Friday, April 29, 2011

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

     This recipe uses ingredients already found in the cabinets. One less one-purpose-only product to have to buy. Plus, the cost per load is only $0.03! Enjoy!

1 cup salt
2 cups baking soda
2 cups borax

1. Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container
2. Use 1 tbsp. in each compartment and wash normally
 *If you have problems with hard water, increase the amount of detergent and add vinegar to the rinse compartment.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Choosing Homemaking- My Story


     What is family? Merriam-webster defines it as 1) "a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head and 2) a group of common ancestry." Is it necessary to consult a dicitionary to define "family?" Surprisingly, it very well may be. However, this definition isn't sufficient because it lacks an acknowledgement to the One who creates and heads this unit and also a personal understanding by which possession is taken of it. 
     I spent a tremendous amount of time pursuing the accomplishments which were said to bring fullfillment. I had intentions to become a proficient nurse and work steadily to earn my worth. I wanted it because it was a respected career and means of earning an income for living. I wanted to married, but I wanted to be a personally accomplished and confident woman prior to that event. Truth was, I was rarely either of those qualities because I was continuously searching for something that college nor career could ever be. The answer wasn't revealed to me until I married. It took only two months after marriage for me to wake up. What was I doing? After the stress and exhaustion of our days spent working in our separate ways, we brought home mere remnants of ourselves. This was my home, and he and I were my family. How do we expect to have a strong home and family when we have so little to offer; when we have so little to build upon? All these little moments of time have purpose, and it is a matter of choice how they are spent. It became so clear that the something I had been chasing before had been placed in my hand, I had only to enclose my fingers around it. FAMILY.
      And so, with our move to another state for his job I, too, relocated from the workplace to the home. We made some changes in how we live in order to sustain on his income alone. I haven't felt these differences as losses though because we've gained so much in our marriage. I find great joy and purpose in my role in the home because I know that what I do here while he is away permits greater time for us to be fully home when we are together. We aren't distracted or stressed by a mess or things needing to be done. We're able to offer the best of ourselves to each other, and thereby build these walls with love. When, and if, the Lord blesses us with children I pray they enter a home of love and strong sense of family, not a struggle of chaos.
       The song "American Dreams" by Casting Crowns played repeatedly in the background as I searched for the right words to write this entry. I found a few lines to be particularly moving. For instance, "things will get better;/ Better in time." I had worked at my job and career under the common advice of this time of marriage without children being prime time to work as much as possible. It wouldn't be pleasant, but in time things would get better. The problem with the exclusive "struggle now, reap later" idea is that the foundation of a marriage is formed in the "now." I can't reclaim that initial building of my marriage, but I could my career if need be. Furthermore, why wait until children to begin laying the building blocks of family? Is this not a structure needing to be in place before their arrival? I also resonated with the line, "I'll take a shack on the Rock/ over a castle in the sand." We're aware that our situation of apartment living and a slow tear at school loans may deem a necessity for two-incomes by many. Yet, we love our frugal "shack"-like life because we have each other so close. We can handle the hurdles life may bring with the Lord as our guide, and each other at our sides. Whether as a family of two or perhaps one day more, the truth is..."All they really wanted was you." We certainly are not in the running for the American Dream. In fact, we're called to another kind of race with Jesus setting the pace and showing us how to run. Choosing homemaking or full-time wife has been the best decision, and I have no regrets for doing so. It's a race I'll run with "arms high and heart abandoned" ("I'll Stand" by Hillsong). :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Portrayal of Husbands and Wives on Television

    Does television programming dictate our cultrual norms or do our cultral trends determine our programming? I surmise the two approaches are likely intertwined. I believe are we are influenced by television in some way. Feeling unsafe or that anyone could have intentions to harm you? Turn off "NCIS," "Law & Order" and all other detective shows. Feeling lilke your wardrobe or social life are lacking? Turn off "Sex in the City," "What Not to Wear," and any other similar show. Feeling like a silly little wife or your husband a fumbling man? Turn off every show which may depict a wife, husband, or marriage.
     My husband commented in disgust on how husbands or men are shown to be inept on television shows. It wasn't until I began thinking more critically on shows and the characters they display that my eyes began to be opened as to see through his. I noticed some commonalities across several programs. For instance, husbands are shown to be: ignorant of the needs of the wife, kids and home, fumbling and clumsy, unassistive to the wife, to answer "yes dear" to whatever is said to him, prone to entertaining attractions to other women even if just mentally, in desperate need of a "man cave" or time to escape the wife, always in trouble with the wife , etc. etc. Similarly, I noticed wives to be: the one "really in charge," nagging to the husband or constantly reminding him of her wishes, spend thrift and prone to shopping sprees, condensending in words or tone, argumentative, holding to unforgiveness as evidence by a repetitive reminder of the husband's faults or unaccomplishments, lacking of respect and loving consideration (especially during those "man meetings") etc etc.
     Is this not ridiculous?! Sadly, as I compiled these lists I recognized many that resounded as familiar within my own thinking. I've caught myself entertaining a few of these false ideas, and my husband will gently correct me to see him or God's Word, not a popular portrayal. I'm astounded to come to the discovery of the origin of my notions being television (or witnessed behavior modeled in others which is likely from the same root) because they are completely false.
     Whether we realize it or not, in subtle ways marriage and the roles of the husband and wife are being poisoned on the television screen. Sure, the shows may appear as harmless and fun entertainment, but the messages transmitted are not those of God's presence or design. I believe it's due time to limit or turn off the television influence in our homes. (Future post on "Unplugging") The Bible and many other books are excellent sources for learning God's intentions for marriage and roles. It is wise to seek counsel from others, and that advice ought to be from ones with a heart for Jesus (Psalm 37:30). Furthermore, we need to be the ones actively teaching younger ones the truths of family, home and marriage. (Proverbs 22:6).

21Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.
 22-24Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
 25-28Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They're really doing themselves a favor—since they're already "one" in marriage.
 29-33No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That's how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become "one flesh." This is a huge mystery, and I don't pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jewerly Board

     I institued this jewerly organizer into my decor years ago when I had to come up with solutions for dorm room space, yet here I am several years later and beyond the dorm days and I've just hung it on the wall in our latest home. haha, I guess it's a "design" keeper. It's not the fanciest thing, but man, is it functional! It certainly holds more "fashion jewerly" than a dainty jewerly box. Plus, it's up off the surface of my dresser or countertops (I'm a fanatic for surfaces being clear).
     To make the organizer, you simply need a cork board and push pins. I prefer to paint the edge so that it looks more like it's framed. I also painted the center to match the bathroom towels and give it some contrast to the white walls. I really like having the shelf underneath to hold the earring stand (which I also painted), so that everything stays together. If space for one larger board is limited, then I've considered using two to three (one for rings, necklaces, bracelets etc) smaller cork boards. 
      These make wonderful gifts to young girls! I've given one for my niece and second cousin. I included a book on making bracelets and some string with one. For both of them I attached a small mirror on one side and painted their names underneath. I think having the name painted on makes it a bit more special for them. I also used funky push pins on theirs whereas for mine I prefer clear ones.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Father God, Just for Today"

Father God, just for today,
Help me walk the narrow way;
Help me stand when I could fall.
Give me the strength to hear your call.
May my steps be worship
May my thoughts be praise
May my words be honor to Your name

We sang this song in church this past Sunday. I absolutely love the lyrics. They are precisely the prayer on my heart as I rise in the mornings, and set forth to live the day with purpose.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

    I finally made my own laundry detergent! I love learning to make and do things on my own. It is my provision as a homemaking wife for our home . Plus, homemade laundry detergent is an incredible money saver! According to how much laundry I do per week, I've calculated the cost per year for laundry soap for us will be only about $1.75 (the powders will last for years so the cost factor for those is just cents). I saw an ad in a circular for store brand detergent for $17 for the same 2.5 gallon container...I think I'll make my own. I'm a firm believer in working towards debt free living and saving for the future, and this is just one means for doing just that. A penny saved is a penny earned!

Grate  Fels Naptha soap (or Ivory)

Melt soap

Measure  washing soda &  borax.

Pour all ingredients into a container. (I reused a laundry detergent container for ease.)
Allow the mixture to sit overnight. Shake well before each use. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Serving with Joy

     "Just a little show of appreciation, please! Oh, and it wouldn't hurt for you to help me out around here either!"

     These words trailed through my mind as I rushed to put the finishing touches on my home in preparation for the impending arrival of my in-law's visit. The rebuke was instant. I became fully aware of my putrid perspective I had permitted to enter and dwell within me. "Lord, please forgive me as I know this is not as you would have me to think or be."

        'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed -- or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.' -Luke 10:41
       My name may not be "Martha," but my heart certain was at that moment. I had become so consumed with what I was to do that I lost sight of the greatest of all- merely sitting at the feet of Jesus, praising his name and glorifying Him in all things. Yes, even in blowing up air mattresses and ironing napkins. When I lament in such careless ways towards my husband, I am removing Jesus from our marriage..from our home. 1 Corinthians 13 speaks of the kind of love we should exhibit. Verse 4-5 says, "Love is patient, love is kind... (vs. 5) It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." The passage continues to say, "(vs. 7) It also ways protects.." God provides us with our family, and we are to care for it with love. We are to exhibit patience, kindness, respect, selflessness, slow-temper, and forgiveness. Love exists to protect our families & marriages, and God's kingdom from sly attacks from the enemy.

       Like Martha in Luke 10:40 I, too, was prepared to exclaim, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister [husband, friend etc] has left me to do the work myself? Tell her to help me!' Though I did not voice my lament, the thoughts are just as harmful as the verbalized words themselves. It is evidence that my heart has not 'chosen what is better' (vs. 42). When we allow unloving thoughts to permeate our minds, we become more prone to behave in that manner disrupting the unit God has created.

      I paused in my ironing that evening and humbly asked where He would have me go from there. I first must grow in compassion for the work my husband does. It may appear that the man comes home only to relax for the rest of the evening. Why are we becoming upset? Isn't a home of rest and rejuvination one of the purposes of our homemaking? Do I not rise early with schedule in hand so that I may greet the man which has already faced personal and spiritual trials in the workplace as our provider? How selfish of me to ask him to work is job and then to also work his home. God has given my work to be our home, and in that there ought to be a great joy. In serving with joy and thanksgiving, I am gloriying the Lord with my work.

2 Colossians 3:23 says, "Whatever you do work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." I once kept this verse tucked inside my pocket as I went about my activities be it school or job. It was a reminder that what I do has greater significance than the here and now realm. When I work with all my heart as if for Him alone, then my work becomes something extraordinary -- HIS.

I am also fond of Galatians 6:9 which says, "Let us not grow weary in doing good, for a the proper time we will reap the harvest if we do not give up."

      It isn't about who does or doesn't complete particular tasks. Remember, 1 Corinthians 13 love on not keeping score (vs 5)? It's about the heart with which we work towards those tasks. May we continuously seek to have a heart for Jesus.
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