Saturday, March 16, 2013

Crescent Chicken Dinner

I tried this yummy recipe from www.comfyinthekitchen.com the other night and my family liked it.  It would probably make a good meal to take to someone since it's an "oven dish."  I served it with garlic parmesan broccoli with brownies for dessert. Yes, we like brownies over here! :)



If you would like to make this dish, here's the recipe!

Crescent Chicken

Preheat oven to 350F
1 8 count package refrigerator crescent rolls
2 cups chopped chicken
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup (I made homemade)
1 can of milk (using soup can)
Prepare soup using milk and set aside. Separate crescent rolls. Spoon chicken and cheese onto each crescent; roll up and seal to enclose filling. Place in a 9x13 baking dish. Pour soup over rolls. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.



This is a good one to make a recipe card for and keep for those times when you need a quick meal for your family or to take and bless someone with. I didn't serve it with mashed potatoes like Janelle does because the crescent rolls are already enough starch, so I chose broccoli.  This would be good with a green salad as well.

I think it would be better with homemade crescent rolls but they are very labor intensive.

If you have made this dish or decide to try it, I'd love to hear what you thought of it.








Thursday, March 14, 2013

Best Underarm Protection

I try to avoid using antiperspirants because of the aluminum and other caustic chemicals they contain. Skin that's been freshly shaved is more susceptible to absorption and that makes the perfect storm when it comes to using commercial deodorants and anti-perspirants. 

But when you are not a light sweater and odor wins out at the end of the day, the natural products don't seem to stand up under heavy demand.  So what's a girl to do?  For years I would succumb to using an  antiperspirant when I felt that odor protection was important, like in social situations when I was unwilling to risk the chance of deodorant failure.  




But I have found something that works even better and it couldn't be easier or more natural. You probably have some in your cupboard right now.  It's baking soda. Yes, the humble little orange box of white powder.  I put some in a little lidded container that I got from IKEA and pinch some out and rub onto clean underarms.  

A little bit of powder that floats to the floor is okay with me because baking soda is also a natural carpet deodorizer.  Save money from buying those chemical laden ones in the store and just use baking soda. The longer it sits the more odor it will absorb for you to vacuum up.

I've noticed this same principle with the baking soda as an underarm deodorant. It doesn't give out. I usually don't go a day without showering, but there are occasions, like going camping, when it's been a couple days and it is amazing how the original application of plain ol' baking soda still holds even days later.  No odor!

One word of caution, and that is that baking soda is a mild abrasive so over time it may cause slight chafing where your underarm creases.  I just use some silky talcum powder along with the baking soda when that happens and it clears right up.  

So for worry free, fool-proof, uninterrupted odor protection, bakings soda is a winner.  I think sea salt works, too, though I haven't tried it long term.  We have a small container of that in our bathroom too that we use for the netti pot and one day I used that by mistake and it worked! 

Don't you love how God made living naturally and healthfully easier than we tend to think? 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sold Out Submission

What do you think would happen if you decided to obey your husband 100%?  You might think that is unachievable... like saying you will now be perfect from this day forward.  Or maybe you think you don't need to obey 100% - you already do well enough. 

I ask this because recently, I was the one saying those things.  God patiently showed me a part of my heart that I was surprised to see. I thought I was doing pretty great. Especially compared to some other wives.  But then I saw that less than 100% actually equals zero.  

A child who decides when he will and will not obey his parents is not really obeying.  Any "obedience" that he gives is actually just his desires coinciding with his parent's desires.  When his desires are in conflict with his parents, he will not obey.  Thus we see that obedience is only counted obedience when it is in conflict with our will. 

I've known this for many years and thought it was "normal" to have a few disagreements along the way. A few times when my husband was wrong and I felt justified in letting him know and maybe even being cold to him about it. 

But the more I studied the matter out and prayed and read scripture, the more I could feel the Lord showing me that submission that is less than 100% is not submission at all. If I choose when I will and will not submit to my husband, that is not submission.  True submission, I have learned, must be 100%, regardless of circumstance.

This raises the question: Is total submission actually possible?  Well, let me ask you, would God command you to do something you could not do?  I don't believe he ever has or ever would. When God requires/commands/asks a thing from us, he also provides the power to accomplish it. Therein lies the miracle.

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 1 John 5:3  

Does the thought of submitting 100% to your husband frighten you?  If it does, then you're not alone. A couple of months ago, I felt that was God nudging me about this.  I reasoned with him  that I was already submitting to my husband.  Or at least I was 90-95% of the time, which I felt pretty good about. 

But as I thought on it more, I realized my percentage score did not live up to my promise.  All of a sudden the Lord took me back to our wedding.  On that day I made a promise to submit to my husband.  What is anything if it's not 100%?  Can you be 95% married?  Can you be 95% pregnant?  When I realized that my small percentage of rebellion made my 95% submission a sham, I felt ashamed. 

All I could see was the 5% of the time that I reserved for being at odds with my husband.  For disagreeing with him, being cold to him when he hurt me and not supporting his right to lead. 

Marriage (between one man and one woman) is a holy union, thus the term "Holy Matrimony".   And it is designed by God.  Man did not invent marriage and therefore does not have the authority to alter its meaning or function.  God created marriage, thus he gets to make the rules. 

Most Christian women don't realize that when they marry, they are promising 100% submission because those are the boundaries of marriage.  Anything less is an affront to God's command. 

So, seeing my error with new eyes, I made the commitment to obey my husband in all things. We'll been married for 18 years this year and he is, and always has been, such a wonderful, faithful, tender and caring man. So, total submission to him will not be a horribly difficult task. 

But the best part is that God showed me that in doing so, I will be blessed more than I could realize. 

To submit to my husband 100% is actually submitting to God 100%.  I've said it before but it's worth repeating - anything less is just not submission, but rather coincidence. 

Co - inciding is two incidents that just happen to intersect.  

For a man married to a woman who reserves any percentage of her submission to him, it must be like driving along a road and hoping that the light will just happen to turn green as he approaches the intersection.  God commands him to go and he hopes that he'll be able to if the light is green. Total submission is when there are no red lights.  All our lights are green. 

There is freedom in this for both husbands and wives.  For me, I can stop putting any energy at all into the 5% reserve for when I am offended or want him to do something differently.  

For a man, he is able to do whatever God calls him to do knowing he will never receive opposition from his wife. Ever. Only trust, support and encouragement. 

Every. Single. Day. 

God is honored when we deem him worthy of all of our trust.  I am trusting God when I submit to his command to submit to my husband in all things.  Which, we have learned, only counts when it is 100% of the time. 

Note that the bible does not say to trust in your husband. In fact, the Bible says the opposite - to trust in NO man. Trust only in God only and he will give you the ability to do as he commands. 

Just to offer clarification to those who might think that it takes some kind of doormat/servant personality to accomplish what God has commanded, I am no such thing. I am an Irish girl and very spunky, feisty, spirited, opinionated and saucy. And my husband likes my perky personality. But the beauty of God's commands is that they are not dependent upon what personality type you are. 

Submitting to my husband is not a feeling, it's just a decision. It is deferring to his lead 100% of the time.  And it is 100% my decision. My husband has never "required" this from me.  Although he has refused to follow my lead! ha.  :-)  But God does require it from me and will hold me accountable for my behavior.  

This is all head knowledge for "good wives" (like me), until our husbands do something that hurts our feelings, or makes a decision that we disagree with, etc.   Then it is all too easy to feel justified in taking a stand against him, no matter how slight or small.    

To those who say they are married to jerks and just could never submit to him, much less 100%...well few of us rush to the altar to marry a jerk. Was he like that when you married him?  Many men "turn into" jerks when they feel like they're yolked to a shrew.  

It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house. Proverbs 11:9

But irregardless, the day your husband put that ring on your finger and gave you his name, you entered into holy matrimony and you can't make up the rules as you go. They are God given. So - easy or difficult - we've got our work cut out for us!  

To those married to great guys, like I am, I pray you'd seek the Lord on whether or not you're a hundred percenter or not.  If not, I encourage you to make the 100% submission commitment and see what God does. 

To those married to a walking challenge, make it your goal to turn his frown upside down and melt him with kindness and your 100% support, love and submission. :)   When you give the reigns to the Lord and commit to obey a bad husband in all things, you are in for a blessing. 

God gave us the chain of command and if you notice, there is no space between Jesus Christ and man in that chain. So whether you're occasionally or permanently wedged between those two, you will find a great blessing in surrendering completely and trusting God to do his job and you do yours.  

It's only been 2 months since I humbled myself to my husband after a minor "stand" I took with him and told him I was wrong and that from then on, I would obey him in ALL things. And already, I've seen God working in some amazing ways.  God is so good and worthy of my praise, my trust and my complete and total sold out submission. 


Some good books to read on this are: "Me? Obey Him?" by Elizabeth Rice Handford and "Created to be His Helpmeet" by Debi Pearl.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Organizing Our Basement

This is the first house we have ever lived in with a basement and we sure do love the extra space.  It is an unfinished basement so it's perfect for storage.  We also have a game table that flips around for billiards, ping pong and air hockey. 

Over the last year our basement slowly started to look like a junk yard.  Stuff was piling up all over the place until it was a big mess.  Whenever someone wanted something down there, we'd dig around till we found it and then not take the time to put things back properly. 

So today I decided to tackle the whole mess once and for all.  My sons helped me and together we showed that basement who was boss.  :)
A few minutes after we started working, I remembered to snap some before pictures!  I'm so glad I did because it became a motivation factor to remind the kids how fun it would be to see the amazing transformation in before and after pictures.  It's a BIG basement so there are a several pictures. 


Before
(Unfortunately this shot was a bit blurry.)

After




Before


After


Before


After

We started at 9:30am in the morning and then we took a lunch break and played a card game (Rat-a-Tat-Cat) at noon.  Then we continued our basement overhaul right after lunch so we wouldn't lose any steam.  

Here are some panorama shots! 

Before

After


The first thing we did was sort items that were alike into different piles. We had piles for arts, crafts, Christmas decor, sentimental stuff, sports equipment, and so on.  We put all the odd pieces of furniture into one corner. 

We finished at 3:30pm and we were SO glad to be done! Every single box, bag, plastic bin and basket was gone through. Now I know exactly what we have and where to find it. 


Before

After



We also ended up with a BIG pile of trash and a BIG pile of Donate/Sell items.  

My next spring cleaning project is the master bedroom closet. I have a lot of work to do in there, too, and can't wait to get that done.  It feels great to get things buttoned up and beautiful. 

When we were done, the kids and I relaxed on the couch and had chocolate cake and watched a little comedy tv. We like vintage tv shows, so we watched an episode of the Dick Van Dyke show on netflix.  Then I soaked my sore muscles in a hot bath.  Later on, my husband got home early and surprised me with beautiful red roses!   He is too sweet for words.  He went down to the basement and admired all our hard work and was so proud of us.  

Here are my beautiful flowers from my sweetie!  Such a sweet ending to a long day. :)



Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Modesty Doesn't Mean Frumpy

Women are addressed directly in God's word to dress modestly. Perhaps some women claim ignorance on this issue, but it is a fact and there is no way around it.
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with brooded hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array 
1 Tim 2:9 
While we can't expect heathen women to follow this command, women "professing godliness" certainly should.  Why then do we see so many Christian women dressing themselves and their daughters in varying degrees of immodesty?

I see a couple of problems that can hinder a woman who wishes she could dress more modestly, but thinks she just "can't".
  1. Most stores don't have modesty as a guiding design principle, so shopping in them can make one feel pidgeon-holed into the latest trends..  
  2. Most new clothes sold today have compromising necklines, blouses that cling, and 'everyday' dresses or skirts are hard to come by.
  3. Modest clothes need to be special ordered in catalogs and they tend to be more expensive. 
  4. Dressing modestly means looking dumpy and frumpy.  
The truth is that we don't have to wear jean skirts, paiseleaf frocks, turtle necks, yarn shawls and polo shirts to maintain a decent level of modesty. This look may be very comfortable, but it is not attractive to our husbands. When a man is out in the world daily fighting off temptation, do you think coming home to this look is going to ignite passion?



Losing weight is going to be the number one aid in dressing stylishly. 
This outfit only works because the woman wearing it has a nice figure. 

Add 50 pounds and it will look frumpy. :( 



Simply put, plus sized women have to work harder at dressing fashionably than their slimmer counterparts. 

Modest apparel simply means clothes that don't reveal or overly accentuate certain areas of the body - curves, cleavage, rear end or thighs. It is not only achievable, it can be done rather stylishly.

There are many ways to dress fashionably while still dressing modestly. Some women who dress frumpy may think their husbands don't care. But listen to me — they do!  I don't care how holy or out in left field you think some men are. They are men. They are visual. Wives, you WANT your man to be attracted to YOU... don't you? 'Nuff said. Get rid of the polo shirts. :)

Leggings


I've said it before and I'll say it again. 

Ladies — leggings are not pants. 


Besides the fact that leggings are totally immodest, they are also terribly unflattering. Reminds me a little bit of the story of the Emperor's New Clothes.  Females wearing leggings as pants might as well be wearing paint. Leggings cling and reveal every line, bump, sag, arch and curvature. The lighter colored ones are especially immodest not to mention extremely unattractive.


Leggings are tights, not pants. The only difference between leggings and tights is that leggings have no "feet" and sometimes the fabric is slightly thicker. Slightly.

Women who choose an undergarment to actually pass for pants have read too many fashion magazines. It's like decorating your house like you'd see in House Beautiful. It's not reality. It doesn't work and it ain't pretty.

Protect Young Girls
If you have little girls who wear dresses and skirts, remember to ALWAYS have them wear cotton shorts or leggings underneath them. It's heart wrenching to see little girls with skirts that fly up to reveal nothing but thin underpants. Not only is this an embarrassing sight, but it leaves the child vulnerable to easy access by perverts who prey on children.  Mamas, it's your job to keep your precious little girls covered up and safe! Make them wear leggings under their skirts. Always.

Skirts


Let me just say that just because a woman wears a skirt it does not automatically qualify her as more modest than her pant wearing peers. She is also not more godly, closer to God, or in any other way "better than" other women. The focus of a woman's apparel should be feminine and modest. Everything else can be worked in.  When the Bible says that men and women should not dress like the other, it doesn't say anything about a woman not wearing pants. It means that a woman should dress like a woman. Have you ever seen a woman trying to dress like a man?  It's weird and everyone knows it. Just dress feminine and modest.


The Best Length for Hems

The hem of a skirt should always fall below the knee. The reason for this is that any skirt line that comes above the knee will rise several inches up the thigh when in a sitting position.

There just is no excuse for a Christian woman to wear a skirt that shows any portion of her thighs.  This becomes especially important when she bends to reach something on the ground. Women who dress this way are either promoting themselves s*xually to every man in view, or else terribly stupid and ignorant to God's command for modesty. Women who want to show their thighs have more in mind than hot weather, fashion or fitness. They are advertising. Hate to say it, but it's true.

Christian women must take this seriously.  God made men visual. Very, very visual.  Christian women who accentuate any part of their bodies are a stumbling block to any male within view.  Such foolish defiance to the word of God is to their shame.  Don't tell me about how it's a man's responsibility to control himself. That's a given. It goes for all of us. But we do not have to make it so difficult for them.

Married women who dress provocatively are worthy of double shame and God's wrath as they also bring dishonor to their husbands for revealing or highlighting what is his alone to enjoy. 

Fashion


Color, style, femininity, flourish -- these can all still play a part in modest dress.  I marvel at some of the clever ways (some) women's clothing in centuries gone by was tailored to accentuate their curves and femininity while still not being too revealing.


Testifies of Faith 


To see how we are a living testimony of our faith just by our manner of dress and conversation, let's look at how the Bible likens modest apparel (clothing/dress) with faith and worship.



1 Tim 2:8 - I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath or doubting.
The context of this scripture is worship and Paul begins with the men. He encourages men to worship God without wrath and doubting.  The next verse's intro "In like manner also" is a springboard to address women on the same subject: worship.

How does worship and faith look for a woman? We find out:
1 Tim 2:9 - In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with brooded hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 
Isn't that an interesting contrast in worship for men and women?

Notice how the same phrasing context is used for the women? First the goal and then the antithesis.  So, where men are to pray every where, lifting holy hands (outward form of praise; bold and drawing attention) women are to dress modestly with shamefacedness and sobriety (the exact opposite of the men).  Let's recap how we are told to worship God:
The men - lifting holy hands; without wrath & doubting.  
The women - with modesty & sobriety; without costly array.

Isn't it interesting how these passages mirror one another and draw stark differences between the way males and females express worship to God?

Then the comes the caveat.


1 Tim 2:10 -  But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. 

Paul sews up his instructions by pointing out that a woman's godliness is shown or denied by her good works. It's interesting how the very next verse practically shuts the mouth of the rebellious women before they can open it to object!  :-)
Timothy 2:11 - Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.  
I love God's sense of humor. :)

So we see that the apparel that we choose to put on our bodies, the expression we choose to wear on our faces, the words we choose to speak (and sometimes more importantly, the words we refrain from speaking!) and the work we choose to occupy our time with are all forms of worship.

Let's consider these things whenever we are choosing an outfit for ourselves or our children and especially when shopping for something new.

Some questions to ask ourselves as we dress and shop:
  • Is this something that will draw attention to my face...or a certain part of my body?  
  • Does this skirt reveal more than half of my legs? 
  • Will my cleavage be a focal point with this blouse?
  • Will my rear end be a focal point with these pants?
  • Will other men (or boys) find this outfit s*xy? 
If the answer is yes to any of the above, who is it that you are trying to please? Because you can be sure that it isn't God.  And if it is your husband, wear them for him alone in the privacy of your home and when the children are in bed.

Some wardrobe modifications we can make:
  • long sweaters that cover the rear area of pants whenever possible.
  • scarf to cover the top of a blouse 
  • pretty lace covers that attach to low cut shirts to make them more modest
  • camisoles beneath any shirt to decrease the transparency
  • Wear colored tights and/or tall leather boots with skirts
These are just a few of the ways that we can add pizazz and style to our outfits and still dress modestly.  What are some ways that you adjust your wardrobe to make it more modest?