Monday, June 6, 2011

A Chain of Events


From Proverbs 31 (KJV)

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.  She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.


Do you ever read a passage and feel completely crappy about yourself? For the past 6 months or so Proverbs 31 has been placed in front of me is some form or another. Proverbs 31, the infamous virtuous woman passage. It’s not one that I like to read to fee good about myself, that’s for sure. Here’s why.

  • My husband treats me better than I could ever imagine, but I don’t feel like I do the same for him. On one hand I say how thankful and appreciative I am for the hard work he does so that I can stay home, but on the other hand I complain and stress out about him having to travel for work and al the “extra stuff” that comes with his career and job.
  • I don’t think I could sew more than a button back on a shirt or a pair or pants. Maybe a blanket or pillow if I tried. But I don’t make my family’s clothes or the like things around the house.
  • I’m definitely not up before the crack of 7:00, never mind before dawn. And prepare breakfast or lunch for my husband who does actually get up early everyday, that’s a good one.
  • I don’t have my own garden or do anything to bring extra money into our household - Mary Kay, Premier, I don’t babysit or make bows or jewelry, and we’ve covered the fact that I don’t sew. I could kill a fake plant for crying out loud.
  • I wouldn’t say that I have “homemaking skills” – I don’t sew or really cook, and it’s a daily struggle to keep my house organized clean. Most of the time I settle for “livable.”
  • I surely don’t have the kindest words to say all the time
  • I see people begging for money and all I can say (most of the time) is “Go find a job!”

Every time I think about it, I feel like a complete failure. I had always thought of myself as very independent. I didn’t need help from anyone, I did the best at my jobs, never really had a boyfriend growing up. Since I had Collin and quit work, I feel very vulnerable. If something were to happen to Devin, I’d be in trouble. Actually, my mom would be in trouble because I’d have to go live with her again. Me and three kids :) (Love you Mommy!!) Anyway, the not working and bringing in money thing has probably been my biggest internal struggle. I’ve always had a monetarily paying job, sometimes two. I’ve been trying to figure out for a year now what I could do to help money wise with our family. When we got married I switched what I could to off brands. I actually can’t tell a difference in most of the Target (Up&UP) or Publix brand from the name brands. More than a year ago I got to where I would only buy clothes if I had a “Spend $XX save whatever %” from my favorite stores, and Babies ‘R’ Us only got business from me if I had a 20% of coupon and then I might consider looking at the 70% clearance rack while I was there.

About a year ago, before the whole “extreme couponing” fad hit, I began talking with a friend who works at Publix about coupons and she tried to explain it to me. I was fascinated with how much money she would save, but never really got the hang of it or really understood how she could save so much money – and actually have the name brands! I began using the sites she used. About 8 months ago, I bought a Sunday paper and decided to see if I could do what she was doing. I even tried printing coupons. But I just couldn’t seem to do it. I thought it was too much work and just got frustrated with it. The more I thought about it, the more I thought, about my contribution, or what I felt was a lack thereof. So I decided that I would give it another try. Really give it another try. It’s still a lot of work, but I find that I am oddly proud of myself when I make a list, have my coupons, and know when I go into Publix (practically the only place I grocery shop now) that I’m getting X-Y-and-Z… and that’s it. I have really been doing pretty well. I don’t save 80% or 90% of my bill, I’m lucky if I save 40%-50%, 50% being REALLY exciting for me. But here’s what I did that truly meant saving. At the bottom of my receipt there is that line which reads “Your Savings at Publix” with the dollar amount underneath. I actually transfer that amount into our savings account—when I remember. I figure it’s the least I can do to put away some money.

I don’t think I’ll ever get to the point where I need 100 bottles of mustard, 58 bottles of laundry detergent or 45 bottles of pain reliever. And I won’t have a bill totaling anywhere near $300-$400-or$1000 and only spending .01-$5. But I will have fresh fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator and several packages of meat, chicken, and fish in the freezer.

So all that brings me to my next topic in this marathon of a post. Even though Devin will ask me how much I saved and tell me “good job” and he’s proud of me, I still don’t feel like I’m doing enough. Last year I co-hosted a double baby shower for some friends. Do you have ANY idea how difficult it is to find a baby shower invitation for a double shower? I’ll let you know, it’s frustrating and difficult to say the least. So, I turned to my major, which I never got a job for. Advertising. I opened Photoshop for the first time, probably since college, and went to work. Again, I was oddly proud of myself for my creation and the shower was, in my humble and completely unbiased opinion, one of the best I’ve ever been to :) From there I made Collin’s first birthday invitations and thank you cards, a birthday invitation or a friend, and two more baby shower invitations. I even changed the one for Collin for another friends son. Some because I offered in passing to do them, others because I was a part of the shower, and sometimes because my friends knew I liked to do it and was willing to do it for them. Each time I completed one I felt good and wanted to keep going. I designed a few blogs along the way as well. My creations aren’t anything spectacular by any means, but like I said, I get oddly proud of myself when I’m done with a masterpiece.

This past weekend a friend who I had done a couple shower invites for before asked about one for her daughters first birthday. She asked how I did it. When I told her I used Photoshop and made them from nothing, she said “oh.” I hadn’t done one in a while so I jumped at the chance and offered to do it for her. I managed to wiggle around the licensing dilemma because they wanted Mickey Mouse and created, what I think, is a very Disney Worthy invitation and thank you card. Each time I design an invitation people tell me I should do it on the side and start charging. I just never felt right about doing something I love, for people I love, and charging them for it. I mean, I’m not a professional graphic artist by any stretch of the imagination. But Proverbs 31 came back to me again this weekend in some reading and I thought, “I’m gonna do it.”

What does anyone do today who wants to get their name out there? I created a Facebook page! DUH! I even have a whopping 15 people who like “Erin’s Epiphanies” Does the name sound familiar? :)  Design by: Erin's Epiphanies When I figure it out, I’m going to add the “like” button to the sidebar—one day anyway. We’ll see if anything actually comes of my little epiphany. For now, I’ll continue to shop the sale ads and use what coupons I have. Maybe little by little I won’t feel so crappy about not being the Proverbs 31 woman.


  1. Proverbs 31 is one of my favorites. I have it posted in my kitchen as a reminder!

    I have always seen you as a strong, hardworking, driven, exremely efficient woman. You haven't changed- but your circumstances have. Just because we have a little more on our plate and a little less energy doesn't make you a "failure" by any stretch of the imagination. Anyone who knows you knows that you do the best to your ability, and don't forget about all the hard work you're doing growing TWO human beings inside you!! I think the Proverbs 31 woman is someone we should ALL strive to be like, but God knows your heart Erin and knows that you are doing the best you can. I know God didn't put that in there to make any of us feel GUILTY, but to give us an example of the type of wife and mother we should always be aiming to be. Plus, you're vey obviously making a real attempt to be a good steward of the things God has blessed you with!

    I think it is GREAT that you've found something you enjoy that also helps you contribute to your family! Good luck with your new adventure!

  2. Oh, and also- I've kind of graduated to the next level of couponing. I've moved from my little ol' envelopes-in-a-box filing method to the big binder/3-4 newspapers a week/filed by insert and date method. I'm going extreme! xD So don't hesitate to let me know if you need help, tips, or want to swap some coupons!

  3. Sweet girl, don't even think of yourself like that! I totally know where you're coming from and have had a hard time dealing with the 'what am I worth" issue now that I'm not 'contributing monetarily" to the household, but just because you're not 'there' yet doesn't mean that you're not well on your way. You have to remember that some of those things listed there are not meant in the literal but in the job title. It's not necessary for you to be able to sew clothes for Devin, Collin or the twins, but it is your responsibility to know that they have things to keep them warm in the winter time, whether that means buying them for them (on sale) or just making sure that Devin's suits get picked up from the dry cleaners. When it says she rises early to get meat for her household and a portion to her maidens, what its saying in modern terms is that she knows what she's serving for the day and she knows that she'll have enough for everyone in her home to eat well. Believe it or not, you do that too! When it says that she helps the poor, that doesn't mean that she throws out a dollar when she gets off the freeway to every beggar standing out there. It means she helps by donating goods or helping clean up a shelter, she's willing to buy a meal for a hurting family or give food for a Thanksgiving basket. I'm sure you do or have done all of those.

    Can we be better? Should we all be a little less idle and a little more generous? Absolutely. Should we get to bed earlier and get up earlier? Probably. Does the Lord expect us to be there now? No. There is a reason that this virtuous woman has children who rise up and call her blessed, and that's because she's old enough to have old children! Keep seeking the Lord, as you're obviously doing, and as you grow in Him and in His Word, He'll give you the ability, determination and energy to be that woman. And check out the commentaries on this passage and the real-life statements that are being made based on the time period and what those translate to in our day. Love you girl! Hope to see you this week!

  4. Erin, I can understand where your coming from BUT do understand the importance of the "job" your doing right now being the mommy to Collin and being there for him and your husband. NO ONE can take care of and love that little boy better than his mommy or daddy. Supporting your husband in his work IS just as important. You pointed out your flaws in your eyes....we all have them, work on correcting them, as you are from what I can tell by this post. Dont be so hard on yourself.