If there be first a Willing Mind

We’ve had sickness in our house this past week, which has made the usual routine kind of wonky, and definitely made changes for the better much harder to keep up. It’s so easy to fall desperately behind your ideal when your ideal is a grand one but hard to attain even with all other things being ideal! Make sense? That said, one thing is ever, ever important: a willing mind. What will follow from this is willing hands, and is next on our “list” to observe: “She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.” Proverbs 31:13

If you’re anything like me, being overwhelmed is a killer to motivation. It always seems like the opposite should be true, but it always tends to give me the blues and doldrums.

Just the other night we got back from a family reunion on my husband’s mother’s side, we did a bunch of errands afterward, and didn’t get home until almost 8. Nobody had eaten yet. We had just unloaded the van, adding it to our nice little mess that we already had in the house from leaving in a fairly rushed manner. Bithiah had overloaded her diaper. Abel had to be nursed. And, I was sick. And Nathan had to go back out. A look at the clock and a look at the house and the list that kept getting longer as I thought upon it mounted pretty quickly, but my husband, hearing of my depression (I’m pretty vocal about these kinds of things), before he left did a simple and powerful thing. He simplified it. “Just get them dinner and put the refrigerated things away and we’ll tackle it together when I get back. You can do this, my ‘endeavourer’.” You want to know how it really went? No? I’m boring you? Sorry!!! Anyway, just simplifying, making it sound doable, gave me a willing mind. Then I not only wanted to do, I wanted to do it all, before he got back. I love a good challenge. 🙂 I had 30 minutes. I got everything done except for making the sandwiches, which worked out fine since he had our eldest with him.

So if you’re “behind” where you want to be, here’s the challenge: Simplify! What are the absolute necessary things to get done, and what would you just like to get done? If you are at all competitive, as I am, one thing that helps is to “race”. Since I don’t have anyone to race I race myself against the clock. If it usually takes me 45 minutes to fold all 4 loads of laundry, I give myself 35. Since I often clean the kitchen in 30 minutes, I give myself 25, etc. Make it challenging enough to motivate you, but don’t make it impossible or it’ll just be depressing all over again!

A willing mind means willing hands! The verse in the Bible that talks about the willing mind is actually in reference to giving: “If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not” (can’t remember where that’s found, probably II Corinthians 8 or 9) The principal applies very well to this same thing, though. Just work, work willingly, work joyfully. At the end of the day more than likely you won’t have a husband who is saying “Why isn’t [this] done or [that] done?” Your work will be accepted. When you give you aren’t rebuked for what you didn’t give if you couldn’t give it, and in the same way when you work you will not be rebuked for what you didn’t do if you couldn’t do it.

Our offering is always to the Lord first, and He will always accept it if it is offered with humility and love.


Down to the Nitty Gritty

Knowing this would happen may have prepared me, but it’s still hard. Remember that post, Motherhood is for Quitters? Well, it’s starting already! Frankly, this endeavouring thing just isn’t as exciting as it was when first started, and consequently momentum from excitement has waned. Every worthwhile thing requires work and diligence, though, so now’s the time to resolve.

A bit of change needs to happen in this new month to make the goals outlined in “She doeth him good” a reality. One is to wake up earlier. Another is to regulate my time wisely so that writing about these endeavours doesn’t keep me from endeavouring! Also, to be more organized. But mostly, seeking His grace for it every day, and not trying to accomplish anything by my own might or power, only by His Spirit. It is so innate in me to be proud. Even after going through horrible times of humbling where I can see how wretched I am, when His grace again is given my foolish heart boasts not enough in the Lord and desires vainglory for it, as if it were me! Thus, I am often reminded of my weaknesses, again by His grace. Just want to be done with it, my foolish pride be killed!

As an attempt to organize the week here’s a rough outline:

  • Sunday–Lord’s day!
  • Monday–Wash day; catch up on all laundry and iron clothes
  • Tuesday–Kitchen day; mop floor, wash windows, clean fridge
  • Wednesday–General house cleaning; dusting, sweeping bedrooms, cleaning bathrooms, hubby’s office
  • Thursday–Go with the flow! Nathan’s day off!
  • Friday–Misc; research, DIY type things, laundry again
  • Saturday–Handwork day

Start day by: 7:00
Have breakfast on by 8:30
Have house tidied and laundry started by 10:00
School until 12:00
Lunch, clean-up, reading, then children nap at 1:00
Computer stuff, crochet until 3:00
Goals for the day accomplished by 4:30 (including laundry on laundry day, but started from day’s beginning)
House tidied and dinner done by 6:15
Kitchen cleaned by 7:30
Free time! Children to bed by 8-8:30
To bed by 10-11:00

The idea too is to have the children involved with a lot of what’s going on, when appropriate, and to try and leave enough time for things to be done in to allow for playing and snuggling with the baby and the Bit in between.

So now that there’s this rough draft of goals and any readers are quite thoroughly bored, as it is after 7 now, it is time to “start my day”. 🙂 Probably more baby and Bit snuggles in order for the day though, as they are a little bit sick.

I never do very good with schedules, although they always look so nice on paper! What about you? Are you the organizational type? do you have a good outline that works for you? Always open to hear ideas or critiques. After all, I’m fairly young yet, and have a lot to learn.

The Lord bless you this mid-week day!


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. 🙂

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.