Thursday, December 17, 2009

Using Hospitality to Minister to Others

Proverbs 31:15 
She riseth also while it is yet night, giving food to her household
and giveth a portion to her maidens.

She riseth also while it is yet night
Rising before the sun not only demonstrates that idleness and laziness have no place in our life, but doing so offer many benefits. For one ... the day begins peacefully. Free from noise and distractions, the day may start in quiet meditation. This not only ensures a great start to the day, but also says to our Lord that we want Him to be a part of it from the time we awake until we rest our head again.

For another...rising early ensures a productive start to the day. Have you ever slept in late then by the time you really get going it seems that half the day is gone and you have accomplished very little? As partners, parents, children, co-workers, students, teachers, friends, and more, we have quite a lot on our plate. Our days are full, and we often feel exhausted from the time we awake. So the temptation is there to stay in bed "just a little longer". How many times though have we slept through the quiet morning hours, only to find ourselves still exhausted and now falling even further behind in our day's duties? Many of us know what it feels like to be tired and worn down all too well. However, the attitude of "staying in bed for just a little longer" also has a way of permeating into other areas too. Before you know it, you find yourself going about your day in slow motion. If you find yourself struggling to rise early, ask God to give you the strength, health, and energy you need to jump start your day. Also, add something special to your morning routine to re-energize you. Perhaps it is spending a few minutes reading something inspirational, listening and dancing to your favorite music, or drinking a cup of hot tea and sitting in quiet prayer. Or, maybe it's a matter of stepping outside for a breath of the fresh morning air, or sitting and reflecting on the day's blessings. Different things work for different people. So ask yourself: What motivates me? What brings contentment to my heart so I am ready to face the day?  What will I be doing with my loved ones today that will bring joy? All give us a reason to get up and make the most of our day.

Giving food to her household 
Another reason for rising early is to provide your loved ones with a hearty,home-cooked breakfast! Nutritionists consider breakfast the most important meal of the day, nourishing the body that has not had any food for many hours and providing energy for the toil of the day. The virtuous individual ensures their loved ones get off to a good nutritional start. It is often said that you can tell a lot about a family by what they are eating for breakfast. Is your family sitting down and spending time together sharing a warm meal? Or, are you starting the day off by grabbing whatever you can find to eat as you rush out the door without saying as much as a goodbye and "I love you" to loved ones?

How many families do you know take time to sit down and share a meal together around the table? Often families don't eat together, don't pray together, don't read or spend quality time together. It's no wonder many don't stay together. Sitting down together as a family in the morning really sets the tone for the whole day. Just having that extra time together makes the whole day better. What's more, spending time with family before leaving for work gives your loved ones the encouragement they need to face the day. Knowing that someone special is thinking of, praying for, and looking forward to their return at the end of the day gives them a reason to rush home and spend even more quality time together.

And giving a portion to her maidens
Here, we are reminded of the Old Testament economy; namely, that the Israelites who honored and feared the Lord were promised both spiritual blessings and material blessings. It is clear then that the Proverbs 31 individual had both and did not live in poverty. In fact, the virtuous individual was blessed with a large household, which included servants. While one may think a virtuous individual was quite capable of commanding their servants to rise early and prepare breakfast for their family, they did not do that. Rather, we are told they gave a portion of food to their servants. This not only speaks volumes about the kindness shown towards those working under them, but it is also demonstrated that they demanded of others only what they themselves were willing to do. This is something staff even today greatly respect and appreciate; namely, a superior who is willing to "get their hands dirty" and do some of the very tasks they require their staff to do.

A virtuous individual takes care of their loved ones whether they are at home or away. What's more, they use their hospitality to minister to all those around them, creating a warm, inviting atmosphere that expresses "I love you" in very real ways to family as well as to all those who are welcomed guests not only in their homes, but in their hearts too!!!

Remember ... touch a life today "The Little Way" by following the lead and need of others.  Also, if you ever thought to yourself, "I wish my customers, knew...", then be sure to visit White Light Communications at

~ Theresa


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nurturing Family

Proverbs 31:14 
She is like the merchants' ships; she brings food  from afar

In the prior verse, the Proverb3 31 individual provided clothing for their family and for their business. In this verse, s/he provides food for his or her family. With the virtuous individual an instrument of God’s provisioning, s/he plays a key role in providing both food and clothing for hir or her family to ensure contentment (1 Tim. 6:8).

Merchant Ships
In the first line of this verse, the Scriptures compare the virtuous individual to merchant ships carrying items from faraway countries. With merchants being traders who buy or sell commodities for profit, the virtuous individual takes some of the wondrous garments or clothes made from wool and flax (Verse13) and trades them for food items from distant lands for family to enjoy. This is in sharp contrast to today, where money is spent grocery shopping in town.

Merchant Ship Qualities
What’s particularly interesting about merchant ships is that they are not the fastest means of transporting goods from one area to another. Yet they are the most cost-effective and efficient means; especially for perishable goods such as food. This is in sharp contrast to today’s world where everyone wants everything NOW! We have instant coffee, drive-thru windows, microwave ovens, and easy meals prepared at the grocery store ready for purchase, reheat, and enjoyment! There’s a price to be paid for this convenience. Higher grocery prices. 

While jet airplanes transport foods faster, merchant ships are still the preferred method as they can carry a greater load; use less energy and resources; are more cost-effective; and far more efficient. What’s more, the load that a merchant ship typically carries in one trip takes an airplane multiple trips.
Meal Preparation
One of the things many of us struggle with on a daily basis is the preparation of nutritious meals for our family. There are many days we can’t seem to get it together. Whether the reason is fatigue, work-related stress, or just plain laziness, we figure, "It won't hurt just this once to go out and get something to eat," or "Well, I'll get just a couple of frozen meals, just in case I get in a pinch." The trouble is that this not only gets very expensive, but a consistent diet of prepared foods is unhealthy. Many prepared dinners are very high in sodium (salt) and a steady diet of prepared food items causes deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals due to a severe lack of fruits and vegetables. While we often give excuses, there is a solution: planning ahead.

Menu Planning
While it has been awhile (my kids are now grown), there was a time when I prepared a healthy menu for my family on a weekly basis and kept staple items in my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry so I was always prepared to make something. Every weekend I would take out my favorite cookbooks, along with the family calendar, and plan the menu for the coming week. Depending on what we had planned during the week, I would determine whether I had time to make a full meal (such as meat, potatoes, and vegetable), prepare a quick meal (such as a casserole), or prepare something the night before. What's more, I noted special dinner nights, featuring the favorite of one of my kids. For example, "Sarah Dinner Night" might be homemade macaroni and cheese with ham while "Michael Dinner Night" might be Teriyaki chicken. In addition, I considered leftover meals for nights when we had a scout meeting or a concert to attend. Once the meals were planned for the week, I would then put together a grocery list of required items and only purchased what was on the list. 

Keep in mind this did not mean we never ate out or never ate prepared frozen meals. It just meant we planned for it, didn’t have a steady diet of it, and did not use it as an excuse for not cooking for my family on a regular basis.

While I have been divorced now for a number of years, I am currently in a relationship with a wonderful man. While I do not know what the future holds for us, I want him to know that when we are together, I wish to be like the merchant ships. During the coming year, I want to revitalize what I did for my children when they were growing up. This time for my life partner. I wish to take my time; plan healthy meals; purchase delicious, cost-effective groceries; as well as minimize waste and spoilage. Why do all of this, you ask?

I’ve been given a second chance at love and don't want my life partner to take a back seat to whatever else I wish to accomplish with my day. I want him to know I am choosing a life that demonstrates to him just how much I love and want what is best for him rather than choosing a life of convenience. What's more, it’s my way of showing him just how much I honor, appreciate, and value the hard work he does to provide for us.

Remember ... touch a life today "The Little Way" by following the lead and need of others.  Also, if you ever thought to yourself, "I wish my customers, knew...", then be sure to visit White Light Communications at

~ Theresa


Monday, December 7, 2009

Balancing Work & Home

Proverbs 31:13 
She seeketh wool and flax and worketh willingly with her hands

In addition to caring for their home, life partner, and family, the Proverbs 31 individual is also a successful entrepreneur. In fact, s/he serves as an inspiration to other individuals as s/he is living a life that many only hope to one day… s/he is living his or her life purpose. S/he takes a huge risk in starting a home-based business designing and manufacturing clothing. Over time though s/he proves to be so successful that she eventually purchases real estate and builds a factory on it!

As the first line of Proverbs 31:13 indicates, “She seeketh wool and flax” as two basic materials for making clothes and garments for her household and for her business. Wool, as you know, is the curly undercoat of a sheep, which is woven into a warm garment or fabric. For example, today we wear wool sweaters or mittens to protect us from the cold. Flax is a fibrous plant. When its fiber is pulled and twisted into yarn or thread during the spinning process, the result is a fine linen from which a variety of garments and materials, such as coarse canvas, rugged sails for ships, as well as thin, delicate scarves, may be produced.

As the second line of Proverbs 31:13 indicates, “and worketh willingly with her hands.” I have to admit I found myself focused on the word, “willingly.” Nowadays, that word often has a negative connotation, being synonymous with"unenthusiastic consent." For example, “oh ok, I will wash the dishes if I REALLY have to.” Yet work does not need to be viewed as boring or tedious. We in fact have a choice as to how we choose to view our work.The Proverbs 31 individual not only chooses to be cheerful and ready to work, but also derives much pleasure in working with her hands. As a result, her work is a source of great satisfaction. How refreshing this is!

For me, this verse is particularly meaningful as it also reminds me of how we have lost the fine art of working with our hands over time be it for calligraphy, sewing, stained glass painting, woodworking, or something else. Thanks to the computer age, we no longer seek or find pleasure in receiving homemade items or in creating things with our own hands. For example, rather than finding pleasure in making our own clothes, we now find delight in shopping for clothes at the local mall, often adversely affecting the family budget. Rather than sharing our gifts and talents with other family members, parents are connected to their computers, while children are often glued to a television show or to the latest video game - all without sharing quality time or meaningful conversation. What is most unfortunate though is that many talents are never developed or passed on. Mothers never learn how to cook, sew, knit, or crochet much less pass on those skills to their children. The same holds true for fathers who never learn how to fix things around the house, woodwork, work on cars, or manage family finances. As a result, these skills are never passed on from one generation to the next. An entire generation living without ever knowing or experiencing the true pleasure in working with their hands ... even when the desire may be there!

And there is great pleasure derived ... not only in working with one's hands, but also in sharing the experience with others. I remember as a child watching my mother spend hours in the kitchen baking French pastries, or in the Master bedroom at her sewing machine making a costume for a play or a new outfit for an upcoming family portrait. I have fond memories of my uncle repairing a lamp at the kitchen table and my grandfather in the backyard taking delight in the beautiful rose garden he started when he and my grandmother lived in the home my family now occupied. Many beautiful crafts are now becoming a lost art.

I also recall my mother playing host to all the neighborhood kids in our backyard, joining us on the swing and serving refreshments. I also remember her being involved in the neighborhood Mother’s Club, where all the local mothers got together by day to exchange talents and by night to socialize. The neighborhood  seamstress would exchange her talents with the neighborhood pastry chef while the local gardener would exchange her talents with the local artist. Nowadays, many social connections are lost in favor of staying in and staying to ourselves. Never venturing out beyond our comfort zone, many talents remain hidden not only from friends, but from family members too.

Amidst tough economic times though we have a wonderful opportunity to expand our influence and our ministry as well as to reconnect with our family, friends, and more. The time is right to return to our roots; to shop for bargains, to use resources wisely, and to find pleasure in simple things... including in working with our hands once more. And when we do, we not only have a chance to develop our God-given talents, but we also have the opportunity to reconnect with others and to pass our craft onto a future generation. What legacy do you wish to pass on?

Remember ... touch a life today "The Little Way" by following the lead and need of others.  Also, if you ever thought to yourself, "I wish my customers, knew...", then be sure to visit White Light Communications at

~ Theresa


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Honoring and Cherishing Loved Ones

Proverbs 31:12:
She will do him good, not evil, all the days of her life

Nowadays as in Biblical times, it is difficult to find a good partner... be it for business or for love. For example, Job's wife often questioned his faith and integrity in accepting so much adversity, with this questioning only adding to his trials (Job 2:9-10). Like Job, our loved ones often test our patience. God presents us with these challenges for a reason; to show us how to look beyond and find good in our current situation as well as come to understand that He is always working with and through us … even in adversity.
Like many, I believe Proverbs 31:10-31 is a continuation of the advise King Lemuel's mother taught him in Proverbs 31:1-9 about using the strength that is within to serve the needs of others. That by using our strength to serve others, we learn how to love our selves and others, and in turn, by learning how to love others and our selves, we learn to recognize when love returns to us in the form of a virtuous partner. A virtuous partner then is not only viewed as serving the needs of their loved one, but also in wanting only that which is good for them, not evil. This is such a powerful verse to read then to live by. On the surface, it seems easy. Don't kill, maim, or otherwise harm your loved one. Like most, I can do that. What is more challenging though is the realization that anything not good and uplifting to your loved one is essentially evil. For example: do you ever find yourself talking about him behind his back, back talking him, demeaning him in front of others, discouraging him, dishonoring him, snagging the last cookie or slice of pie from him, talking down to him, or otherwise nagging him?
In determining whether we are indeed providing what is best for our loved one, we need to take a closer... if not painful... look in the mirror at how we choose to live our life. Specifically, we need to listen to what we say and observe ourselves as others would at what we do. After that, we need to ask ourselves honestly: Do my words and my deeds truly demonstrate to the one I love that I not only wish to love and serve him, but that I am also a constant benefit and blessing to him?
Being human, we most likely do not like what we hear or see at times. At the very least, we find areas where we can improve. All improvements start with trust, which is also the foundation of any healthy  relationship. When each partner feels safe, trust develops. Trust, and the security it offers, however, does not occur over night. Rather, it develops over time when each partner knows that their loved one consistently demonstrates that they love, serve, and want what is best for them. Trust also develops when expressed words are consistent with actions shown. For example, verbal expressions of “I love you” are always backed up with actions such as attention, appreciation, and affection that clearly demonstrate love. Most of all, in finding a virtuous partner who is genuine, reliable, responsible, and agreeable, both partners feel truly blessed and have much gratitude as they know God had a hand in bringing them together.
Remember ... touch a life today "The Little Way" by following the lead and need of others.
~ Theresa

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Trusting Loved Ones

Proverbs 31:11
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her
So that he shall have no need of spoil.

A Trusting Heart
The first line, “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her” refers to a man and a woman being able to trust and confide in one another. In early times, “husband" referred to the male spouse of a marriage who protected and supported his wife and children by judiciously managing and conserving usage of resources while “wife” referred to the female spouse of a marriage who managed the household and nurtured her husband and children. This division of roles and responsibilities came about out of necessity as at one time a wife did not have any legal rights apart from her husband. Unable to provide for her own self, she had to submit to her husband due to lack of rights and denial of equal education. Today, the roles of husband and wife have changed in three major ways. First, marriage has transformed from an institution of dominant and submissive roles to one of equal companions or partners. This came about as a result of wives becoming legal entities with rights and the ability to own property. Second, women now have the right to an education equal to men. Further, as a result of this education, it became socially acceptable for women to work outside the home. Last, but not least, with the cost of living rising exponentially, both partners share responsibilities with both often working outside of the home out of necessity.

Trust is not only a fundamental requirement of a strong marriage, but of any relationship – including relationship with our friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, pastor, and with God. Sadly, many men and women of today have doubts about one another for a variety of reasons and this doubt manifests itself as mistrust. Once mistrust sets in on both parts, much is hidden rather than openly shared. So what causes doubt? Expectations. Often we fail to recognize our partner’s heart as we have expectations about what is needed or what the outcome should be. Due to our expectations of what they should say or do, we are often blinded when they actually give us what we desire most - their hearts. So what do we do to ensure our partner’s heart trusts us? In three words… Appreciation, Attention, and Affection.
  • Appreciation We must begin to learn, understand, and appreciate their heart. How can our partner’s heart "safely trust" in us if we do not even recognize when they are sharing it? Often times women project feelings a certain way and expect their partner’s hearts to work the same way. For example, if our partner does not come across as mushy all the time, or does not say “I love you” all the time, then they may think their partner is not sharing their heart, or at the very least are shallow or holding back. Keep in mind actions often speak louder than words. While they may not say, “I love you” all the time, they may be showing us in little ways. For example, my former husband was not very expressive about his feelings, yet early in our relationship he spent all night one Christmas Eve many years ago “building a teddy bear” that played the love theme, “Somewhere My Love” from the movie, “Dr. Zhivago.”
  • Attention Our society and culture continue to feed us lies about how relationships should be. These worldly expectations are not only self-centered, but unrealistic too. Many times our partner becomes discouraged when we do not pay attention to them, or feel as though nothing they do is ever good enough, or we wish them to be someone they're not. It is not at all uncommon for both men and women to have fantasy-driven standards of what their partner should be. Often times, what we see on television or in movies, or read in novels shape these fantasies. Allowing our hearts and minds to entertain such fantasies only leads to discontentment in our relationships, or worse. To ensure our partner trusts our heart, we need to learn how our partner’s heart works. We must recognize their vulnerability - rough edges and all - taking care never to compare them to anyone else. When we let go of our expectations; when we allow ourselves to be “in the moment” with them without distraction, it is then we truly listen. And when we are truly attentive and really listen, it is then we hear and feel their heart. 
  • Affection By nature, God created both men and women to desire affection and intimacy with the one they love. In fact, the need for affection is very basic. While we are all capable of providing our partners with much warmth and affection; a sense of home and respite; a safe haven filled with comfort and enjoyment, none occurs by accident. All require focus and conscious effort on our part. Does your partner find you to be a warm, gentle, and peaceful place, or does he come home to find you preoccupied, self-focused, and uninviting? Affection builds trusts.
No Need to Spoil
The second line, “So that he shall have no need of spoil” refers to lack of need, or no need. A similar expression, “I shall not want,” is in Psalm 23: 1. In both instances, where there is an abundance of love and trust, nothing is lacking; there is no other need. If the Lord is truly our Shepherd, then we are not in need of anything because He fulfills all our needs. The same thing holds true with a partner we trust. If we have a godly partner, then nothing is lacking, there is no need to stray, or no other need as our partner is of tremendous benefit to us and our family. Neither man or woman is a liability as home and resources are well managed. With both partners being so industrious and productive, their efforts result in great gain and even profit.

Remember ... touch a life today "The Little Way" by following the lead and need of others.
~ Theresa

Friday, November 6, 2009

Finding A Man or Woman of Strength

This is the first of a series of posts illustrating a beautiful portrait of humanity; of men and women who without even realizing it, strive to embody qualities Proverbs 31 embraces in all life areas– personally, with their family, professionally, spiritually, and in their love life too. Whether you’re a "Proverbs 31” man or a woman, you stand out from the rest; you're a red rose among a field of yellow roses. You're a man or woman of and for all ages, a role model of timeless strength and beauty, virtue and responsibility; a cherished life partner and a powerful entrepreneur too!
Proverbs 31:10
Who can find a virtuous woman?
She is worth far more than rubies.

As mentioned in a previous post, there seems to be some misconceptions with the first part of the verse – “Who can find a virtuous woman? –specifically, with what the term, “virtuous” means. In the biblical sense, “virtuous” actually referred to strength, efficiency, and ability. Further, in addition to Proverbs 31, the Old Testament used the term, “virtuous woman” in other places. For example, in Ruth 3:11, “virtuous woman” was a term used to describe Ruth. Everyone took notice of Ruth as her strength of character was viewed not only obvious, but unusual. Keeping this in mind, “virtuous” was also a quality sought in men of the Bible too. For example, in Exodus 18:21, Moses was asked to find “virtuous men” – able men, or men of strength. In this instance, a virtuous man was seen as one who feared God, sought truth, and strived not to sin. Moses looked for such men, with the implication that such men were not easy to find. Comparable expressions were also used in 1 Kings 1:42 ("valiant man" or "man of strength") and 1 Kings 1:52 ("worthy man" or "man of strength"). Bottom line … with most people seen as morally weak, it was and still is rare to find a virtuous man or woman. As such, when someone of such qualities is placed in your life, their presence is quite evident - to you and to others.

There is also some misconception surrounding the second part of the verse– “She is worth far more than rubies." The Hebrew term, "rubies" referred to pink pearls or red coral. Found in a mollusk in the Red Sea, a pink pearl was considered rare and of great value. “Rubies” was also found in other parts of the Old Testament. For example, Proverbs 20:15 and Job 28:18 indicated rubies were very valuable and Lamentations 4:7 referred to them as being reddish ("ruddy") in color. Thus, finding a man or woman of strength was compared to a rare gem - precious and of great value. 

What is interesting to note is that for some reason God made most stones bland, if not unattractive, yet, in his infinite wisdom, He made the rarest of stones incredibly beautiful, brilliant, and lustrous so that they do stand out.
How can one find a man or woman of strength? First, have faith in and trust in God's love; that He will place a man or woman of strength in your life when the time is right. Second, realize that a virtuous woman or man is not going to want just any man or woman. S/he is going to want to find an individual of strength, an individual valiant for the truth, a godly servant who follows the lead and needs of others. So if you seek such a gem, be a gem yourself. Finally... dare to be stand out, dare to be different, and even dare to go against the flow of the world.  Most of all... dare to transform yourself, renewing your heart, mind, body, and spirit. Before you know it, you will not only be a man or woman of strength, but you will attract the interest of a man or woman of strength!


Remember ... touch a life today "The Little Way" by following the lead and need of others.  Also, if you ever thought to yourself, "I wish my customers, knew...", then be sure to visit White Light Communications at

~ Theresa


Monday, November 2, 2009

Following the lead and needs of others

With a great affinity for St. Therese’s life, I have come to know the “Little Way” along with its philosophy of “following the lead and needs of others with great love.” What I did not realize until I awoke one morning last week was that St. Therese’ life demonstrated in very real ways the beauty and strength, the self-reliance and discipline described in the Proverbs 31 verses. This realization compelled me to seek out not only the real truth, but also the misconceptions surrounding these verses.

In the Book of Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible, Proverbs 31 describes the qualities of a woman of good character. Most notably, the 10th to 31st verses of this chapter is known as “Eishes Chayil”. Traditionally, this term translates to mean "virtuous" or "noble." However, many scholars now suggest the true meaning of the term as "forceful," "mighty," or "valiant"  with the term being used almost exclusively in reference to warfare. Apparently, back then as is now, a "woman of good character" is not only viewed as a cherished life partner, but a powerful entrepreneur too!

Like many of you out there, before taking a closer look, I too had misconceptions about Proverbs 31; most notably I thought the verses were only directed toward women. What's more, I had visions of home confinement, having to surrender my strengths, only to become weak; having to surrender my independence, only to become dependent on another; and having to surrender control of my life and my voice, only to have decisions made for me. Upon learning the history and carefully reading Proverbs 31, however, I learned a male chauvinist did not write the verse with the purpose of dictating how a woman should behave to benefit him. In fact, I was surprised to learn that the verses were offered as loving advise from King Lemmuel's Mother to her son about the qualities that empowered both men and women along with the relationship they shared. While the chapter focused on the qualities of a woman of good character, it also implied a man of good character when read between the lines, for why would a woman follow a man’s lead only to be mistreated? I found Proverbs 31 to be a beautiful portrait illustrating a loving relationship between man and woman as a dynamic, mutually rewarding partnership; one that a woman followed a man's lead and the man in return followed a woman’s needs.

Proverbs 31 also placed a high priority on family life along with the practice of wisdom within the home. The thought is that learning wisdom at the home not only taught family members to relate to one another, but also taught them to relate to others in the real world as you would family members – whether it be socially, professionally, spiritually, or romantically. In ministering to one another, the needs of others took precedence before our own. In loving and encouraging others to reach their full potential in all areas of life, we also helped our loved ones reach the kingdom of heaven.

As I started to read and learn about Proverbs 31, the deep meaning behind the verses slowly sunk in. It became clear that in our quest to belong to the secular world, we often misinterpret God’s Word. In taking a closer look at Proverbs 31, I discovered the secular world to be far more demeaning to women with the message of the Gospel far more liberating.

In future posts, I will share my thoughts on the meaning behind the 10th to 31st verses of Proverbs 31 and how they may apply to life today.

Remember ... touch a life today "The Little Way" by following the lead and need of others.  Also, if you ever thought to yourself, "I wish my customers, knew...", then be sure to visit White Light Communications at

~ Theresa