Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Week I Day III -- Laying a Foundation

What do you do all day?...

Well, if you're like most home managers you do a lot. Being a keeper at home offers an almost endless supply of satisfying endeavors. For example, here's a list of subjects learned in the course, "Training Our Daughters to be Keepers at Home", by Ann Ward:

Godly Womanhood Flower Arranging Making a House a Home
Sewing Basketry Caring for the Sick & Injured
Cooking/Baking Family Finances Family Celebrations
Gardening Embroidery Childbearing
Knitting Child Development Infant Care & Breastfeeding

Making Greeting Cards

Child Training Raising Small Animals
Home Management Cross Stitch Soapmaking
Quilting Hospitality Candlemaking
Crocheting Caring for the Elderly Woman's Health Concerns
Comforting the Mourning Rug Braiding Home Business

Kathy Peel, who wrote the Family Manager, groups the responsibilities of Home Keeping this way:

1) Time Management
2) Food Management
3) Home and Property
4) Finances
5) Special Projects
6) Family Members and Friends
7) Personal Management (Spiritual and intellectual growth, health, grooming, etc.)

Denise Schofield who wrote, "Confessions of an Organized Housewife", organizes the tasks needed to keep a household running at optimum this way:

1. General pickup of the house
2. Laundry Kept Current
3. Well-balanced meals served regularly
4. Dishes done frequently
5. Bathrooms cleaned and straightened regularly.
6. Entry areas clean and neat.

Are you tired yet? LOL.

Let's look at the basics according to Proverbs 31:

1) Relationship with the Lord -- vs. 30 -- It is this that is the wellspring of the worthy wife's character and energy.
2) Invests in her relationship with her husband; does him good; manages and increases his resources; is someone he can trust. vs. 11, 12, because she manages so well he can perform his duties at the city gate without worry; her worthy conduct as a wife brings him respect.
3) She trains her children.
4) Shops for nourishing food (and, as she is a living in an agrarian society, she plants a field and grows food), makes sure her household is fed.
5) Makes sound investments. Because she is living in an agrarian society, she buys and plants a field and plants a vineyard. Remember, grapes were used for liquid in a dry land, for medicinal purposes, and for food.
6) She extends her hands to the poor and needy; serves others outside of her household; because of her industrious nature, she has enough to take care of her household's needs and meet the needs of those less fortunate, as well.
7) She makes coverings for her bed and clothing for herself and her family. She prepares ahead for weather.
8) Watches over the ways of her household, works with willing hands, opens her mouth with wisdom and kindness
9) Makes sure that the family's lamp stays lit -- important in a household of that time.

With so many choices of activities available to the keeper at home (blogging being one of them), it's easy for a woman to become overwhelmed. Some women, especially when their children are young and need lots of attention, take on too much. Then, they burn out. They may even become become bitter toward keeping a home and give it up.

When I was a young girl, most people perceived of the Proverbs 31 woman as a nineteen-sixties or -seventies suburban housewife. Then, when I got married in the 80's, and women were going into the workforce in huge numbers, she was held up as being the quintessential businesswoman -- the woman who drops her kids off at daycare, works an eight hour day, and still manages her household well.

Which was she? Well, in my opinion, she was neither one. She lived in an agrarian society. If you notice, all of her business endeavors were the outgrowth of the type of life her family lived. The field and the vineyard were important for her family's food. The sashes she sold to the merchants were in line with the sewing and needlework she did to clothe her own family. She was able to conduct business and yet still be in the home, looking well to the ways of her household.

So, what does all of this mean for us today? This is just my opinion, but I think that we can all cultivate the heart and character of the Proverbs 31 woman. Like her, we all need to invest in our relationship with God, love and do good to our husband and children, manage our means and stretch our husband's assets, feed and clothe the family, and reach out in a ministry to others outside of the home. Beyond that, we need to figure out what we need to do in our life circumstances to keep our household. I also think it's good for a woman to know something about sewing and about choosing materials wisely, even if she does not sew. Understanding fabrics helps when buying clothing or home linens.

However, when it comes to the extras, we need to think carefully. We also need to depend on the Lord, rather than on our own strength and wisdom. We will never be perfect home keepers this side of heaven, but we can seek to know and please the One who is perfect in everything. He is our strength and our righteousness.

The woman who lives in Manhattan may not have the exact same schedule as the woman who lives on a farm in Iowa. Maybe, the urban dweller can grow a rooftop garden. But, she likely won't be able to keep goats or poultry. On the other hand, the woman in Iowa may need to know a lot about caring for livestock. The woman in the suburbs has a different situation all together.

Similarly, the woman with may small children in the home may not be able to accomplish as much sewing, cross-stitching, and gourmet cooking that the brand new bride or empty nest grandmother can. Perhaps, on the other hand, she may find that these activities are rewarding and relaxing, and she will find a way to accomplish them with her children.

As we take a year to improve our home keeping, we will examine several different skills and activities. Pick and choose which ones are appropriate for you in your current season and place in life. You can always save some information to use later, should your circumstances change.

Think about it, write about it in your notebook, (and please post a comment, too):

What homemaking skills do you already possess? What skills do you want to learn in order to manage your household well and enjoy your days at home? What are your expectations for yourself as a homemaker? What expectations does your husband have of how your family should run? Did you come from similar family backgrounds or different backgrounds? Are you in agreement about how you should use your time? Are you enthusiastic about your homemaking aspirations? Do you forget your mistakes and press on happily towards your goals? Or, do you beat yourself up for not already being your idea of a perfect housewife and mother? Your happiness in the home depends on your working out a schedule and a plan of activities that works for you and your household. It also depends on your being able to evaluate your mistakes and then move on.



Ridenour Family said...

Thank you for such a wonderful program! I have completed days one and two, and will be working on today's assignment this evening. I am very excited for the year to come!

Wenonah4th said...

I'm just coming in today to begin. One thing I definitely need work in is improving my knitting, as I can whip out basics but need to work on more advanced stuff.

Ridenour Family said...

After completing the assignment, I'd say the areas that I'd like to improve are time management (getting everything done I'd like), entertaining, sewing and knitting.

I'll share my answer for the second question- my expectations. It is a very basic answer, but true!

I want to create a warm and welcoming haven for our family. My main expectation, however, is to glorify God in whatever I do. To edify my husband, and make him proud of me as a "housewife", and to give my kids great memories of our home growing up.

Wenonah4th said...

Another thing I worte down in my notebook yesterday under the heading of things that I want to improve is candy-making, something I've tried only a few times. We made some fudge this morning to take for our Wednesday evening fellowship tonight and I think I did it successfully.

Sandy said...

This was a good assignment for me. It really helped me to list things I'd like to learn, along with the other assignment to write out our homemaking dreams for 2009. I always do better with a plan. Proverbs 31 can be a little overwhelming and it was nice to break it down into managable pieces in black and white.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Tricia,

I'm excited about completing these things, as well. Thanks for your kind comments and for stopping by. We'll definitely examine time management, as well as entertaining, sewing, and knitting.

Hi Wenonanah,

We'll talk about knitting and do some projects. I may call in some experts to help us with advanced projects.

Hi Sandy:

Yes, our journey to being a Proverbs 31 wife is better taken step by step by step.

Pauline said...

Hello Elizabeth,

I hope that I am not bombarding your inbox with comments!!!I just wanted to post my link here to my Week One Day Three


Sorry it needs to be cut and pasted- I am not sure how to make it a direct link?

Thank you again for the opportunity to participate here!

Blessings in Christ