Shawna Atteberry

Writer, Teacher, Baker

May I introduce Margaret Almon?

Margaret Almon of Margaret Almon Mosaics

Today is Day 22 of the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog challenge over at The SITSGIRLS. Our challenge today is to make one of our readers feel like the most special person in the world. I am going to do my best by introducing you to Margaret Almon who owns Margaret Almon Mosaics. Margaret and I met through the challenge, and I was absolutely enchanted when I went to her site. Margaret is an artist, and she creates beautiful, breathtaking mosaics. Like this:

Tiffany Mandala Mosaic on Slate by Margaret Almon

Margaret lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Wayne Stratz, who is an abstract stain glass artist. Together they own Nutmeg Designs. They show their pieces all around Philly. Here is one of their exhibits at The Lansdale Farmers Market last month:

Nutmeg Designs at The Lansdale Farmer's Market, Philadelphia

Margaret has this to say about beauty: “I believe that beauty is a human need, and feel honored by the many people who have made my mosaics part of their homes and lives, or given them as gifts.”

If a plan to Philadelphia isn’t in your near future: no worries. Nutmeg Designs has its own Etsy shop where you can go browse all you want and may be buy a little something (Disclaimer: I take no responsibility if you go to Nutmeg Designs, look up, and two hours have passed. You’ve been warned.) Oh yeah: I have dibs on this:

You have no idea how wonderful this would look on my altar!

I believe that the best way to manifest The Divine  Feminine in the world is to create: poems, music, mosaics, painting, calligraphy, stories–anything. Margaret helps me to see Sophia in the world through her creative work. Thank you Margaret.

All photos were taken from Margaret Almon Mosiacs and Nutmeg Designs.

Who supported Jesus out of their own means?

Soon afterwards [Jesus] went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources (Luke 8:1-3, NRSV).

One of the arguments that complementarians make for women staying at home is that it is God’s plan for men to work and financially support the family. As long as I’ve been on the other side of the argument, pointing out that women have always worked and supported their families monetarily, it was only last week when it hit me what these verses were saying. I’ve used these verses to show that women were disciples and followed Jesus in his travels just as the 12 did. But last week it hit me between the eyes: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna plus other women “provided for them out of their resources.” The Greek word translated as resources can mean property, possessions, resources, or means. These women financially supported Jesus and his ministry from their own finances.

I’m sure some would say that what they gave Jesus was really the money their husbands made. This could be true for Joanna, but she is the only one with a husband in this passage. Mary Magdalene had no husband, and Susanna is not paired with a husband in these verses. This means their money was theirs. We don’t know how they had these resources. Maybe they were business women like Lydia and Priscilla. Maybe they were widows. But neither woman, nor her resources, is tied to a husband.

It’s a little thing. A little thing that can be easily overlooked. But I think that we should pay attention to this little thing. Women who weren’t tied to a husband, and a married woman who isn’t tied to her home, are following Jesus all over the countryside and supporting him. These little things start adding up to show that roles women played in the Bible are much broader than mother and wife. It also shows the freedom Jesus allowed women to have in his own ministry. He didn’t tell these women to go back home and take care of their husbands and children (and he didn’t tell them to go home, get married, and start having kids). He welcomed them and accepted their support.

These three verses in Luke give us a glimpse of the broader role of women in Jesus’ ministry beyond the home.

Originally posted at The Scroll, April 22, 2010.

Does It Really Mean "Helpmate"?

I had just started working on my thesis in seminary. Tired of being asked if I was going to seminary to be a pastor’s wife, I decided to write a biblical theology of single women in ministry, showing that Godde’s calling for a woman was not dependent on her marital state. My thesis advisor, Dr. Joseph Coleson (professor of Old Testament Studies at Nazarene Theological Seminary), looked at my outline and thesis proposal and told me that I needed to add a chapter addressing the Creation Story in Genesis 1:1–2:25. He thought that I needed to deal with the second creation account found in Gen. 2:5-25, where woman is created to be an ezer cenegdo to the man. If the Hebrew phrase simply meant, “helper” then could a woman hold a leadership position in the church, let alone a single woman? But if that isn’t what ezer cenegdo meant, then that would open up the vistas I needed to write and successfully defend my thesis. Defend, not in front of the professors at seminary, but to defend against those who say woman was created to be a wife and mother, and only a helpmate for her husband. Dr. Coleson said the translators who translated our Bibles into English know that “helpmate” is a gross mistranslation of the Hebrew phrase, and he did not see how they could look themselves in the mirror day-to-day keeping that misintepretation in the Bible. It is the only time I saw him angry. So what does this little Hebrew phrase mean?


Dear Blog: It all boils down to this–your mistress is a total flake

My dear neglected blog:

I know you don’t feel dear or loved or even somewhat liked. Because I’m so rarely here. I so rarely write and post. I procrastinate. I neglect you. I even ignore you. I’m so sorry. You see…I’m not just a flake–I am a huge, bigger than life FLAKE. I had to admit it after reading Sonia Simone’s post: The Complete Flake’s Guide to Getting Things Done. Here are the opening paragraphs:

Are you smart and motivated and passionate, and have lots of cool things you’d like to get done, but somehow when it comes to doing them, you just . . . don’t?

Are you great at ideas but lousy at execution? Talk a good game but don’t get any results? Spend a lot of time thinking about where you want to go, but not much time actually moving your ass down the road that would take you there?

You, my friend, are a flake. Congratulations. We are a worldwide force. If we could all get ourselves moving in the same direction, we would change the world. However, that will never happen.

I’m sure you’re recognizing several behaviors. I have grand plans for you, but I never quite get around to writing and posting. I am so passionate about how you could change how we think about the women and the Bible and tell the real story of women working outside the home, but then I hesitate; I doubt; I procrastinate; and then I find something else to do (yes, yes, I know Twitter is an addiction, and I don’t blame you for being jealous of all the time I spend there). Yes, I talk a good game but I don’t get any results, and you my dear friend remain neglected.

But don’t worry. Sonia has words of advice and help for flakes like me:

The Plan in 7 Reasonably Painless Steps

1. When you’ve got something to do, figure out what you really want to get out of it.

2. Do the pivotal technique. Think about what you want, then get clear about where you are right this minute. Notice the difference.

3. Figure out the next action.

4. Do what you feel like.

5. Rinse, lather, repeat.

6. Start a compost pile for ideas, notes, plans and insights.

7. Stick to three or four primary areas of focus.

So dear blog, I want you to know I am taking Sonia’s steps, and that you are one of my primary area of focus. I am going to find ways to be a flake and still get things done. I am going to find ways to be a flake, show my love for you, and write regular posts to show my love. Because I know you are tired of empty words and broken promises. But I’ve taken my first step. I’ve admitted that I have a problem: I’m a total and hopeless flake. And instead of changing that, I need to learn how to work with it. So dearest blog, I promise to stop turning away and use Sonia’s 7 Reasonable Painless Steps to show the attention and love that you deserve. You deserve to be updated regularly and marketed to shine as the gem I know you are.

Thank you for giving another chance (again).

Your humble flake,
Shawna R. B. Atteberry

Company Girl Coffee: Twas the Week Before Christmas

Company Girl logoHappy Friday Company Girls! The coffee is on and hot!

Dreaming in the New Year

If it wasn’t for Home Sanctuary I don’t know how neglected this poor little blog would be. But the reason I haven’t written much is that I’m thinking and dreaming and planning for the upcoming year. I’m dreaming what I want my business to become and who My Right People are and how much I want to help the people who come to me. So in the busyness of the week of getting to head out to see my family in Oklahoma, I’ve been dreaming and planning and spinning possible futures in the back of my head. What are Right People? It’s a concept Havi at The Fluent Self (shes @havi on Twitter) came up with (and I will let her explain):

Thought 2: Your stuff doesn’t have to be helpful for everyone.

It doesn’t.

It just needs to be helpful for the people who need it in that form in that moment.

Those are your Right People. The ones who need your voice.

Anyone who doesn’t find it helpful? Probably not one of your Right People. Or not ready yet.

That person can go. Be there for the ones who do need what you have to say.

That’s what I really want to focus in on this year: My Right People instead of throwing stuff all over the wall and seeing what sticks. I want to envision My Right People and help them and make this a safe place for them. So that’s whay I’ve been doing business wise. You can find out more about Right people here and here.

We Loved Our Presents!

Let me preface this section by saying that The Hubby and I always travel at Christmas to see family. This year we’re heading to Oklahoma to see mine. Before we go we have our own Christmas and open our presents. So we always open our presents from each other early. They all came in this week and were wrapped, so we opened them Wednesday. Actually the really, really cool present I got My Hubby came in that day, and I couldn’t wait to see what he thought of it! I bought him this beautiful singing bowl from Fabeku Fatunmise at Sankofa Song whom I met on Twitter (he’s @fabeku). The Hubby loved it! And the bowl sings so beautifully! Tracy really got the hang of it last night and all of these gorgeous tones were washing over me. So glad I met Fabeku and learned about his sound healing ministry! He also included his CD, which I am going to have to wrestle out of The Hubby’s hands so I can listen it. He also loved his other gifts: Buckley Balls from Think Geek, and a space-age pen that writes underwater and in zero gravity. This pen has been going up with the astronauts since 1965. I love My Geek.

I will preface my gifts with I LOVE TO COOK. When you’re a person who LOVES TO COOK, pots and pans that are on their last leg and about to give up the ghost are very depressing. So I’d dropped a hint or two about new pots and pans. You should see them Company Girls. They are beautiful: triply, with one of the triplies being stainless steel. The triply insures they heat evenly and hold the heat. They are bright and shiny; they are begging to be cooked in. I finally have a 5 quart Dutch Oven! (My previous set claimed a Dutch Oven but….um…  Squeee! I am so in love. I also adore my other gift. After we first married, Tracy would leave little red bows hidden all over the place for me to find. Mainly around coffee stuff so he knew I would find it. 🙂 But then the red bows start collecting up and you don’t know what to do with them. My Honey came up with a solution; my second gift: The Red Bow Tree. It’s a beauitful fall resin tree with a little snow on the branches. So now when red bows start appearing in expected and unexpected places I have a place to put them. I always thought I never had a sappy romantic bone in my body, then My Hubby came along. Aah, the sap that man has turned me into. But it’s okay because he buys me kitchen stuff. 🙂

Getting ready to leave

I’ve ran errands most of the week to get ready to leave: bank, Target, The UPS Store, library, etc. I need to go to the grocery store today to pick up a couple of items we’ll need over the weekend and clean house. I don’t want the cat sitter to be walking into a mess. We take off to OK next week, and I won’t have internet connection, but that’s okay because I will have a boatload of holiday baking to do. My Mom doesn’t like to bake that much, but I love to, and since we’re coming in early, I am going to do all the Christmas baking! Whoo-hoo! Then there’s all the eating, opening presents, eating, catching up with everybody, eating: you know how it goes.

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Company Girl Coffee 9/11/09

I have been taking part in Home Sanctuary’s Small Things daily challenges for the last three or four months. Owner Rachel Anne Ridge comes up with really great small things to make your life better by creating sanctuary in your own home. Those of us who take up the challenges are Company Girls. I decided to start doing the Friday Company Girls post after procrastinating for three or four months. So here is my first post.

This last week was a little rough because I didn’t sleep well. A pattern that finally broke last night, thank goodness. Part of that was my fault: I was staying up too late. I didn’t get a lot of writing done this week, but I did get a lot of thinking done. Thinking about where I want to go, where I want this blog to go, and who in general do I want to be? A lot of this reflection is due to another wonderful blogger and her challenge this week: Jen Louden. Jen declared this Freedom from Self-Improvement Week. Self-improvement thrives on us thinking we are not good enough. That we  have to beat and guilt and discipline ourselves into doing the right thing. We threw that out this week, and started with the assumption that we are innately good. That there is nothing to fix. On Tuesday, Jen asked these two questions that I’ve been mulling over for this week:

Can I trust myself to be who I am?

Can I trust myself to want what I want?

I don’t. I don’t trust myself. I’ve been thinking a lot about that this week. How not trusting myself hampers me, kneecaps me, disables me. Especially with my writing. I always second guess myself. I always assume I’m not right and it’s going to go wrong. And this has to stop. I need to trust who I am, and I need to trust myself to do what I want to do: write and speak on the women of the Bible. That is what I want to do. I love these women, and I want their stories to be told, and to be straightened out. Several of these women have gotten bad wraps, been marginalized, and just been lied about through the centuries. Someone needs to set the record straight. Someone needs to say to those who can’t handle strong women, women leaders, and career women in the Bible, that yes they are there, and it’s time to stop maligning them on the one hand and stop ignoring them on the other. Their stories need to be heard, and I want to tell their stories. I can trust myself. I can trust myself to do this: to do what I want to do. Not what anyone else thinks I should be doing (mainly the critical judges in my head).

So that is where I have been this week. That is why this blog has offered such meager fare: I don’t trust myself. But I’m working on it. Other people trust me (like my incredible husband), and now it’s time for me to start trusting myself.

I got real cherry to top this week off: I found out I won one of the giveaways Jen did this week: I have a free pass to her virtual retreat in January! Whoo-hoo! Thanks Jen!