Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Challah like its HOT!

This is a lazy post, in which I send you to a fabulous post I found randomly which explains step-by-step how to make Challah bread typically eaten each Sabbath and which I plan to make on Friday (or Thursday night...).

Take a peek, enjoy and make your own or at the very least, wish me luck!!

MAKE SOME CHALLAH!!!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

We are weak and He is strong

We can do it all, but should we?
It is not a secret that women are stronger than men.

We give birth and deal.

They get a cold and spend 3 days in bed.

I had the experience of having major surgery -- twice. I had two ectopic pregnancies and because I live in Mexico in an area where there is not a lot of quality medical care, I ended up with both fallopian tubes removed; something that would never happen in the states or in a larger city down here.

I was a working mother; a mother to my genetic son. A mother to my spouse at the time. A mother to his three children. And main breadwinner.

After both surgeries, I was up and working on the computer in the hallway in my hospital gown with my IV drip because someone had to pay the $3,000 usd I owed the gynecologist for having mutilated me.

The day after that I was making breakfast for everyone and practically back to business as usual.

A week later I was on stage singing in a concert.

We train people how to treat us. I trained everyone around me that I was a Superwoman. So, I had to fulfill that role no matter what. This was the message I received from my mother, who raised four children with no help from my dad working full-time as a nurse and going to school at night.

This was the message I received from the culture around me. Just check out this link if you need reinforcement for what I am saying: I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan...

The image of the optimal 80s woman was in a dark blue tailored suit with a baby perched on one hip and a briefcase clasped in the other hand.

We were told we could and should be able to do it all.

And I bought it -- hook, line and sinker.

I took feminism classes in college which only added to the weight of my responsibilities. I OWED it to the women who came before me -- who FOUGHT for my right to vote, to own property, to work, to choose -- to pursue a career.

And I was mandated to do this FIRST against what science shows is optimal for a woman physically and biology. Mothering was something that was to be put on the back burner and addressed later on -- only AFTER a certain professional level had been achieved.

So, it was take the pill, climb the corporate ladder and leave family for last; almost as an afterthought.

When I married and after almost two YEARS of trying I finally got pregnant, and the moment of truth came in which my belief system -- my socialization -- collided with the realities of the demands of being an 'attached' mother.

Because I also firmly believed that it was my G-d given duty to be the best mother I possibly could. I read all the books -- an entire library full -- when I was pregnant. I interviewed moms who attracted me, whose children seemed to have turned out healthy and sane children.

I discovered Mothering magazine and Dr. Sears and and Sheila Kitzinger.

I wanted to do everything right from home birth to slinging to sleeping with my baby to nursing and all the other natural behaviors that had been part of mothering before modern civilization intervened.

That did not include sticking my newborn in daycare at 6 weeks and going back to work, but rather finding a way to continue to make a living at home so I could be with him. That did not include formula feeding, but rather 'on demand' nursing even though my milk would soak through my tailored suit jackets when a meeting went long. That did not include a Crate and Barrel decorated nursery (which I couldn't afford anyway), but rather a spot next to me in our king size bed. When I think back on how amazing it was to sleep with him and wake up next to him, I get really emotional (he's 10 now ;-) And it did not include a hospital birth with interventions and crisis, in an environment that almost no one chooses to be in of their own volition; NO, I wanted to have my son at home. No drugs. No intervention. And I did.

And that day I was Superwoman.

But today I am obliged to admit that I wish I hadn't carried it past that day. I wish I had been able to choose to focus ONLY on my son and let him and myself be taken care of. I wish I had had a provider. I wish I hadn't had to do it all, which only led to resentments, fighting, me feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, taken advantage of, and ultimately, sick and tired.

We split up, my son's dad and I, when he was a year and a half.

It was doomed from the start, because I didn't know then what I know now.

And it's so simple.

Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you should.

Just because you can make a better living, doesn't mean you should usurp your husband's position as breadwinner.

1.) If I do "X", am I taking over what should be my husband's responsibility?
2.) If I do "X", am I going to feel resentment, now or in the future?
3.) If I do "X", am I taking away my spouse's personal power as a man?
4.) If I do "X", am I stepping outside my realm of nurturing and caring for my family?

All my life I have been Superwoman. All that changed one year ago when after a separation and a long sickness my business failed and I ended up broke and homeless.

I had been so vehement in my ability to care for myself that when in fact I needed someone to take care of me no one was there.

My drastically altered view of women's roles comes directly from this personal experience.

Let him open the door, for Crissakes. Let him pay the bill and the Bills. Let him support you financially while you create a warm, comforting home, care for the children, wash dishes, do laundry, clean floors, do the gardening, cook great meals, decorate for Christmas or Hannukah (carrying on whatever brand of traditions that are your custom), take kids to the doc, to school, to classes, to field trips, etc, etc. Give him a springboard so he can go out and conquer the world. Let him be your Knight in Shining Armor.

You, Ms. Reader, and I know how strong we are, what we are capable of doing -- even fighting in wars as did the women in Israel. But given the choice -- assuming we are not single mothers, or widowed, or in wartime fighting for our lives and our very existence -- we should choose to let our spouse be the warrior.

The more 'battles' he is allowed to fight, the more he establishes himself in his masculine role. The more powerful he feels, the happier and more content and in love with you and appreciative of you he will be.

And the more you feel cared for and protected and provided for, the happier you will be and as a result, so will your children, who are little emotional sponges that pick up through osmosis every dynamic demonstrated to them in the relationship between ma and pa. Every subtle, subconscious or conscious message.
from Wikipedia...
The Yin/Yang symbol is one of the oldest and best-known life symbols in the world, but few understand its full meaning. It represents one of the most fundamental and profound theories of ancient Taoist philosophy. At its heart are the two poles of existence, which are opposite but complementary. The light, white Yang moving up blends into the dark, black Yin moving down. Yin and Yang are dependent opposing forces that flow in a natural cycle, always seeking balance. Though they are opposing, they are not in opposition to one another. As part of the Tao, they are merely two aspects of a single reality. Each contains the seed of the other, which is why we see a black spot of Yin in the white Yang and vice versa. They do not merely replace each other but actually become each other through the constant flow of the universe.

Maybe that's why long-time married couples seem to be carbon copies of each other. After a lifetime of looking into each other's mirror and seeing their own image, after a while they can't tell if they are seeing the other or themselves.

I hope to get to old age with my current significant other. I will do what it takes to make that happen. And maybe what I don't do will make all the difference.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Faith in Him

FAITH

1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief, trust.
3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.

As I write for this blog, it becomes more and more apparent that the role of women is to embody, cling to and revive qualities that in modern society are not lauded or supported.

As I read this definition of faith, I feel how it can be applied in a relationship and make all the difference between one that lasts and one that crashes.

The man in our life needs our faith in him. When all ‘logical proof or material evidence’ seems to scream that he’s making mistakes or that things are going in the wrong direction or that his wild schemes will lead to no good end, we have the sacred duty to continue to believe in our spouse.

What happens when we lose or choose not to employ “confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness” of our significant other -- well, what’s left? Where do we go from there?

Without faith in our spouse, we are left with a few options and as they play out, they don’t paint a pretty picture.

We can nag. Criticize. Point out all the faults and missteps. Manipulate. Try to get him to see it our way. All typical of the worst stereotypes of passive-aggressive behavior women utilize to move things in the direction they think is correct. Any of these imply we don’t trust him. Don’t believe in him. Don’t value his judgement, his choices, his leadership.

Most of us reading this come from Western society in which we venerate a system called ‘democracy’ in which all members of a society have an equal say in the decisions affecting the group. If we try to apply this system in a family relationship, it will bring about its destruction. I won’t try to extrapolate on a global level, since this is not the focus of this blog, but you can draw your own conclusions. To criticize democracy as a viable system in any context (except the military) is the highest level of blasphemy, but I’ve always been unabashedly sacrilegious. I believe in questioning everything, holding all belief systems to the highest standard of scientific analysis with a basic objective -- to identify if it works or if it does not. Again, working from my extensive personal trial and error and the observations of family, friends and the society around me, our current system of mating and creating families is inherently flawed, and I believe one of the root causes has to do with a lack of faith in the man as unquestioned leader and head of the household.

We are not supposed to question. We are not supposed to doubt. We are not supposed to offer our analysis unless specifically asked. We are to have faith. Unquestioned, unshakeable, blind faith.

Like we do in G-d.

As I write this, I am overwhelmed with how huge a task this is. How unpopular this belief is, even in Judeo-Christian society where the Torah and the Bible both identify men as the dominant leaders of families. Like we do in G-d.

Falls like a ton of bricks.

Yet this is the task we are charged with. To sit on our hands and to glue our lips shut with SuperGlue if necessary. And not be muttering and cursing under our breath. Because whether or not we voice our doubt it can be felt. So we are talking Herculean efforts to short-circuit any thought patterns that even resemble doubt before they take root, before their energy is manifested, before our spouse can get a whiff and feel the wind go straight out of his sails.

As alternatives to faith, after the whining and the manipulation afore mentioned, everything goes downhill from there.

When faith is lost, I and many women I know have grabbed the reins and taken over. We go out, get a job, become the heads of our household, calling the shots, demanding our rights, and demeaning our significant others. They become less. We prove that we are better providers than they. We prove we can do what they can’t. Which ultimately proves that they are worthless. Theat we don’t need them at all.

Next stop, everybody out.

: Separation, Divorce, Custody, Remarriage.

Start process over from the beginning, but with ex spouses and half, whole and step siblings. DC al CODA for you music fans out there.

Seen from this perspective maybe it would be easier to learn to be soldiers. Learn to follow. Learn to say “yes, sir” and keep our mouths shut, not speaking unless spoken to.

It may sound archaic, but once again referring to the example of the army -- a soldier would never question the decisions of his troop leader.

So, put yourself in boot camp.

Try faith. Try believing in that which may AT THE MOMENT have no material evidence. Try putting a sock in it. Try LOYALTY and ALLEGIANCE and all those things you promised at the altar.

The alternative is really not one.

The seed of faith you plant in your spouse will bear the sweetest fruit. This comparison also works well in this case -- you plant a seed and you KNOW if you water it, give it sun, tend to it -- it will GROW. This actually doesn’t require MUCH FAITH AT ALL!!!!

A man who perceives your unquestioned loyalty will ultimately lay the world at your feet. All you have to do is believe.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hard to Be Humble

from Wikipedia:
Humility (adjectival form: humble) is the quality of being modest, reverential, even politely submissive, and never being arrogant, contemptuous, rude or even self-abasing. Humility, in various interpretations, is widely seen as a virtue in many religious and philosophical traditions, being connected with notions of transcendent unity with the universe or the divine, and of egolessness; by contrast, some schools of thought are sharply critical of humility.

I can hardly read this definition without my stomach churning, my eyes rolling and feeling that squeamish conviction in the center of my chest as the voice inside me says, “you, honey, are sorely lacking in this department.”

So maybe it’s best to humbly step aside and insert here some commentaries I found in my research on the web about the topic.

from the following webpage:
http://www.gospelway.com/christianlife/meekness.php


Wives' Submission to Husbands
1 Peter 3:1-6 - Repeatedly God says wives are to be submissive to their husbands. In the midst of this teaching, he requires women to be adorned with a "meek (gentle - NKJV) and quiet" spirit. Note this instruction is in the middle of the discussion of obedience to husbands. Why?

Why do many modern women deny the concept that man is head of the family? Why are so many women unhappy and rebellious toward the idea of following the will of their husbands?

There are several reasons, including the fact many husbands selfishly misuse their authority and fail to treat their wives with honor and respect (v7). But some wives have trouble obeying when their husbands do not accept their wives' view, even when husbands are respectful. And Peter said wives should obey husbands even when husbands are not obeying God's word (v1).

Why do women struggle with this? Because it is so "humiliating" to have to do what a man says. Woman has her own ideas about what she wants to do. "My ideas are just as good as his." "I've got my pride, you know." Many women are encouraged by modern humanistic psychologists to be "self-assertive" and "stand up for themselves." God says what is needed is a "meek and quiet spirit."

There are other forms of ordained authority we must submit to: children to parents, employees to employers, etc. None of us is free to do just whatever we want. All of us need to learn meekness and humility.

Note we are to submit first to God; we do not obey man when he tells us to disobey God (Acts 5:29). But we still are not doing what we want. We do what God demands first, then what those in authority demand. We do what we want only when allowed to by God and by proper human authorities.

The solution to our stubborn, rebellious attitude toward authority is meekness and humility.


and here's some more about meeknees and humility
http://www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=17009


Let’s consider together the Crowning Quality of a Meek and Quiet Spirit as an adornment of the godly Christian woman. We need to learn what God expects from us regarding proper godly character, attitude and behavior and how to apply these in our daily lives as professing women of God. We also need to learn what God expects from the Christian men in our lives – our husbands/future husbands, our brothers, our fathers, our sons, our sons-in-law, our church leaders – so that we can encourage and support them and even hold them accountable to fulfill their proper godly roles as professing Christian men.

Some Crowning Qualities
By both precept and example, the Scriptures give us many crowning qualities of godly Christian womanhood. Many of these qualities apply to all Christians, not just women; but the woman who crowns herself with them is indeed adorning herself as a true woman of God. Examples of such women whom we can emulate are Sarah, Ruth, Esther, Deborah, Mary the mother of Jesus, etc.

Here’s a semi-exhaustive list of those crowning qualities:

• A devout spirit (devoted to God, obedient to His Word, seeks His face in everything, faithful, puts God first, joyfully submits to His will, etc.)
• Wise
• Virtuous
• Hospitable
• Kind
• Always ready to serve
• Always ready to labor
• Self-sacrificing
• Humble
• Liberal, generous
• Submissive
• Meek and quiet in spirit
• Modest
• Chaste
• Sober
• Industrious
• Diligent
• Strong and courageous
• Trustworthy

The crowning quality of godly Christian womanhood that we will focus on for this series of bible studies is a meek and quiet spirit as it relates to 1) modesty, 2) submission to husbands (future husbands), and 3) the husband’s duty in marriage.

I remember seeing this video almost a year ago:



I was so struck by it; because the woman's attitude was so attractive. She seemed so peaceful and so at one with herself and her significant other. She wasn’t hogging the stage or trying to be the center of attention. She was there to accompany, support and complement what her spouse was doing.

I couldn’t have identified her attitude back then as ‘humility’ or ‘meekness’.

Not in my vocabulary.

Not a quality that was much lauded in my home, since my mom dumped my dad, always knew better than him, always put him down, never supported him, was vocal about the fact that his ideas were crazy and that he was a good-for-nothing that couldn’t support his family.

THAT was my model of male-female relationships.

Now I know that that model is a guarantee for failure.

Now I know that the humility has to come first. When we meekly step out of the way, they (the guys) will blow up larger than life to more than fulfill the task they are blessed with -- providing for and protecting their families.

I have a long way to go before I can ever pretend to personify this trait. And out in the world, you can’t even talk about it. Most of the women I’ve ever associated with in the past, even the women in my own family, would laugh in my face or assume that I had gone mad.

That’s how backwards things are today.

I say, “Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.”

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Women and Prayer



I believe one of the strongest roles of women is intercessor. As mentioned in the previous post, by the nature of our gender we have a direct line to the Divine Spirit. We are by nature closer to ‘it’ and can get in touch and keep in touch more easily than our counterparts.

So, we need to pray. Our prayers are powerful. Our prayers can heal, console, comfort -- ourselves and others. Our prayers can lift up our spouses when they feel beaten. Our prayers can guide our children and keep them on the right path. Our prayers can protect our loved ones and keep them from harm. Our prayers can powerfully call upon a legion of angels to guard our door.

Our work is hard, arduous, and never ceases. Sometimes it is mundane. We are often criticized in today’s society because by today’s standards we have settled. We have sacrificed our own growth and development in favor of the advancement of our spouse and children.

We know different.

We know that the role we play cannot be filled by another; not by a schoolteacher, a stepparent, a grandparent, a lover, a cook, a housecleaner, a nanny.

G-d gave us the toughest of all jobs; one that requires wearing an infinite amount of hats; one that demands us to give and give and then give some more. And every obstacle we overcome brings us closer to Him, annihilating our egos, breaking down our pride and all that separates us from Divinity and from our fellow man. By the nature of our role, we are given a daily opportunity to elevate ourselves to a higher spiritual plane -- to incarnate love and model forgiveness and acceptance, sacrifice and service.

Prayer gets us there. Prayer gets us through, bridging one day to the next, tears to joy, fears to courage, longing to fulfillment.

We can pray prayers that have already been written. We can pray prayers that we make up as we go along or prayers that are nothing but praise and adoration and gratefulness for life itself. We can pray in song -- songs written and songs that are sung from our soul. We can pray in dance -- and this one doesn’t get practiced often enough. We can pray in absolute silence by virtue of listening to the sound of His Spirit in us and around us. And we can pray in the tongues of Angels in languages only they understand.

Pray as you open your eyes in the morning. Pray with faith that is unshakeable. I admit to a recent prayer that was a challenge to the Divine Being -- I was angry and I was fed up -- and I let him have it. Jacob fought with G-d and maybe it is the divine right of Jews to be the only ones who can argue with G-d. I did so, and miraculously things moved.

Pray as you wash dishes, do the laundry, sweep the floor, or any other repetitive task.

Pray as you rock your baby to sleep.

Pray even as you make love to your husband, as G-d is there with you.

Pray into an existence a new world, a renewed world, a sustainable world, a world of love and peace.

Together it is possible. One woman, one relationship, one family at a time.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Jewish Perspective

Read about it here: http://www.jewfaq.org/women.htm

Some excerpts...

Women are closer to G-d's ideal, created with more 'binah'(intuition, understanding, intelligence).

G-d is neither male nor female.

Women and men are separated in the synagogue, because men can't pray if they are looking at a cute tuchus.

Women have held positions of respect in Judaism since biblical times. Miriam is considered one of the liberators of the Children of Israel, along with her brothers Moses and Aaron. One of the Judges (Deborah) was a woman. Seven of the 55 prophets of the Bible were women (they are included in the list of biblical prophets).

Many rabbis over the centuries have been known to consult their wives on matters of Jewish law relating to the woman's role, such as laws of kashrut and women's cycles. The wife of a rabbi is referred to as a rebbetzin, practically a title of her own, which should give some idea of her significance in Jewish life.

Women are discouraged from pursuing higher education or religious pursuits, but this seems to be primarily because women who engage in such pursuits might neglect their primary duties as wives and mothers.

Marital sex is regarded as the woman's right, and not the man's.

There is no question that in traditional Judaism, the primary role of a woman is as wife and mother, keeper of the household. However, Judaism has great respect for the importance of that role and the spiritual influence that the woman has over her family.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Anger bounces


Are we responsible for the happiness of our spouse?

Have you ever had a day when everything you did rubbed your spouse the wrong way; you left something in the driveway after spending a day organizing the garage, you overcooked his favorite steak, his favorite shirt is clean, but not ironed, etc, etc.

A day in which you really are making a special effort to please, and it all turns out wrong. You feel snubbed, unappreciated, hurt, and then pouty, angry, introverted, indignant, judgmental, then furious, livid, outraged and then on the verge of divorce -- all in about the first 20 minutes he gets home from work.

I have something to say that might sound absolutely insane.

Your spouse takes his anger out on you because he loves you.

That’s right.

You are his safe harbor. You love him no matter what. All that he can’t express out in the world he comes home to dump on you. It is not personal. (In fact, when people aim their negativity at us, it NEVER is -- wrap your brain around THAT.)

Because we are the closest to his heart, the dearest, the most precious, we are chosen to take the brunt of the pain he is feeling over his encounters out in the world.

Whoa. I know, I sound like a saint. But understanding this dynamic is so key to the health of any relationship.

if we absorb this insight, and apply it, our marital relationship will hum along with the most beautiful harmony.

Why?

Because that anger must be expended, and if we as women are strong enough to hold on to our truth -- that we KNOW we are loved, cared for, cherished and adored -- and that the junk spewing out of the man’s mouth who you’ve shared a home and a bed and a thousand meals with for whatever length of time is NOT BEING DIRECTED AT YOU PERSONALLY, forgiveness will be possible. Even beyond forgiveness; you will SKIP forgiveness entirely and move on to the moment at hand which may be a tender moment, a joking comment (AS IF HE HAD NO IDEA HOW HE HURT ME - can you hear yourself?), an embrace, a smile or a hot lovemaking session.

Except, none of this will occur if you are still back there in the hurt and anger and resentment of what transpired 20 minutes or 2 hours or a day or even a year or ten before.

Yes, we can hold onto it that long. It can poison us, and poison our marriage.

“I remember the time he....” and we confess to our girlfriends our almost-memorized litany of offenses. And every time we recount it, we feel the pain all over again. We open the wound, dig around in there and keep it live and putrefying.

WE DO IT TO OURSELVES.

We hurt ourselves. We HURT ourselves.

Let’s review:

1.) Our husbands anger is not directed at us, is not about us, it is not personal, and it is actually a sign of trust and comfort level. (Unless we have done something that is clearly an offense; but in this case, I am referring to what could be considered unfounded criticism, volatility, and general explosiveness.)

2.) We can choose to absorb the anger and take it personally or deflect it, reframe it, let it bounce -- planting ourselves firmly in our truth -- that our spouse loves us and this moment is passing and can be let go just like a breeze through the trees.

3.) If we hold on to it, we run the risk of missing out on all the good, loving, scrumptious moments that are in the waiting. We won’t be in the mood, we will reject any advances, and hang on to the justified nature of our anger and ultimately, return the anger magnified, causing the cycle to repeat itself and real pain to be inflicted.

4.) If we nurse our hurt, keeping an accounting, giving energy to the resentment with our thoughts, by retelling the stories of injustice, by mulling over the events “and then he said, and then I said...”, etc etc... we will set our relationship on a doomed path, be the enzyme that in the end breaks up our family and even end up with irreversible physical illness.

Our thoughts are powerful. Each one creates a new universe. I read a story once in a book called “Love Is Letting Go of Fear” by Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D. . He recounted a tale of a waitress in a restaurant, who came the table with a curled lip, an impatient attitude and proceeded to systematically ruin their dinner by providing a substandard service. He left a miserable tip, almost an insult and exited the restaurant with slight indigestion.

What he didn’t know is that the young girl had recently lost her husband, she was rearing young twins alone, far from her family and her boss had just threatened her with reducing her hours since business was slow, and she was 5 days late on her rent.

In the end we have no idea what our husband may be holding back; he may not want to share the difficulties that he’s faced during the day. Maybe home needs to be a safe haven, where he can expel his angry, frustrated energy and where you let it bounce.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Bien comido, bien cogido"




Okay ladies, this is one you never learned in your high school Spanish class.

It is a phrase oft repeated in Spanish that has a universe of wisdom held within it:

"Bien comido, bien cogido"

“Well fed, well f***ed.”

Now, excuse my french, but I’m just repeating what I’ve heard. And with much trial and error have determined to be for the most part true.

Men are simple creatures. Visceral. Not much subtlety.

Like penises -- it’s all out there, no double meaning in their speech; no passive-aggressive behavior, no insinuations. They are easy to read. They are either hungry or horny.

If we paid acute attention to these sage words, 90% of all marital problems would be solved.

Women, however, are mutable, syrupy, an ocean of emotion, endlessly wanting and needing, seeking, longing and sometimes, whining, needling and nagging.

We don’t ask for what we want straight out. We hope and assume that our minds will be read. That if our man really loved us, he would be able to figure us out.

But if we take care of him, and choose that ephemeral moment of absolute contentment and bliss to express our deepest desires -- just after an orgasm or an orgasmic meal -- we will wont for nothing.

Too simple? I think not.

Put it to the test, let me know how it works out. At least for today, personally, my theory has been proven correct.

Monday, July 5, 2010

From the Mennonites...

Read this statement from the Mennonites... http://www.bibleviews.com/womanrole.html

I like it and agree with most of it.

I believe men and women are not meant to compete, but rather to fulfill and complement each other.

I don't think women are meant to teach men; rather women should teach other women and their children. (believe me, the guys aren't listening anyway...) silence is golden, and i have learned that if I keep my mouth shut 90% of the time, I will have done the right thing.

about the head covering... and the hair and clothes styles... that's still up for discussion...




examples of what is considered modest dress in a variety of social groups




i think long hair on women is a glorious and beautiful sign of femininity, but it's also sexy and manly on men. And Samson was not to cut his hair... hmmmmm.... also the Rastafarians look great with the long dreadlocks...

In Judaism, both men and women cover their heads in the synagogue and and only men wear a yarmulke all the time. These beliefs seem more cultural to me than spiritual.

The Muslim women cover themselves from head to toe.

I think a woman should be an absolute SLUT in the bedroom with her husband and go to town with the Victoria's Secret catalog; it is the best investment.

In public, though, a woman exposes herself to unwanted advances, looks and leers if she 'puts it all out there'. I think it's possible to be modest and sexy yet not provocative.

Any comments??

Friday, July 2, 2010

Laura M. Brotherson says:
"
If Twilight-obsessed women would direct even half of their intimate and erotic energies towards their husbands and the real-life fantasy available to them, their marriage relationship would be greatly strengthened and become infinitely more satisfying."
I just sat down after a long busy day to unwind with the laptop. I turned it on and found this open in the browser:
http://www.ldsmag.com/familyconnections/100702twilight.html
It made me chuckle but the fact that my dear husband had read, and then decided to click on this headline amongst all of them in our in-box strikes me as significant. Food for thought... please share what you think.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Five reasons I must do as my husband tells me...

1.) When two people try to row a boat, each in their own direction, it goes in circles or goes nowhere or sinks.

2.) Because humility and submission build strength of character and kill the ego, which is the goal of Buddhist practice as I understand it.

3.) Because faith without question in the male as head of the household injects him with the energy he needs to accomplish what is necessary. A man who is constantly questioned, made to explain himself or challenged will become frustrated, will doubt himself, will feel unsupported, and will inevitably falter.

4.) Because if I allow him to call the shots and firmly hold the reins, he also holds the responsibility and the accountability, which is infinitely more comfortable for me as wife. (here’s an aside; I had a running joke with at least three different spouses -- yes, I’ve been working on an honorary Elizabeth Taylor award -- whenever I would doubt him and almost inevitably find out he was right, I would repeat like a mantra, ‘I will never doubt you again’. And we would laugh. But now I realize, I would say it, but I would never mean it, because I was unwilling to let them --- the men --- lead. I was trained that men are untrustworthy, that they are incapable, that they will fail you, that it is better to be strong and independent and send them straight to hell if they don’t comply or behave -- thus the running string of unsuccessful relationships).

5.) It is divine order, the way things were meant to be. It’s not that woman can’t lead or call the shots, that we’re not strong enough or we’re too stupid NOOOOO! It’s that by design we were meant to be protected and cared for and when we are, when we truly feel shielded, that we have a man who would kill the bastard who touched a hair on our head, we can relax. We can lay down our weapons and our shield. We can live serenely and dedicate ourselves to loving and nurturing our spouse and our families. We are no longer in a fight or flight, adrenalin-pumped state. We can grow our hair and nails long. Create beautiful, comfortable homes. Focus on our children. Really be with them and listen to them and just hold them; not shove 5 minutes of quality time in at the end of a long day of battling it out at the office.

Talk about a topic that would be unpopular with the feminists. I repeat, I would never have dreamed in a gajillion years that I would write these words.

They come from repeated trial and error and from a scientific mind, an objective, analytical mind that had to admit after life beat the shit out of her in relationships, that something was out of balance.

By the way, I did try women.

But the answer to me balancing my overly masculine energy was not to pair up with a woman. The answer was to find a man who was man enough to be my man.

Finally.

ps.



I searched on 'obedience' in Google, and this cartoon about women trying to teach their husbands to obey was all I could come up with. May be a clue about the nature of relationships in today's world, and how obedience is a term that can only be applied to dogs and dominated husbands.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Blessing of Service


Imagine your family as a team, with you at the base holding up the whole show...
To serve is a concept that is not well viewed in today's society. We are supposed to look out for number one, make sure our needs are met, 'express ourselves' and demand our rights.

As a spouse, these goals collide head on with the greater good of meeting the needs of our significant other and that of our children.

Imagine your sick child burning up with fever at 2 in the morning. Imagine your spouse coming home from a long day of work, hungry and demanding dinner even though you've put in a day's work much more intense than any 9 to 5 at home. Imagine your mother-in-law who needs a ride to the grocery store or a sick parent who needs you to run to the pharmacy because they've run out of a life-saving medicine.

At every turn a woman is asked to make sacrifices. And we are built to do it -- with a smile.

But if we buy into the urging of society consider our own needs first, the whole system crumbles.

Children don't get comforted as they're vomiting out their brains, husbands feel ignored and unappreciated as they make themselves a peanut butter sandwich, your mother-in-law deals with the powerlessness of not being able to attend to her own needs and being an imposition and your sick parent could end up in the emergency room with a much worse problem.

Does not compute. Women make sacrifices. They serve their loved ones and if they swallow the teachings of the modern world, every sacrifice they make feels forced. Resentments build. Repressed anger starts to manifest in excessive stress and physical illness. And if they believe that they are not fulfilled human beings if they are not investing their effort in scaling the corporate ladder, then they cannot find success or fulfillment in either the family realm nor the professional.

Service is not glamorous. It is not heralded except maybe in mother's day cards. It is not glorified and not even encouraged, except maybe in the military.

And maybe the military is a good example in this case. A soldier must follow orders without question. A soldier must sacrifice for his country and for his fellow soldiers. A soldier may not be rewarded or praised for all he or she does, and may even be vilified by most if the war or invasion they participate in is unpopular. Soldiers are called to do their duty above all else; to deny their hunger, thirst, tiredness, loneliness and to keep marching forward.

I believe we as women are called to do the same. We may not get a gold medal. Our fellow women might view our sacrifices as old-fashioned or antiquated. We might be ridiculed or told that we are wasting our lives.

But we who have chosen this lifestyle know better. We know that the rewards are much greater, not in the next life, for I don't believe we are called to make these sacrifices to 'earn' our ticket through the door of heaven, but rather we have the capability of creating heaven on earth -- a loving relationship of support with our spouse, nurtured confident children who grow up physically and emotionally healthy, loving, grateful in-laws and parents who don't feel they've been abandoned in their old age.

In the end, the effort we invest in our families -- sometimes sacrificing nights out with the girls or enrichment classes at the local university, or the respect of a society that values a Phd over a Masters in Mothering or an advanced degree in Loving Marriage -- is returned to us in blessings that have no price, pearls beyond compare.

It takes a strong woman to serve. It takes a strong woman to sacrifice. Don't be fooled into believing that you are caving into everyone's demands at the expense of your own well-being. We are meant to take it -- and then some.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Faulty Logic of Feminism

The fact is that men need moral women.  Perhaps one of the greatest tragedies of the feminist movement was the pre-occupation of many feminists to make women more like men.  To a large degree, the feminists abandoned the stay-at-home mother and those who desired the traditional family experience.  Women were not only told to leave the home and go into the workplace to claim their rightful positions, but they were also encouraged to abandon many of their innate qualities and values. 

Feminists viewed a woman’s nurturing characteristics, for example, as useless baggage that harmed them.  Instead of promoting family and children, the emphasis shifted to wants and desires of the woman regardless of its impact upon the family.  Men and husbands were viewed with contempt and children were seen as a hinderment to self-fulfillment. 

Interestingly, the feminist movement abandoned and held in contempt the most admirable qualities of women.  It viewed the achievements of men as the ultimate prize while turning against the unique and remarkable characteristics of its own species. 

Even more remarkable, the feminist position concluded that female characteristics were inferior to those of men.  While women have historically been nurturers, caregivers, teachers and the foundation of home life, morality and virtue, feminists interpreted such traditional roles and characteristics as a form of repression.
More here: http://www.meridianmagazine.com/articles/040422women.html

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Learning from this Earth’s First Couple

Adam and Eve are the models or archetypes for our life experience. Where they have led, we follow. What they have done, we are expected to do. So we study their lives for direction.

Adam and Eve had every reason to be gloomy about life in this world. They had lived in serene and peaceful abundance. Then they were evicted and sent to the slums. Eve’s sorrow was multiplied and the ground was cursed for Adam.

Was this a tragedy? No. It was a brave step toward eternal accomplishment. Note the encouraging truth nested in the words of the curse:

… cursed shall be the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. (Moses 4:23, emphasis added)
The curse was and is a blessing. Through our labors and struggles, we will learn to know good from evil. We will suffer the bitter taste of evil. We will learn to enjoy the sweet fruits of goodness. We can learn to choose and cherish the good.

More here: http://www.meridianmagazine.com/marriage/060405marriage2.html

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Why women shouldn't work outside the home...


THIS IS A RESPONSE TO SHERRI'S COMMENT ON MY PREVIOUS POST:

Please read this first...

strong words that ring true... but let's get down to the nitty gritty?

what is virtue?

what is purity?

as adolescent girls, as girlfriends, as wives, as mothers, daughters, granddaughters, daughters-in-law...

i think this opens up a huge can of worms... but one worth sifting through so we can talk in tangible terms.

there are a number of important realms where i feel these concepts apply...

survey SAYS:
1. SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
2. DRESS/OUTWARD FACE/IMAGE
3. INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS IN THE HOME: FAMILY/EXTENDED FAMILY
4. INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS OUTSIDE THE HOME: FRIENDS/COMMUNITY/WORK
5. WHAT WE TEACH OUR CHILDREN
6. WHAT SOCIETY REFLECTS TO US AS TRUE

re: sexual behavior...

we who are out in the 'world' are taught by tv and movies and oftentimes the behavior of our parents or peers, that it's okay to meet someone, have sex, go home, meet someone else have sex, ad nauseum.

we who are raised Christian are told to stay chaste and save ourselves. this concept out of the context of the church to most seems utterly ridiculous. because kids become sexually active so young, we all know and have observed all around us that relationships don't last. so it is natural when the first boyfriend doesn't 'work out', one moves on to the next.

the casual nature with which we treat the relationships i believe is the issue more than the sexual activity.

we rationalize abandoning a relationship because we are bored, the sex isn't that great, he has bad habits, he isn't on the same path, because we got a job on the coast, because we liked someone else better....... etc, etc...

it may be okay to have sex young (look at Romeo and Juliet)...sexual attraction is the first thing that draws us to our mate. But what keeps us together is creating a partnership in which the man is the leader and provider and the woman is the nurturer and homemaker.

without that balance of roles, i believe NO relationship can work out.

woman are by nature very capable, oftentimes more so than men. evolved to be multi-taskers, with a facility for human relationships and a high emotional IQ, capable of learning any task a man can.

BUT, once we take that step; once we prove that we can make it on our own, it opens the door to break off a relationship for any reason.

what we don't know is that our role is to encourage the man in our life by the love and attention we give him to go out in the world and conquer it. Think Helen of Troy... men will do anything for love. they will do anything to win the woman of their dreams. they will create amazing technologies, build tall buildings, maybe even start wars... but if we don't hang back and give them the opportunity to shine; they won't.

if we are better than them at everything, they will feel increasingly insecure.

if we tell them how to manage themselves, and continually criticize assuming we know better than they, we will undermine their self-assurance and confidence.

the balance is that we choose not to act, and provide a springboard for them to go out and do amazing things.

why is this better for us?

in the home, we can be master artists, decorators, amazing chefs, seamstresses, gardeners, we can dedicate ourselves to whatever form of self-expression we prefer; writing, singing, painting or sculpture. that doesn't mean be LAZY; any mother with kids knows that spare time is golden, but a WORKING MOTHER will tell you spare time is an impossibility, and a SINGLE WORKING MOTHER will only role her eyes and say, "what, me? take a long bath, write a poem? i can't even get my bed made or even brush my hair before walking out the door"

the key is this symbiotic relationship i believe we are meant to form opens the door for both men AND women to be all they were meant to be; to fulfill the potential G-d sent us into this reality with from the day we came shooting out of our mother's womb...

But on the contrary, we are taught as women to compete with men, that if we do not pursue a profession outside the home we are wasting our talent, that if we don't work we are LAZY.

(could that be a strategy of the big corporations to create double income homes so there would be more cash pumped into buying what the media says is necessary for a quality lifestyle???? by the credit card companies to get families in debt so women HAVE TO work just to keep their heads above water....)

and then the ramifications in society of a mother absent from the home, and children left to be raised by low-paid daycare assistants without much training or education. latch key kids, who don't know what a home-cooked meal is, who do homework alone, who go out and play and get into trouble because there is no one to notice where they went and with whom...

there is no substitute for what a woman can do in the home for her husband and for her children; the hats she wears are endless and provide more than ample opportunity for her to shine and grow in a million different ways.

if she goes out and works for some company, she will only shine in one.

and it could never bring the same satisfaction as it does to observe the pride of success in her husbands eyes or the contentment of having happy, grounded, balanced and nurtured children.

no fat check or promotion are substitute.

the other side of the coin is that when couples say their marriage vows they almost invariably state they will be together "in good times and bad". this is the biggest bunch of lip-service crap i have ever heard.

when the going gets tough, most couples shatter.

why?

a woman who works can send her man to hell on a dime.

a woman who does not, must stay and work it out.

very simple. too simple.

the problem is, now that the feminist revolution has taken place, and women know they can compete in the working world, a woman who chooses to refrain from it, is almost choosing her jail; willingly forcing herself into a position of needing her spouse. that is, if she sees it from that perspective.

if she could only stick around long enough to experience the joy that comes from overcoming difficult moments as a unit... if she could only hang in there to see all the fruits of a joint investment of life energy... if she could only have a little faith that even though today her spouse is being an insensitive asshole, tomorrow the clouds will clear and her meekness and humility will pay off in spades.

but most women these days don't have the ovaries.

that's why we need a network of support; not friends who say, "you don't need that guy, dump him, he's a jerk...you can come stay with me" etc...

we as women tend to 'support' each other in that way; we rarely help each other to stick it out.

this topic is enormous and only the tip of the iceberg...

i need help from all you ladies out there to speak from your experience...

maybe i'm deluded; coming from such a heavy duty feminist training in college, a lifetime of being a working professional, i would never in a million years have dreamed i would write these words... but after 2 failed marriages, and two more failed live-in situations with endless 'possibilities' in between, and after having to humbly admit that something i was doing was not working... life presented me with an opportunity and a challenge to try something different.

and if i weren't happy, if i didn't feel at peace and in balance (in a way meditation and 12 step meetings never achieved) if i had not watched myself become younger and more beautiful as the burden of carrying the world on my shoulders slipped off my back and onto my spouses... if i hadn't experienced it for myself, after a lifetime of suffering through relationship after relationship, i would never be able to write these words...

love to hear your feedback... What are your thoughts?
blessings,
mhope

Friday, June 18, 2010

M.Hope responds...

Sherri, i think these teachings are wonderful and accurate. I believe, however, that for other women to receive them they must COME from a woman. Women of today are not taught to respect and honor men as teachers, lords, kings, G-ds. But as they say in AA, it takes an recovered alcoholic to lead another alcoholic into the program; it is the only way they can trust that the system works.

You know because you were brought up in this lifestyle. I know because I tried everything else and by a scientific process of deduction and Divine Intervention came to a state of enlightenment about gender roles. And I am still learning day by day. I had to first come to the realization that what i was doing was not producing the results that I desired. Again, from the 12 step program, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Until a woman is convinced that her current behavior is ineffectual, she won't be willing to try something different.

I really like the second article that talks about mothers having the last word. I believe that to be the case, however, HOW we express that last word has everything to do with how it is received. A woman cloaked in humility, honor, dignity, and respect will be heard more loudly than a woman who bulldozes over her spouse and family. My mother-in-law just this morning explained to me the secret behind her political and professional success (she was a senator in a time when women did not have such roles):

"Navegar con bandera de pendeja."

Loosely translated, "Sail your ship with the flag of stupidity."

That, of course, is a crude and somewhat cynical way of expressing that she was able to get her point across and be heard once she had listened to all the men surrounding her until they finally looked to her for her opinion. After gleaning all the important information by respectfully and attentively listening, she would then guide them all in the gentle, nurturing way a mother guides her child to knowledge and understanding. She was not in competition with her male peers. Instead, at every level, she was showered with praise and her presence was desired. She didn't achieve her position by discrediting the men around her; but by creating a spirit of unity, partnership and cooperation.

There's a clue here to what a new world order could look like. Competition for resources, riches and power have led our planet on the path of destruction. Any woman who desires a better world for her children, grandchildren and future generations if we make it that far, should take a part in contributing to a world of love, compassion, empathy and cooperation, rather than jumping full-force into an already failing system and bullheadedly insisting that she knows how to fix it.

What we as women do in the home can have such far-reaching effects; if we were to leave behind our ego, demanding equal pay and equal recognition, and understood that the power we wield by molding our children into loving human beings will ultimately change the course of history... well, life on this planet would be vastly different.

I'm going to put this in a blog. I think if we publish these conversations, women of all religions, ethnicity, and social classes will have a world of knowledge and thought-provoking opinions to contribute. The questions we ask each other as women will spark new conversations that may lead us all closer to the Truth, to enlightenment and ultimately, peaceful contentment and inner, as well as outer balance in the home and in society.
in love,
mhope

Sherri's suggested reading list, for starters...

She writes after our long heart to heart the other night:

I found three different talks from the last world conference in April that focus on what we talked about. Not to mention numerous other words threaded into many other talks that support the idea of what a Womans true call in life can be and the happiness that comes from living a life of love and dedication. And I thought you might enjoy some of what is expressed here. I believe these speakers to be modern prophets. Gods mouth pieces for things relevant to what is going on right now. And so it is quite significant that the divinity of womanhood and mothering was such a consistent theme. Read at will and know that I love you!


http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-1207-6,00.html

http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-1207-31,00.html

http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-1207-11,00.html

The other day...

I met with a close friend of mine, with whom I have always shared a special rapport. She has always attracted me for a plethora of reasons. Here are a few. She is a wonderful, attentive mother to four children. She is an excellent homemaker. She always wears a smile and exudes a sense of balance and peace. She always has a project going...she is crafty! She makes the best halloween costumes for the entire family and every year each of her kids has a fantastic, themed party with a cake baked and designed by her.

She is the mother I wanted to be and maybe came close to being.

Except...

I had to work. I was a single mother. I was in a constant daily fight for survival.

So, when my son was young, my mothering consisted of making him oatmeal in the morning, strapping him to his highchair, jumping in the shower, and praying to my higher power that Elmo would distract him enough so that by the time I got out, he would not have wiggled himself out and toppled the whole thing.

It consisted of dressing him and myself with less than meticulous care and racing to drop him off at daycare ($600 bucks a month!) and then jumping on the freeway into traffic praying i got to work on time.

It consisted of slaving all day to make some corporate fat cats rich while i visualized how my son was spending his day; were they feeding him? were they really watching him along with 50 other toddlers? was he learning? did they soothe him if he cried?

When the clock struck 6 i would race to the parking lot, once again jump into traffic and pray I reached the daycare before they closed; 5 minutes late implied a stiff penalty -- one i couldn't really afford to pay.

I would arrive to find him strapped into another high chair with a toy in front of him, in line with 50 other toddlers strapped into their high chairs. I repressed the instant thought that maybe he had been like that all day.

I would pick him up, buckle him into his car seat, stop off at the grocery store, get home, buckle him once again into his highchair or grow increasingly anxious as he stood on the other side of the gate at the kitchen door and cried as if his heart would break and try to cook a nutritious meal.

Needless to say, housework was not even in the question.

We two would eat our dinner, then an hour together as I bathed him. It was a special moment in the day; our only tranquil, 'quality' time. Then pajamas, bed and a book that would inevitably put me to sleep before it did him.

Does this sound sane to you all?

Does it sound like the way it is supposed to be?

Sherri and I met the other night and had another one of our heart-to-hearts. Women pour out their souls like nobodies' business. That's one of our special traits.

We nurture each other. We help each other. We learn from each other. That's why I'm starting this blog.

What i know now, I wish I knew then. What I know now and what Sherri knows because she was brought up that way, I think could change many women's lives.

Let's talk about it.