I'm warning you up front that this is a lengthy entry.
This is a piece that I created this week. The inspiration comes from Eshet Chayil or Woman of Valor, a twenty-two verse poem with which King Solomon concludes the book of Proverbs (Proverbs 31). The poem describes the Woman of Valor as one who is energetic, righteous, and capable. It is obviously meant to honor women, and I'm sure that back in the day it was maybe even progressive. But I have to say I'm not crazy about all of the verses. So I came up with a version more suitable to the complex lives of women/mothers today. The original is in italics, followed by my interpretation (in bold).
An accomplished woman, who can find? Her value is far beyond pearls.
Accomplished women are everywhere, just open your eyes King Solomon! Geez.
Her husband's heart relies on her and he shall lack no fortune.
Her husband relies on her to do the taxes and get a nice refund check.
She does him good and not evil, all the days of her life.
She does him good and only thinks evil thoughts when he leaves his socks by the door.
She seeks wool and flax, and works with her hands willingly.
She seeks quality jeans at a good price and a manicure would be nice too.
She is like the merchant ships, she brings her bread from afar.
She only shops locally and her bread is multi-grain organic.
She arises while it is still night, and gives food to her household and a portion to her maidservants.
She arises when the alarm goes off, pours the cereal and longs for a personal chef.
She plans for a field, and buys it. With the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She co-signs on the house and has a nice Merlot to celebrate.
She girds her loins in strength, and makes her arms strong.
Her loins have not been the same since she had the babies but she has strong arms (from carrying them all the time).
She knows that her merchandise is good. Her candle does not go out at night.
She's still smoking hot even though her boobs are droopy.
She sets her hands to the distaff, and holds the spindle in her hands.
She's not great at sewing, but she's taking a class on Mondays.
She extends her hands to the poor, and reaches out her hand to the needy.
She donates to her friends who do Team in Training.
She fears not for her household because of snow, because her whole household is warmly dressed.
She lives in California where there is no snow and her household wears flip flops in winter.
She makes covers for herself, her clothing is fine linen and purple.
She actually once made a duvet cover out of two sheets and it was really awesome. But not purple.
Her husband is known at the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
Her husband is known at the mechanic, where he likes to look over everyone's shoulders.
She makes a cloak and sells it, and she delivers aprons to the merchant.
She buys her coat on eBay and sells it for $10 more on Craigslist because it's too small.
Strength and honor are her clothing, she smiles at the future.
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the lesson of kindness is on her tongue.
She opens her mouth and mostly has nice things to say unless she's grouchy. And then she writes in her blog.
She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
She watches over the ways of the household, including all the damned laundry.
Her children rise and praise her, her husband lauds her.
Her children rise and want breakfast, her husband pretends he's sleeping.
Many women have done worthily, but you surpass them all.
Many women can have it all, or some modified version of it all.
Charm is deceptive and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears God shall be praised.
Charm and beauty help a lot when the mind goes.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Give her a little time to herself to recharge and see just how amazing she is.