“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Strong Elegant Women

I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a woman lately.  In Church, as wives we are often told to be submissive. Unfortunately, the word has been twisted and used to keep women oppressed for centuries. Please understand me--I believe we should submit to our husbands. However, I am proposing that maybe we have been going about it wrong.  In Christian circles, it seems women are discouraged from pursuing their dreams in the name of "submission." As a result, women are polarized: either be a *stay at home mother who home schools (see below) to the "feminatzi." Can't there be a more balanced approach? 

Let's take a look at the Proverbs 31 woman:
  • Her husband trusts and respects her
  • She works outside of the home 
  • She takes care of her household 
  • She is a business woman
  • She is strong and smart
  • She helps the needy
  • Her children love her
When I read that verse, I see a woman who is intelligent, strong yet supportive to her husband. 

I think we need more strong elegant women as role models.  Here are some role models that have stood out for me. Not all of these women are married or confessing Christians but they exude grace, character and strength. 
Joni Eareckson Tada
from http://www.joniandfriends.org/
Condoleeza Rice
from http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/2010-10-12-rice12_CV_N.htm
Laura Bush
from http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/firstlady/
Ann Curry
from http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/4515786/ns/today/
*I am in total support of the woman who stays home with her children and home-schools. I am opposed to setting that as the standard for the ideal Christian woman.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Reading anything good lately?

I've been reading for pleasure quite a bit the last week. I've discovered that there is a Goodwill down the street that has a great book section. I can pick up .50 paperbacks and $1.00 hardbacks.  Then, there is *Paperback Swap where you can get books for free.  I picked up about four chick lit books and then a couple more educational books all for under $5 between both sources.  Quite the bargain, right? Let me tell you the real bargain- what I get out of reading...

About 11 years ago, I worked as a Child Protection Social worker. Whew, what a stressful job.  I remember my boss recommending I read the book, "A Child Called It." Let me tell you that was not a good choice for me at the time. I would get home from a long day, start reading the book and start crying. My husband told me, "You've got to stop reading that book. You're making yourself miserable." And I was. A few months later, I was at a discount store and found the book "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" in a discount bin (this was before the movie and all the hype). I bought it and started reading it the next night. I never laughed so hard reading a book before. It provided a great escape from a hectic day and was a definite stress reducer. From that point on, I have been a fan of chic lit or as I call "brain candy." It helps take my mind off of the day's events and can completely improve my mood.

I discovered that reading has other benefits too.  Clark and Rumbold (2006) found that reading for pleasure:

  • Increases general knowledge
  • Increases a better understanding of other cultures
  • Increases community participation
  • Increases greater insight into human nature and decision-making
  • Enhances social skills 
  • Decreases loneliness 
So, have you read any good books lately?  Grab a book and escape to a foreign land or learn something new. What are you waiting for?

Clark, C. & Rumbold, K. (2006). Reading for pleasure: A research overview. National literacy trust. Retrieved March 4, 2011 from http://content.scholastic.com/content/collateral_resources/pdf/i/Reading_for_pleasure.pdf

*Paperback Swap info:
Swap, Trade & Exchange Books for Free. It's easy: List books you'd like to swap with other club members. Once a book is requested, mail it to the club member (you pay for the postage to mail the book). In return, you may choose from 5,003,351 available books! Books you request are mailed to you for free. No late fees. No hidden charges. http://www.paperbackswap.com