A Servant's Heart

Exploring how I can express love to my family by means of my service to them.

The Foot Bath

My husband came in today from a long period of cleaning and working and cooking.  I looked at his face, softened with fatigue, his forehead glistening slightly, and I followed him into the living room and sat to listen to him.  He told me of his day and shared things he heard and things he said.  I didn’t always think he said the best thing, but I did not criticize.  He spoke himself to his own conclusion that he might have spoken to someone a bit harshly and he reproved his own self.  I reminded him that he was a good man.  He pushed his boots off, each one with the toe of the other foot and I removed them into the hallway.  “You’re feet stink,” I said.  He laughed.

I went upstairs to bring him some things he asked me for, and also brought a clean, hot wet washcloth and a dry one, too.  I grabbed a bottle of sandalwood shampoo, lavender and tea tree essential oil, and super emollient body cream and sat on the floor on the brown leather pillow before him.  It exhaled beneath me.  I squeezed the shampoo in my hand and massaged his feet until the shampoo disappeared.  Then, I grabbed the hot washcloth and began to wipe his feet as gentle suds appeared.  The mild abrasiveness from the cloth encouraged me to scrub-massage — instep, arch, heel.  I glanced up at him and he rested his head in his hands as his eyes slowly closed.  He looked peaceful.  I went and rinsed the cloth off again in the sink, warming it further, and then stood over his foot as I wiped off the remaining soap and then dried his foot with the towel.  After sitting back down, smiling to myself as the pillow heaved another sigh, I sprinkled a few drops of the fragrant oil in the palm of my hand and then scooped out a finger gob of the rich white body cream.  I rubbed them together in the palm of my hand and then applied the mixture onto his foot until it glistened and warmed.  The lovely smell filled the room, soothing, calming, and subtly stimulating at the same time.  He moved his toes back and forth and smiled.

“Is that the oil that smells so good?”

“Yes.  Is it tingling?”

“No.”

“Is your foot warm?”

“Yes.  It feels good.  Thank you.”

On to the next foot and then a kiss on the top of each.  Same process.  Same feeling.  Same smell.  Same love.  Same thank yous. Same peace.  I know that made him feel good.  Relaxed.  Kingly.  Loved.

And it made me feel lovely.  Sweet.  Full of gratitude.  Happy.

“There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”  Acts 20:35

Boring!

Well, I was looking over my blog and I guess it’s kind of boring.  But, this is my first attempt at this blogging thing and I don’t spend as much time on it as I’d like to.  My mom went to the hospital today; she had another seizure.  I keep wondering if there is some natural remedy for seizures that could replace the Keppra.  They don’t come often, but when they do, I find myself emotionally drained and not much use to anyone.

So, I wanted to revisit the purpose of my blog, which was to post about how I can love my family through service.  I really do so much for them, and I try to have a pure heart about it.  That is probably one of the biggest challenges of service.  Here are some people I serve:

My husband

My mother

My children

My grandchildren

My Bible students

Random people I witness to in the ministry

My staff

People from my congregation

That is a good summary.  So . . . immediate family, spiritual family, acquaintances from work, strangers on the street.  Of these, the most important ones to me are my husband and my mother.  I appreciate the opportunity to serve them both, but sometimes I just want to run away.  Or to yell at them.  Sometimes I want to move out.  Does that make me a hypocrite?

Solitude

So, today it is snowing outside.  The snow seems light and fluffy, but it is accumulating rapidly.  What is it about a snowfall that insulates everything and makes the whole world seem hushed and quiet.  I could have gone in to work today, or out in service.  I could be using my time more wisely.  But it is nice to have the house all to myself, the fireplace is on, all my bills are paid, I’m not coughing anymore, and for a change I feel a bit relaxed.  I feel at ease.

Now, I have been wearing my head covered since I posted about it and got permission from my employer, which was very easy!  The challenge is the daily head wear.  I regularly look on YouTube and watch videos of headwraps from all over the world, but I tend toward the same styles . . . or a hat of some sort.  So, this can be difficult.  Sometimes I can’t find the right thing to wear, or the thing I wear is not comfortable.  It might slip around on my head, or be too hot, or not weighty enough.  Sometimes I just feel stupid and uncomfortable.  But most of the time, I feel like a queen, a bride, a servant.  And, it gives me many opportunities to witness!

I just wanted to share that update with you.  I’ll keep in touch.

Later the same day . . .

I have been spending time reading up on raw foods.  My husband decided to eat Nutrisystem, which means I am not really feeding him anymore.  I don’t particularly like that, since feeding others is a service.  But, I guess I haven’t been doing much of that anyway.   Cooking/feeding, I mean.  Now, if you read my earliest post, my mother lives with me so I could feed her more.  She is very appreciative and so loving.  Other times, though, she complains and I find that irritating.  So, I like to eat natural foods.  Raw or cooked.  I have spent my years of marriage cooking food I don’t particularly enjoy eating because my husband likes it.  I should consider this time of my life an opportunity to eat what I want and not have to worry so much about whether or not my food is meeting the needs of my family members’ taste buds.  So, I have been thinking a bit more about how I incorporate that into my life of service if I am not feeding others.  Then, I realized that 1) when I make really yummy raw foods meals, my family eats them anyway, even if only a bit; and 2) the positive things I do for my own health are indirect acts of service to my family.

There is really nothing preventing me from changing and growing but myself.  Now there’s a slap upside the head for ya!  As with all the other stuff going on in my life, I’ll keep you informed.

What’s up? I’m up!

It’s pretty early in the morning still — 5:53 a.m.  I’ve been up for a while and so I decided to play Granny Games.  Have you ever played that?  It’s pretty fun.  It’s mindless, but it’s fun.  I allow myself to spend time playing it by rationalizing that it is helping my brain to develop its problem solving skills.  Maybe there’s some truth to that, but it can’t be good that when I am trying to fall asleep at night, I can see Granny running around catching cats in game puzzles that don’t exist.  If only learning at school could be so easy.  They should definitely figure out some way to use the game methodology to teach whenever possible . . . or at least some of the time.  Anyway . . .

I wanted to follow up on the head covering issue.  So, I spoke with my husband about it more and we examined the scriptures together.  He agreed that it seemed so clear that my head should be covered.  I don’t just pray or prophesy in the congregation, but everywhere, everyday, at any opportune time throughout the day.  Should I run and get my head covering?  It is all so plain and simple to me.  I sent a letter to the president of the board I work for and asked for a reasonable accommodation to allow me to wear my head coverings.  She said she didn’t think it was her role to answer and that if my employer (I worked for two independent regulatory boards in the public sector) didn’t mind, it was fine with her.  My employer has no government-wide dress policy so I am going to take that as an approval that I can cover at work.  Which now leaves me with no barriers to observing this very personal practice.

I have been reading a lot of articles on this and watching some YouTube videos on the issue.  I like to see what other women who cover from all walks of life have to say about it.  I also like the added aspect of it as being part of a greater expression of modesty, so I have begun to examine that, too.  I’m excited.  I’ll keep you informed.

I hear my husband upstairs now, so I must go and care for him.  Toodle-loo!

Over my head? Under my head

I have a few things that I obsess about internally.  They’re not the things most people would probably say I obsess about.  Most people don’t really know me very well.  But, anyway, one thing I obsess about is wearing a head covering.  I am Christian — I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses — and the question is out there as to whether or not Christian women are required to cover their heads.  Well, I’m not sure that it is a requirement; it’s certainly not a requirement to be a Christian or to be a professed Christian.  But for me, my heart convicts me.  For me, as a married woman, it is right.  It honors God; it honors my husband; it honors the headship arrangement; it dignifies me and my faith; it sets an example for onlookers; including the angels; it does not stumble.  I wonder if the angels that left their positions and came to earth to be with women were stumbled by the beauty and glory of their hair.  Or, was King David really struck by Bath-sheba’s hair?  Who knows.  It probably doesn’t matter.  But for me, my reading of 1 Corinthians 11:3-16 makes the issue clear, clear, clear.  Modern interpretations say it is just talking about women who pray or prophesy in the congregation.  But the congregation is not a place, it’s the body of individuals that make up the congregation.  If a woman is not going to shave or shear her head, she should cover it as a sign of her submission to the headship arrangement.  And the fact that it is NOT a requirement, demonstrates that for women who choose to cover, it is a sign of their WILLING submission to the headship arrangement.  This is beautiful in God’s eyes.  It’s not an issue to be argued about and shouldn’t be forced on any woman, because if she doesn’t want to do it then, if she does, it is not willing submission.  Jehovah doesn’t force anyone to do anything and he doesn’t want sacrifice and service given under compulsion.  He wants our earnest, heartfelt sacrifices.

Now as for me, my heart really convicts me to cover my head even in my home.  If you have never done it, I challenge you to do so for 30 days and see what a difference it makes in how you feel and how people treat you.  Note both the positive and the negative responses.  Think about the ugliness behind the negative responses and the respect that comes from the positive ones.  It will change you, even if you don’t choose to continue.  It’s like putting on a personally tailored suit made from a high quality fabric or putting on a perfectly fitted ball gown of a luxurious material.  It just makes you feel better, stand better, carry yourself better.  A head covering dignifies a woman and makes her want to act in a more dignified manner.

Out of respect for the headship arrangement, I spoke to my husband on this issue.  He agreed, although he still did not try to make it a requirement for me, which I appreciate.  He understands it is my choice.  I really respect him for respecting me and not grieving me.  My next step is to notify my employer.  I probably don’t have too, but I will as a courtesy.  I think it is appropriate.

So, because this is one of the things I absolutely OBSESS over inside, I feel so happy to be acting on it.  Why is it so hard and scary?  Fear of persecution and being ostracized.  But I should be used to that; I have always been a bit odd and on the fringe.  That has actually been easy.  Conforming to the “norms” of society has been hard, especially since I don’t agree with many of our social norms.

Well, that’s all for now.  There are many nice videos on YouTube related to this issue.  I will let you know how things are going on this issue for me personally.

P.S.

I just changed my blog theme.  I really like it.  Orange is my favorite color.  Maybe when I’m feeling a little less lazy I will actually learn how to use WordPress better.  In the meantime, if you’re reading this.  Thanks for putting up with my simplicity.  I thought I would at least see if I could figure out how to post a picture.  I can see the picture in my dashboard, but I can’t for the life of my figure out how to view it in my blog.  Oh, well!  Guess I play Mah Jong instead.

Healthy competition – literally!

My husband has decided to diet and has been doing a great job of going to the gym.  Now he is trying some new food choices and I think they are kind of radical, but I am going to give him the space and support he needs to do what he thinks is right.  I like it when he dignifies me by giving me my space and respecting me as an adult.  Well, since I met him many years ago, I think I’ve gained about 60 pounds and my lifestyle habits have gone downhill.  I’m not necessarily attaching those changes to him; I have been through a lot in the past few years and really have struggled with personal integrity as far as living a life that represents who I am and what I value on the inside.  I used to do this very well, but a turning point for me was when I decided I needed to change who I was on the outside in order to conform to the world of business.  Really, the issue was that I was a single mom and I needed to “get serious” about my job.  You see, I am an artist at heart.  Total hippie earth mama type.  A little city-country-city, but preferable country in the city.  You know.  Urban farmer, chickens and a bee hive in the back yard.  Compost, recycling, organics, raising and loving children.  Canning, cooking, baking, sewing, knitting.  Beads, oils, fiber arts.  Bare feet in the grass.  Vegetarian.  I am a straight up roots woman!  But you wouldn’t know it if you saw me.  If you saw me, you might say, “Oh, that’s a business woman.”  But, really, the discrepancy is killing me and so I eat.  I carry it well; but it makes me sad and unhappy and a little bit ashamed of myself because I really know health and wellness.  All this stuff that’s so popular today I was already doing back then.  In a way I sometimes feel like I went backward.

Anyway, I decided it might be a time to give my hubby — or maybe me — a little healthy competition, literally.  To exercise what I know to be the best way to live; i.e., healthy eating.  I wonder if I can do that anymore.  I will share my journey with you if you are interested.

Peace and blessings,

Veronica

Oh, wow!

Oh, wow!  I didn’t realize how long it had been since I posted.  So, what’s been happening?  Well, the honeymoon period of having my mom live with me is pretty much over.  It’s not a bad situation; my mom is a really sweet and loving person.  But, still, who grows up and says, “Oh!  I just can’t wait to reach my mid-40′s so I can live with my mom!”  I mean, eew!  It’ll be okay though.  I signed her up at a senior center around town so that she can socialize and have something to do besides sit in my quiet red and brown living room.  My house and my neighborhood are very, very quiet.  I like all that peaceful silence.  She visited her brother for three weeks, which would have been a nice little break, except that my husband and I had unexpected guests who decided that my entire kitchen needed to be rearranged.  That was kind of weird.  Would you go visit friends and rearrange their entire kitchen, cabinets and all?  I guess they meant well.  Let’s see, what else.  My husband and I enjoyed a short trip to Vegas and I purchased a great pair of boots from Ross’s.  I’d never heard of that place.  Wish they’d build some here.  I also suffered and fought my way through the budget process at work.  That was pretty rough and demoralizing and I don’t think I have quite recovered, but I’ve been praying a lot about having some more inner peace and believe that I need to just draw back, refocus, and be more concentrated and less diluted in my efforts there.  That is a real challenge for me; I tend to be all over the place.  My son came home over thanksgiving break and it was really great to see him, and my daughter cooked a great dinner that weekend.  I’m really impressed with her kitchen skills.  Beyond that, well, that’s all I think I want to share right now.  I have a headache, so I’m going to just take a rest.  Oh, and I wanted to post what I ate so far today:

2 medium-small yellow apples

1 portion of protein salad from the Co-op

2 risotto cakes with veggies from the Co-op

2 oatmeal chocolate chip cookies – all natural of course — from my favorite Co-op bakery products

It was nice to visit the co-operative again, but it’s so different from what it used to be and in ways, it’s really a disappointment to me.  Maybe I’ll talk about that next time.

Peace out!

Naked Flesh

The URL for my blog — this one — is nakedflesh.wordpress.com.  You might be wondering why I chose that URL.  Was it to be incitive?  To foster curiosity based on a somehow misleading premise?  Well, no.  I chose nakedflesh because I aspire for a simpler life, a life of service, and the phrase “naked flesh” is how I describe it when I empty myself of unnecessary things.  I say that I am just “naked flesh” or that I am going “naked flesh.”  So, let’s just be clear to start that there really WON’T be any images of naked flesh or any improper references to the same.  Having said all that, that’s all I wanted to say for this particular moment.  I have spent yesterday and today moving my mother into our house, but I’ll post more on that later.  In the meantime, I downloaded all of my Facebook albums and then deleted them from my Facebook page.  I am now in the slow, boring process of deleting all of my Facebook posts from my wall.  Step three, when I finally get there, will be to delete my friends.  Then, my final step will be to permanently delete my account.  I never wanted that Facebook thing; my daughter insisted and set it up for me.  All I can say now is that I should have followed my first inclination.  As Dad used to always say, “Follow your first mind.”  It has become a nuisance and a distraction and a sometimes discouraging and disappointing revelation deeper into the hearts of people than I really wanted to peer.  I’ll keep you informed on that, too!  It’s been very difficult for me to let go of and so I am taking my time departing.  But, progress is steady and with each reduction, I’ll feel lighter.  Yep, I’m going all naked flesh where Facebook is concerned!

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