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Ode to Feminine Genius: An Industrious Woman

This is the seventh installment in the series of Ode to Feminine Genius: Proverbs 31 Catholic WomanToday’s topic will cover An Industrious Woman.

Proverbs 31 industrious woman

Industrious woman, this theme speaks to me. I love being industrious; checking things off my lists, completing tasks, keeping up my home. Nothing brings me the same kind of joy as a freshly swept and mopped floor. Industrialism is perfect for my type A tendencies because it’s black and white, there’s no gray. You either are or you aren’t.

Except, I also have six children at home with me every hour of almost every day.

So, industrious woman easily becomes nagging crabbypants mom who doesn’t have time to read books when you ask her, because she’s only on number 3 of 74 things to do for the day.

Before we can be industrious women, we must first set our priorities for the day, or even the next fifteen minutes. There are two things I need to keep my sanity- a shower and a swept floor. Walking barefoot on crumbs might just be my purgatory. So therefore, after breakfast every morning, I sweep the floor. But, if I’m being true to my priorities, the cleaning ends there. I stop and move on to mommy things- doing hair, playing games, homeschooling, going outside. Every wife and mother has her things that must be done, a bare bones, and it’s important to figure out what that is for you.

Here’s the thing though, being industrious does not trump love. And, for me, that’s hard to remember.

taking care of familyWhat being an industrious woman means, at the heart of it, IS love. Because I love my husband and our family, I keep up with the chores, I cook meals, I am diligent with our housework. I attempt to be self-disciplined. And because I love God, I try to offer it all up to Him through Mary.

I believe there are two main tenets of industrialism in the home. Each is important, and it looks different in each person’s home of course, but without these two things it is difficult to employ this virtue.

1. Keep A Schedule and Plan for Rest – We all know that running our homes on a schedule is beneficial for everyone. The children are always better behaved when they know what to expect out of each day, more things are able to be accomplished by everyone, and at the end of the day, Dad doesn’t always come home to a frazzled wife. But, moreover, being industrious is using our time wisely. Having a schedule means nothing if you don’t follow it. If you are supposed to be folding laundry and instead decide to check facebook for just a few minutes first, things surely start to fall apart. The few minutes turns into 15 and then just as you pull the laundry out of the dryer, baby wakes up and now the whole schedule is pushed back. Of course we must be flexible, but flexibility is not the same thing as purposeful lethargy.

All moms have experience with putting off naps for just a little too long. We really need to finish grocery shopping, or get big brother to karate, or even something fun like a family trip to the zoo, but inevitably, the baby takes the brunt of it and eventually turns into a crying, cranky mess. Well, us moms are the same way. We all know when we’ve pushed too hard and our bodies and minds start pushing back. Part of using the gifts and grace God has given us is knowing when to rest as well. A mom’s schedule should include a reasonable bedtime, down time, and prayer time.

2. Minimalism and Waste –  Our job as wives is to build up our husbands as the leader of our family and our home. One important way that I believe is often overlooked is letting our husbands know that we both appreciate his income and feel that it is enough. Whatever the amount of money in the budget, the industrious woman puts it to work for her. She budgets effectively, spends only money that is there, and creates little waste. The industrious woman lives richly within her means.
IndustriousWoman
Our tomatoes seemed to fruit really late this year after having a cool and very wet summer, so now that it’s officially fall, our plants are full of green tomatoes. My initial thought was to just compost the whole lot and be done with it, but I knew I couldn’t rightfully throw away food that could nourish my family. Instead I composted the plants for future use in the garden, and have picked all the tomatoes that will soon become canned mincemeat. It’s about using what we have to it’s fullest benefit.

Keeping the home neat, is much easier when you have fewer things. It’s that simple. If something is broken beyond repair, get rid of it. If there’s something you never use, donate it. If something you own is causing you stress or the inability to properly keep your home, give it away. Personal belongings are not important, not really, and when they cause you to lose sight of the bigger picture it can be a slippery slope towards sin.

“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” -Proverbs 31:27

What ways have you employed in your home to use your blessings to their fullest benefits?

 

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Ode to Feminine Genius: The Proverbs 31 Catholic Woman Introduction

This is the first installment in the series of Ode to Feminine Genius: Proverbs 31 Catholic Woman.

Today will cover the series introduction.

Teaser

Achieving perfection that is pleasing to God by imitating the Blessed Virgin Mary is the goal of this new series entitled Ode to Feminine Genius: The Proverbs 31 Catholic Woman.  In our quest for doing God’s will, intentional homemaking, and becoming a woman of inner beauty by focusing our study in this series of Proverbs 31: 10-31, which tells us:

“Who shall find a valiant woman? far and from the uttermost coasts is the price of her. The heart of her husband trusteth in her, and he shall have no need of spoils.  She will render him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.  She hath sought wool and flax, and hath wrought by the counsel of her hands.  She is like the merchant’s ship, she bringeth her bread from afar.  And she hath risen in the night, and given a prey to her household, and victuals to her maidens. She hath considered a field, and bought it: with the fruit of her hands she hath planted a vineyard.  She hath girded her loins with strength, and hath strengthened her arm. She hath tasted and seen that her traffic is good: her lamp shall not be put out in the night.  She hath put out her hand to strong things, and her fingers have taken hold of the spindle.  She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor. She shall not fear for her house in the cold of snow: for all her domestics are clothed with double garments. She hath made for herself clothing of tapestry: fine linen, and purple is her covering. Her husband is honourable in the gates, when he sitteth among the senators of the land.  She made fine linen, and sold it, and delivered a girdle to the Canaanite.  Strength and beauty are her clothing, and she shall laugh in the latter day. The Canaanite: The merchant, for Canaanite, in Hebrew, signifies a merchant. She hath opened her mouth to wisdom, and the law of clemency is on her tongue. She hath looked well to the paths of her house, and hath not eaten her bread idle. Her children rose up, and called her blessed: her husband, and he praised her. Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands: and let her works praise her in the gates.”

Since this chapter of the Bible is jammed with so much goodness, we have pulled nine (9) categories to write about.  These will be presented in any order and by various contributors coming from different walks of life.  It is our hope to make this a perpetual series within the website and that it will bring you closer to God and help you discipline the self so that we can help one another in living the Proverbs 31 Catholic Woman life.  Here are the topics:

1. A Frugal Woman: A Valiant Woman spends money wisely, in consultation with her husband, regarding the needs of their family, making wise purchases that demonstrate prudence and ultimate trust that God will always provide. Proverbs 31: 13-14, “She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.”

We should ask ourselves questions like: Do I spend our family money wisely?  Do I consult with my husband for large purchases? Am I being prudent with our money?  Do I trust that God will always provide?

2. A Strong Woman: A Valiant Woman cares for herself in body and soul. She is concerned about keeping a strong prayer life, eating right, and getting enough rest, to set a healthy example of strong balance for her family.  Proverbs 31: 16-17, “She hath considered a field, and bought it: with the fruit of her hands she hath planted a vineyard. She hath girded her loins with strength, and hath strengthened her arm.”

We should ask ourselves questions like: Do I care for my body by exercising and staying in shape?  Do I worry about the state of my soul? Do I keep a strong prayers life?  Do I eat well?  Do I get enough rest every day?  Am I setting an example of strong balance for my family?

3. A Diligent Woman: A Valiant Woman uses her time wisely. She works diligently to complete her daily tasks. She does not spend time dwelling on those things that do not please the Lord. She looks for ways to be organized and finds solutions to homekeeping. Proverbs 31: 19, “She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.”

We should ask ourselves questions like: Do I spend my time wisely?  Do I work diligently to complete my daily tasks?  Do I spend time dwelling on those things that do not please the Lord?  Do I look for ways to be more organized?  Do I find solutions to homekeeping?

4. A Merciful Woman: A Valiant Woman serves her husband, her family, her friends, and her neighbors with a gentle and loving spirit. She practices the works of mercy and influences her will to have compassion for, and, if possible, to alleviate another’s misfortune. Proverbs 31: 20, “She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor.”

We should ask ourselves questions like:  Do I serve my husband and family?  Do I serve my friends and neighbors with a gentle and loving spirit? Do I practice the works of mercy and influence my will to have compassion for and, if possible, to alleviate another’s misfortune?

5. A Hospitable Woman: A Valiant Woman creates an inviting atmosphere of warmth and love for her family and guests by being a good homemaker She uses hospitality to show Christ to those around her. She is friendly and courteous to those who visit and makes them feel welcomed. Proverbs 31: 21, “She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet.”

We should ask ourselves questions like: Do I create an inviting atmosphere of warmth and love for my family and guests?  Am I a good homemaker?  Do I use hospitality to show Christ to those around me? Am I friendly and courteous to those who visit? Do I make them feel welcomed?

6. An Industrious Woman: A Valiant Woman works willingly with her hands. She keeps her home as her first and foremost focus. She looks well to the ways of her household and embraces the life God has blessed her with. She is diligent and self-disciplined in all she does. Proverbs 31: 27, “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” 

We should ask ourselves questions like:  Do I work willingly with my hands? Do I keep my home as my first and foremost focus? Do I organize my housework and keep up with it?  Do I embrace the life God has blessed me with?  Am I diligent in my housework? Am I self-disciplined in all I do?

7. A Family Woman: A Valiant Woman respects her husband and does good by him always. She loves and respects him as the head of the home. She teaches her children the ways of God and nurtures them with love, and disciplines them with care and wisdom. She trains them in the Roman Catholic Faith.  Proverbs 31: 28, “Her children rose up, and called her blessed: her husband, and he praised her.”

We should ask ourselves questions like:  Do I respect my husband?  Do I do good by him always? Do I love and respect my husband as the head of our home?  Do I teach my children the ways of God?  Do I nurture my children with love?  Do I discipline my children with care and wisdom? Do I train my children in the Catholic Faith?

8. A Faithful Woman: A Valiant Woman serves God with all of her heart, mind, and soul. She turns to God and His Blessed Mother seeking God’s Holy Will for her life. She fears the Lord and follows His ways. She turns to the things of God always and turns away that of the world that takes her away from Him. Proverbs 31: 29-30, “Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”

We should ask ourselves questions like:  Do I serve God with all of my heart, mind, and soul?  Do I turn to God and His Blessed Mother seek God’s Holy Will for my life? Do I fear the Lord and follow in His ways? Do I turn to the things of God always?  Do I turn away the things of the world that take me away from God?

9. A Beautiful Woman: A Valiant Woman is a woman of worth and beauty. She has the inner beauty that only comes from Christ. She uses her creativity and sense of style to create beauty in her life and the lives of her loved ones.  Proverbs 31: 30, “Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman who feareth the Lord, she shall be praised!”

We should ask ourselves questions like: Do I keep my focus on being beautiful from within?  Do I focus on the ways of our Lord Jesus Christ?  Am I creative? Do I try to use my sense of style to create beauty in my life?  Do I create beauty in the lives of my loved ones? Do I make my home beautiful within our means?

Is there a topic that stands out to you?  Are there some you are already working on? Do you like the questions created above?  We liked them so much that we created an Ode to Feminine Genius Examination of Conscience.  Enjoy!