Monday, October 20, 2014

Marriage Monday - What's In It For Me?

We're talking about marriage...'what's in it for me?"  As women, when we are looking for a mate, our thoughts might revolve around finding Mr. Right and how he will treat us.  We need love, security, protection and attention.
But, any woman who has been a wife for a little while will quickly's not about you!!  Although marriage is a give and take between two people, it is a lifelong pursuit to understand that marriage is about the one you married.
A recent article which has been floating around Facebook, shared some of the best marriage advice for those considering marriage. This comes from a father to his son.  ..." I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”
No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”
We can all glean from this advice, those married, almost married, single, or even the sworn bachelor or bachelorette—marriage isn’t for you. No true relationship of love is for you. Love is about the person you love.
And, paradoxically, the more you truly love that person, the more love you receive. And not just from your significant other, but from their friends and their family and thousands of others you never would have met had your love remained self-centered.
Truly, love and marriage isn’t for you. It’s for others, to be a blessing and leave a legacy in your home and sphere of influence.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Natural Cleaning Boosters

In the past I've never been concerned about using commercial cleaners in my home.  I was raised in a home that used products such as bleach, Formula 409, Dow Bathroom Cleaner etc. and carried the tradition on into my own home. The 'green, eco friendly products' that I have used didn't seem to clean very well for me.  On top of that, they were more expensive than the regular cleaners I used. 

But, I've been trying to use a few natural items to clean and am impressed how well they work!  It does feel better cleaning with things that are natural and less harmful to my home and family.  Here are a few items easy to find that will boost your cleaning.

Tea Tree Oil
This essential oil has antiseptic ingredients making it a perfect disinfectant. Add a few drops to a small spray bottle of water for an environmentally-friendly disinfectant throughout your home.  I have added it to my extra dirty laundry and sheets for extra disinfecting power.
Coarse salt
Used with lemon, coarse salt works well to clean counter tops and sinks. Also, coarse salt is great for scrubbing cast iron skillets. Scrub with a soft sponge and rinse off.

White vinegar
When mixed with a mild liquid soap, white vinegar tackles grease and shines floors and windows. Once a week, pour down drains to deodorize and disinfect.  You can put orange peels in a mason jar with vinegar for a citrus fresh version!

Deodorize your garbage disposal by cutting up a lemon and putting it into the device. For scrubbing bathroom surfaces, mix lemon juice with coarse salt.

Baking soda
Just set down an open box of baking soda to deodorize musty smelling spaces like basements and mudrooms, or freshen up the fridge. Baking soda is also good at removing tough stains from carpets, and can be used for scrubbing sinks and counter tops.  I like to fill a jar with baking soda and add some essential oil for a natural carpet freshener.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Embrace Fall

Here comes October!!  This is my favorite time of the year.  Although in the area I live, the climate doesn't change, on occasion a cool front get through and we get a taste of cool weather, a few falling leaves and brisk mornings! 
Although these days can be few and far between, 'fall fever' can catch me unaware.  Have you ever had that type of morning where you have time at home, windows open and that strong desire to bake something 'fallish'?  Of course it usually involves pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon etc. and nothing else will do.  Many a morning has been interrupted by having to make a trip to the store for a fall ingredient that I didn't have in my pantry.  
This year, I am working to plan ahead.  During a shopping trip, I found pumpkin on sale and picked up 3 cans!  Although they are very expensive, I picked up a big bag of nuts and used my chopper to make them smaller (and go farther!), replenished cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves!  A batch of pumpkin cookies and apple dumplings have already been made, with plans for a few more treats coming up soon!
A fall atmosphere is a cozy one.  It  requires little effort to enhance the warmth and joy of the season.  In our homes, a home baked treat, a candle or some inexpensive fall decorations bring the homey feeling up a notch! Even the busiest of us can light a candle, mix up a dessert or put out a fall decoration.  A little effort goes a long way!

Let's be encouraged to embrace fall, to be prepared to make the most of quiet family times, create the opportunity for hospitality, enjoy the outdoors together or just ponder of the blessings God gives.  I've read in northern climates, fall is a time of preparation for the long, dark winters.  May we take this time to be renewed before the rush of the holidays, to spend precious time with family, loving them and enjoying them.

With just a few preparations, we can embrace this season and pass along a bounty of love and blessings to those around us!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Good Morning, Sunshine!!

This poor, sweet blog has been so neglected lately!!  Although I have lots of news, plans and pictures to share, somehow they never make it from the thoughts to the keyboard!!

But, this morning, although it is a Monday is a beautiful day.  The morning routine went well and as we left the house for school and work we were greeted by a beautiful sight of the sun peeking over the trees and a nice little bit of coolness in the air.

While still basking in the beauty of the morning, I turned on a local Christian radio station and was encouraged by their 'word of the day" which was KINDNESS.

We all know the benefits of being kind, the positive response it gets, the joy it brings to others and the blessings it brings back to the giver.  It can actually be fun, being kind!!

But, true kindness isn't an act, it is genuine goodwill towards others.  It is the mindset followed by actions of putting others before ourselves.  Genuine kindness isn't just an occasional thing to do when we feel like it, it is a constant way of life.  Being truly kind, isn't a by-product of how we feel, it is the driving force for the times when we don't feel like it.  That isn't always fun!!

In the Scripture we find a nugget about kindness in Titus 3:
"For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.  But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,  He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,  whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men."

Christians have been shown the kindness of God, when we least deserved it.  We have been changed by His kindness and mercy. Now, we should 'be careful', be deliberate, be alert for ways to engage in good deeds.  What we have so richly received, we are encouraged and blessed to be able to give out to others.  

May the 'word of the day" sink deep into our hearts and may we extend kindness, not just because it is right, but to honor the Lord and make His kindness known!

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Real School Supply List ...

For the first time in 4 years, we are headed 'back to school'.  Homeschooling has been a wonderful journey for our family and has enriched our lives greatly.  But, life is often about changes and transitions and this is one of those times for us. 

We have been doing the usual back to school preparations, purchasing new shoes, pens, paper etc.  But the preparations go a bit deeper.  This is a new season of life and requires much change. We have to adjust our family schedule, our habits but most importantly, our hearts. Going from home to school will be a huge change for my son.  

I came across this article that shares some great tips on truly preparing our kids:

We can instill purpose in them | We are raising kids in a culture that is constantly changing its moral code. And without deep-rooted purpose, it’s far too easy for our children to get tossed around by whatever is politically correct or by social norms that shift without warning. If we don’t teach our kids we are here to glorify God and our ultimate purpose is to know Him and make Him known, no one else will.

We can encourage positive community around them| When we’re expecting our kids to live in the world, but not be like it, it’s absolutely crucial to provide opportunities for positive community. It’s actually not always convenient to attend church youth group or get together with like-minded friends, but it must be a priority. Kids need to feel like they belong somewhere. And they will.

We can offer them a safe place to fall and fail | Our kids grow through failure. We all have bad days and offering them a safe place to be themselves is a gift. If they have to keep it all together all the time, they just might fall part in the wrong place. Be their safety net. We don’t have to expect failure, but our kids should be able to expect our support no matter what.

We can remind them to be kind and thoughtful to others | Nothing makes me prouder than when I hear that my kids were kind to the new kid or reached out to someone. Parents are often the best teachers. When we take time to serve or put others first, we are teaching our children that this is valuable.

We can show them the beauty of faithfulness when life is hard | In our culture, it’s too easy to quit when things get tough. When we are faithful in hardships, this is when we learn. This is success. Expecting our kids to be faithful to their commitments is something they will carry through life.

We can choose to live in peace | Our world is in chaos. It’s a scary time to be raising kids today and we can’t predict or provide peace in the world. But we can try and provide it at home. We can pick our battles with each other and especially with those who choose to live differently than we do. It’s not really about tolerance; it’s about love.

So along with the school supplies, these tips will come in handy to equip him success in all areas of life.