Sunday, March 30, 2014

Love PEOPLE more than your SCHEDULE

It's hard to believe it's been over a month since my last post. I honestly thought it had been just a few weeks until I checked the date. It's true that we need the Lord's help to order our days because they vanish so quickly.

One reason I took a break from blogging was to pray about my schedule. I had been sensing that my priorities were getting out of whack. Some of it had to do with a huge focus on stretching my husband's disability check by doing a mountain load of frugal tasks. Secondly, I sensed that I was out of the home too much because I was not saying that little two letter word enough...'no'.

It's a hard balance to find... the one between what I think is important for my day and what others need of my time while not allowing my relationship with my husband (or other loved ones in the home) to be affected. I've always struggled in this area and at times I find it necessary to stop all my outside commitments (blogging fell under this category) and reevaluate what scripture says I should be doing with my days. So many things can tempt us to get our eyes off of our God given responsibilities and to make our schedules (or hobbies, jobs, ministry, leisure time, etc.) more important than our relationship with our husband (or our children at home).

I don't believe it's to be an all or nothing decision. I'm not commanded to stay home and serve my husband 24 hours a day with no concern for those in need outside my home. And the opposite is true ... I'm not commanded to just be a woman known for good works (crafter, excellent employee, ministry, fun friend) while letting my responsibility to those in my home slide by the wayside. I need God's wisdom  to know how I should order my days.

Oftentimes, I hear from the Lord best on ordering my days by listening to my husband's praise AND his complaints. I perk my ears up anytime my husband has a complaint because oftentimes it will become my new marching orders for the next day. This past week I decided to not wash an extra load of his T shirts until I got a full load. I knew he still had enough T shirts in his drawer. Towards the end of the week he asked where all his T shirts were. I explained my plan to which he let me know that he preferred not wearing the T shirts in his drawer because they had no pocket.  So the next morning my first duty was to get his load of T shirts going in the washing machine before I did anything else. Such a simple way to help schedule my day.

I'll be honest here and say that adapting to my husband's plans for my day isn't always easy for me. I love to plan my days and chock them full of a long list of things I'd like to get done. But, I'm finding that it doesn't always bless my relationship with him now that he is home full-time. He is so good to not push his schedule on me. Oftentimes, what ends up happening is that he will mention something needing to be done that I know he will have a hard time physically doing. So I'll tell him I will help him at 'such and such' time and then I forget about it because I'm focused on MY schedule. By the time I remember the day has come and gone and I feel awful about forgetting.

So I'm tying to remember to start my mornings by praying for the Lord's will that day in my schedule and to look out for my husband's interests, too. This is bearing good fruit in our relationship.

This week my husband wanted to expand our garden. It involved shoveling and I knew it would  be too hard on him. I had already prayed that morning for opportunities to serve him so my heart was prepared to offer my help. God blessed our time together so much and somehow He ordered the rest of my day in a way that I was able to finish my own work.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of othersHave this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 
Philippians 2:3-5 ESV

Adapting to my husband daily reminds me of the gospel and how Christ came to lay His own life down for me. I can live out the gospel daily in my own home as I follow Christ and lay down my life for others, too. 

For even the Son of Man
 came not to be served
 but to serve,
 and to give his life
 as a ransom for many. 
Mark 10:45   ESV

Pretty awesome, huh!


Here are a few things I've been doing in my home this past month: 

1. I have a round button tin that I use for extra buttons. I've saved buttons off of old shirts for years. Some items of clothing will have extra buttons when purchased and I always save them. One of the tops I bought at a thrift store recently was missing 2 buttons. I took off all the buttons and replaced them with 7 matching buttons from my button tin and all it cost me was my time.

2. Spring has come to our neck of the woods and new little flowers are popping up throughout my flower garden. I'm taking notice which parts of my flower beds are needing color. I'm transplanting these new little flowers to other parts of the yard for splashes of color. This is one practice that helps to save money in my yard.  I was tempted to buy some potted flowers at the nursery this past week but decided to be content with the flowers I have. My mother has some blue forget-me-nots coming up so I hope to snatch some of those for free.

3. Wow! Is this the year of BABIES? I'm on my 5th baby shower and loving it. I'm so thankful to have found the Nursing Cover pattern online. I think it makes a very practical and lovely gift. I just finished one nursing cover and have another one in the process.

Cabbage patch

4. It's spring and I'm on a mission to get rid of unused items in my home. I used to hold on to items I didn't use JUST IN CASE I might need it in the future. But, living in a 745 sq. ft. home has changed that practice. I don't have room to hold on to items I 'might' use some day. If I haven't used an item or worn it the past year then I'm getting rid of it and trusting God to provide if I need it in the future... or do without. I love the feeling of opening up a nice neat organized drawer and closet. An organized home also helps me save money because I know what I have on hand. And why hoard items when others might need them?

5. We have a nice crop of lettuce this spring so I've been making salads for most of my lunches. I make my own oil salad dressing because it's less expensive and healthier. I like the oil dressing recipe below that is also used for the Bacon and Asparagus Salad.  I hope we can get another crop of lettuce planted before the heat hits. Lettuce is so expensive in the stores. It's very easy to grow and the seeds are inexpensive.

6. I've been craving this salad so I made it for my grandson's birthday party dinner. Yummmm!

Bacon and Asparagus Salad by Miss Alycia (my daughter in love)

1 1/2 lbs. fresh asparagus (blanched in boiling water for 3 minutes)
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 to 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp. Dijon
4 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. sugar (or other sweetener)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
minced parsley
1 tsp. chopped shallots
 1/2 c. olive oil

Put bacon on top of asparagus. Add dressing. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

7.  I've had fun at a few thrift shops lately. I found 4 blouses for $13. Two of the blouses were for next winter but sometimes it pays to not wait if you find a good deal. Rarely do I find what I'm looking for the first time around if I'm thrifting. I also found a food dehydrator for $9.99 and a yogurt maker for under $5. I've been wanting to make coconut milk yogurt but didn't want to pay full price for the machine. I had a 25% off coupon for both items. I keep my coupons in my purse or in the car otherwise they don't get used.

Beating the cabbage in my Kitchen Aid to create the brine for sauerkraut. 
8.  We ended up with about 12 heads of cabbage in our garden. I tried making one batch of sauerkraut in a quart jar. I shredded the cabbage and added 2 tablespoons of sea salt. I'm not comfortable with the way it turned out. I looks like a science experiment. :-) A few days after I started my sauerkraut a package arrived and guess what it was? A 'perfect pickler' from a sweet online friend who heard I was trying my hand at making sauerkraut. Thank you so much Mary! The cabbage turned out crunchy and yummy! I'm on my third batch.  It's supposed to last for months in the fridge. I try to eat a little every day because I've heard that it has natural probiotics to help your gut flora.

9. I had some homemade tartar sauce left over so I mixed it into my oil and vinegar salad dressing. It was very good. Waste not, want not!

10. What I didn't throw away:
  • Cotton from a vitamin bottle. (Used instead of cotton ball for astringent and fingernail polish remover). 
  • Recipe cards. (I didn't like the recipe so I'll use the back for note paper). 
  • 2013 bills invoices/ paperwork cut in 1/4's for scrap paper. 
  • Rubber bands around asparagus. 
  • 2013 paperwork that was not blank on the back. (Shredded and thrown on compost). 
  • Paper bags from grocery store. (I save these to ripen fruit). 
So much more going on in my days but nothing noteworthy enough to mention. I've missed hearing about your days ladies! How have you been and what have you been up to? 

Blessed to be home,