put them in the chest of drawers. This is for two reasons. The first is that I hated putting away my clothes. I have always loathed hanging them up. I can’t explain why. It isn’t hard to do. I just hated it. Well, we recently got a new bedroom suite. We got a bed with built in drawers and compartments, and then a chest of drawers that Craig and I share. One day I decided that since I hadn’t used my share of the drawers, I should put some dresses in there just to alleviate the pressure in the closet. Then I discovered that I loved putting my dresses in the chest of drawers! It didn’t stress me out or feel like a chore at all. I am happy to fold them up and put them away. Now, since I’ve started doing this, I put my clothes away as soon as they are out of the dryer.

The second reason is that I want to limit the sheer number of clothes that I have. My side of the closet was brimming with dresses of all lengths, colors, and styles. It was too much. Even if I had liked all of them, that would be too much clothing for one reasonable person.  By keeping my dresses in a finite number of drawers, I am limiting how many I have. I never want more than 12 dresses at a time. Right now I’ve got about 7 or 8. When those new dresses I ordered fit me I can add four more.  After that, I need to start getting rid of dresses as I buy new ones. Initially I probably won’t even notice because as I go down in size I’ll simply be getting rid of things that don’t fit. But when my weight finally settles at a stable point, I will keep it to about 8 dresses – 12 at most. If it won’t fit in my share of the drawers, it doesn’t stay (or get bought, if I’m not willing to part with anything I already have).

This will also decrease the amount of laundry I have to do, which makes me happy. Back when I used to try to make use of all those dresses I had way too much to wash and put away.

What else can I throw out? What else can I simplify? Soon I plan to replace my old towels and get some more. But that doesn’t really count as cleaning stuff out since I’ll be replacing them. I did a huge purge of craft supplies before we moved. That felt good. If I don’t start scrapbooking again soon, I may consider parting with a lot of my scrapbooking stuff. I don’t know why I don’t want to scrapbook lately, but I haven’t in months. I am so focused on digital stuff and on writing and reading that I just haven’t wanted to.  Tomorrow I think I will go into the craft room/office and just look through my supplies. If that inspires me to start working on some stuff, then great. I won’t start til Monday since my inlaws will be here tonight through Sunday morning and I’ll undoubtedly be busy with them. But I’ll at least go in and see if I feel inspired. If not, I’ll consider what to do from there. Past a certain point if I keep going through my stuff and don’t want to use it, it is time to clear the space and part with it.

I got rid of some makeup yesterday. So that was a good start. I organized the remainder in my brand new vanity that Craig put together for me. I threw old prescription meds in the trash.  That was healthy – and a mark of organization. I don’t need the meds so they don’t spark joy.  (Whereas every time I see my Lamictal I get a little shot of bliss.) What’s next?

Eternal Life

So many things leave us unsatisfied, disappointed, wanting more. Sometimes that is just the result of greed and avarice. But sometimes it is because things or people really have been disappointing. Sometimes friends disappoint us. Everyone has that ex-friend who is out of their lives for a very good reason. Sometimes even our own families disappoint us. Sometimes our relationships with them leave us wanting more, leave us coping with hurt or disappointment or even rage. Some of them mean to fail us. Some don’t.

God never fails. God never disappoints. His love is unfailing. God is reliable. His Word slakes a thirst that water (or an ice cold Coke!) never could. God does no wrong – to anyone. His ways are righteous. He does things for our good, not to harm us.  When you can’t count on your family or friends or coworkers or whoever to do right by you, you can count on your just God.

Friendships change. People betray us, the drift away from us, they let us down. Family cannot always be counted on.  Sometimes other people, even those we are close to, are bitter, vindictive, controlling, petty, selfish, dishonest,manipulative, and mean spirited. But the one constant in life, in my life, is God. He gives me things I can’t get anywhere else – unconditional love, grace, peace.

Delight

This verse poses two interesting ideas. First of all, delighting in the Lord. It is so easy, especially when you are in spiritual doldrums, to see God more as  judge and creator of rules and morality. And He is these things. But He should also be a source of joy, someone to delight in. God should be seen as a loving Father, the creator of all things beautiful and good, a light in a very dark room. And Christ should be a friend. He even refers to the disciples as His friends.

Then there is the last part of the verse, the part that says that if we do delight in Him, He will grant us the desires of our hearts. God does want us to have the desires of our hearts, but through our relationship with Him the desires of our hearts are supposed to be transformed. It is only human to have some selfish desires, but as we grow in faith the desires of our hearts are supposed to change. We are supposed to say, Lord, let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. It is okay to have dreams and ambitions and want to use your gifts, but it should be with the attitude that what you really want is what will fit with God’s plan.

I am not good at this. I am more into my will being done than anything else. It is just so hard not to have dreams and desires. Sometimes it feels like what God wants is for me not to be human. Sometimes I can step back and say, thy will be done. But most of the time I very much want what I want. It is difficult to remember that God’s design for my life will be so much more beautiful than anything I could come up with myself. Then though, I think “Why would God give me a desire in my heart, if He did not want me to have it, to follow it?” Some of my desires are purely selfish, but others aren’t selfish at all. They are for me, but they harm no one. Where is the line? What is okay and what is not? How do you reach the point of such abnegation of self that you really are willing to let go of everything you wish for, everything you hold dear, and say “Thy will be done?”

A Beautiful Woman

I try to be a nice person. Really, I do. But periodically I bite. Proverbs tells us to add sweetness to our speech and to speak softly. Sometimes I don’t speak very softly. I am loud.

My husband and I almost never fight. But on the occasion we do, I am usually loud and sharp. I need to add more kindness to my words. My speech is not sweet. It is acidic. It eats away at everything, burning it. I ought to have a gentler and quieter spirit, which is beautiful to God. God does not look at a woman and find her beautiful for her clothes and her figure and her makeup. He finds women beautiful who have gentle and quiet spirits. (Not that it isn’t okay to wear nice clothes and makeup.)

He expects us to cultivate what is on the inside, not the outside. He values the gentle, the grateful, the obedient, the modest, the submissive. He wants sweet speech and soft words. How can I practice these things? How can I be a woman after God’s own heart? Here is a list I have come up with. Many of these things I already do – I just don’t do them enough. If you think of anymore, comment or email me.

  1. Never raise my voice. You can not have a gentle and quiet spirit if you are yelling.
  2. Pray regularly to tell God what I am thankful for.
  3. Listen for the Holy Spirit as I write, pray, and think. Follow the voice of the Holy Spirit. Be obedient.
  4.  Try to cover up any low cut dresses with my infinity veils when I go out.  Showing some cleavage is okay when I’m at home, and practically unavoidable at formal events, but for the day to day I should be well covered. It is hard not to buy things that show a lot of cleavage when your breasts are as big as mine, but by wearing the right kind of veil I can buy all kinds of dresses and still be modest.
  5. Obey my husband. When a woman obeys her husband, she obeys God, who has place her husband in authority over her. This doesn’t mean I can’t lobby and petition for what I want and need. I can and I do, rather vigorously at times! But I am my husband’s helpmeet and God has ordered me to submit. So ultimately, my husband has final say.
  6. Be less prideful. God hates a haughty heart. I need to search myself for pride and tear it out. Am I too prideful when I get a pretty dress? When I have a day that I feel I look extra good?  When I add to my book collection? When I learn new things as I study? There is a fine line between appreciating things and feeling good about yourself, versus being prideful. Maybe one way to combat this is to give thanks to God for whatever I am proud of, whether it is a publication credit, a day of good complexion or hair, or my awesome library. And not to focus on it. Take a picture of me or my clothes or my library, and then move on. Be humble and remember that anything good that I have or achieve is through the Grace of my sovereign God. Enjoy the beauty in my life, but remember from whom it comes.
  7. Dive into the Word. A gentler, more peaceful spirit is a natural byproduct of being immersed in the Word.

I have a lot I need to work on. The Christian walk is a never ending journey, a constant refining of gold from dross.