Monthly Archives: January 2006

Thoughts on chapter 2 of “Captivating” by John & Stasi Eldredge

(copied from my MySpace blog) 

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Current mood: contemplative
Category: Religion and Philosophy

I’m writing this, under the assumption that anyone reading this post is reading the book, too.  If you aren’t, then go buy a copy!!!!

~The whole idea of the “lost princess” (p. 21): Anyone else have these thoughts as a little girl? I was sure I’d been born to some noble family, but ended up as a bundle in a basket on my parents’ steps. I was just sure that my “real” family was royalty, or rich, or something better than my own. It was a sigh of relief to me to read that this is common (?) among girls.

~Woman as “The crown of creation”: My goodness. Woman as the pinnacle of all God created. That made me feel noble, just reading that!! The Eldredges make a convincing point, though maybe I’m just easily convinced on this lofty & lovely idea.

~pp. 27-28: “Most women define themselves in terms of their relationships, and the quality they deem those relationships to have. I am a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. Or, I am alone. I’m not seeing anyone right now, or my children aren’t calling, or my friends seem distant.” This is something — relationships — that I feel faulty in. But, in reading what the Eldredges wrote, I feel like I “belong” to this category, too. In fact, on Saturday night, dh & I had a discussion about all the things he was worried concerning me. I wrote a letter to him regarding my emotional & spiritual health, and one of my extensive points that were on the positive side was about all the relationships in my life that are healthy — friends & family. When I read the above statement in the book, I had to giggle a bit to myself; even though I think I don’t do great much of the time, at relationships, even me thinking of myself in those terms supports the Eldredges’ supposition.

~”The vast desire and capacity a woman has for intimate relationships tells us of God’s vast desire and capacity for intimate relationships.” (p. 28) Hmmm…. Desire? Yes. Capacity? Not me. I mean, on one hand, I desire more & better relationships, but on the other hand, I have a hard time keeping up w/ the ones I have! Could this be affecting my view of God & my understanding of His capacity for relationship with me?

~”…the mission to be fruitful and conquer and hold sway is given to both Adam and to Eve.” The Eldredges here are talking about the idea of sharing (w/ dh) in the “adventure.” This made me remember something my pastor’s wife told me a few years ago: “For you, adventure is romantic.” Any other adventuresome women out there? Men are supposed to be more of the adventurers, right? But, I think my dh gets so caught up on the providing part, and being stable that our marriage’s sense of adventure gets lost. This whole section made me feel a lot better — even more womanly — about my sense of adventure.

~pp. 31-33 discusses the translation of the Hebrew words ezer kenegdo, which is commonly translated as “help meet.” I don’t know about you, but when they explained that it could more accurately be translated as “sustainer beside him” I felt a lot better about myself being an ezer kenegdo. Especially when they noted that “ezer” is used 20 other times in the OT, all of God, used “when you need Him to come through for you desperately.” That is, more of a “life-saver.” I love this picture of womanhood, of wifehood. Again, so noble… Much less… uh… pedestrian than “helpmeet.”

~p. 34: “Nature is not primarily functional. It is primarily beautiful.” Love that point.

~pp. 38-40 notes that beauty says, “All shall be well.” It invites, it nourishes, it comforts, it inspires, it is transcendent. When the authors show how these qualities are related to God, and then revealed, incarnate in woman… I feel that if I could grasp this, it would totally change my reasons for pursuing beauty, and my purpose in being beautiful for my husband. I am resistant, somewhat, to the idea of physical beauty and its pursuit. But, if its purpose is held in those ideas of nourishing, comforting, inspiring, etc., that just seems more right. KWIM?

Currently reading :
Captivating : Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul
By John Eldredge
Release date: By 07 April, 2005

The Sonoran Foothills from the Twice-Rescued Chair

(copied from my MySpace blog) 

Monday, January 16, 2006

Current mood: content 

From the chair in my bedroom, I can see a hilltop through the window.

Driving through my old neighborhood, I saw a chair with a paper labelled, “FREE” attached to it.  The chair is somewhere between a wingback and a bishop chair, with dark wood trim and legs, upholstered in a gently-striped fabric, its brass nailheads gleaming.  From my Suburban, it looked lovely.  Upon closer inspection, I could see that the fabric was sort of cheesy — some sort of synthetic, loosely woven cloth, grey & off-white, not really the best choice for recovering a chair.  The nailheds were a bit rusty, and not tacked in in straight rows.  The wood wasn’t as nice of quality as it appeared from afar.

But, as I looked the chair over, I decided that it was still nice for a free chair, and glanced around for its owner.  A man walked quickly over to me;  I think he had been somewhere else in the front yard.  He seemed very eager for me to take the chair.  I thought, at first, that he must have considered it an eyesore, glad that his home would be free of it.  I read him wrong.  It turns out that he had rescued the chair, taking it as a castoff from an acquaintance.  He had recovered it, and was sure his wife would be quite pleased with the surprise.  She ended, as I deduced from his story, patronizing him, humoring his efforts, not really liking the chair, but finding a corner in which to put it.  Now, though, she was buying new furniture, and no longer wanted the chair.  The man was more than happy for me to redeem his efforts and to enjoy the chair that his wife hadn’t.

I took it.

It is now in my master bedroom, awaiting my own reupholstering efforts, in a place that is usable, but not really public.  It is in one corner of my room, and along the opposite wall are two bullet windows, 1′ X 2′, inoperable, high on the the wall, letting light in, telling us This is Where We Think You Should Put Your Bed, since there is a wallspace between the windows, obviously for a bed.  However, I shouldn’t complain much about this architectural manipulation, since my husband designed the house for the builder.

From the twice-rescued chair, I can look out of one of these windows and see a granite boulder-strewn hilltop, about a quarter-mile in the distance.  It’s close enough that I can see six bushes silhouetted against the sky, probably creosote bushes.  I’ll likely never know for certain, since one can’t just go walking on desert hills.  If you lived here, you’d know.  I’m hoping that one day, there’ll be a hiking path among the hills, and I’ll be able to properly investigate.

As I see the morning sunlight hitting the hilltop, light playing among the bushes and boulders, my home still in shadow, I feel connected to the desert.

That’s one reason I love living where we now live, in this neighborhood.  Ideally, I’d live in a home completely designed by my husband, un-dumbed-down by the homebuilder who now employs him, and with plenty of input from me.  This home would be sitting among the desert flora and sand and clay, ten acres of it at least.  However, that’s a rather pricey dream.  For now, I’m happy with my peek at the Sonoran Desert, viewable from my twice-redeemed ill-upholstered comfy perch. 

9:32 AM

Girls…

(copied from my MySpace blog) 

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Current mood: happy

Hm.  Yet another blog posting w/o a “proper” category provided.  Can I really be the only one here who wants to post about family?  Or kids?   Just kidding w/ that smiley.  I was looking for one rolling its eyes up. 

So, #4 dc, whom I’m carrying (internally, I mean), is a girl.  This took me a little while to get used to.  Folks assumed that I would be thrilled.  Dh cried at the u/s. (Cried in a good way.)  Many a woman squealed upon hearing the news.  However, I was a little shocked.  I come from a family that has girls in it, obviously, but I have 3 boys.  My db has three boys.  Dh comes from a family w/ 4 boys.  I just assumed we’d all have boys forever.

I’m familiar w/ boys.  I’m comfortable mothering them.  I know, at least up to age 8.5 (my oldest), what to expect.  But, girls are a whole ‘nother universe.  I’ve never felt really super girly, and was a little startled to discover that I’d need to bequeath some girliness upon a little one of my own.

I’m adjusting, though.  Maybe I’ve adjusted all the way.  Don’t know yet.  But, at least I’m not freaked out anymore.

And, we came up w/ a name today:  Audrey Sophia.  Audrey means “noble strength” and Sophia means “wisdom.”  Our last name means “king,” so that’s quite a lofty moniker for the dd.

I like names that are uncommon, but not odd.  Well, kinda odd, maybe.  I wanted to name this baby Fiala, which is a Czech name meaning “violet,” but dh didn’t like it.  First, he said it was too weird.  Then, he decided it wasn’t too weird, particularly, but he just didn’t like it.  I was a little heartbroken over that, b/c the name Fiala fit everything that I wanted:  uncommon, feminine, w/ a lovely meaning… Plus, I’ve always been enamored w/ The Czech Republic, and purple is my favorite color…  Fiala just seemed so fitting.

But, I’m over that heartache, b/c I’m elated that dh & I totally agree on this name.  I like it a LOT.  And, “Audrey” was #80 in the SSA list of most common names, so it’s not like when I call “Audrey!” at the McDonald’s PlayLand that five little girls will come running.  But, it’s not so weird that we (or she) will get met w/ a lot of faces like this:   upon hearing her name.  It’s just right.

The Semi-Reluctant Feminine Reader

(copied from my MySpace Blog) 

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Current mood: contemplative

 

Dh gave me Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge for Christmas. I thought, “That’s good.” Not b/c I was excited about reading it, but b/c I thought I probably need it. It’s all about femininity; the subtitle being, “Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul.” I’ve never felt very girly, and have often thought that there was some list of Girl Rules that I must have missed somewhere.

But, I’ve recently felt a desire to be more feminine, and that desire has turned into a NEED, now that I’ll be mom to a girl; I want to impart to her a Godly and healthy view & sense of what femininity is all about, and I can’t give that to her if I don’t understand it myself.

So, it was with much dragging of feet, so to speak, that I cracked open the book. But there on the first page of the introduction, Stasi Eldredge writes: “Rest assured — this is not a book about all the things you are failing to do as a woman. We’re tired of those books. As a new Christian, the first book I picked up to read on godly femininity I threw across the room. I never picked it up again. In the twenty-five years since, I have only read a few I could wholeheartedly recommend. The rest drive me crazy. Their messages to womena make me feel as though, “You are not the woman you ought to be — but if you do the following ten things, you can make the grade.” They are, by and large, soul-killing.”

I decided I liked Stasi Eldredge, and that I would happily read her book if that was her perspective on the matter.

Then, I got a little worried about why dh gave me this book. I asked him, and he said, “I want you to read it. I hope you like it. I hope God speaks to you while you read it.” I decided not to over-complicate what my dh said, and take him at his word that he just wants me to enjoy it & hopefully hear from God while reading it.

And, what’s this??  Yet another book I’m reading that MySpace doesn’t have??  I’m shocked :rolleyes:.  Makes me feel like I’m in college again, when I’d find the perfect book that fit exactly what I was looking for, and then come to find out it hadn’t been checked out in 30 years.  I would think, “Surely, I’m not the only person in 30 years who wanted to know about this!”  So, now… “Surely, I’m not the only person on MySpace who has read this book!”  Maybe I am…

Currently reading :
Captivating : Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul
By John Eldredge
Release date: By 07 April, 2005

Blogging & forums & friends & myspace

(copied from my MySpace Blog) 

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Current mood: pensive

I’ve been feeling really old, really left behind by technology…  I’m 32, which is relatively young, I think…  Yet, there’s nothing like creating a myspace to help someone feel totally lost & out of it.
I’ve struggled w/ this whole idea of myspace.  It seems to be all about meeting people, which I’m really not into.  It seems really strange to me for folks to read, perhaps, the bit I’ve written about myself and then want to meet me.  And, stranger, still, for me to start browsing for potential friends.  I have, many times, felt just shy of “friendless” but am I that desperate?  Ummm, no.  I don’t feel friendless right now, anyways.
I’m really appreciative of the Sonlight forums.  One one hand, IRL friends are immensely valuable, and of deep significance.  But on the other hand, having a forum of mostly like-minded women (mostly women — I kinda ignore the posts from men.  I think, in a very unkind judgemental way, that really they don’t belong there) from which I can draw, from which I can learn, to which I can contribute, has been, in a way, even more valuable.  I don’t have many local home schooling friends.  I don’t have many friends who have had four kids on purpose.  I have often felt very alone struggling w/ celiac disease.  I have felt odd having a husband in ministry — there are quirks and sacrifices and understandings that are outside of “normal” work that I usually just don’t talk w/ anyone about, b/c it would be hard for anyone outside of public church ministry to understand. 
Yet, on the forums, I have found thousands who not only home school, but use the curriculum I do.
There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of families on the SL forums who have four, five, six, even 10 or 12 kids.  Not that I want 10 or 12 kids, but it’s nice to be in a community where four kids doesn’t seem excessive, and I don’t have to explain myself for being pregnant again, and no one assumes it was an accident, which it wasn’t.
On the SL forums, there are many women who have celiac disease, or who have kids w/ it, or who are at least on a gluten-free or wheat-free diet.  I can share & receive recipes, give & get tips about restaurants, or get information on some other resource…
And there are lots of families in ministry on the SL forums.
One friend I have had for nearly two years has ALL these same things in common with me.  I consider her my best friend, but I’d never have met her w/o the SL forum.
We’ve been talking (e-mailing and private message-ing) about the oddness & appropriate/inappropriateness of having a best friend whom one hasn’t met IRL.
And now, blogging…  I like to write.  I’ve always journalled.  Journalling has the same dilemma, for me, as blogging, only blogging is more extreme in the dilemma, which is this:  does one write with such abandon as if no one will ever read the journal/blog?  Or does one write with the view that someday, someone will (or at least might) read it?
It seems rather exhibitionist, in a way, to blog.  Yet, I’ve read a few blogs that have (not that I’ve read many) encouraged me, or inspired me.  I’m writing this, in fact, after reading one such blog.  And, I like the idea of the woman who went through the whole Julia Child cookbook in a year and blogged her experiences.  The whole thing got turned into a book, which I read has been optioned for a movie.  I think that would make a good movie, b/c the little I’ve read was really entertaining…
So, this dilemma has kept me from even starting a blog, though I’ve wanted to for a while.  I type a whole lot faster than I write, and blogging is — at times — a lot more convenient than journalling….
I don’t know.  I haven’t quite figured out all my thoughts about the whole thing. 
I’ve barely figured out myspace. 

Alexander McCall Smith

(copied from my MySpace blog) 

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Current mood: thoughtful Category: Writing and Poetry Does talking about an author fit into “Writing and Poetry”? I found it odd that there’s no blog subject for “Books.”  Does that mean that the MySpace creators assume we aren’t reading??  But, then, there’s that “I’m reading” thing one can post on the blog.  Hmmm….. I’m newly a part of a book club.  At least, I think I am.  It was a new start-up, and I went to the first meeting. I’m forever reading, b/c I home school my kids.  We’re reading through The Cricket in Times Square right now, which has been pleasing to all of us.  And in the curriculum we use, most of the resources are actual BOOKS, not texts.  But, there hasn’t been a lot of personal reading on my part, which is why I was so happy for the book club.  The idea is (was?) to read one contemporary author (or contemporary-ish), and one classic.  Our first book was The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith.  I never, never would have just picked this up on my own, even though I like mysteries.  The hokey title alone would have ensured that I didn’t even peruse the dust cover.  But, I’m now glad that I was “forced” to read it.  It is a delightful book.  But, not “delightful” as in frilly & light.  The book isn’t drudgery, to be sure, but it’s not really a light read, either.  It has emotional depth, and addresses rather significant situations.  In Africa.  In Botswana, to be exact. No. 1 is written by a Scotsman who was born in Africa, and taught in Botswana.  One of the things I found most engrossing about the book is its un-American perspective.  Not ANTI-American, but un-American.  I’m not sure how Mr. McCall Smith got to understand the psyche of women so well, let alone a Batswana.  But, he seems to have done so, completely. Now, I just finished reading the fourth book in the series, and have the fifth awaiting me.  There is also a sixth that just came out that I’ve seen at the library, but have not yet checked out.  I’ve liked them all, though the first still seems most magical.  I don’t know if that’s because it was an altogether better book, or if it just seemed so, b/c it was totally NEW to me.  I also read the first book in another series, The Sunday Philosophy Club, but I didn’t like it as much.  Its set in Edinburgh.  Now, I love Scotland;  I’ve been there twice.  But it wasn’t nearly as compelling reading about the gentle life of a 40-ish woman in Edinburgh as it was reading of a 30-ish woman in Gaborone.

Currently reading : The Full Cupboard of Life By Alexander Mccall Smith Release date: By 25 January, 2005
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