Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Welcome to Forty

My husband. You gotta love his creativity.
Last Friday he came home early from work, which I expected. But he complained about his stomach bothering him, and said he needed to head to the bathroom (need I say more?).

Within the next half hour, my cousin calls to tell me that she's stranded at a hotel, locked her keys in her car, and has now called everyone in her phone book, and I am the last person who she's trying. Can I come and pick her up? Sure, I said. But that was after I asked hubby if he could go, as I needed to stay and get the boys dressed. He told me he needed to stay near a bathroom, and that he could get the boys dressed and I could pick up my cousin.
I had to pick her up at a hotel, where she was giving some sort of presentation to some clients she had. Wasn't this a nice hotel, she wanted to know. Sure, I said. It's really nice. Did I have time for my cousin to show me some of the rooms? They are really nice rooms, she insisted. Of course, I didn't have the time, since it was early Friday and I had plenty to do at home! But I told her it was no problem, and she took me up to the 4th floor and let herself into one of the rooms with a key. Yep, they were really nice rooms. Contemporary and stylish. Then I noticed a envelope in a chair there in the room. The handwriting looked familiar. I got this eerie feeling of deja vu right before I asked her "What's that envelope for?"

"That's actually for you," she answered calmly.

"For me?"

"Yep. For you."

Oh, no. I'd be had once again!

I opened the envelope and it was a note from Ashunoah. He was thanking me for all I do for the boys and him. He told me he wanted me to have the whole weekend to focus on me, so this would be my hotel room for the whole weekend. He said he knew I had the big prayer event I had to orchestrate for our adoption ministry, but he said he would help me with whatever I needed. He told me this was the only weekend he could book this time for me at this very special hotel. He told me to go home and pack a bag, and to take my journal, books, movies, headcoverings (on this line he told me that I was his sweet!) and whatever else I might need for my retreat weekend. I was floored. Hubby is good for stuff like this, but it had been a few years. But once again, I'd been had.

My cousin never locked her keys in her car. Hubby never had stomach problems that would keep him on the toilet; it was all a ploy to get me to the hotel!

I was thrilled, needless to say! I went home and finished cooking the items I needed to prepare for the Prayer Event (to be held Saturday morning), and I finished a load of laundry I had started. Hubby took over from there: he got the boys dressed, cleaned the kitchen, and in general was at my service for whatever I needed in order to get me back to the hotel as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, I didn't get back to the hotel till early evening. I went into my delightful little hotel room and looked around. Truly this place was beautiful. But wait! There was another note from hubby there in the same chair where I'd found the first note! This note said for me to get settled in and to be back downstairs in the hotel restaraunt by 7:30 p.m. sharp.

I got settled in, unpacked, and was enjoying some alone time when the phone rang at 7:00. I jumped! It was such a loud ring in so quiet a place! The voice on the other end was a woman's, and she told me it was time to come down for dinner.

Was Ashunoah coming to have dinner with me? Had he gotten a sitter for the kids?

No. That would be too simple!

I took the elevator down to the first floor, and when the elevator doors opened to let me out, there were five of my closest friends sitting there, waiting to see the expression of surprise on my face. My jaw dropped!
Hubby had arranged for my friends to 'surprise' me with a nice birthday dinner at the restaurant in the hotel. He even gave them a dinner 'allowance' sweet and thoughtful! My friends came bearing gifts (though I won't turn 40 till next Thursday), and we had a delightful evening talking and laughing. Only two of them knew each other, but they all became friends by the end of the evening. We all agreed that this very same group needs to get together again soon, so much did we enjoy our time together! I told them I would be personally responsible for making it happen.

On top of that, hubby made arrangements for one of the five friends to share my room with me on Friday night, and another to share my room on Saturday night. I had a delightful time staying up and chatting with two of my close friends --- one on each night. Oh, I had such a hard time saying good-bye to the boys on Friday afternoon! I felt like I wanted to cry. I'd never been apart from my boys overnight! (I think Zwahara [Obi] was too over it too. Hubby said that he peed on himself TWICE that weekend. He hadn't done that in weeks! Teshumawe seemed to do okay, but fell into my arms when he saw me again on Sunday). But when I got ready to check out on Sunday morning, I felt near tears. The wonderful weekend just wasn't long enough!

Ashunoah got me the most lovely bag (green, my favorite color...I'm passionate about green!), and two beautiful scarves. Since we were married on my 25th birthday, it doesn't usually feel like my birthday is a day just for me. But this year, it feels like hubby gave me a day just for me --- indeed, a whole weekend! How thoughtful and loving!

Seems he's grown much more comfortable with my covering. I thanked him for his support and generosity, too. Sometimes he might not like something new that I introduce into our lives and our marriage, but by in large, he grows supportive over time. And he can't possibly know how much that means to me. There is hope, dear sisters. There is a delicate thing called hope.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This Week's Thrifty Find

You know I love my thrifty finds, and I often tell my hubby if we moved away from this area, I don't think I could bear leaving my local thrift store behind! I wouldn't know how to act if I had to pay full retail price on clothing and shoes.
I paid $4 for these boots, that hardly look worn at all. I actually found them by accident. I saw another woman holding them when I passed her in the thrift store, and I said, "Wow, those are nice!" She said, "Yeah, but they're not my size. They're a six and a half. Are you a six and a half?" My eyes widened, and I said, "YES!" Now, I know that sometimes you need to get your boots a half size larger, but I was still hoping these puppies would fit. They do, and they're pretty comfortable too! I was very pleased, and they wear well with jeans and long skirts. Gotta love that!

Fun with Fabric

Finally I get this bun right! Not sure whether it's the fabric or the technique, but of all the ways I can wield a head wrap I have struggled with the seemingly simplest technique! Wish me continued success...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mama by Day, Writer by Night

I can't thank all of you enough for your outpouring of support on this head covering book effort. Sometimes I wonder how I manage to get myself into such things. What on earth would make me think I have the time and energy to pull together such a tall, tall order? Yet, I am convinced -- now more than ever -- that this is so much bigger than me, and that there is far greater a need for such a book than I earlier realized. So, a couple of things I need from you, if you will, dear ones:

1. Write me. I need your stories. Your stories will constitute the "real" experiences that women just like you and me will want (need!) to read about; it's these stories that will make up the "meat" of the book. Email me at Tell me a little bit of your story. Already women have responded, and I am just amazed at how unique everyone's story is! I may not be able to use all of your stories, but please don't assume that your story isn't unique! Please continue to write me and tell me a bit about yourself and your covering story. Please be patient with me. I will respond to every email I receive; it might take me a couple of days, but I will respond.

2. Pray for me. I'm just amazed that there are so many women out there who are new, or fairly new to covering. I think for every woman who finds this blog, there are many more looking for a supportive community of some sort --- they want to know they are not crazy, and that there really are other women out there just like them that have chosen to cover. Please pray that God's divine purpose would be accomplished and that this proposal will be accepted, if it pleases Him. Also, pray for me as I balance being a wife, a mother to toddlers and a homemaker while caring so much about seeing this book effort through to the end. I definitely need your prayers!

3. Pass the word around. Maybe you know someone who might want to share her story, too. Pass along my information to those you know who might be interested in partnering with this project. Already I have to thank readers who have passed along my info to someone they know who feels led to share their story. A special thanks also to those of you who have posted information on your blogs, linking here to my blog. I am moved almost to tears as I read your stories. It's amazingly apparant to me that God is in this thing. It's just amazing.

It's late and I need to be in bed. Thank you all, dear sisters. I am far more thankful for you than you can know.

God's grace...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

You Don't Have to Understand; You Just Have to Obey

These are the words that have been on my spirit a lot this week. Sometimes I think the Lord is speaking something to me, and I wrestle with it and wrestle with it. I have these little dialogues in my head about why I don't need to do thus and so because it doesn't make sense, or that it wouldn't be in the best interest of yada, yada, yada to do thus and so, and it wouldn't be a wise move, and think about the long-term ramifications --- blah, blah, blah.

Some of you know that I am working on a book about head covering. Last week I finally finished the long and laborious toil of the book proposal. This thing would get me up in the morning before the boys woke. I would write and write. And I would stay up too late writing, after I put the boys to bed. Seems like I ate and breathed the thing until it was finally done and mailed to the publisher. I need your prayers and your help. More on that in a bit.

So I finished this beast of thing --- wrote drafts, proofed, re-proofed and proofed some more till I just wanted to get the darned thing out of my hands. Still, God had been nudging me about letting Ashunoah read the sample chapter that was a required part of the book proposal.

Oh, if you only knew me! I can be terribly sly and it's nothing I'm proud of. Well, Ashunoah knew I was working on a book proposal (he knows I'm a writer, no big thing), but he didn't ask what I was writing about, so I didn't (yet) mention it. Finally, I casually worked it into the conversation that the "women" in the "head covering" "book" I'm "writing" and the "book proposal" this, that and the other. Finally, he got the big picture that I'm doing a book on the (re) emerging head covering movement. He was really kind of laid back about it (he's that sort of guy...mostly), and nodded and just kept right along.

Days would pass and I'd be up early working on the proposal, or up till late at night working on the proposal (in between those two extremes I'm busy running after two toddlers who don't like to see me sneak up to my office to write for 30 minutes. "Mama! Come downstairs, Mama!" off I go).

He saw me working on that thing and he began to champion me on. He went out and bought me nice folders to put the proposal in so I could submit it in an attractive package; he bought special, better quality, heavier paper to print out the many pages of the book proposal on. One night he even told me he was proud of me for working so hard on this thing!

That, in and of itself, is a testimony, as many of you know he was not leaping for joy when I told him I felt led to cover. And even after he was "fairly okay" with me sometimes covering, he was never thrilled with it, and we still had some bumps in the road over the covering. It's been some road, that's for sure. To hear him say he was proud of me for working so hard on this thing was pretty amazing, but I'm not naive enough to think that there may not ever be any more bumps over the covering issue. But, I am most thankful for what I have. The Lord, dear ones, has shown me much grace.

I mailed the proposal on Thursday, but before that I was doing more proofing and editing and printing. And I felt the Lord nudging me about letting hubby read the sample chapter. Oh, I was resisting, beloved. Oh, that you could be a fly on the wall of my brain! I was like, "Okay, Lord. I'll do it. I think. No, wait. I can't do it. You know that part where I say yada, yada, such and so? Nooo. I can't have him read that." or, "Well, if the proposal is accepted, he'll read it anyway. Is that good enough? No?" or, "I'll read it to him. No? Because I might skip over some parts?" And then, something inside of me kept answering back when I'd say to myself, "Well, I'm not sure if this is God saying to let him read it, so I just won't let him read it." then, something (Someone!) would say, "Oh, I get it. In this very book proposal, you talked about not being sure, but you'd rather err on the side of obedience, than to walk a different path, and now you are saying just the opposite?"

Ouch. I couldn't say anything about that! So, in the end, I handed him the darned thing and let him read it. I told him I wanted his blessing on it. That sample chapter had a LOT about him in it, but you know what? He was impressed. He told me he really liked it and what parts he really liked in it.

Sometimes we don't have to understand why God wants us to do this thing or that thing. We just have to obey. Later we may understand better, and maybe we won't. But the point is to trust God and follow his nudgings and promptings. He loves us and put His Holy Spirit in us to lead and guide us. The more we respond and obey, the better prepped we are to respond and obey the next time a nudging or prompting comes along.

But back to the book. The proposal is off, but it will take many weeks before the editor says "yay" or "nay". Lisa, from over at Those Headcoverings, (she is an incredible wealth of information) said on her blog some time ago that she sensed a movement was afoot. She could not have been more right. Indeed, there does seem to be a movement afoot, the likes of which we may easily underestimate. We may term this 'movement' a spiritual (re)awakening of some sort, if we care to define it in such terms at all (I realize that there may be some who are uncomfortable with the term 'movement' and don't want to minimize the holy beauty of covering by saying it's part of a 'movement'. I understand and appreciate that. My intention in terming this a (re)emerging movement is merely to find a framework wherein I can practically place women who are new to covering and who have had, many times, a 'sweeping transformation' with regard to their covering. These women appear to be popping up everywhere throughout the U.S. and internationally, as well. I am one of those women. The term 'movement' becomes a loose way to identify such women and is not at all meant to diminish the holy and beautiful practice of head covering). Many women who are now practicing head covering just sensed a leading from the Spirit that they should cover. Many have no history with head covering. Many of us couldn't find a single book that could offer us the kind of support we needed --- a book written by real women for real women who want to embrace the ancient spiritual practice of head covering. Lots of books have been written on the topic of head covering, but there was still something missing.

My hope in penning this book is that women who are looking for support and advocacy in head covering can find it in this book. Too many women feel alone in their families, communities and even churches, as they may be the only woman covering. And this out of the blue! Spouses have a hard time (often) getting their minds around why their wives feel the need to cover their heads. Wives try to explain, and sometimes hubbies come on board, but many times they don't. I hope this book will offer direction, support, insight and courage for women who feel led of God to cover. I hope they will find the strength to cover (or, for that matter, the strength to submit to their husbands and not to cover --- the book will address this scenario, as well) in a culture where covering is not esteemed --- even in many Christian circles, churches and denominations. Many of you may recall that I am covering in the face of my pastor's disagreement with it.

Anyway, my idea is that this book will be comprised of many voices who represent many situations and angles of covering. I am interested in your voice, too. If you think you might like to be a part of this project, please drop me an email (see my profile) and let me know. I'm interested, in particular, in women who live in the states (it's okay if you're a missionary who currently doesn't reside in the states. If you were born and raised here I can use you!). I'm particularly interested in "new" headcoverers (maybe those who have started covering in the last year or two). I'd like to tell your story if you are one of a few, or perhaps the only, head covering women in your church, community or family. I'd like to hear your story if your hubby didn't like it, or maybe your friends, pastor and sister didn't like it. In short, those women who are covering amidst uncomfortable circumstances, but who are trying to press forward in it. If your hubby doesn't want you to do it, I want to hear from you. I need your stories more than you know. I'm also interested in you if you have a history of covering or if you have been a committed covering Christian woman for a while. I'd like to write a little about that, as well. Let me hear from you or feel free to pass this message around. I may not be able to use all of your stories, but I may use some (depending upon the responses I receive). I already have a core group of women I'm working with, but could use some more. Let me hear from you, dear ones. There are many women out there who need to hear voices the likes of ours. We have experiences that can help them as they begin (or continue) this journey of covering.

Love to you, dear ones.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Update on the Home-front and Mysteries Unknown

Well, we are moving to higher ground, I think. I have been cleaning up my act, and have been on my p's and q's. Ashunoah has noticed a world of difference and has been praising me, much to my delight. Ever since he had "the talk" with me, I've been really diligent about working on those areas that needed improvement, and he has taken significant notice. Not only that, but he's been surprisingly supportive about the headcovering issue. He still may not understand it fully, but doesn't complain, so long as his needs are met. I'm learning new things (every day, it seems!), and one of the things I think I'm learning is that sometimes (not in every situation, though) our husbands want to be first. Right at the very top. They want to be right up there with God. When we go on and on about covering our heads, sometimes it may seem to our hubbies that the headcovering is more important that they are. They sometimes end up wishing that they could get the special attention that the headcovering is getting. Again, this is not a fast and hard rule, but I think that if our hubbies feel like they are in the number one spot, and they are getting all of their needs met in every area (for us that means going an extra mile or two with regard to our care of them), they maybe couldn't care less if we undertood headcovering, skydiving or fly-fishing. So long as they are happy in every area, many times they are as compliant as can be. That's at least one observation I've made.

Here's another. Often times I think people are less concerned about what our headcovering says about us than they are about what it says about them. Though we aren't saying it (I know we aren't...we aren't those women), I think people are worried that we are somehow more spiritual than they. They might reason that if we feel called to something spiritual that they have no inkling or desire to learn about, that maybe we are somehow more in tune with spiritual things than they are. Like maybe we have a special connection with God, or something. If they deny our headcoverings, they deny that anything is amiss in their own relationship with God. If we don't cover, it means they are okay. There's nothing that they need to change.

This is a bold comparison (forgive me), but check it:

woman to husband: "Honey, I've been feeling that the Lord has called me to do such and so. He showed me in a dream that once I do this thing, we will prosper financially such as never before. I really feel this strong impression to do it. We've nothing to lose, and He showed me that not only would we be financially prosperous, but that our family will be closer than ever. What should I do?"

husband: Well, so long as it's not sin and we have nothing to lose, what's the harm in trying? And since you feel so strongly led, why not follow through? Besides, this could be a real answer to prayer for us.

Please don't hear me wrong on this. I'm not saying that our husbands or our friends would necessarily be okay with everything else besides our own spiritual (re)awakenings. But what, after all, does our headcovering have to do with them? "Nothing." They might be inclined to say. To be sure, my husband was speaking from his heart when he said he felt my headcovering was all about me and for me. He felt it had nothing to do with him, and he wasn't happy about it. I think when our headcovering spills over in areas that include our hubbies and friends, maybe (not always) they will take more interest. Often (as in the above example), they are more excited about something worldly for us/them, than they are about something spiritual. They might not even need to "pray" about; they answer yes flat out! But when it comes to something spiritual, to something so small as a piece of cloth on our heads, folks get bent outta shape and are all up in arms about it. Sometimes friends stand there ready to tell you what is wrong about it. People congratulate you when you've just won a million dollars or you just got a big promotion that will now give you a six figure salary. But when you tell them you feel called to place a little cotton or lace on your head, they walk away and shake their heads. They feel sorry for you.

And as always, dear on in the journey. For some strange reason, I feel like we are meant to be right where we are.