Ok Ladies, time to grab that bottle, er glass, of wine I mentioned yesterday.  When it comes to wine, I'm a riesling kind of gal.  Reds usually give me a massive headache, so I try to avoid consuming them, if at all possible.  But hey, don't get me wrong, I won't put my nose in the air if that's what's being served.

So yesterday we talked about hte roles we feel chained to.  How did vocalizing them make you feel?  For me, it was scary, yet freeing because "I'm supposed to have it all together...and like it."  Where did that notion of "having it all together" come from?  Who said, "Just grin and bear it."?  Most of us will answer "my mother."  Oh no, all hell is going to break loose.  (There she goes, blaming her mother...).  But in all seriousness, was it your mother?

I'm going to share a few paragraphs from Jen about our moms which inevitably reflects on us, too, Dear Friends when our daughters move into our position and we become <GASP> our mothers...DUN, DUN, DUN!

I think it's totally okay to become our mothers, as long as they have formulated a healthy role model for us to follow.  Now this is just purely from my own experience and I'm not going to try to convince you otherwise.  I didn't have a mother.  Well, I did, but she didn't raise me, but passed away far too young (26).  I had my grandmother raise me.  And bless her soul for not putting me through the system, but she wasn't my mother.  She was grandma, so she was yet another generation removed from me.  Talk about more expectations there.  Since she couldn't be both mom and grandma, our relationship suffered.  So I have relied upon the other womenand mentors in my life to show me what healthy is, but it may not always work because of the different times and jobs we now fulfill.

Question 1:  How is your world didfferent from your mother's world?  Think in terms of needs and expectations regarding: Your marriage, Your children, Your career path.  How do those differences make your roles harder today?

     My world is different from my grandmother's in all aspects.  Marriage--I respect my husband because he has shown himself more than worthy of my respect as the leader of our household.  However, I don't iron his clothes all the time and I don't get up earlier than he does to make his lunch and have everything prepped for him.  Children--We are raising our kids a lot differently than my grandmother did.  From what I can gather is that she raised her kids to be a reflection of her, so if we (my mother, aunt, and myself) didn't meet those standards, we offended her.  I will admit, and I have asked for forgiveness in this area, that I have done that with my daughter.  I realize that she is not me.  She is Bean and I love her for her, not for who I expect her to be.  Career path--My grandma ended her education after high school because she was to be a housewife and raise the kids while my grandfather was in the Marines.  They stayed near family while the kids were young to get help.  She didn't work till later.  I have always been driven to work and to suceed.  I made my place in the world field, but am realizing it's not everything.  I don't have to over-work myself to prove to others or myself that I am successful. 

Question 2:  Read Matthew 9:14.  Deep down, why do you think John's disciples asked this of Jesus?
     John's disciples most likely asked Jesus that question because, let's face it, they were doing a lot more than Jesus' disciples in that area.  Fasting is hard work.  They felt like they were working harder than the others and "life wasn't fair."

Okay, I know I said we were going to talk about wine, so let's do it.  Do you still have your glass or do you need a refill?  Don't worry, I'll wait.

The main discussion in this chapter surrounds Matthew 9:16-17.
"Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from
the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved."" (NLT)
Here Jen has explained the big deal about the wineskins pictured above:
Here's the deal:  In ancient times, goatskins were used to hold wine.  Band-new skins had the ability to stretch.  Think of them as a precursor to spandex, the Devil's fabric.  At some point they reached their stretching capacity and remained that size forever.  So old skins were already stretched out. 

Brand-new, unaged wine also expands.  Once it is poured into the container, the fermenting process builds up pressure that causes this expansion.  It's why a cork pops out of a wine bottle like it does (so I've heard).  This new wine was poured into new wineskins because they expanded together.

Stay with me.  If an old, stretched skin had a tear, it had to be patched with old, stretched skin.  If you used new skin, the second the patch would stretch, it would pull the stitching out and make the tear worse.  Similarly, if you poured new wine into old skins, when it fermented and expanded, it would burst open the old skins that couldn't stretch anymore.

Summation:  Old had to stay with old; new had to stay with new.  (pp 21-22) 
Now here's my favorite part of this chapter because her summation comes to life. 
For you in the generations before me, forgive the following analogy.  Jesus said it first.  Girls, the women who've gone before us are stretched skins.  And do you know what they contain?  Aged wine:  a blend of expectations and experiences that characterized their generation.  It was once all new, but their roles expanded with their lives and times.

At some point, their growth process reached maximum capacity.  Any pesky new winde didn't fit.  Try explaining your discipline techniques to your grandma.  Certainly it was good aged wine, but it has run it's course. (p. 22)
Question 3:  In fulfilling your roles, what happens when you try to contain the new wine (circumstances and experiences) of your generation in old winskins (methods and expectations of previous generations)?  For instance, do you work outside the home but try to parent like your stay-at-home mom did?  Do you feel guilty because you manage less for your husband than your mom did for your dad?  In your life, what does this tension look like?

     I have problems in this area.  Not only do I try to do what my grandma did, but I try to do what my friends are doing.  Hello?!  Is anyone jumping off a bridge soon?

     Everthing Jen mentions here, I totally stress out about:  1)  I work outside the home AND I try to do the SAHM stuff.  And when I'm unable to fulfill everything to the standards I think people expect me to perform at, I feel like a failure.  2)  I do feel guilty that my grandma was up before the entire household, dressed and ready to get everyone, grandpa included, ready for the day.  She made everyone's lunch, made sure we had all we needed for the day, dropped us off at school, picked us up, prepared dinner, and cleaned--with very little outwardly grumbling. 

     I get uber stressed and down on myself for having these expectations run my life.

     My wineskin is old and my wine is gone and all that is left is my whining.

Question 4:  Where doyou need to cut yourself some slack?
     I need to remember that I can't do everything the way everyone else does it or did it.  It stresses me out.  I can't be a SAHM and full-time out-of-the-home worker.  I have to learn to spend my time wisely and do what I can with God's strength because Friends, my strength is gone.

Lord, help me to let go of the ideals of the past and to accept what I have and learn to work through everything in your strength.  Amen.

Please come back tomorrow to find out about Dancing Monkeys...

Thanks for joining me,

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