Sunday, July 27, 2014

Keeping the home vs. not staying home

I was a lazy, young bride. I really had no ambition for housework but only to visit friends and enjoy life. I did the bare essentials around the apartment and then out the door I went to visit and play the rest of the day. I remember the first time my mother visited my apartment and found dishes unwashed from 2 days worth of meals. She was so upset with me and said if she ever came back and found my home in that shape it would be the last time she visited. That was a long time ago and thankfully she never found my kitchen in that shape again but her words left a lasting impression on me.

I'm not sure when things changed but I do know WHY things changed. God's Word became important to me. I learned that I could bring Him glory by HOW I lived my life.

So, whether you eat or drink , or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
God was doing a work in my heart through His Word. The more I learned in His Word the more my priorities changed.  My husband, children and my home started to take a higher priority than friends and having fun. Priorities began to shift and I found that my marriage improved and my home life became more peaceful and less hectic.

Boy, has it been a long, hard road of learning how to keep a home and I still to this day have not perfected it. But, there has been a lot of improvement over the years.  I continue to ask the Lord for help often throughout the week. I ask that He guide my steps and show me what HE wants done next. I get overwhelmed at times but it always disappears when I turn to Him for His counsel.

 I found the more I let go of activities outside my home the more time I had for the work God had given me at home. Laundry was done on time. Meals were served at a decent time. The house was never perfect but someone could drop by unannounced and I could answer the door and not hide pretending I wasn't home.

My outside 'canning' station

 I still have to be careful to keep my priorities in order as an older, middle aged keeper at home. I don't always succeed. I'm still learning even at this season of life. Today's temptations are not visiting friends as much as helping and serving other people or volunteering at my church. These are 'good things' and important good works  but can easily leave my husband in second place and my housework in disarray if I'm not careful. Many 'good things' can become a hindrance to caring for your family's needs.  Regularly asking my husband's opinion on my schedule is a safeguard that I'm thankful for. I don't always like his answer but I continually see the good fruit that comes from adapting to his wishes. We, as wives, often think we are doing what's best for our families but if our husband thinks differently then we are not obeying God's Word which says to submit or adapt to our own husbands. 

My husband still likes it when I take care of business at home FIRST before I make it a habit of being gone too much helping others. I don't think there are many husband's who like coming home to a wife who has been gone all day and a dirty house and no clean laundry in the drawers. Some may never say anything for fear of causing a fight. And I’d imagine there are a few children who would be ashamed secretly to bring their friends home to a dirty house.  Loving our husband and children more than ourselves is obeying God's command and putting their needs above our own.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Philippians 2:3 ESV

It may seem impossible to change but we know that nothing is impossible when God's involved. Yes, change takes time but as we renew our minds in God's Word the Holy Spirit begins to work in our hearts and gives us the grace we need to make these changes.  Doesn't that bring hope? Don't allow condemnation to rule right now. Find hope in knowing that God's grace is bigger than our sin and that HE will finish the work He has started in us.

Hubby loves artichokes!

Here are a few really good Scriptures to encourage us in our work at home:

For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.   2 Thessalonians 3:11-12 ESV
Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.  Proverbs 12:11 ESV 
To be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:5 ESV

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for menColossians 3:23 ESV

Through sloth the roof sinks in, and through indolence the house leaks.  Ecclesiastes 10:18 ESV
I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man  Proverbs 24:30-34 ESV


Here is what has been happenin' around my neck of the woods:

A Typical Frugal Day

1. I've had an abundance of cucumbers from my garden. My favorite salad is cucumbers, tomatoes with red onion and a homemade Italian dressing. I also made 13 jars of fermented pickles and 7 jars of old fashioned butter pickles. Also, a friend suggested putting a spear of cucumber in a glass of water in the fridge. Oh my! What a treat! I never drank so much water in one day before, but this gives the water such a clean, refreshing taste I can’t resist. I want to try a sprig of mint in a glass of water next.

Zucchini, melons, yellow squash, strawberry patch, okra, corn, peppers, berries and green beans

2. I have night lights in most of the rooms of my home. The night light in the bathroom and my bedroom turn on once it's dark. I can walk through each of these rooms at night and not turn on the light because the night lights give off enough light to see. This saves on my electric bill.

3. I continue to make bread for my husband's lunch. I made four loaves of homemade bread and put three of them in the freezer. They should get me through to next payday. Hopefully! I love my 3 bread makers. I just click 'dough' on the menu selection and let my little 'servants' do the work of kneading. I take them out and let them rise in the oven and then bake them.

4. I'm always looking for ways to stretch what I already have on hand. I like to add water to the last bit of product to stretch it through a few more uses. I do this with liquid hand soap, shampoo and dish washing soap.

5. I made a new Israeli tomato breakfast dish but my husband didn't care for it. Instead of throwing the leftovers away I added it to my sauce for a chicken dish that evening and spiced it up so it had a different taste. My husband liked it.

6. I harvested my basil. I picked the leaves and put them in an ice cube tray and filled it with water. I then put the cubes in a freezer bag.

A variety of peppers

7. I used to make this pancake syrup when my children were young. I made some recently to use when the grandchildren spent the night. Sometimes it will crystallize so I just warm it on the stove. Generally speaking it's less expensive to make your own products rather than buying them at the grocery store.

Pancake Syrup

1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. corn syrup (optional)
3/4 c. water

Boil 3 minutes and then add 1 tsp. vanilla or 1 tsp. maple flavoring. Refrigerate.

7.  I finally finished the apron I was working on. I'd like to make one more before my in-laws arrive for a visit but I doubt I'll have time. 

8. I pressure canned 6 jars of Spicy Tomato Sauce. Our tomatoes are not producing as well as last year but they sure are huge in foliage! I hope that we have a late crop because I used up nearly every jar of tomato sauce I canned last year.

Husband took a picture of his requested 'Butternut Cake' for his birthday
9. I picked my spearmint a while back and put it in paper bags to dry. Yesterday I stripped the leaves and put them in a storage bag. I can't wait to make big pots of spearmint tea this winter. It smelled so good!

10.  I ended up with quite a few vitamin deficiencies when I found out I had food intolerances and stopped eating certain foods. Vitamins are expensive so now that I'm feeling better I've started to cut back and only take certain vitamins every other day.

Here are a few things I saved this week:

- Bread wrappers (washed and reused as a baggie)
- Cake plastic packaging that holds the cake mix  (washed and reused as a baggie)
- Plastic herb jar (washed and reused for herbs I grow and dry)
- Plastic mushroom container (washed and reused for a drawer container)
- Veggie, egg shells, coffee grounds and fruit scraps (compost pile)

So, how is your summer going? What's keeping you busy? I love learning from you ladies!

Blessed to be home!