Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Woman of Excellence


For several years, the Proverbs 31 Woman was one of those women I loved to hate.  She was just TOO perfect and her lifestyle didn’t come close to being like mine.  Then one day I was sitting quietly after putting my small children to bed and thinking about likening the scriptures to myself.  I realized I needed to find out why the P31 woman was included in the scriptures and what I was supposed to learn from her. I set aside my feelings of inferiority and set about discovering just who she was.  I was amazed at what I found.  She was the woman I wanted to be.  She was generous and giving, responsible and capable, industrious, diligent, productive, organized, efficient, inwardly and outwardly beautiful, regal, faithful and blessed.  She was a Woman of Excellence.  I then had to find out how to become this woman of excellence in the modern world and so began a life-long pursuit of learning and growing.  

The P31W is included in the scriptures for more than just me, more than just women.  She is an example of someone who seeks excellence in all she does.  It makes no difference if your years of development happen at home while raising a family or out in the world.  The point is to be excellent in all you do. No matter how trivial or mundane the task, do it with excellence.  We wont be able to accomplish everything perfectly every time we try, but we can be perfect in our attempt.  We can go after everything with gusto using the best of our abilities and practice to improve those abilities.
Over the years, I have learned that even though excellence is elusive, it is possible.  Excellence takes years, and I am not there yet, but there is good news, I am getting closer everyday!

Friday, January 15, 2016

On Aprons, UFO’s, Accumulation and Not Letting Go

Graduation is less than a year away and I am scared.  But, let me back up a little. 

I am a wearer of aprons.  Most days I have one on.  It is something I started as a young mother to keep myself clean of runny noses and splatters from mac and cheese.  As my children grew, I continued to wear an apron as I completed my household chores because of the convenience of the pockets.  As I would go about my tasks for the day, I collected all the little things my family left behind. These UFOs (Unclaimed Found Objects) made their way into my pockets to be put away as I worked my way through the various rooms of my home. I always kept pen and paper for taking notes of things I needed to refill or replace, and by the end of the day, with six females living in the house, I had a hefty accumulation of hair accessories, mostly hair elastics and bobby pins.  There were Legos and Matchbox cars and always at least one puzzle piece with the occasional Domino.

These fabulous pockets held little remnants of my life with my family.  Now the pen and paper have been replaced by a smart phone, the number of bobby pins has been reduced and I haven’t had to pick up a miniature car for several years.  Yet, I still wear my aprons. I still feel I need my aprons.
What does this have to do with business classes or graduation?  Just this, I don’t know what to do with my aprons. They represent much of who I am and what I have been doing with myself for the last 25 years.  I was confidently going about doing the things the Lord wanted me to do with the knowledge of why I was doing it.  I knew the role I was filling and loved it. When it was time to finish my education, I knew again, this is what the Lord intended for me, but this time it was without knowing the why.   Now, graduation is coming and I am scared. 
I watched the interview with Tom Monaghan, of Domino’s Pizza with fascination.  I was intrigued by his words referring to his work with Ava Maria University,
 “It is a privilege to be given the wisdom to see what God wants me to do.”  
Although I am actively seeking His guidance, I have not as yet been given this privilege.  So in the meantime, I am facing my last few classes and graduation with some trepidation.   What I do will have a significant impact on what I am, but I want what I am to be more significant.  As I ponder the avenues I could take with my new-found skills, it is thrilling to have so many choices before me. Of all the choices, I know I want to keep my aprons.  Perhaps I can make aprons for new young mothers, so they can fill their pockets with the lives of their own families. Perhaps they will love their apron as much as I have loved mine.