Monday, January 21, 2013

Aspartame: Embalming People from Within

Ladies, if you drink diet soft drinks or eat sugar-free foods, it is so worth the small amount of time it will take to watch this video. It might even save your life. 

The artificial sweetener aspartame is a dangerous chemical. A poison, actually.  Once inside your body it is converted into formaldehyde.  

The following video will familiarize you with some of the terrifying side-effects and health problems you could encounter if you consume products containing this chemical. Unfortunately, aspartame toxicity is not well-known by doctors, despite its frequency.  

I'm not into excluding entire food categories from my diet, like sweets.  But rather than risk my health, I stick with good ol' fashioned sweeteners - used in moderation - that have been used for centuries and are "whole" foods.  These include evaporated cane juice (natural sugar), honey, agave and molasses.  

Please watch:

What Our Homes Say About Us

Have you ever wondered what your home says about you?  Every home reflects its keeper whether we realize it (or like to admit it) or not.  I wonder what my home is saying?

Does it speak of my desire to minister to others? Will it speak about my love for Jesus and all that's good and right?? 

More than anything I want my home to resonate the love of God.  I want those whom I invite into my home to feel cared about and welcome. 

If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. James 2:15-17

We all have the same areas of our homes that receive our personal touch.  I think it's fascinating that they really do tell a story about us.

What we have intentionally displayed in our homes, shows where our hearts are.  That's why I decided to add so much Scripture to my walls and in my decor.  My heart and my treasure is the Lord Jesus Christ and his words are precious to me. Also on my walls are several family photos and some artwork.  Some of the artwork is "retro". I love all things vintage.

I have three large bookcases displaying loads of books (99% nonfiction) and various cherished mementos from our travels. 

I have a lot of seating. I want there to be plenty of places for friends and family to sit comfortably for a long chat. My dining table seats 12 so that we can have a lot of people over for dinner.
There are end tables with lamps for good lighting and coffee tables for setting down a beverage.

Everything that is on the countertops in my kitchen is used daily. If it's only used occasionally it goes into a cupboard to leave room on the counters for food prep.

I love a bathroom that's clean, sanitary and sparkling.  Mine has minimal decor and mostly clear counters. (Makes cleaning easier.)

Clutter and Stuff:
I can't think clearly with clutter around so I relegate all clutter and 'junk' to the unfinished basement (my giant storage unit).  Anything I don't want to look at anymore goes down there. In fact, it is time to start sorting it all out for garage sale-ing or donating.  I'm hoping to get to that in the next two weeks.  I may even dare to post before and after pictures! :)

As you're reading this, does anything pop into your head that you want to unclutter? Old clothes, dishes, tired holiday decor, broken picture frames, greeting cards, forgotten crafts, old kitchen stuff, etc?  

Maybe it's time to make an appointment with yourself and get your kids to help you sort through and organize it soon. I know it's going to a lot of work to get mine done, but it will feel so much better when it's finished. Like getting a long overdue haircut!

Here's a fun quiz to see what your home says about you.  I took it and here are my results:

You come across as very intellectual. People take your wisdom seriously.
You have amazing hygiene, and it shows. You are sparkling clean!
You are a very domestic person. You enjoy decorating, cooking, and making things homey.
You are a very nurturing person. You find meaning in taking care of others.
You feel settled in your life. You have enough time to focus on little details.
You are a very self sufficient person. You can get along well without much help.
Your friends see you as accommodating, peaceful, and forgiving. 

I never thought of myself as intellectual or "feeling settled in" my life, but apparently that's what my home says about me. ;)  

If you take the quiz, I hope you will share your results and maybe which parts surprised you!

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Making Home

Your home, no matter how big or small, should be the best it can be. The neatest it can be. The prettiest it can be. Within your budget and means, your home should reflect that there is a woman there who loves and cares for her family. I believe that women have been so very blessed to have this task. 

Over the years, our homes have varied from little to much.  The "much" has come and gone with a few of our big cross country moves.  And so, it seems my life is always changing.  Since I've been married, we have lived in three different states and five different homes - two owned and three rented.  With each one, I have tried to make our home a cozy and comfortable retreat for my family.  

Along the way I've had great opportunities for experience in  decorating different house layouts and rooms.  Curtains have become an important part of my decor. I like the way they can add color and instantly "warm up" a room. I have a big box of curtains and window treatments that only worked in one home and not the other.  But I hold on to them because if they don't work in our current home, they might work in the next house.

I really enjoyed decorating our home for the holidays this year.  We bought a white tree for our front living room so that we could have a soft glow of twinkle lights while we were in there playing games, reading or entertaining.  

We all have some area of talent that we can use to make our homes a comforting haven. It doesn't matter if you're the brightest crayon in the box or not.  We can all do something creative to make our home a personal little oasis to grow and nurture our families in.

Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.  Proverbs 14:1

What Does a Home and Bread Have in Common?

You can have flour, water and yeast and still not have bread. Bread must be made.  I think it's similar with a house.  You can have walls, furniture and stuff, and still not have a home.  Homes are made.  Probably why it's called homemaking and not housemaking.

A home is in a category all its own. It's a refuge. A little kingdom all our own where we make the laws, set the rules, create the mood and manage the routines.  

Here's a thought to keep you busy: when our children grow up, what will they say about their home? What will they remember of their childhood in it? Was it happy?  Were mama and daddy in love?  Something to think about every day to help us renew our minds to that of Christ Jesus. 

"What's a House Without a Woman in it?" 
 - The Quiet Man

I believe a woman is the that je ne sais quoi that makes a house into a home.  So many women were fed the feminist lie and spawned a generation of veritable orphans.  Many of the disillusioned women from that blight on society are now longing to return home and are basically in the position of reinventing the wheel.  They are starting from scratch.  When our grandmothers embarked on marriage and homemaking they took with them a wealth of information. 

But many women today have entered into adulthood completely void of some of the most basic domestic skills. Some of these ladies have bravely sought to learn on their own, earning my sincere respect. They are like modern day pioneers embarking on a frontier of which they know little to nothing about.  But like migrating birds, they have been driven back to something real. Something worthwhile and lasting. Homemaking. 

We are all on a journey to make our homes.  

Make them lovely. 

Make them functional.

Make them productive. 

Make them loving.  

But in all we do, let's always remember to keep the make in our homemaking.  

You are the one that makes it homey.  It's sometimes exhausting. It's sometimes monotonous. It's often times thankless. But it's always worth it.  

Finding something that you enjoy and keeping yourself refreshed is an absolute necessity.  You will never rarely "find" the time for you.  You must MAKE the time for you.  Burned out, used up moms are grumpy moms. They make nobody happy. Don't wait around for someone else to fill the oil in your lamp.  We need spiritual and physical regenerating.  I am generally renewed with hot baths and reading my Bible.  

A functional home is a comfortable home. If we find that we're too busy to keep our homes functioning, happy and lovely then we're simply booking ourselves too tight.  

This can be remedied by simply taking a good look at priorities and rearranging them in order to care for what needs to come first. Writing down whatever is most pressing usually shows you where you're at and what you need to take care of first. (Don't forget your husband in that list!)

And remember that different seasons of life will have different priorities.  Our job is to manage our homes best for the season we're in. It will look different in every home depending on many factors. Your husband's profession, how many children you have, what kind of family situation you're in, the status of health, finances, what kind of climate or city you live in.  

All the factors that can influence how YOU make YOUR home.  It doesn't hurt to browse how other wives manage their homemaking.  Just make sure you are looking for ideas and never succumb to coveting what another might have.  

My Priorities in this season of my life: 

  1. God -  (Bible reading, prayer, worship)
  2. Husband - (loving, listening, comforting, caring for)
  3. Children (training, teaching, loving)
  4. Myself (exercise, vitamins, recreation, creativity)
  5. Homemaking (meals, cleaning, organizing, decorating)
  6. Others (reaching out, serving)

As our children become more and more independent, priorities naturally shift. For instance, babies take constant care.  But when that baby is 16 years old they are nearly self sufficient.  (Nearly.  :) As the ages and skill levels of our children continue to change, we mothers must constantly adjust our sails to those winds.  That's a lot of exercise, so be flexible! 

It takes work to make a home. I read somewhere that it takes an estimated $100,000 to replace the work that of woman at home. And I believe it!  :)

My family is a unit and - truly.  I couldn't do all that gets done around here by myself.  Of course if it was just me, there wouldn't BE that much work.  The more kids you have, the more work they should be doing to help pull their own weight.  

I know some women that do much more than I can and some who do a little less.  It takes time to find the right balance. 

My husband and sons helps with all the manly work like taking out the trash, lawn work, repairs, etc. My sons also help with keeping their bedroom and bathroom clean and some light house work like sweeping, dishes and laundry.  (Ha, they are actually cleaning and scouring their bathroom as I write this. I will spare you with the details of how I found it this morning. Ugh. What a couple of teenage boys can do to a bathroom given just a few days!)

I take care of the general order, organizing, decorating, meals, shopping and cleaning. I delegate tasks and work when I feel overloaded and my family is a tremendous help to me when I am exhausted.   

Along with making my home comfortable for my own family, I also try to keep it comfortable for guests and friends.  

Earth is our temporary home but while I'm here I want to use what God has so graciously given me to serve others.  You don't have to be financially affluent to make your home lovely or welcoming. You only need a little ingenuity, creativity and a willingness to serve. 

For homemaking and decor inspiration, I visit our local library and get stacks of books on homemaking, decorating, organizing and cooking. It's also fun to keep an eye out for bargain finds at thrift stores, garage sales and craigslist when your home needs a certain something. 

Since we're renting this house and I can't make any permanent changes, I am planning on growing flowers and plants from seeds indoors this year and then planting them in pots to put all around the yard to liven it up out there.  

My next conquest will be to procure a patio set with umbrella so we can enjoy the beautiful weather here.  I always get excited for spring to burst forth around this time of year. I can't wait to get some daffodil bulbs in the ground!

Hope you all make the most of the day you've been given today!