Thursday, July 31, 2008

Modest Comfort

Today was the first day since beginning my "dresses/skirts" only philosophy that I have worn a pair of pants even when I had skirts clean. I was planning on wearing a skirt, in fact, I even ironed it. I was excited about it. But, I delayed getting ready (my biggest problem in the morning is just starting my morning) and so it was evening by the time I was getting dressed for the day. I was headed to Wal-Mart to buy a particular dress pattern and hopefully some cheap fabric to go with it. The dress pattern looks like it will make an easy day/work dress and if I use a light material, I can also wear it as a full-slip, which is something I have been looking at getting anyway. In fact, I will probably purchase some silky material soon to make a white version with lace across the top, which will show out of some of my shirts, keeping me modest and still pretty! Anyway, that's really the point. The point is, that I put on clothing that I would normally have thrown on and I felt so awful the whole time! I was self-conscious about my clothing, particularly how tight my jeans were. I always end up staring at [large] women who wear tight clothing and still seem somehow oblivious that every dip and pucker shows through the relatively thick denim material that is so popular.

Last night, we picked Mom up at the airport and I chose to wear my long brown skirt. At the airport bathroom, I was able to clearly see myself for the first time because they have a full-length mirror. I admit that my reflection didn't look as well as I have been picturing but nevertheless, I felt less self-conscious wearing a long-flowing skirt than I did wearing pants to Wal-Mart. I hope that this dress pattern is easy to sew and looks decent. I am really looking forward to getting some different dresses. The hardest part is picking a material that is going to look pleasant and still be sturdy or finding something that covers me well while still being pretty. Choosing fabric is difficult and I have a feeling that I am going to need a lot of yards for each dress, so I will need to be extra careful to pick only fabrics that are on that's a challenge!!! I should set a standard that I will never pay more than $5.00 a yard for any fabric. Denim and "bottom-weights" tend to be expensive, but they usually go on sale frequently. Finding the right mix should prove to be an exciting challenge for me. More than anything, I hope that Eric likes the new wardrobe and gets used to it easily. Dresses and skirts really are more comfortable than pants.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I have been working hard these last two weeks, while Eric has been away, to change my thinking about my position as it relates to him and God. I am beginning to see what is expected of me a little more clearly. What seemed like Eric's demands now, I now can view from a different angle, which is that by submitting to Eric I have submitted to the Lord and this is the greatest honor. However, it is very easy to think about change, slightly difficult to change your mind or attitude, but it is much more difficult to change your actions. One of the easiest subjects in my current "wife curriculum" is Home Care 101-teaching a stubborn young woman how to care and clean her own house. This is such as easy subject to test because the results are apparent for all to see. I admit, I have been lax in this area. Cleaning has always been difficult for me and I have never really gained an appreciation of a clean house or a repulsion for a dirty house. These things are coming, but again, I don't have them yet.

My time of testing came, yesterday evening, when Eric said that he was part of a group that was required to come back "to the rear" which is in Centralia. I was happy that he had gotten out of his CQ duty and we hung up. Several minutes later Eric called back to tell me that they were not going to Centralia, but to the armory in Olympia! He wanted to know if I would pick him up and bring him home for the night. It's a no-brainer when your spouse call up and says that he will be 10 miles away for the night, you haven't seen him in two weeks and you are still going to be apart for another 2 weeks. Of course I would pick him up! Then came the problem- Eric wasn't due home for 2 weeks, and the house was appropriately dirty! I had two hours to make the house presentable. Not going to happen.

I spent the largest amount of time clearing a spot for him on the bed, moving all the laundry to the living room to fold and changing the sheets. I had also hoped to do the dishes because that always makes my tiny kitchen look clean. I had just finished folding the last shirt when Eric called to say that he was ready for me to pick him up. I sighed, berated myself and got my children together to drive into Olympia. We picked him up, he came home, said nothing about the house, slept and went back this morning. It was an enjoyable few hours though I am extremely grateful that most of the hours were spent asleep because he was given less time to evaluate the house. I think I learned a valuable lesson though: you never know when someone is going to come over and you might as well be prepared.

When I was using Flylady's system (, one of the first acronyms I noticed (she uses almost as many as the Army) was CHAOS- Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome. This "syndrome" was indeed what I was/am suffering from. The fact that I don't want to clean and don't get dressed first thing in the morning is what prevents me from NOT being trapped by my house. Learning to clean frequently as a part of my daily activities is essential. This is what I am learning; I have two more weeks to establish it.

I was tested last night and though I could have failed miserably, I did pass...with a C-/D+. I should be capable of getting an A on that particular test, everytime, so that is my goal for the next two weeks...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Head Covering?

I have been researching the topic of Biblical modesty for quite some time now (as frequent readers well know) and now yet another topic concerning Biblical modest comes up; the topic of headcovering during prayer and prophesying. According to 1 Corinthians 11: 2-16, God (through Paul) discusses whether each sex should wear their  head covered. He states the concept of the "head" of a person figuratively, then moves into the practical application, quite literally that it is a disgrace for men to have their head covered and yet it is a disgrace if women choose to leave their heads UNCOVERED. He finishes with an example from nature. I have gone through a variety of interpretations, my own personal thinking that Paul is being figurative throughout, since he starts with a figurative concept, but I am not sure that I believe that anymore. I have read a good article on the subject at this website: I would completely encourage anyone to go visit it (there should be a link) because it really made me think. I didn't go out and buy a bunch of headcoverings, though I hae looked for some that look a little more modern and not so "Islamic" in style. Interesting that we associate a Jewish and Christian practice now more with Islam than the original religion! Anyway, this topic is fascinating me right now, as is modest, feminine clothing. Tell me what you think!!! You can post right to this website, which would be great...even dissenting opinions are welcome.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

College From Home

I have always wanted to get my degree, though I think that without the persuasion of my mom, I would probably be a little more okay with NOT pursuing a degree and instead vesting my time at home with my family. As it is, I am doing neither. As I have posted in previous posts, I am in the process of changing all of that. I am confident that it won't be changing overnight, but am working on it. Whenever I ask Eric how to go about changing, he always says, "just do it," like the key is just in doing it. I always thought that was the least helpful advice in the world but now I am beginning to understand. Change is only so good as what you are doing. We always liked to say that it's "the thought that counts" but really, that is only okay for children buying a parent a gift. In reality, talking about change (what I am very good at!!!) is not enough. I have to actually change and not in thoughts, I have to change in actions. I think this is what Eric has been struggling to see in me lately- a change in action. Though I have had a change in heart, meaning that I regret my actions when I behave poorly and I recognize that the house is not cleaned up to standard, I haven't (yet) allowed my heart to influence my actions and get me off the couch (and internet) and on to cleaning and care-taking. I am learning to change my actions now and my biggest prayer i that I am able to make lasting changes. So often, I go overboard on my changes and then am unable to continue them. I even feel my appropriate rush of feeling on top of the world, but as soon as I miss a step, I'm back to square one (sounds like the Atkins diet!!!). So back to the degree...

I had originally planned to go to Saint Martin's this fall and was planning on putting the kids in full-time daycare (though the wouldn't have to be there full-time) since Jordyn would be going to school in a year, it seemed like a good time to start since I only have a little over a year left for my English degree. However, as the time has drawn close, I don't think I can manage the $12,000 per SEMESTER tuition costs, plus paying $1500 in daycare a month...that's pretty darn expensive for a degree that I don't plan on using!!! I satisfied myself with staying at home and learning with my children as I begin to teach them. However, I mentioned to a neighbor about wanting to get a degree but being able to afford Saint Martins and not willing to go to Evergreen. She said I should look in to an online degree. I blew it off, but the thought stuck in my head and now, I have applied and been accepted to University of Maryland University College (UMUC). Their English degree is 100% online and I will minor in History. I can't even say how excited I am about this school right now!!! I can start this fall and though it won't give me anything that I can really use for a career but most schools have a program where you can get your teaching credentials after you get your BA degree, so if I'm ever at the point where I NEED to teach, I can get my certificate within a year or so. It's not ideal, but by then my kids would both be school-age, and that makes child care easier. The funny part about me going to school is that we MAKE money in the process instead of spending money like at Saint Martins. Because UMUC is a public, non-profit school, they get extra grants and scholarships that other schools might not. Plus, since Eric is in the NG, we get "in-state" tuition costs. Plus, I get my GI Bill, which is supposed to be $1300 a month starting in October, I think. Basically, I will get paid to go to school. This alleviates the need for me to go out and get a job so now I can stay home with the kids. I am pretty excited about this because it just seems to be the best of all my worlds. The biggest problems are the flimsy nature of online schools and there relative disrespect in the education community and my ability to stay full-time in a completely online environment. I don't know the answers to those questions nor do I really know how to get the answers. Since I am not really pursuing this degree to provide a career, I am not as concerned with the first two and as for me completing full-time credits, I am not confident about that at all, but I hope that I will manage, I will just have to shift some priorities around.

Who knows what will come???

Monday, July 21, 2008

I Feel Pretty...and Other Notes on my Wardrobe

Sometimes I wonder if the word "pretty" is slowly being removed from the English language in connection with humans. It seems to me like women have truly been forbidden to wear pretty things. Just watching people at the store has been an eye opener. What women feel comfortable shopping in is amazing. We have quite an "eclectic" group in Olympia and seeing the outfits that these young women put together makes me worry about woman-kind in general. At first I was skeptical when the authors of the Ladies Against Feminism were talking about women walking around being proud to look like sloppy men, but now I am seeing some of the truth behind their words. The other day, as I was battling the skirts/dresses=modesty concept, I saw a woman who was very modestly dressed; she was wearing near knee length shorts and a tucked in t-shirt with ankle socks and tennis shoes. While there was nothing sloppy in her appearance, nor anything unmodest, the thought I had while attempting to justify her dress (as modest) was "but it's NOT feminine." The more I look around the more I see that women today have traded "feminine" for "comfortable" and they are just as trapped by it as our ancestors were by long skirts.

I have been wearing primarily skirts for a week now and I am truly happy about it. I am enjoying the feminine feeling. I want to make some dresses now. Dresses are (probably) so much easier than skirts because you only need one thing to have a complete outfit. The only major problem I know of when it comes to dresses is that they have a tendency to look frumpy when worn casually. Since I am not dressing for the ball, I want a practical wardrobe and though there are many dresses that qualify, most of them look so unfashionable and frumpy that I wouldn't want to wear it! I suppose that, as with everything, the fabric makes a huge difference and the small floral prints that are on all these dresses is a little TOO feminine for me right now. I enjoy the dresses and skirts and I have even made a slightly "frumpy" skirt, which I intended to be an everyday style skirt that I could pull on when nothing else was clean. It will achieve that very well. Now I want to extend my wardrobe by including some dresses in the same manner...something I can wear when there is nothing else to wear. I still have three skirts to make from the material I already have, so i will just make those first. The other thing that I am lacking in my wardrobe are the shirt staples. I have a few shirts (enough for a summer wardrobe) but nothing that is "lasting" or quality work. I am hoping to buy a good quality pattern to use for my shirt. Two of the skirts that I want to make are going to need specific shirts to go with them because the color palette is unique. One thing is for certain, I need to find a budget for this new hobby. I couldn't possibly go out and buy an entirely new wardrobe, yet this is what I am trying to do now! I have to incorporate things slowly. Maybe I can buy enough fabric or a pattern once a month. Maybe I should just make do for a little while longer. It's not like we have extra money to spend, even on something I see to be good and worthy. I will probably buy some "summer" fabric in a month or two when it all goes on sale and make some dresses for Jordyn next year. By buying off season fabric, you can usually get a good deal. Plus, there is a fabric store in downtown Olympia and I wonder if the prices there might be better. I don't know what it is like and I'm NOT going to take the kids there for the first time!!! Figuring out how I am going to handle the cold winter months is still up in the air. Not really for me, but for Jordyn. She wore plenty of skirts with tights last winter, but exclusively might be a little much for both of us. Yet another decision to make...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Modest, Feminine Clothing

It was only a few days ago that I received the book (that I ordered) called Passionate Housewives: Desperate for God. The title caught my attention while I was looking for a different book recommended by the book Teaching the Trivium: A Christian Guide to a Classical Education by the Bluedorns. Anyway, the Passionate Housewife book is written by two ladies and the back of the book has a picture of each of their families along with a very short blurb about each. I noticed that while looking somewhat modern, they were all wearing skirts (except the males, obviously) and I began to question that. Then, I looked into the website,, which is edited and managed by one of the authors of the housewife book. It was there that I found for the first "official" time, sites and information dedicated to women who are choosing to wear skirts/dresses exclusively, especially long one (I haven't seen any that are at or above the knee). This idea intrigued me and as I began to consider it I found myself questioning EVERYTHING!!!

The first question was the obvious, why? They claimed verses that speak about women not wearing things of mens and of course, modest clothing. They (seem) to believe that the Bible speaks for women to wear dresses and skirts and a modest length is below the knees. At first I defended myself, saying that my typical wardrobe (jeans and a t-shirt) was rarely if ever, immodest. However, as I thought about it a little more I realized that my jeans are probably a little too tight (and I refuse to go a size up!!!) and my shirts are usually a little too low-cut for me to feel extremely comfortable, but since I have been judging myself against other people, they never seemed too bad. And really, they aren't too bad, but they aren't the best. However, I could still consider myself a modest dresser. One of the things that bothered me was the idea that pants were "mens clothing" because my clothing doesn't come from the men's department and who is to say that pants are exclusively men's domain? Of all the issues, this is the one that I haven't figured out yet.

Their next argument was for the visual separation of men and women, meaning women should embrace their feminine side, with dresses and skirts. This idea probably speaks more to the reasons for skirts than the idea of pants being "mens". I liked this idea very much. As I began to think about it more I realized that I have been suppressing my femininity for a long time because it just isn't acceptable. I feel like I have had people in my life who have shunned feminine things and expect the rest of us to do so also. This was a little bit freeing because as I started to consider my true feelings on the subject, I am not opposed at all to the wearing, primarily, of skirts. I think that pants are still appropriate at times, like heavy labor in the garden and planned physical activity (like going to the gym). However, even those times seems to be less that essential. I think I will always keep a pair of pants (or two) just because.

In my typical fashion, I went to the fabric store and spent a fortune on fabric to make a million different (okay, 5) floor length skirts. I want to make them and I am excited about wearing them, but then I started thinking (always a bad sign...). I have two primary fears: one, that I will look ridiculous in them and instead of looking pretty and feminine, I will look giant and lumpy. The other is that my decision will not be accepted by people close to me (like my mothers and sisters) who don't share the same beliefs. Both of these hinge on being accepted and since I don't feel like there is a strong logic behind this decision, other than the desire to appear more feminine, I feel the attacks would be coming strong and I would be unprepared to face them.

THEN, I did some more research this evening as I was cooking dinner for me and the kids about the idea of skirts and modesty and something struck me: the long skirts are an outward expression of our internal modesty. I liken it to baptism. You don't go get baptized and then hope to become a Christian since you have put on the outward signs; your heart has to change first and then you are willing to put on the outward show because it is a matter of showing your changed life. Dresses and skirts really do that for a woman; they show how her attitude has changed to reveal a humble spirit. I am, and always have been, an "anti-feminist" because I have believed, especially after my "women's history" class, that feminism has trapped women more than the traditional roles of making babies and homes ever did. Today, women are expected to excel at school, go to college, start a career, obtain large quantities of satisfaction from said career, maybe pick up a husband, pump out a few kids, but still keeping the "career-mentality" of sacrificing everything for job. Meanwhile, they are also expected to exploit their sexuality to the best of their ability when necessary and look like a Hollywood model the rest of the time!!! I think I prefer the idea of "just" staying home with my children and being a part of their lives. However, with all my "anti-feminist" thinking, I still got really caught up with the ideas and trends. Even now, there is a part of me that wants to walk away from everything and finish my degree and pursue some satisfying career. How foolish that part of me is!!!

Modesty of spirit is not something I have figured out yet. I hate to be judged a failure by my husband, even when I know full well that it is true. I pick fights constantly and have not yet figured out this "servant's heart" thing. My world revolves around me and I don't like it that way. The Bible says that serving others is a win-win situation. I agree, because the opposite is true: serving self is a lose-lose situation. Me doing whatever I want is not only not improving myself and cultivating plenty of sins, like laziness, selfishness and greed, but the other people that are forced to sacrifice are also hurt by my selfishness, mainly my children. Kids need the love and attention of their parents and being selfish deprives them of every benefit life has to offer.

So how do I change? This is my critical question. I recognize that women who are choosing to wear a long skirt even in the heat of the summer have a dedication to something larger than themselves. This is a good thing. I will make my skirts because NOT making them would be selfish at this point, since I have invested so much money. I won't be fashionable this winter, but maybe I need to take even that focus off myself and realize that looking a little frumpy or old-fashioned in an eternal light is nothing; bringing my children to know the Truth and the Way of the Lord is eternal. Long skirts might just be able to humble my spirit a least I hope they will. I also hope that I enjoy wearing them!!!