Proverbs 31 - a portrait of a Virtuous Woman - Denton County Photographer

Do you remember the tallest girl in your class in grade school?  You know, the one that stood above all the rest.  Knowing what I do now, I am sure she DESPISED being the tallest girl (and most of the time taller than even the BOYS at that age), but I ENVIED her.  I stopped growing in 7th grade and even then wasn't tall by any means.  I topped out at 5'4" (and I swear I am shrinking).  I wanted to stand tall and proud and be looked up to.  (Still do, truth be told).

Alas, it wasn't my fate in life.  Sigh.  My short but steady legs have carried me through life well enough however.  Ha.  Or so I think.

The tallest girl in MY 7th grade class (that I remember) was Liz.  And not only was she tall, she was pretty and sweet too (a charming combination, no doubt).  We were good friends in middle school, but kinda lost touch in the midst of high school and boyfriends and didn't talk or see each other at all through college.

It's been.... well... a LOT of years since then, but I am sooooo happy that because of the wonderfulness of Facebook, I've been able to reconnect with my good friend Liz and feel like zero years have gone by since our days in middle school.  (She is still SIGNIFICANTLY taller than me, but that isn't saying much, so are my sisters and they are genetically tied to me).  I love the new friendship we have forged after all these years and count her as one of my closest friends now.

Liz has been such an inspiration to me lately.  This year she started her own business, via a direct marketing company called Thirty-One, she has fought a life-threatening disease (and is on the winning end, thank God), and all the while has managed to be a loving wife to a handsome guy, and a doting mother to two gorgeous girls. 

She certainly hasn't had an easy year, but it has been full of blessings as well.

A few weeks ago I had Liz host a Thirty-One party for me and some of my favorite women (my mom, my sister, my friend Dawn and my work-wife Sheila and her sister Shawna).  We had such a great time having cocktails and admiring the wonderful products Liz brought to show us.  (I really DO recommend them, they have been my favorite "thing" lately... everyone can probably guess they will be getting "thirty-one" from me for Christmas soon, ha).

I was honored when Liz shared her breast cancer story with our group, since it is such a personal battle and she had never met my friends before.  But I have learned that through tragedy and obstacles we can forge new friendships and give hope to others, and that is just what Liz did that day.

My favorite moment of the party was when she told us that anyone that orders from her gets to write inspiring quotes and notes on her party folders.  We all had fun sharing our favorite ones with Liz and each other and reading the ones written by other party attendees. 

I shared my favorite one from Ralph Waldo Emerson (I will tell you all what it is at another time) and there were some biblical ones and some poetic ones and some of the best were the ones written straight from the heart.  

Today I noticed three things within the same hour (which inspired this post).

  1. It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  2. I Heart Faces is dedicating this week's challenge to a "pink" theme for breast cancer awareness, and 
  3. My long standing curiosity about the name "Thirty-One" and where it came from was answered by my friend Liz via Facebook.
So here is my weekly challenge entry for I Heart Faces:

pink edited_DSC00149
Liz with her Daughters last Spring
taken with a Nikon D90, edited with Pioneer Woman's actions to bring out the soft pink glow. 

The name for Liz's company came from the scripture, Proverbs 31, about a "virtuous woman".  I've heard of that before now but have never paid much attention.  Usually older women mention their goal of being a "Proverbs 31" woman.  So I had to go look it up.  I will share it with you (New International Version):
Proverbs 31:10-31

10 [c] A wife of noble character who can find?
       She is worth far more than rubies.
 11 Her husband has full confidence in her
       and lacks nothing of value.
 12 She brings him good, not harm,
       all the days of her life.
 13 She selects wool and flax
       and works with eager hands.
 14 She is like the merchant ships,
       bringing her food from afar.
 15 She gets up while it is still dark;
       she provides food for her family
       and portions for her servant girls.
 16 She considers a field and buys it;
       out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
 17 She sets about her work vigorously;
       her arms are strong for her tasks.
 18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
       and her lamp does not go out at night.
 19 In her hand she holds the distaff
       and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
 20 She opens her arms to the poor
       and extends her hands to the needy.
 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
       for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
 22 She makes coverings for her bed;
       she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
       where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
 24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
       and supplies the merchants with sashes.
 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
       she can laugh at the days to come.
 26 She speaks with wisdom,
       and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
 27 She watches over the affairs of her household
       and does not eat the bread of idleness.
 28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
       her husband also, and he praises her:
 29 "Many women do noble things,
       but you surpass them all."
 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
       but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
 31 Give her the reward she has earned,
       and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Now we can all agree that literal translation isn't realistic (I go to Sprouts for my groceries and it isn't that "afar"), but symbolically, I can sincerely say I'd like to be a Proverbs 31 woman to my husband and children.  Charm IS deceptive and Beauty IS fleeting... we all know this.  And I aspire everyday to be considered blessed and laugh at the days to come, instead of worry about them.  

I look at my sweet friend Liz (and other breast cancer survivors) and see the beauty and joy she brings into the lives around her.  I think she passes the "thirty-one" test listed above.  Do you have someone in your life like that?  If you do, take time to tell her that you admire her, believe in her and are cheering her on.  We all have our battles and need to know we are walking on a path of inspiration.

Like I said, she inspires me.  So today's post is dedicated to her and survivors like her.  Women of strength, faith and hope and most importantly LOVE.   

"Give her the reward she has earned, 
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."