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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: March 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Protecting my family from radiation... naturally!

There have been lots of things in the news about Japan and the nuclear power plant and radiation, etc over the past couple weeks. Frankly, it's hard to know what and who to believe about it. I tend to believe my husband and let the rest of it go. Thankfully he's pretty educated about such things and I can pray for the people and look to the ways of my household... not worry about what is real and what isn't.

There have been many people talking about whether or not we should worry here in the states. Last week there were many claiming that radiation would never make it over the ocean. The rest were buying iodine just in case. When the worries came about radiation reaching the west coast, I thought of and prayed for friends and family who still live there, but had no reason to think about it beyond that.

Then today I learned that the rain water throughout the US is contaminated with radioactive iodine. Levels here in PA are 3300% above the standard they use for drinking water. And that rain is falling on us as we walk from home or office to cars and back again. Falling in our water reserves. Seeping into our dirt and "watering" our newly planted gardens.

Regardless how long this is going to last, how much it's really going to affect us, or how much danger we may or may not actually be in... I'm giving it a second look. And I'm interested in what I can do to protect my family from whatever danger there may be. (Note: Regardless what steps we take, the Lord is trustworthy in all things and all that is happening is in his ultimate control!)

That said, I don't want to run out and grab whatever iodine supplements may still be available to us (especially when those in Japan need it so much more). We looked at getting something, but instead took a look at natural sources of iodine.

So here is a list of the top foods for iodine: (source)

1/4 cup kelp... ~277% daily value (dv)
1 cup yogurt... ~58% dv
1 cup (pasteurized) milk... ~39% dv
1 egg... ~15% dv
1 cup strawberries... ~8% dv
1 0z. mozzerella cheese... ~7% dv

Now here's the deal (and the original point of this whole post)...

Pasteurization destroys ~20% of the iodine in milk! So if you have a source for raw milk available to you... that increases your natural consumption of iodine quite a bit... 2 cups could take you to your full RDA easily! Now... are you making yogurt with that raw milk... in a method that doesn't pasteurize the milk inadvertently? That gives you even more!!

So instead of running off to the store for expensive iodine supplements that are running in short supply the world over, we simply pored out cold glasses of raw milk to enjoy with our dinner. And there is sure to be homemade yogurt in our breakfast! Now to try making that raw yogurt instead of the high temp stuff!

Are you doing anything about the radiation? Feel free to share!


This year's Garden

I'm sure I'll mention this again sometime... but I have my hands in WAY too many things. And since I don't see that changing anytime too soon, I might as well share one more with you.

We garden.

There, I said it.

And we do. Now... I didn't say we ever harvest much, but we do all the planting and more. We are determined that this year will be different.

The problem is that we don't have much space of our own (any space of our own if you want to be really technical). We talked our landlord into some of the space out back between our mobile home and the creek. And, problem number 2, since we have very little natural light anywhere on our property (because of trees and hills on both sides of us), we built a green house to house our artificial light. I'll have to snap a picture of that sometime.

Basically, we started in January (we can because we have the greenhouse!)

No... we don't put them outside that early. The greenhouse was kinda beat up after the winter anyway.

We put them in our bathroom.


Our bathroom.

Let's just say it's the warmest room in the house in the winter and there's counter space. At least there was before we filled it with a couple trays of dirt and a grow light.

A couple weeks ago it was finally nice outside so we headed out to get some work done.

My Beloved worked on the actual structure of the greenhouse and I worked on this... our strawberry patch. Notice our "Squarefoot Gardening" boxes. They aren't great in the greenhouse... not enough air circulating I think. So this year we're tweeking it a little.

One thing we knew we needed to do is to space out our strawberries. They were all moldy and such last year. This year I made a point of digging them all up and thinning them to one per square (I think we had 4 to a square before... but really what we had was a big mess!) Hopefully this will help... it took me a whole afternoon to get it looking this pretty! Some of them are starting to show some green now that we're watering again.

Amazing stuff that water!

Oh... and what a fun surprise to find these down there popping up their little shoots from last year. We really didn't get much garlic (and what we got was not that great) last year, so these were a treat to find. Hopefully we'll get some good stuff!

And our trees were starting to think about waking up too. I don't know if we'll get anything on them, but this is their third year with us. They live in half wine casks. Sure would be nice to get some apples and pears this year (the peach tree didn't make it.)

The next weekend we added a bunch of top soil (our old "dirt" was entirely compost and we're thinking it was too rich for many of our plants so this year we added plain old top soil to help) to this box and then brought our 16 broccoli plants outside.

Don't they look so healthy!?!

We may loose one... but we're hoping not.

So here it is... part of it anyway.

The strawberries are in the left box and the broccoli is there in the right one.

We've already added some potatoes, radishes, spinach and lettuce around the broccoli to grow while it's still small. Some of it (like the potatoes) will remain when we harvest the broccoli. And once we do that, the tomatoes will take the place along the right side.

Oh, and My Beloved has worked to put in more soaker hoses. There were already a couple in the right box from last year. Now the strawberries and peppers have them in the left box! That is going to make watering soooo much easier!

Here's a map of the whole garden. The boxes are 4 by 16 each. Each little box is a foot squared. The color code is for seeing the water requirements at a glance. Sorry you can't read the tiny print. Maybe I can get a legible one for a future report.

I don't know if you can read it or not, but this one shows the tomatoes in the top box (the right box in the pics above... the entrance door is on the right of the map) in place of the broccoli.

Already there are tomatoes, peppers and a handful of herbs sitting under a light on the bathroom counter where the onions and broccoli used to be.

Wow... I'm tired just telling you about it all. I had no idea we'd done so much already. We always start with gusto... now I just hope we can finish so excited. Last year I had a baby just when harvest season started... made it tricky!

Now... what are the kids doing??? We're working through a garden unit right now. So fun! We're using Jolanthe's Preschool Pack and just getting started! More info on that to come. We're also spending time learning the Parable of the Sower and we're going to try planting seeds in a cup of sand, rocks and good soil (one each) to see what happens. Kids are excited about that!

Are you gardening this year??? Many of you are probably just starting... that's ok! I'd love to know what you're doing! Share it in the comments.

OR... join me over at Homeschool Village today and link up with their Garden Challenge. I am!

Oh... and it's a challenge to garden... not to garden well! ;)


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I finally gave in... using feeds

Another touch of spring from our planter box

For a long time I avoided readers and signing up for feeds of the blogs I read. I'm not really sure why, either. Too trendy? I have issues. This is no secret.

Trouble is... I have/had quite a few I like to read. So why not have them sent to my email. Again, I'm not sure. But I didn't. For a long time.

So instead of opening my email and glancing through a list of blog posts for the day, I wasted time checking blogs on my favorites list every day... whether they had posted or not. I'd scroll through, click, wait for the page to load, and then be disappointed that there was nothing new to inspire me.


Then I'd do it all again for the next blog on my list.

And I have three children! Ok... so at the time I had two. That is, I believe, what really got me to rethink things. I was about to have three children 3 and under. I really needed to streamline this blog hopping. So I went for it. I closed my eyes and clicked (ok... not really, have you ever tried to click on something with your eyes closed?) Point is... I clicked!

I clicked the little Feedburner link on someone's blog. Clicked the little invitation to receive posts in my email in another. Slowly, I began signing up for all my regular blogs.

And it is so freeing!

I still do some hopping around... but for those blogs I want to read all the time, they come into my email when they post something new. I have them all assigned to a special folder, so when I have time, I open that folder in my Outlook and glance down the list. Sometimes I delete without reading. Other times I flag something to read later. And when there is time, I read through the list. Most of them I like to click through to read at the actual blog, but if time is really short, I just read them in the email.

Then it occurred to me that, as much as I loved this, I should be offering it to MY readers! So... if you want to simplify your online time, click my Feedburner invitation in the sidebar! And enjoy the freedom it brings (not to mention you won't have to click over on the weeks I neglect the blog!)


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What's On the Table Tuesday

This weekend I actually got to sew! Between busyness, frustration with my machine and lack of desire (see previous), there hasn't been too much of that lately.

And it was sew (hehe) nice!

I finally got around to finishing this! It was only lacking a little detail:

This beautiful label!

I have huge plans for doing things differently the next time I do something like this, but I'm happy with the way my first attempt turned out.

I printed it right on the fabric. (I basically used this tutorial, but followed advice in the comments there to soak my fabric in a solution of 50/50 water and fabric softener, then let it air dry. This seems to have made it color fast. If you try it, make sure to experiment first. I had to do several tests to get it just right!)

What does it say?

I'm sure you can read the "100 Days" (click here for an explanation).

The rest is Joshua 4:24... "He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful, and so that you might always fear the LORD your God."

A great verse... and what it is talking about is the time God split the Jordan river so that Joshua could lead the Israelites to the promised land. Once across, Joshua built a memorial... 12 stones stacked together from the river. And "He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful, and so that you might always fear the LORD your God."

I hope this little gift, filled with rocks, will be a reminder of all the LORD has done in healing her body. And perhaps it can be a place to gather mementos of future times the LORD shows His power in her life.

Once I had that done, I was able to start a new project... yes, I do believe this makes 4-5 started projects and no finishes. But I finished the rock bag, right? That counts for something!

At any rate... I have plans for this one and so it moved to the top of the list. At least it's among the top. During our first fabric shopping trip we found these fabrics and decided (ok, My Beloved said it first) that it just screams a friend of ours. So, the gift was born. I didn't really know what it would be... or what it would look like... or how I would do it... but I knew these three fabrics would be in it together.

And now that I've been working on it a bit, I've decided I need more of it so I can have some too. It just might compliment some new dishes that we may or may not have purchased this past weekend.


These were supposed to be the finished squares. But I've never done a Wonky block before and didn't follow a tutorial (which would have reminded me that I would be losing lots in the size department), so I may be adding another layer to each of them. And I haven't decided yet whether they will all be together in one little table runner, or if I'm going to get to make two slightly different ones. I'll have to get back to you!

And I may like the ones with the leaves around the outside better... the other ones may be a little busy... what do you think?

How about you??? Do you have anything on the table??? (I say on the table because that's where I do my sewing... on our kitchen table. Your "table" could be in your craft room, in your lap, or anywhere else.) Are you working on any little projects? I'd love to know about it... and if you have posted on it, leave me a link so I can check out!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Seeking Out a Schedule: Why it's important

Here we are... another Monday of another week.

All too often Monday is "catch up day" in our home and today is no exception. Somehow the weekend always seems to take over, leaving in it's wake piles of laundry, dishes and projects. And I do mean piles!

But weekends, or even catch up days, are not what I want to talk about today. Today I want to talk about the everyday. Ann does such a great job reminding us how special the everyday is... but I have to admit to you. I struggle with celebrating today. I struggle with making today special.

I know that I can make each day sacred by remembering. Acknowledging. But how can I make each day special for my children when I'm so far behind, the house is so cluttered, and I don't have a handle on my priorities... my schedule... my duties.

Why is it that I feel the need to turn down a little ones request to read a story when I've just spent a heap of time sitting at the computer? Oh, but I need to finish those dishes. Fold that laundry. Organize that shelf. Start dinner.

On the days I determine to make a difference, I may not turn on the computer, but I walk around in circles. Accomplishing bits of this and that... but not really making a dent. I struggle with bringing out a fun activity or planning and extra special this or that for my kids when the house is in such disarray. Yet it's all so overwhelming. How do I conquer this towering mountain of duty so that I can enjoy a nice hike in the foothills with my children? (And so that my sweet husband can come home to a welcoming refuge at the end of his work day instead of a house of chores that still need to be done?) Is there hope?

I think there is. And, no... I'm not there yet. But, oh how I want to be there! How about you?

I've already started (I have to work ahead a little so I can have my thoughts about me for posting!) and I'm already starting to see a little progress... however slight! :)

I believe I mentioned that I wouldn't be sharing too much new info in this Suzy Series. It has everything to do with the fact that I've not arrived yet. I'm still searching. Experimenting. Learning! I do have a few links to share with you though... on the subject of creating a daily schedule.

We're doing this in baby steps, remember? Please don't be overwhelmed with how each of these ladies do things. I don't want you to grab one system and force it upon yourself, and certainly don't combine them all and expect yourself to be able to thrive at it. This week I just want you to read through some of them... and others you may find (share with us if you know of others!) Take a look... make some notes. Perhaps try your hand at making your own schedule of "dailies" (using these as inspiration). Start trying to follow some sort of routine/schedule if you have the nerve. But don't get discouraged. Whatever you come up with this week is only a first (of many) draft! I have a working copy, that I'll share with you Friday, hanging above my kitchen sink. I've already made several changes from the original as I learn how it needs to be tweaked to fit my family. And most of all... I've never yet, in the two weeks since I've started working on it, done everything on my list!

Remember... when starting a new routine, it's a goal you are working toward. Don't give it all up because it's not working after a week. Just keep picking at it.

We'll talk more about that at the end of the week or so. For now... happy reading!

Scheduled Homemaking ~ The Dailies
Daily House Cleaning for Homes with Small Children
Daily Tasks for a Clean Kitchen
Some Tricks of the Trade

I know there are more all over the internet... let me know if you find any!

Wanna start at the beginning??? Follow this link:

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Moment by Moment Grace

Living gratefulness... what does that really look like? I determined to find out.

Most of the house was still asleep. I stepped out...

229. Thank you for these quiet moments.

230. these dishes to wash

231. the mouths that use this little fork

232. the dirty blender... signifying time taken to make My Beloved a smoothie

233. new dishes filling the sink

My littles were hungery...

231. a baby to nurse

232. diapers to change

233. potty time to monitor

234. "mommy wipe me"

235. breakfast to cook

236. a table to clear

237. faces and hands to wash

238. crumbs to sweep from the floor

239. attitudes that bring teaching moments

And so many more.

I know I didn't remember to continue with my thanksgiving through the whole day. But I also know what joy I felt the morning hours while I was remembering. I've never enjoyed washing dishes so much. Nor have I felt such overflowing love for my littles... in the midst of the normal everyday training needs. I was flooded with patience, love, and grace for my sweet babies!

Lord make this my every minute!

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Accountability: Time with God

Just checking in briefly to report:

I didn't do as well this week as I had hoped, but I did way better than I have been!

Several times I took the opportunity to sit with the kids and do "Bible Time" and was so glad for it!

Yesterday in particular, we were behind on morning chores (which is to say that it was later than I'd hoped when we were finally wrapping up the kitchen clean up) when I finally announced for everyone to grab their "Bibles" and head to the couch. I didn't read long (so many distractions this particular morning), but did deliberately take time to pray... both before and after Sweet Pea needed to go potty ("right now"). I felt the difference in my attitude and outlook after taking that time to really talk with God! When I was done I took special time to pray with the kids... slowly and talked through it all. It was a great time with them!

Today I didn't get/take the time to sit and do Bible Time, but I made a point of walking in thanksgiving as I went about my tasks. It was such a blessing. My heart swelled with love for my littles and desire to be around them. That, in and of itself, was a real encouragement today! But the joy to be washing those dishes, tidying those messes, etc. was more than I could have expected!

I may not have been as faithful as I would have liked, but I know I grew in grace this week... and I'm excited to grow even more in the days to come!

How did you do?

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Strengths... not something I'd put on an application

A touch of spring from our front yard

My sister-in-law said something in an email this morning that caught me off guard:

"I also have been really enjoying your blog, a lot of my weeknesses are your strengths...."

She said a few more things, but since I didn't ask her if I could post it... nor tell her I was going to (surprise!), I'll keep it to myself.

Thanks for your email A... I'm thrilled you are enjoying my blog and that my... ehem... strengths are an encouragement to you.

Just in case others of you don't know about them, I decided to dedicate an entire post to my strengths. Toot my own horn, if you will.

Here they are... in no particular order:

I'm excellent at surfing! I can blog hop with the best of them... wasting hours upon hours in front of my computer.

I'm no slouch at wasting time in general. Coupled with the computer thing... I can dilly dally at just about anything to avoid actually doing what I should be doing.

I'm well practiced at loosing my temper and displaying anger to and directed at my children on a regular basis.

I'm the best complainer in our house... even better than the children I'm pretty sure. But just to be fair... I've had longer to practice.

I tend to have a critical spirit.

I'm lazy! More than happy to take the easy way out. This applies to cooking, cleaning, exercise... you name it!

I'm inconsistent... especially with disciplining my children.

I'm exceptional at letting my emotions and thoughts run away with me.

I'm obsessive! Nope... can't get me to let something go once I've decided to let it bother me.

I'm (ehem) "assertive"... (read: loud, forceful, pushy, obnoxious. You know... opposite of meek and gentle)

I'm selfish! You don't have to watch long (from your hidden perch that is) to see me putting myself before my husband and children. And I do it all the time too.

I'm neglectful of my husbands desires and preferences! I let our house remain cluttered and don't clean it very often even though I know what a blessing it would be for him to live in a clean and tidy home.

Oh golly... I could go on, but I'm feeling a little full of myself.

So let's see... just to balance things out, I'll share what I'm working on too.

All. of. the. above!

Just in case I've lost a few of you. I'm calling these things my "strengths" because they are the ones I'm good at... that I don't even have to think about to do them. Not because they are good things!

Perhaps you've gotten the idea that I'm doing this "Suzy Homemaker meets Proverbs 31" series because I've arrived. Quite the contrary... I'm doing it for me. Not for you. (Ok, I'm sharing it here for you too.) And for the record... I didn't brush my hair today. And maybe not yesterday either. So much for my first challenge!

As far as wife and mother, homemaker, woman, servant, follower, disciple (etc... you get the idea) goes... I'm a giant failure!

This is why I am so grateful for grace!

Without God's grace, I'd be lost in a sea of hopelessness! But because of grace, I am rejoicing! Learning to give thanks in every trial, disappointment, failure. Because when I am weak, He is strong! Thank God for grace... that he can still use me in my weakness... that he chooses to do so!

So don't strive to emulate my example... my family... my skills. Walk with me as we strive together to learn what it means to keep our homes for the Lord, to serve one another in love, and ultimately to be more like Him!

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What's On the Table Tuesday

Well... I did it. I finished the cute little doll quilt! I got in some practice with my free motion foot. That's not to say that I'm not still fighting with my machine. Another project got worked on this week too, but I gave it up because it was going so poorly! But this little thing is done. And Sweet Pea loves is!
Sometimes it's a doll quilt... and sometimes it gets folded in half and used for a burp cloth. She copies Mommy. Once receiving blankets are too small (or rather, babies are too big) and spit up gets out of hand, I fold a receiving blanket and toss it over my shoulder instead of those useless little clothes they have the nerve to market for spit up!

I digress.

I also got this cute thing done last week. I was afraid of it but it was sooo simple! I looked around at how others made theirs, then I kinda came up with my own thing. I loved the velcro idea I found here, though, and incorporated it... just a little different. I tested it too and it pops right open with any tug, yet is strong enough to support the doll and wears well. Sigh... now I don't have to worry about any of my babies getting it caught around their necks!

I did some cutting tonight... but you'll have to wait till next week for that!

How about you??? Do you have anything on the table??? (I say on the table because that's where I do my sewing... on our kitchen table. Your "table" could be in your craft room, in your lap, or anywhere else.) Are you working on any little projects? I'd love to know about it... and if you have posted on it, leave me a link so I can check out!

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Priorities: The Good Part

We've met Suzy, and talked about Whom we do it all for, what a homemaker really is all about, and determined to do our husbands good, not harm!... but where is the real stuff? Where is the practical... the how to? When are we going to talk about what we really need to talk about to find change?

I have two answers for that. First, we already are. If we jump right in to cooking lessons (still to come) and the "how tos" of cleaning the toilet (among other things) without first finding our true motivation, we're eventually going to leave that toilet brush in it's holder. Who wants to touch that yuck after all? So go back and read (or re-read... I've done it and I wrote them!) those early posts... it'll do you a world of good to get things started on the right foot!

My second answer... soon! In fact, I had every intention of kicking off the home management and cleaning portions of "Suzy meets P31" this week... today. But, it's occurred to me that "one [post] is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:42 KJV)

Have you met Martha? Mary? They were followers of Jesus... friends. They loved him dearly, followed him, ministered to him. On at least one occasion, they welcomed Jesus into their home. Actually, it says that "a woman named Martha opened her home to him." (Luke 10:38) First of all... can you imagine??? What an honor! The Lord of heaven and earth a guest in her home. What must that have been like? I can only imagine she wanted everything to be perfect, wouldn't you? (Rabbit trail: are you aware that Jesus tells us that "whatever [we do] for one of the least of these... [we do] for him"? [Matthew 25:40] Remember that the next time... every time... you have the opportunity to serve your sweet family in some way!)

But before long, the joy of serving Jesus became a burden of making everything just right. She began to grumble in her heart (it doesn't actually say that, but don't we usually grumble in our hearts before we ever utter a complaint aloud?) Scripture says "Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made". She actually complained to Jesus that her sister, who was sitting at His feet listening to Him, wasn't helping her. And Jesus answered her, "“Martha, Martha... you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Aren't we so often a Martha in our own homes? (If we're going to be either of them that is.) I struggle enough with discipline in this area, but add to that trying to build a routine and get a grip on my household... forget it!

If I succeed in becoming Suzy Homemaker, yet don't grab that Proverbs 31 part... one thing will be needful!

If I master routines, discipline myself in the art of homemaking, become a gourmet chef, yet fail to spend daily time in the presence of my King, I've missed "that good part." (KJV)

But ugh! It's so hard! I have three littles, 4 years old and younger... with at least one early riser. I'm trying to get to bed earlier, but still... it's hard! So here's what I do (when I do it... I'm still working on this one)...

On the mornings/days I don't make it up or take the time to be with my Lord before the kids are up, we simply take time together. This morning, for instance (since I actually did it today... woo hoo), after the breakfast dishes were done and the kitchen was looking ok, I announced it was "Bible time" and everyone was to get their Bibles so Mommy could read hers. We've done this before, so it wasn't completely foreign... though it's been a while. I reminded them that they needed to look at their "Bibles" (Bible storybooks) while I read mine and pray. Then when I am done, we'd read together. It takes lots of reminders (with my newly 3 year old especially), but hopefully they'll eventually get it. It gives me time to spend in the Word, demonstrates my time in the Word and prayer to my children, and starts them in a time of their own. It works for me!

Now... your turn! This week, take a look at the time you spend (or don't spend) in the presence of the King, reading His Word, in prayer. Does something need to change? Do you need to/can you get up a little earlier? Is there a nap time (theirs, not yours) that would work? Or can you build in a family "quiet" time to get "alone" with your Savior? Maybe you don't have kids yet and just need to discipline yourself to stop, stop
"...[worrying] and [being] upset about many things" and simply "...[choose] that good part".

We'll touch base Friday where I'll share how I did this week... and you'll have a chance to report in too!

I'm joining in with...

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Good... not harm!

"Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life."
Proverbs 31:11-12

These verses just don't get enough attention!

They don't. Think about it... when you think about the Proverbs 31 woman, you think about sewing, planting, selling, working hard, buying and preparing food... and doing it all by candle light either early in the morning or late into the night. We know that these things are bringing our husbands good (at least they would if we were doing them all), but do we really think about this specifically?

My hearts desire all these long years has been to be that Proverbs 31 woman for my husband... for my Lord. And really, isn't that why we are here now... talking about these things? But now I'm wondering. Do I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman for God? For my sweet husband? Or for me?

Yep... here it is again. AGAIN.


And this is news to me ladies! I sat down to type something completely different tonight. Or, maybe I didn't know what to type, but I had to start anyway. I didn't even realize that my desire to be a P31 was anything but purely motivated. And I'm shocked and astonished.

Or not.

Oh, I'm surprised by this new realization. I'm just not so surprised to see one more area of my life where pride has control.

Perhaps this is why it's easier to make lists and schedules and routines than it is to actually do them. Perhaps that's why it's easier to read books and posts and testimonial on this topic of being a homemaker/helpmeet/etc. than it is to actually work at it. Perhaps it's the reason I can spend all afternoon decorating a print out of verse 31:27 instead of actually applying it.

So what if my motives were changed?

"Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life."
Proverbs 31:11-12

What if my heart truly desired to bring my sweet husband "good [and] not harm", not just in word... but in deed.



What would that even begin to look like? (This list in not all inclusive... just a start. Nor will it be the same as yours!)

From Proverbs 31:

13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
I would have "eager hands" in the tasks before me.
14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
We do our grocery shopping together, but I know it would bless him for me to have meal plans made and thorough shopping lists.
15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family....
Imagine... he could eat breakfast instead of going hungry until lunch. And if I could have a lunch packed for him too. That would be great!
17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
Cleaning the toilet weekly (or more), scrubbing the floors... the list really does go on!
18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
Making the most of my time, even in the evenings, to do work that blesses my family.

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
To be prepared for whatever... and not scrambling when something comes up last minute!
22 She makes coverings for her bed....
Funny, but this is quite literally something he would like me to do. Make more "coverings" (read: quilts) for all our beds!
26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
Time in God's Word, meditation, prayer... and a slow answer (Prov. 15:1).

27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
HUGE! This one encompasses so many things... keeping up with dishes, scrubbing toilets, being consistent with the children... not wasting time online!

Again... this is just a start! What it really means is learning to ask myself constantly, "Is what I'm doing (or about to do) doing good for my husband? Or is it doing him 'evil' by neglecting what would be a blessing or, worse, hindering him?"

Can he really get relax in a cluttered home?

Can he really rest or putz around on his projects if he feels like he needs to help me with my work?

Does he feel confident leaving me in charge of his home and children when he goes to work in the morning?

Do I bring him "good, not harm, all the days of [his] life"?

Ok... your turn! I'd love to know what you've come up with. All I was really look for was a list of tasks you could do (I didn't intend to do more than that myself). Your choice, write up a whole post on your own blog and share the link with us here (grab my banner if you want!) or leave a list of ideas in the comments.

Again... if there are 10 of you out there who participate by Sunday night, I'll find something to giveaway and announce the winner next week!
I hope some of you will participate... I'm itching to give something away!

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011


This little project came together so fast last night... and she is loving it so much today that I couldn't wait to share it!!! Sweet Pea slinging her baby! Had I known how easy and fast it would be, I'da done it long ago!

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What's not On the Table Tuesday!

Ok... I have to admit that I really haven't been sewing this past week. Perhaps it's because of Suzy, our busy schedule, or My Beloved's request to curl up with him and watch a movie (how can I say no to that???), but I haven't.

I did do some tonight... but no pictures yet, so that hardly counts! Next week!

I did buy some new fabric this weekend though... and it makes me smile every time I pass by the bag. :)

Aren't these colors just screaming baby boy quilt???

How about you??? Do you have anything on the table??? (I say on the table because that's where I do my sewing... on our kitchen table. Your "table" could be in your craft room, in your lap, or anywhere else.) Are you working on any little projects? I'd love to know about it... and if you have posted on it, leave me a link so I can check out!


Monday, March 14, 2011

What is a Homemaker?



Keeper at home.

What does that mean?

I think we all need to wrestle with this right here... right now. We all have a picture of what it looks like to be a keeper at home, yet... we're still not doing it. Our houses still look like... well, we know what our houses look like. Do we have the right picture? Is it even possible? Is the Proverbs 31 woman fictitious? Simply too good to be true? "A wife of noble character who can find? (Proverbs 31:10)" Is it just a cruel joke?... Haha, you can't! Gotcha!

First of all, no, she's not fictitious! King Lemuel's mother was passing on some wisdom to her son in this famous chapter of Proverbs. And though she seems impossible to attain... too good to be true in our feminism rich time and culture, I think it was much more common to find them back then than we would think. Don't get me wrong... she was no dime a dozen. Scripture says she was worth more than rubies. But in that culture... in that time... a woman's whole life revolved around her home. Around her family. While the boys went off to school, young girls learned how to be a keeper of the home right at their mother's knee. (What must that be like???)

Now that we have established that the Proverbs 31 woman was a real, attainable ideal for King Lemuel to look for in his day (and a real, attainable ideal for us to work toward!), let's get back to that original question. What is it? Sure, you could read the whole list in Proverbs (and we will get to that), but simpler... what is it???

Crystal Miller of The Family Homestead shares of a time a young woman asked her a similar question. Her answer... "Well, to put it into a nutshell, when your whole life is revolving around your husband you are on the right track!" (She expounds on that answer here.)

I love this! So not the answer you're expecting. So not what our culture would tell you. It's politically incorrect! It's anti-feminist! Maybe that is why I love it so much. Jesus told his followers in the Sermon on the Mount: "For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." (Matthew 7:13) I believe this is true in every area of our lives... including this one. It may not be popular with the world to let our lives revolve around our husbands, but I'll tell you what... it sure will be popular with our husbands! Whose opinion do you care about more???

Our first step this last week was to get dressed. I can't believe I've made it this far (the weekend was rocky, but here I am again today... hair, shoes, dressed!)! Sound pathetic... or familiar? It's so easy to read about this stuff, to agree with it, to get pumped up. But to do it is hard. I can't tell you how many books I've read... but instead of stopping and spending the appropriate time making each chapter a reality in my life, I keep reading to find out what the next step is. By the time the books is finished, nothing's changed. Not this time. We're moving slowly (If you're joining us late... try to take your time. Implement the changes. You can still comment, participate, email... but take the time to do this in order!)

Keep getting dressed! Every day. Brush your hair. Pick out something feminine to wear. Put shoes on your feet. Try to step past "presentable".

Then spend some time thinking and praying about what it looks like to make "your whole life revolve around hour husband." If you don't know, ask him! Make some notes. Find out what areas of the house bother him most. You don't have to actually fix them yet. This step is to figure it out (if you want to get those dishes done for him right away, go for it, but don't let it stop you from thinking through what it all means!)

Accountability: Join me Thursday or Friday to share your "picture"of what this looks like either in your own blog post or in a comment here! I can't wait to hear it! Haven't shared your pictures of you dressed yet? You can do that then too. If we get 10 or more participants, I'll have a little giveaway! Join us!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Just thankful


212. a little extra sleep!

213. games, food and fellowship with friends!

214. rain

215. flooding that comes with it

216. a family safe!

217. opportunity for Christ to be shared in Japan!

218. overcast skies

219. my sweet baby

220. trimmed fingernails!

221. a house on the road to recovery!

222. routine (however much I fight against them!)

223. laundry everyday

224. help with the folding

225. a small house

226. riverbeds... it's amazing how they work

227. family "adventures"

228. kids scared of everything


Friday, March 11, 2011

I did it...

Happy sigh... I did it. All week. I actually got dressed!

It's amazing how difficult it can be to get a picture of yourself around these parts. And for a woman whose face is not to appear on her blog... it's even more difficult! So there I am. You'll just have to trust me for the denim skirt and Mary Janes that don't show.

And... except for today, I had a different shirt on every day. Things were a little more harried this morning and I just reached for what I could find so I'd be dressed nice. But it's a nice blue sweater My Beloved likes, so I think it can be overlooked!

And there is a story about all that hair. I have a lot. of. hair! And I'm not sure I've emphasized it enough. Some of you know me... you can back me up on this! Go ahead... comment. Tell them all how much hair I have.

Anyway, back on track... For the last few years (or more) my hair has been a little, um, difficult. I used to think I had great hair. Now?? Not so much. These last couple pregnancies have pushed the limit on my hair and it's not so cooperative anymore!

Add to that the fact that I have three children 4 and under and I don't even really brush it anymore. Really. There are many days that I don't get it brushed. And many weeks (I'm about to loose some of my readers) I'm pushing it to get my hair washed once. My answer to all this is to just swipe it up into a "messy bun" (which my husband hates) or, a little bit better, a real bun with a "claw" to help anchor it. (Did I mention I have a lot of hair?) This makes it so that I can go about my day, or even out in public, without it being common knowledge that I haven't brushed my hair in ... oh... I don't know how long!

All I can say is that this is only the tip of the ice burg when it comes to how much grace I am shown by my sweet husband each and every day!

So... as part of this little "get dressed" challenge, I aimed to brush all that hair and do something with it every day. The problem: (1.)I can't stand my hair down on my shoulders and around my face, especially all day long while I'm doing things. (2.) My Beloved "prefers" my hair down... and really doesn't like it up all that much.

Now you see the problem... so, where do I find a middle ground? A way to please my husband first in this area that I can actually handle? Well, this pic is the answer so far. I've pulled half of it up and into a bun (still rather large), leaving less of it down to make me crazy. I secure the bun with bobby pins (My Beloved really hates scrunchies... and this is what I use pretty much every day) and dampen the rest to reduce friz.

Ahhhh. It works. And... he likes it! Yey! That is the whole point after all!

Now the trick is to keep it up! No going back to my old ways while I tackle the next step!

Anyone else get dressed this week. Did you get a picture? If you want to blog about it and leave me a comment with the address, I'd love to see!!! (I'll put your link here in the post!) No blog... or no pic? I'd still love to hear about it. Leave a comment so we can encourage each other (read: so you can encourage me!) :)

And join me Monday for the next step!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Who are you doing all this for?

Christmas was behind us. New Years was approaching and the news was full of Sri Lanka. Tsunamis. Death.

For so many... death, fear and loss. But in my little corner of the world the all consuming last minutes details of my wedding were frazzling my mind. I caught the news and watched the videos and prayed with the world... all while finishing this, arranging that.

On Tuesday or Wednesday before our Sunday afternoon wedding the stressors were really starting to mount. Most of the plans and prep were falling on me. My parents were coming in to Southern California from Oregon in a couple more days. My Beloved would be there from Pennsylvania soon too. In the mean time, it was me... and so many willing to help out. Still, this had to be done, that had to be done, this was going wrong, those people had to be met with, that had to be picked up. Most of you know what it is like. If I had my wedding to do over again, it would be different... simpler (and that is saying a lot!), but I don't. And there I was.

I was blessed to be living with a wonderful Godly family when I was in the So. Cal. area (as apposed to up in Oregon with my parents where I had moved temporarily). That morning I was particularly stressed and Vicky (mom of the house) stopped me just outside the kitchen. "Who are you doing all this for?" she asked me in her way.

I stood there and looked at her.

Who was I doing it all for?


My Beloved?

Did I really want our wedding to be all about us?'

No... we wanted it to be all about Him!

All of a sudden I was hearing parts of a worship song from Sunday morning. It's all about You, Jesus. And all this is for You!

I thanked her immediately. I walked away from that conversation at peace and that song became the theme for my wedding. If my pianist had known it, we would have sung that song with all our guests during the ceremony (imagine my sadness when we couldn't!)

And here it is for you... (close your eyes if you can... I found the pics on this video distracting. But I wanted you to hear it, so here it is!)

Had you ever heard it? Have you ever really thought about the words? Sung them from your heart?

I have several times over the last 6+ years... though more in the beginning than recently.


Recently (as in the last few weeks), it has come back before me. I heard it playing on another blog I was reading and it stopped me in my tracks! I wish I could say I've lived each day singing it out to Him. I haven't. But I have been thinking a lot about it.

It was the perfect theme for our wedding.

But really... it's the perfect theme for our lives. For our marriage.

And get this. Are you ready?

It's the perfect theme for our homemaking... and all it includes.

It's all about You, Jesus
And all this is for You All the dishes, toilets, midnight feedings, mopping, wiping noses...
For Your glory and your fame
It's not about me Not about how great a martyr mother I can be...
As if You should do things my way easy children, obedient children, no fighting, etc.
You alone are God You Jesus... You are God. Not me. You are the Center. The Creator!
And I surrender to your ways Your ways... you who knows everything and has a purpose for Your greatest good!

Jesus, lover of my soul
All consuming fire is in Your gaze
Jesus, I want you to know
I will follow you all my days
For no one else in history is like you
And history itself belongs to you
Alpha and Omega, You have loved me
And I will share eternity with You

So how are you doing this week??? I'm thrilled to know of at least a couple ladies who are going to walk this road with me! How about you? Do you need this as much as I do?

Monday I told you that my first goal was to get dressed! I've got three days in a row on that. How about you? Friday (get ready), I'm hoping to have you join me in sharing some pics of you... dressed! Completely. Feminine. With hair done and all! I'm going to find a way to do the same. If you have a blog, post on it and share the link. If you don't... maybe you could share the link to your facebook page or Flicker or something. (And if you're joining me via blog... grab my newly available button from the sidebar!)

Today's challenge... listen to that song again (and again!) Think through those lyrics!

Do we do what we do every day for Him? And if we really do... does that mean we are doing our best for him? Or lazying around for Him? (I know my answer.) Are we raising those children for him? Or are we frustrated and impatient when they just won't obey or when things don't go quite the way we plan? (Again... I know my answer!)

Joining in with Ann today too...

Haven't read the other posts in this series???

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On the Table Tuesday: Birthday Edition!

Welcome to this birthday edition of On the Table Tuesday (it's still Tuesday... it still counts!) First of all... I should get this one thing off my chest. Not only did I not finish everything I had hoped... I didn't finish any of it!


Now, on to what I did get done! I themed this 3 year old birthday with "pink". That's all. My pink girl needed to have a pink birthday. Grandma sent a pink dress, so we opened it first thing in the morning so she could wear a new pink birthday dress (who cares that it was supposed to be for warmer weather... we improvised!)

And this here is her pink cake. However for people who don't use standard food coloring (and as a woman who can't talk her husband into the importance of the really expensive natural food colorings), we improvise in this area too. That cake is a v.e.r.y. sweet strawberry cake. I just kept adding pureed strawberry to the frosting until it was pink enough (and the right consistency for spreading as I used all my homemade powdered sugar).

And all that pink frosting is on top of a white cake turned brown when I added strawberry to it too. So much for pink cake. I subbed the strawberry for some of the buttermilk, so the cake didn't puff up as much as it normally would have. But it was still good (ok... so I told my diabetic land lord he couldn't have any after My Beloved offered some last night [small fridge problem brought him out after hours to check on us]... I just couldn't let him eat any in good conscience.)

I said I didn't finish any of the projects I had intended... I didn't say I didn't try. It's just that we ran into some technical difficulties. More on that later. For now I'll point out the design difficulty.

What do I mean?

Can you read that??? My Beloved pointed out several times that he couldn't. I knew it wasn't going to work great. But by that time I was so far in that I was committed and decided to just do it anyway. She's 3, after all. She's going to love it anyway!

I was planning to quilt them all like this one.

Or perhaps like this one (can you see the quilting on the letter?)

This is one of the places the technical difficulties came into play. I've been fighting with my machine this week and it wasn't going well. You should see the back of these things. Matted and terrible. I'm *sorry* I didn't get a shot of that for you. Oh, wait... maybe I'm not. At any rate. Only the first few letters look like these. There is a little tiny bit on the rest of "happy"...

But really most of them look like this. Plain. And hard to read.

And I was planning to cute them up with rick rack and other fun embellishments. But since I intend to toss or disassemble them once they are down... I just didn't have it in me. Let's not even mention that I flat out ran out of time because of all the machine issues!

And once I did get my embroidery floss threaded through and hung, they weren't staying close to the wall, but turning sideways instead. So I stuck a {pink} straight pin in the wall to hold one.

Worked like a charm!

Like I said... it's not like I didn't work.

This is the doll quilt I worked on all last Tuesday and Wednesday night. I even had it almost half quilted. I had told my husband minutes before that I would probably get it done before we went to bed.

Famous last words.

Then I turned it over and saw that I'd caught a bad wrinkle in the backing and it was not savable! I hate to admit that I actually spent 1.5+ hours with my seam ripper tearing out all the quilting. And I'm not that good at free motion yet... some of the stitches were beyond tiny! I couldn't see straight for a while after I stopped looking so closely at those little stitches!

So it waits for me to figure out my machine problems. But it's pieced. Nine patch is the pattern. But instead of 3 inch squares... each block is 3 inches. Insane, I know! It's finished (pre-quilting) size is 12"x15". And I just can't wait to get it to her... she's going to love it. She got a baby for her birthday and has been mommying it so well already!

How about you??? Do you have anything on the table??? (I say on the table because that's where I do my sewing... on our kitchen table. Your "table" could be in your craft room, in your lap, or anywhere else.) Are you working on any little projects? I'd love to know about it... and if you have posted on it, leave me a link so I can check out!

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

A new Series: Suzy Homemaker meets Proverbs 31

Suzy Homemaker. tells us she is "a housewife who manages a household, esp. with enthusiasm; also, the stereotype of any woman who chooses a traditional female role."

She was the quintessential happy homemaker of the 1960s (named such after a brand of children's play kitchen appliances.) Before "homemaker" was a dirty word. And maybe it was her apron, or perhaps the nice dress and pearls, but I'm pretty sure she knew what she was doing.

And why not? She had most likely learned it all from her mother, seen it in the mothers around the neighborhood.

Fast forward to our time. Our mothers worked hard, many of them pulling double duty in the work force and at home. And many of them did it all. All the meals, all the laundry, all (or at least most) of the cleaning. All in the hours after work, while we ran and played. Offering to us the best childhoods they knew how.

And who can blame them. Why not? (Perhaps we'll investigate this some time.)

In the mean time, however, it has (by no deliberate act of those loving mommas mind you) left you and I unprepared to be wife and mommy as the Scriptures say we should be. And I don't know about you, but it seems to be one thing to believe and be passionate about the ideals and truths taught in the Bible on these matters, and quite another to take it and run with it. It's quite another thing indeed to manage a home as described in Proverbs 31.

It's been 6 years of marriage (and some single years before that) to finally come to the place I am today. Admitting that I'm flailing in all things home.

I'm flailing in my home keeping.

Flailing in the kitchen.

Flailing in mommying these precious littles.

Definitely flailing in "
[watching] over the affairs of [my] household
and... not [eating] the bread of idleness." (Read: lazy)

Sure... I have the theories. I have the conviction. And in many cases, I know what should be done. But as I'm coming to realize (a little slow are we?) it's another thing to actually do them.

Boy I wish I'd spent some serious time learning and training myself in this art in the years before I was married (um... teen and pre-teen years anyone???), or even in the time before my first baby came. Can you imagine how easy that would have been? What else did I have to do?

Still, I've determined it's not too late. My husband is not doomed to arrive home to no dinner and a messy house and a wife who conveniently forgot to check the mirror today for the rest of his life. Even with 3 littles 4 and under, change is still possible.

And, dun da da dun... I plan on taking you all with me. Secretly I know I need the accountability of someone to report to, but I also know that it's possible that I'm not the only one out there in this position. And, I'll admit. I'm hoping some of you will come along with me. I make no promises to offer you any new information (there is so much great info out there already), but I hope to chronicle my journey in homemaking and to leave a road map others can follow along behind.

Won't you join me??? Are you unmarried??? This is for you! Are you still waiting for children? Definitely for you! Married 6 (or more) years and still feel like a failure every day? Um... that's me, so it's certainly for you!

I'll get in to more specifics as we go along. You never know what your going to get. But as the "series" says, this is "Suzy Homemaker meets Proverbs 31." Expect the Bible. Expect a radical change from our culture's world view to a Biblical one.

Let's take some baby steps. But more importantly than that... let's just take the steps!

And how am I starting??? I'm getting dressed tomorrow! Sometime in the morning (i.e. before 12 noon). Oh sure, I usually put something on. My robe becomes cumbersome after a while. So my rule takes things a step further. It will be a real outfit (not "jammie clothes"). It will be feminine (not jeans and a sweat shirt). And I will do my hair (not pull unbrushed hair into a bun so no one can see how bad it is). I'm going to give myself bonus points for brushing my teeth.

It's a start... who's with me?

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

No Winter

A lunch discussion about the melting snow and "it's not winter anymore" and mommy saying "Spring is thinking about coming"...

Sweet Pea (almost 3) yelling out the window: No Winter, put some snow down.

Tornado (4): Don't say that to winter!

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On the Table Tuesday

This past week I've been working on a table runner (inspiration here). It's one of my originally planned projects when I sat back down at my sewing machine several weeks back. A couple nights ago (because that is when I sew... after the kids are in bed) I finished piecing the top. Now I need to sandwich it with batting and get the quilting done. Oh, and before I do that I'm trying to put a fun label on the backing.

When I started it I didn't have any plans for it. It's just one of those little "practice" projects as I get used to using my free motion foot. Now it's headed (if I can get it done in time) to friends as a housewarming gift for their new home. So long as I can get it done before the invitation is extended. They are hoping the big appliances come in before having company.

I'm setting this one on the back burner though... I have 6 days, and counting to get a bunch of birthday stuff done. Lord willing (and minus any further procrastination on my part) I will have a birthday banner, doll quilt, and doll sling to show you next week. But first I have to start all that! Tonight I have the new doll's quilt slated! Hopefully I can get it all pieced before My Beloved gets home (he volunteers with the EMT department Tuesday nights.)

How about you??? Do you have anything on the table??? (I say on the table because that's where I do my sewing... on our kitchen table. Your "table" could be in your craft room, in your lap, or anywhere else.) Are you working on any little projects? I'd love to know about it... and if you have posted on it, leave me a link so I can check out!