Wednesday, October 26, 2011

a contented woman (part deux)

I still haven't received all the questionnaires back from the women who asked to be interviewed for this little project of mine, so I can't give specific details yet, but I can rattle on about a little contentment issue I'm currently dealing with!

The other day I was answering questions for a healing course I'm currently taking, and it asked me to think back to the happiest time of your life, and what would it take to get to a place like that again... I was surprised when I really stepped back and thought about it, because, well, I think this is the happiest time of my life.  I'm so happy with my husband, our home, our friends, and our family, it's amazing.

I purged items to clear clutter awhile back, I've bought beautiful scents for our living room, I've decorated for fall, I've learnt how to bake pie, I'm knitting a sweater, I love teaching piano...

I couldn't think of anything that wasn't good and happy.

So I decided to think about it, and see when I was happy and not happy throughout the day.  It turns out there is an area where I'm not happy, and have been continuously disappointed for several years..  It's when I'm getting changed, when I hop into the shower, when I try on clothes...

Get where I'm going with this?

Now, don't get me wrong, I love my body, I really do, but I know that I haven't been really good to it... in a long time.  I used the excuse of "planning a wedding" and being stressed for almost all last year, and now the "newly wed" excuse is sort of wearing thin.  I want to love my body, and also be happy with it.  I know it's possible to feel better about my body, I've done it before.

So, to answer the first question,  yes this is the happiest time of my life, but there's always area to grow and change.  If you know me well, this won't come as a surprise... I'm going to do a 30 day exercising/healthy eating experiment.  I don't expect to lose much weight, but I know I'll feel better about myself.  It's great to have a wonderful life, but if there's an area where you feel like you're falling behind, or will never be able to feel good about... don't lie to yourself, chances are we're all able to change and grow a bit.

Stay tuned for "a contented women (part troix)" where I'll unleash all the research I've gathered!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

a contented woman (paradox?). part one.

Two thoughts popped into my brain when I was considering the lies that women have been told over the past century.  There have been many lies, but I was focusing on two.  One, in the 40s-50s that said that women couldn't and shouldn't go to school (unless it was to get a degree in home economics, or fill a feminine role (ie: nurse/teacher etc.), and two, present time, that tells us that we HAVE to get a degree, or at least a career to feel fully content.

Both of these are on either side of a pendulum, and I'm suggesting a balance.  I think perhaps some women should go to school, and some women shouldn't, some should work in fast paced careers, and some should rear children.  Another thought I had, when considering these lies, was that woman have been in the same role for thousands of years, do you really think we had it wrong for that long?  Yes, I do believe there was oppression in some cases, but can we honestly say that all women being forced into the work force has helped our families, our homes, or our countries?  That's a big statement, I'll take a few steps back.

A lot, but not all women are natural carers.  We care for our spouses/boyfriends, our children, and really when it comes down to it, would do anything for them, therefore, whatever we do, it's often in support of the people we love, for example, if we're working, it's to pay for the families lifestyle, or if we're not working, it's so that we can raise the children.  Is this true?  Perhaps it is, or perhaps it might have been.  Nowadays, we've fallen under the belief that we need to "find ourselves," we need to know our "purpose," then we find jobs to fit that "identity" and are supposed to live long, prosperous, contented lives.

This really is a lot to think of, but the purpose of this series of posts, is to really find contented women, and see where it is that they find contentment.  I hope that in searching for this, we find where contentment generally is, and how to get there.  I think most of us would admit that we're not living in a time where contentment is really encouraged.

So, I've asked several women to answer a set of questions, and over the next few posts I'll be sharing the results of my research.  I really want to interview women of different beliefs, ages, and lifestyle choices. I'm really excited to see the outcome!

 Before I get to researching the results of the answers I've received, I want to leave you with one more thing to think about.  The woman that God wants us to be, the woman described in Proverbs 31, is not a one dimensional woman.  She doesn't just stay home, nor does she just work.  In fact it has been speculated that perhaps this "woman" is really a portrait of several different strong women.  The point is, however, that this woman (or women) is hardworking, provides for family, earns money, runs several businesses, and thinks for herself.  To stay home isn't to say that you're going to live forever attached to your couch watching OPRAH.  I'll leave you with Proverbs 31:10-31, what do you think about the woman described?

The Wife of Noble Character
 10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
   She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
   and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
   bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family
   and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
   her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
   and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Perhaps the 50s didn't have it right, and we still don't now. A contented woman, who can find?  Let's see.


Monday, October 3, 2011


I guess it's in the whole spirit of Thanksgiving, but I've been thinking on this post for a while now... it just happens to work well because Thanksgiving is next week!

I am so incredibly thankful for how our lives are going.  Each day is a new adventure and each prayer is always answered.  It's amazing.

I guess this is going to be a list of sorts, but a detailed list.

A lot of people debate that there is no difference to a relationship whether you're married or not, especially since a lot of people live together before they're married anyway, and I counter that with, "well then why do people get married then?" :P Actually, I really believed this up until the moment I was married, I really didn't believe there was going to be any change in our relationship, except dealing with physically living with each other. Boy was I wrong.  I think being married is one of the most fulfilling feelings psychologically.  It's like before we were two people who loved each other, and now we're a unit, a family, legally.  It's amazing, and I'm so thankful to be in a loving family with Tal.  It's so amazing.  So yes, I believe there is definitely a difference to your relationship whether you're married or not.

The cool thing about getting married young, well married at any age I guess, is that there is a lot of growing and changing that you do together.  Both Tal and I didn't marry each other for who we used to be together, or for how we envisioned the other person to be in the future, we married each other for exactly who we were at the exact stage of life that we were at on our wedding day, both full well knowing that we'd be changing a whole lot more.  I think that's really important, to understand that your spouse and yourself are both going to continue changing throughout your whole marriage, and that your commitment to each other is stronger than those changes.  You roll with whatever change gets thrown your way.  I'm so thankful that Tal married me for me, and not for who he thought I'd become, or for who he fell in love with 5 years ago.  There's no stress in a relationship that allows for change on either side, as long as love and your commitment to each other remain in the center.

I'm  so thankful for all the changes that Tal has gone through this year.  He's become such an amazing man, and I'm so proud to be his wife.  I've joked about this before, but I really want a  button or a sweater that says, "I am the proud wife of an amazing husband."  He is so thoughtful and caring, and always looking out for me.  To try and show how much I think of Tal I'll tell you that the other day I was driving home alone from Aldergrove and trying to write a song about how thankful I was for him, and I couldn't sing it, because I couldn't stop crying.  He really is so amazing to me, and really, I am incredibly proud.

Our car! I'm thankful for our car!  Carlotta is really cute, but like we learned with the first apartment, the cute factor wears off really quickly.  The car was such a miracle to us, she was given to us for free at a time where we really needed her, and Tal was able to commute to and from work with her, and she really did help us get everything we needed to get done.  It was amazing though, even when things got bad, and she stalled at every intersection, both Tal and I had a sense of peace, that because we knew God had given us Carlotta, that she would continue working until a new car arrived.  We knew that we didn't have to stress about looking for a new one, because God was going to provide for us. 

If there's any lesson I've learned this year that I'm most thankful about, it's that God really will provide.  There's no use stressing, or worrying, if he takes care of the birds and the wildflowers, he most certainly will take care of us.  I still catch myself worrying, each time something comes up where I don't know where money/transportation/food is going to come from, but each time it's a little bit less, and Tal is so much stronger in this area, he always just says that he knows that God will provide for us, because he has in the past.  You can't say it's coincidence, it just isn't.  God has completely provided for our personal needs.  It's amazing.

I'm incredibly thankful for the family of friends that we've been able to be a part of.  Everyone from my close friends, to bible study friends, to church friends, they all just feel so much more like family to me.  I feel like my church has grown to be a lot stronger relationship-wise, and the same with a lot of my personal relationships.  I had a thought earlier this summer that if there ever was a situation where Tal and I needed a lot of help, and no provision from God had come, that he would provide for us through our "family." I have no doubt in my mind that our church family would help us in no matter what sort of situation we were stuck in.  We're so grateful for that.  It's so powerful to have a group of people that you know will stand by you.

I can only thank God for all of these things, but one that I find incredibly miraculous, is that every single time Tal and I think we're going to be tight for money for the next couple of weeks, EVERY TIME... we're given unexpected money within the next couple of days.  We've never gone without.  I think I'm going to get $500 and I get $1000, someone from church gives us a cheque, there's extra money from the government, there's just money, and we are so thankful.

I feel like God has been building us, so that no matter what life throws us, we won't be shaken because we know that God cares and provides for us.  No matter what.

Happy Thanksgiving.