Washing His Feet

Woman washing Jesus' feetMinistry is such a noble, beautiful thing. I love the account of that woman whose name is withheld, Peter’s mother-in-law, who after being healed by the Lord Jesus “arose and ministered unto them”. It was given her to minister unto Christ Himself! Then there’s the woman who washed His feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, and anointed them with oil. Have you ever wished you could wash the feet of our precious Saviour? There is the account of Mary and Martha, one who listened and one who served; have you ever longed for the grace to do both?

Before marriage my family was involved in ministry, and it was an honour to try and reach people for the Lord or save babies from death, in His name. After marriage these things continued for a while, but when baby came after baby it became much more impractical for me to join in on any of these ventures.

I suppose because I had been thinking of “ministry” as doing those services it became easy to forget that being a wife and mother itself is a ministry. Oh, I’ve said it before, and it’s been said to me, but it’s easy to lose the delight of truly recognizing it for what it is in the day-to-day sameness. Ministry just isn’t always as exciting as seeing a person who has never really heard the truth, delivering the gospel to them, and seeing them mull it over; it isn’t always as exhilarating as being a vessel the Lord used to turn the hearts of a father and mother toward their child; it also doesn’t always break your heart and compel you to earnest prayer with weeping like it does when you see someone reject the gospel or choose death over life, and so it sometimes can be easy to stagnate, to lose sight that your ministry truly is a ministry, because it isn’t always “new” or “something different”.

Sometimes it’s working with the same people every day, nearly every moment of every day, loving, leading, and training. Sometimes it’s scratching your husband’s back when you “should have” given birth a week ago and could use a serious back rub yourself. Sometimes it’s washing his feet at the end of a long day when you haven’t had a chance to shower in 3. Sometimes it’s giving your child a glass of water when you’ve finally gotten a chance to sit down after being on your feet the last 5+ hours. But it’s ministry.  Not just service to your family, but serving the Lord.

Truly the homemaker has one of the most joyous and fulfilling vocations if only it is kept in perspective! which is indeed so very hard. To think that we as wives can in a sense wash the feet of Jesus, by our doing so to him who was chosen to represent him in the home, or as mothers by doing so to “the least of these”, is a very great honour.

And now, I must go, for I need to go minister to my son who just had another accident that he needs cleaning up from. 🙂

ETA: In no way am I trying to minimize the importance of evangelism and baby-saving! And having been involved in those I know that that ministry as well isn’t always “exciting”, “exhilarating”, or even “heart breaking”; there are many battles to fight spiritually and inwardly with those as well. My post may have been poorly worded in that regard!

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Fruit of her hands Friday!

Crocheted Nautilus Seashell CoasterFeaturing a set of four Nautilus seashell coasters, crocheted with double strands of 100% cotton for a nice, thick texture and enhanced absorbability (I made that word up, myself!) Each coaster is embellished with a strand of 100% mercerized cotton which accentuates the spiral in the pattern. The shell measures 5″ inches across. The set featured here is made in Bernat’s “Sonoma print” yarn and white cotton thread.

I designed and used this pattern initially in bulk for a dear lady as favours for a beach themed wedding. Although it was only single stranded, we’ve found they still do their job. 🙂

Below are the prices, if anyone is interested in these little things, or knows of someone who may be.

Double thick (featured)–
Set of four: $12
Set of six: $16
Set of ten $25

Bulk orders–
50-150:  $2/shell
151+:  $1.50/shell

Single thick–
Set of 4: $10
Set of 6: $13
Set of 10: $20

Bulk orders-
50-150: $1.50/shell
151+: $1/shell

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Thank you for viewing. If you would like more information or would like to order, please contact me.
Have a Lord-blessed weekend!

Items are made to order and may be customized without additional charge.

A Tale of Two Mountains

Many of us have heard the expression of “mountain top” and “valley” experiences. The past month or two, or three, have been mountain top ones, alright. Like volcanoes, with many eruptions! Eruptions between siblings, eruptions in training pants, eruptions from Momma because of eruptions between siblings and eruptions in training pants; eruptions of rebellion, eruptions of wrath because of eruptions of rebellion; eruptions at nap-time, eruptions from Momma the rest of the day because of the eruptions at nap time spanning all of nap-time, meaning no nap-time, meaning tired, eruptive Momma.

There have been lots of apologies, lots of repenting, lots of hugs, and lots of prayer about it. In spite it kept going on and on, day after day. It has been awful. Then by the marvellous grace of God it’s like I was placed from one mount to another, where from its heights His promise is seen and a valuable lesson has been learned. It has since occurred to me that the biggest reason for being on that mount was not that the children were being impossible, not because of their rebellion, fights, and insomnia, it was that I was being a Mount Saint Helens myself! minus the saint part.

The wife and mother has a great power for good or evil in the home. There isn’t just less stress now because I’m not causing as much in reaction to the children, the children are not causing as much, either.

Joy is so important! Joy in our calling. Joy is our calling. My husband deserves better than to come home to fighting, disobedient children and a thin-strung wife. My children deserve, they need the example of kindness and grace shown to them throughout the day. Any member of the family can cause a raucous, can alter the general peace of the home, but as the keeper of the home it is my job to manage it. I can’t expect my children to be perfect when I’m not either or that discipline will work it all out when I’m not disciplining myself. Grace. So thankful for God’s grace!

Knowing the answer is ultimately that alone, here are some things I’ve learned in the past week that have helped manage the stress in our home (after I stopped being the biggest contributor):

 

  • A soft  answer really does turn away wrath!
  • Lots of hugs, lots of I love you’s throughout the day
  • Silliness goes a long way with a silly child!
  • Discipline with love
  • Dance with your toddler (and your preschooler too, if he wants)
  • Listen to them
  • Read to them
  • Gaze upon their precious faces
  • Listen to their endearing exchanges
  • Let your children work with you
  • Express your thankfulness for each child to each child

As I’ve been a Mount Saint Helens to my family I desire to be a Mount Pisgah to them. I’ve used my influence for stress here, and I want for ever to be done with that. When my children look to me I don’t want them to see a volcano that just needs a little provoking to boil over, I want them to see the promise and goodness of our God, to be encouraged to obedience through grace.

 

 

Wash day–Laundry Soap recipe

All right, ladies! A new week of work is beginning after a wonderful day of rest and worship.  Sundays aren’t always so restful, but this last one was, and I hope yours was as well. Now, then! Time to roll up those sleeves. “Monday is wash day” according to our foremothers, so paying deference to their wisdom it will be mine as well (though laundry is still done throughout the week).  Gather up all those towels and sheets, the dirty socks under the bed, and any/all baskets of laundry about the house, and get started as early as possible, because ironing takes place today, too.  And bathrooms. Yes, admittedly, I never did those bathrooms last time (at least I only said “they needed doing” and not that I would do them! because conveniently there wasn’t enough time to after the laundry was folded before dinner needed starting. What a shame. Do any of you out there like to clean bathrooms??  Can you teach me how? to like it, I mean? Or, would you come over and do it for me? 🙂

Since it’s laundry day, I’ll share my recipe for all natural laundry soap; it’s very, very cheap!  A good friend of mine gave me a recipe a while back, and I’m so grateful she did, because homemade laundry soap had just never even crossed my mind before then, and it’s so economical! If you have never made your own laundry soap I do hope that this post inspires you to do so, because

  1. it’s a money saver
  2. it’s done in bulk, so you don’t have to worry about running out for a long time
  3. it’s free of synthetic fragrances and other harmful chemicals present in commercial laundry detergent
  4. it’s satisfying to accomplish

While there are many recipes out there for laundry detergent the one I use and like the most is more concentrated than most you will find searching, which I like very well since I have hard water and need more umph, and because I like for it to last longer.

The ingredients are simple and few:

  • 2 quarts boiling water
  • 4 cups grated natural soap (I use Kirk’s castile, you can get it scented or unscented (preferably unscented); CVS and Publix carry it)
  • 4 cups super washing soda (this is different from baking soda, you can find it in the laundry aisle at Walmart)
  • 4 cups borax (again, laundry aisle)
  • 4 gallons hot water

Put water on to boil, grate soap. When water is boiling stir in soap until it is all melted, and then let it simmer for 20 minutes.
Pour soap into a 5 gallon bucket and add the washing soda and borax.
Stir until it is all dissolved, add and stir in 4 gallons of water.
Pour into gallon jugs (leave a couple inches from the top, so you can shake it up effectively)

And that’s it! After several hours (overnight) it will thicken and gel, but not uniformly. The chunky globby look is normal. 🙂 Just shake it up, it’ll get pretty smooth. Granted it’s not my favourite job to make the stuff, it takes a bit of time, but it lasts so long it doesn’t have to be done often. The recipe I used for this says to use ¼ cup per load. I always use more because hard water requires that, and I usually have something wet (i.e. from a potty training accident or overnight pull-up over-maxed) but see what works for you. You won’t regret it!

Consider. If you can get away with using only ¼ cup: at 16 cups per gallon, and 4 ½ gallons, you have 72 cups. 72 cups x 4 is 288. You just made enough laundry detergent for 288 loads!

Additionally borax and super washing soda can be purchased for about $7.50 and the 3 bar soap-pack  for about $2.00 (plus you won’t be using it all) So for under $10 you’re set on laundry for the better part of a year! or at least a big part.

When I run out I’ll post up a picture tutorial of the process, but don’t wait until then to get started, because it won’t be for another couple months. 🙂
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Lest I deceive, I should disclose that the bulk of the material in this post was written last night, because I wanted it up earlier rather than later and still am not an early bird. “She riseth also while it is yet night” will be another focus for another month, I’ve already got “her candle goeth not out by night” down pat since it usually “goeth not out” by 12:59 ;). This month’s focus is “she doeth him good” and for me that means more cleaning and timely meal preparation.

So, let’s dedicate this brand new day and new work week to the Lord Who made it, with thankfulness and grace. Love that husband. Kiss that baby. Hug those children. There’s so much richness of good in the calling we’ve been given!

The Lord bless you with light and joy today, dear saints.

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Motherhood is for Quitters

I’m so, so glad that wifehood and motherhood are for ever occupations. The Lord’s design is always so perfect.

Anybody that knows me well enough, knows that I’m pretty much a quitter.  Started teaching myself how to play the piano about 10 years ago, but progress was slow and it wasn’t clicking, so, I quit. Since being married I’ve “brainstormed” a number of ways to try to help bring in an income. Making and selling soap was such a passionate idea for me, but after getting all the supplies together and making a few batches, I got the blues about working with poison in a house full of children, so, I quit. Then I thought of selling crochet items on Etsy or Ebay, but in looking for inspiration on Pinterest and Etsy for what sells, everyone else’s things looked so much more pretty than anything I could ever dream up, so I pretty much quit on that idea, but tried selling a couple hats on Ebay and when they didn’t sell I quit for sure. I love to write, but could never earn an income that way, because my mental faculties are so weak that it takes me a long time just to formulate a nice little page (anyone that knows me can attest to my stammering ways, too!) so that idea died in its cradle, as well.

And to be perfectly honest with you, there have been times as a mother that I literally cried out in exhaustion, utter stress, and at-the-end-of-my-ropedness, “I QUIT!” But I know that I can’t, and that’s where the grace of God has come in to grow me where I haven’t let Him teach some of the same lessons in other areas. I’ve always quit before ever really trying, because the learning part and the slow improvements are so very ill-savoured to this rather impatient woman, and not being anywhere near as good as someone else in the same field just injured my pride.

He knew I needed to learn true submission, true service, so He made me a wife.  He knew I needed to learn patience, so He made me a mother. I can’t quit my vocation as a mother because I’m not as good as some other mother out there, but am forced to grow. And Oh! it is a painful process! It’s just so much slower than I’d like! I want to be perfect now! to be the meekest little thing now, without all this trial stuff.

There have been so many times I’ve just wept and wondered why it is that I changed so much after getting married and becoming a mother, how it is I could have turned from a relatively quiet young lady to the too-easily-frustrated woman I have too often been, but the answer is that all that ugly stuff has always been there but I was never tested enough to bring it out. But now that it’s out, now that the humbling has occurred, and I see how very, very destitute of virtue I am without Him, His grace and love come in to wash me out and snip out the bad parts. It is so hard, but it is so good. The Lord really is SO good. He always knows just what we need.

And just to clarify, I don’t want to quit my job. 😉

Homeschooling flutes and banjos

I just love the different personalities of my children. My oldest son loves to preach, color, and roughhouse;  my 2nd son loves to sing (especially extended notes), write, and silly-dance; my daughter loves to jump, snuggle, and listen to any music with a banjo; and the baby loves to “talk”, flail about, be cute, and eat. They’re their own people! with their own set of likes, dislikes, weaknesses and strengths, just like everybody else.

That is definitely coming out as we begin schooling the older boys. For a while I was getting frustrated/concerned that my eldest couldn’t write nearly as well as his younger brother, so afraid he’d be “behind” developmentally. But he’s not. Writing’s just not his strong point, and will require a little more practice and patience. After all, he is only four years old, and he can put together the entire United States puzzle together by himself. 🙂

I’ve only begun this teaching journey recently, but still wish it hadn’t taken me as long as it did to realize that, even as a flute and banjo are both instruments, similarly, though Moses and Jeremiah are both my sons, they differ greatly in the abilities that come naturally to them.

But there’s one thing I think that all children love. Songs! So I’m trying to implement as many as I can into our little schedule.

Here’s what our 1st half hour looks like:
The Lord’s Prayer song
Days of the Week song (Sung to the tune of This is the Day)
Days of Creation song, (then go over with questions/answers)
Recite Ten Commandments, and the 2 greatest commandments
Recite charity passage (I Corinthians 13:4-8a and v.13)
Fruits of the Spirit song
Books of the Bible song
Memory verse for the week

The rest of our subjects don’t really use any songs, though.

I’m still so new to this! Do any of you have good ideas for incorporating songs into school and/or making school fun?

“She doeth him good”

Since we’re Endeavouring Proverbs 31 here, it makes sense to start in the beginning of the passage that so thoroughly outlines the virtues of this classic role model. This is the first thing listed that she does:

She doeth him good…”
It would be easy to write pages of applications to this simple directive, while at the same time it is so clear that no exposition is really necessary. She doeth him good. We all know what good is! It’s just so much easier to say than to do, but she doeth him good.

So this is the month’s goal: (I do realize we are only 2/3 through March, but I hate to put off a good thing till later just because it might be “neater” to do so. Besides, this month’s goal is multifaceted so we (or at least I!) can certainly use the extra 10 days.)

Write a list! All the areas lacking that the husband would be blessed by. All the areas where his wishes have already been made known but for whatever fleshly reasons they haven’t been faithfully executed. My list may differ greatly from yours, because every husband has different expectations and every wife has different areas she excels and delights in fulfilling and others she just doesn’t. It’s the ones she “just doesn’t” that are often neglected.

So here’s my list. I’m being transparent here, folks. You’re going to learn my many failings, and that’s humbling.

  • Make him breakfast every morning
  • Send him to work with lunch and a note of love and appreciation
  • Pray for him throughout the day
  • Homeschool the children as per his wishes
  • Make sure dinner is at least almost ready by the time he gets home
  • Clean more often! Dust the living room, clean the bathrooms, mop the floors, wash the windows, iron the clothes, and clean out the fridge (the fridge??) yes, the fridge, at least once a week
  • Before heading to bed make sure the whole house is clean

When I told Nathan of this month’s plan and how I would be including that last item on my list, he said “Oh, good! You mean the children’s room too?) SO, yes, the whole house means the whole house. 🙂

“She doeth him good, and not evil…”
Again, a very clear instruction. Evil sounds so terrible, of course we shouldn’t do him evil! It’s just awful though to think of the little areas I do just that. It is often easier to add to than to take from, because a habit is easier to make than to break.. One could very well fill out a whole list of things to start doing to bless her husband and succeed at every one, but it takes a special grace of God to stop doing the damaging things.

“…All the days of her life
All the days! The “good” days and the “bad” days. Even the “hormonal” days, she doeth him good. She doeth him good, even before marriage. She keeps herself for him alone. (For you dear women of God that have a “past” before your husband, I’m not saying you can’t be Proverbs 31 women, any more than any wife who has ever said “no” to her husband. It is a blessed, comforting truth that we are washed and made new by the cleansing blood of Christ. In that promise and victory then, let us press on!)

What are some tips you have for blessing your husband? for doing him good? Please share!