the danger within

>> June 30, 2010

I’ve been reading a thread on one of my homeschool forums about googling people, and how easy it is to find out all about someone. Cyber stalkers are real and prevelant today, and the internet makes it easy for real stalkers to locate just about anyone. I love Facebook, and being able to keep in touch with old friends; but I’ve heard how employers and potential employers are using it against people. I even heard a story about a woman’s insurance claim being denied because of photos she had posted on her FB site. I also have a friend whose husband reconnected with an old girlfriend via Facebook, and now he has left his wife and their children for this old flame.

The world is so much smaller now than it used to be. And that’s a good thing. Technology allows us to spread the gospel in new and different ways, and to reach people that could never be reached before. Does your church have an active website? It should—not only for the benefit of communicating with your own church members—but for communicating your church and its mission to the world.

However, technology can be a powerful weapon in the hands of Satan. As with every good thing in this sinful world, it has it drawbacks. We must guard ourselves and our families from its dangers. We don’t often think about the dangers and perils that are lurking within our own living rooms. We use BSAFE in our home as a internet filter to protect ALL of us from dangerous websites. Internet pornography use and addiction is rampant, ESPECIALLY among pastors! Ladies, talk to your husbands today about it, and continue to pray for them daily to withstand these evil temptations. Discuss and pray together also, about how you can guard your children, and teach them how to protect themselves.

What are some measures that you have taken to protect yourself and your family from the dangers of internet?

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
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complete him challenge - post #3

>> June 29, 2010

Don't forget to ask your husband every morning how you can pray for him that day.
Bonus: Fast and pray for him one day this week.

Leave a comment to let us know how it's going!

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
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what's in your bedroom?

>> June 28, 2010

Uh huh... we're going there ladies!

I have felt convicted over the last few weeks about my bedroom, my safe place, my adult space. Somehow it always gets my attention LAST. It's the catch-all. It's out of sight, out of mind. I take everything there: the laundry, the miscellaneous  papers...

One morning I woke up and realized that this place - where I'm supposed to feel safe and wake up feeling rejuvenated -  was stressing me out.

I have to share my bedroom with my office/business. I design jewelry, and also sell Scentsy and run a lot of the church administrative roles. A lot of times this alone makes my bedroom look like a bomb went off.

When I have to share this space with so many things it's kinda overwhelming to keep up. Did I mention that our master bathroom has the laundry room in it ? You can imagine why the laundry never makes it past my door.

So I've been feeling convicted about this space, this sanctuary. Instead of going to bed feeling accomplished I've been drained and exhausted looking at all the things that still needed to be done, my mind racing. Then I wake up and become instantly overwhelmed. (Now please hear me, it's not dirty! It's just cluttered!) My housework was robbing me of my peace as soon as I laid down and as soon as I arose.

I know my husband must feel the same way. So I began the day and gutted everything! Cleaned house and it took a long time. Mind you, I have 3 children younger than 7 under my feet, but it feels so awesome! I gave myself permission to let everything else go and focus on the place that I need and needs me.

See, if I go to sleep anxious, with my mind spinning, I am not going to feel like loving on my preacher dude, and I definitely won't get a peaceful night's sleep. I will arise to chaos and will not be called blessed!

I want my marriage and my bedroom to feel blessed and peaceful, don't you ? A sacred place. After all that is what our marriage is. I want my room to be a reflection of my love for my husband and not a cluttered afterthought. I want him to come in and feel relaxed.

I have to ask, "Am I the only one out there who has made my bedroom the last priority? Who wants to join with me in making it a priority to put our marriages first by keeping a clean, peaceful bedroom?

Have you got any tips to keeping it up or staying organized? I would love to hear them!

What ways do you make your bedroom a sanctuary ?

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
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complete him challenge - post #2

>> June 25, 2010


Like many other good old-fashioned pastoral couples, we got married the same week we graduated from college. Talk about pressure...

We'd dated 11 months, been engaged for 3, and knew unequivocally that God had brought us together for the purpose of marriage and ministry. He had made it unavoidably clear, after we had each been on a no-dating vow for the past 2.5 years.

So when we set our wedding date, we decided to take advantage of both families coming into town for our graduation ceremonies, and get married too - on a Tuesday night, in a prayer garden on our college campus.

The whole weekend it poured rain. Not nice little sprinkles. Buckets. Cats and dogs. Tropical-style. We had planned our wedding on a $1500 budget (including the dress and refreshments), and we spent a lot of time praying that the rain would go away in time for our outdoor ceremony. There was no budget for a Plan B!

Monday, the day of the rehearsal, dawned crisp and clear. Tuesday, the rain held again. The weekend's monsoon (in southern Tennessee) had made the entire garden a rainbow of brilliant, vibrant shades of green. More than 180 guests joined us, my sister sang a beautiful song, I cried straight through my vows and was thankful when the officiant magically produced a copy for me to read from his Bible. We were pronounced "husband and wife and you may now kiss the bride."

Other friends took 14 rolls of photographs, hoping we'd have enough to get a few good ones. (Nothing like the 3500 digital frames I shot in one day as a wedding photographer a few weeks ago!)

We left for a relaxing beach honeymoon in Florida, and it rained for the next 10 days, until we returned to pack up our furniture and move several states north to attend Seminary.

It was simple, elegant, inexpensive, and pretty much nothing like most of the weddings I've been to before or since. We owned one car, given to us for free, and the combined contents of his dorm room and mine, with a couple pieces of furniture that someone else had been throwing away and gave to us instead.

Life was less complicated, although we didn't realize it. Sweet, trusting in God to provide the next thing, and most of all - absolutely certain that we belonged together. And that part hasn't changed!

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
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a tube of blue toothpaste

>> June 23, 2010

I remember it clearly, even though it was probably 25 years ago. The pastor held a tube of toothpaste up in the air, and then proceeded to squeeze out its contents (he did hold a plate underneath to catch it falling). The blue paste squirted and spun like a snake coiling and striking the air. Once the tube was empty, he asked the children if anyone could put the paste back into the tube. Of course they couldn’t, despite several trying, and making a royal mess. The pastor then told the children how this toothpaste was just like words. Once they are out of our mouths, we cannot put them back, no matter how hard we try, and how much of a mess we make. This was such a vivid image of the effect our words can have.

I was reminded of that image this morning during my Bible reading. Psalm 141:3 says, “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord: keep watch over the door of my lips.” David wrote these words as a prayer to God, asking for His power to control what he says. David was a king, a shepherd, a friend, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, and a warrior. All of these titles involved relationships with people (well, not the shepherd), and we often use words to communicate within our relationships. The words we say can have either a positive or negative effect on people. Praise the Lord for all the words we say to people that have positive effects! But those that we say that are negative, and/or have a negative effect, will have lasting impacts.

Sisters in ministry, we need to be all the more careful with our words! Despite the fact that we are just normal—aka sinful--human beings, who are tempted in all ways, our words should be even more measured and guarded. Our church members put more weight upon our words, whether good or bad. Criticism, gossip, and harsh words are like the poison of vipers on our lips (Rom. 3:13). Whoever made up the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” had no idea what they were talking about. Our words can hurt far more than any stone throwing. If there is any chance that what you say can be misunderstood, it probably will be. And don’t ever think that the words you say “in confidence” won’t make it back to the person they will hurt the most. Call it an occupational hazard, but the secrets of or told by a pastor’s wife will rarely remain a secret for long.

Let us also not forget the words we say to or in the hearing of our husband and children.

We should pray daily and continuously, just as David did, for God to guard our mouths and lips. We want our words to be uplifting and encouraging. We want our words to point to THE Word.

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
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complete him challenge - post #1

>> June 22, 2010


When Mr Handsome and I started dating, we took a lot of walks together. On these walks we talked.

A lot.

We talked about life. About our childhoods and families. We talked about values, dreams, hopes. We shared our individual visions for future ministry. We compared notes on classes and philosophies and observations. Some conversations were trivial, full of laughter. Others were deep and intense - where we learned that we occasionally disagreed on things, but we could still love and appreciate each other.

>>>>>>>>>>(This is us, when we'd been dating about a month, more photos in later posts.)

We belonged to that rare breed of dating college couple who chose not to engage in physical affection until we knew that God intended us to marry - our first kiss came 8 months after we started dating! And we saved the rest for marriage. So conversation was where we put our interactive energy.

As a result, by the time we got to the altar - we knew each other WELL.

These days, we don't talk as much, and I miss it. Of course part of that is because, after 7 years of marriage, there isn't quite as much to explore in each other that we don't already know. We move in synchronization more often than not, instinctively knowing what the other one thinks most of the time. But I still miss that constant give and take of discussion.

What do YOU miss from your dating days with your personal pastor?

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
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letting go of dreams...

>> June 21, 2010

Tears squished their way out of my eyes as I tried to hang out the clothes on the portable drying rack. I stifled my sobs with the damp clothing. The cold felt good on my hot face. My heart ached.

“What am I doing here in Africa?” I asked myself.
My husband and I had just finished watching Man from Snowy River. Now I know this is an old movie, I first saw it probably 18 years ago or more. But as I watched it, memories came flooding back. Memories of days spent grooming my horse, riding, shoveling poop, or just hugging my horse and taking in his smell.

My brother first introduced me to the love of horses. He taught me to ride, and he first recommended the movie. There had been a whole section of my life when I lived and breathed horses. It can't be put into words what happens to the soul when you mount your horse and take off wherever the road leads.
I'd been wanting a horse of my own ever since my brother got one. The day my dad finally brought home my horse is forever burned into my memory. It was a foggy day in Arizona. I was on the phone when I heard him drive up with the trailer. We lived on a section of property that was full of citrus trees. With the trees, the green grass, and the fog -- the setting was perfect. I watched through our large living room windows as my dad led a prancing silver Arabian through the yard. 

My heart was gone.

He was the perfect combination of wild and submissive. A horse who might rear with you on him because he didn’t want to obey, and yet when given the final word would follow commands precisely. Day in and day out brought us to a place where I could ride him bareback without a bridle, and he would obey my body language. 


His speed surpassed any of my friends’ horses or our later ones. When I let him out to almost full gait it was a speed that brought tears to my squinted eyes and amazed fear to my heart. I can’t say I ever let him go as fast as he could when I was on him.

My dream was to be a veterinarian and have a horse ranch that doubled as a refuge for troubled boys. Later when one of my good friends convinced me to aim for medicine, I planned to do rural medicine, own a ranch and continue with those early plans.

Yet here I am, neither a veterinarian nor a doctor, living in Africa married to a man who knows little about horses. What happened to those dreams? 

I think of my closest equine-loving cohorts, my two cousins and one of my best friends. They all are still involved with horses to some degree, much more than I. While my parents still keep my horse and my dad faithfully cares for him every day, I have no more connection with horses except my annual visit home when I take over the care of this old friend of mine, who can’t even hear my whistle anymore.

What happened to me?

Done with hanging the wet clothes, I prepared for my shower and the tears kept flowing.

I don’t feel bitter, just lost. The hot water flowed over me as I thought of my crazy struggles over the last 15 years. What would life have been like if I had stuck to my passions of horses and piano? Maybe it would have been easier? Maybe I wouldn’t feel so worn out, with nothing to offer this suffering world of need around me?

“Why God?” I ask.

Then I start thinking of Bible heroes. Was Moses passionate about leading his people out of Egypt and to the promised land? Joseph probably was not passionate about being a slave and in prison for almost 13 years before called to fulfill his own advice to the Pharaoh! Was Abraham passionate about being a nomad? Was peaceful, sheep-watching David passionate about being a military man? Was Daniel passionate about being a prisoner of war and studying pagan wisdom?

I kept thinking. I highly doubt any of these people dreamed up this kind of life for themselves. Yet they were passionate about obeying God and humbly trusting Him to the fullest. In fact, it isn’t until the New Testament that I find the Bible heroes choosing their lot in life due to a passion, which was born of an encounter with Jesus.

“Okay, I’m starting to get it!” I think. “When we ask God to lead us, and we have an encounter with Him, there has to be a death of our dreams when they are not born out of a passion for obedience and surrender.”

For some, this happens easily, early on and almost instinctively. Others plow through life trying to make it go our way, a way that can be perfectly justified for good or God’s glory. Yet, that is the problem. We try to steer the plow instead of just being the plow, guided by God.

By now I finished my shower and realized that I have to write this down. As I wait for the computer (we have one that we share), I pick up the Bible and read Isaiah 55.

“‘Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat...Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live...Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near… For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways., and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth and make it bring forth and shall My word be that goes froth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please. And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it…’” (emphasis mine)

So, my prayer and heart song continues to be:
Give me ears to hear Your Spirit
Give me feet to follow through
Give me hands to touch the hurting
And the faith to follow You

Give me grace to be a servant
Give me mercy for the lost
Give me passion for Your glory
Give me passion for the cross

And I will go where there are no easy roads
Leave the comforts that I know
I will go and let this journey be my home
I will go
I will go

I'll let go of my ambition
Cut the roots that run too deep
I will learn to give away
What I cannot really keep
What I cannot really keep

Help me see with eyes of faith
Give me strength to run this race

I will go Lord where Your glory is unknown
I will live for You alone
I will go because my life is not my own
I will go
I will go
I will go

Words and music by Steve Green and Douglas McKelvey © 2002.
© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
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summer reading list...

>> June 17, 2010

If your house is anything like ours, every spring we think that when summer comes things will slow down. And then every summer zooms by faster than ever.

And still, every summer I try to get in a few extra books on my reading list. This year I've gotten in and the Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers (a great book for PW's), The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and Game Change by John Heilemann & Mark Halperin.

Next, Parents in Ministry: Training Up a Child while Answering the Call by Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Armour Patterson, and Logo Design Love: a guide to creating iconic brand identities by David Airey.

What's on your summer reading list? Best book so far? Best lesson learned? Best life/ministry application?

Share yours!
© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
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Fathers' Day

>> June 16, 2010

This Sunday is Father’s Day. I thought in this post that I would just focus a little on my own father, as well as the father of my children—and in so doing, I am honoring my Heavenly Father as well. Unfortunately, this Father’s Day falls on a day when I have to pick up one child from camp, drop another one off, and attend an out-of-town wedding shower for a cousin. At least both my husband and my father will be doing these things with me, so we will be together. But I wish I could just stop all the busyness for one day and truly spend it honoring them.

I am so blessed to have been raised by a loving father. He was unconditional in his love, and expressed it freely. My sisters and I all claim to be “daddy’s girls.” He was not the primary disciplinarian; but when he would simply scold us, we would stop immediately whatever we were doing and just cry . Even now as an adult, when my father is upset with me, it breaks my heart. I can’t stand to think that I have disappointed him, and I want to do whatever it takes to make it right. I love my Daddy, and I always wanted a little girl so that my husband could have that relationship with a daughter. I couldn’t have asked for a better father.

But alas, my husband and I have no girl. We have three boys, and honestly, I don’t know how my husband would have dealt with a girl. He is so much a boy himself. He is playful, and mischievous, and full of life. He jokes with the boys, but he also is very serious with them when it comes to serious matters. He is truly a priest of the home, and is intentional and diligent in raising our boys to be godly men. I couldn’t have asked for a better father for my children.

I praise the Lord for the men in my life. Through these men I have come to know aspects of my Heavenly Father’s character. He put these men in my life, with the intention of raising me and growing me to be a godly woman—one who will serve Him in the ministry, in the marriage, and in the home. I truly couldn’t have asked for a better Father!

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
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positive discipline 4

>> June 9, 2010

This is our last post on the topic of positive discipline. I hope it has been a valuable series. I know when I conducted a series of family life presentations at our church, this was most everyone’s favorite topic. Not because it is so exciting or uplifting, but because it was so relevant.

We’ve already discussed how positive discipline should be prayerful, proactive, consistent, swift, firm, honest, and clear. The final three aspects of positive discipline are being appropriate, fair and level-headed. These are very important keys to making discipline positive, and thereby helping to grow your child into a disciple of Christ.

Appropriate discipline basically means that the punishment should fit the crime. The more relevant a recourse is, the more learning can take place. The level of discipline should fit the level of the misbehavior. And whenever possible, we should utilize the natural consequence, making it all the more meaningful. In Exodus 21:24, God instructed Moses to make discipline appropriate when He said, “But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, and for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” This was in response to the Isrealites doling out extreme punishment for not-so-extreme behavior. God wants us to make sure that we don’t go overboard—or underboard--on our discipline either. It should also be age-appropriate; a teenager needs a different approach than a toddler. Appropriate discipline is positive discipline, and therefore teaching discipline.

Next, it should be fair. This also goes back to being consistent and appropriate. Kids have a keen sense of fairness, and will accuse us countless times of being “unfair”. I like to come back with the statement, “Life isn’t fair when you compare.” There is a difference between being the same and being fair. In order to be fair, we need to consider our children, their personalities, and their needs. But we also need to listen to them, their reason for doing something and perhaps the context of the situation.

Finally, positive discipline should be level-headed. This is perhaps the most difficult to maintain. All too often, our discipline is just an emotional response to something that has happened. We need to maintain a level head, free from emotionalism. We shouldn’t yell, or get all flustered, as hard as that may be. When we respond emotionally, we are allowing our children to see that they can push our buttons and control our emotions. Don’t we want to teach our kids to be in control of their own emotions, and to not let others do it for them?

With that said, we should express our emotions constructively. We want them to know that what they do and say has effects on others. But we should do it in the form of I statements. We can say to our children, “I felt hurt and disrespected when you yelled at me.” Etc. You can fill in the blanks with whatever is appropriate. The formula is this: I feel/felt ______________ (attach an emotion) when you _____________________ (attach an action). This is a powerful tool in communication as well, but it takes practice to become fluent.

Additionally, being level-headed means that we do NOT engage in arguments with our children. I have a phrase that I use whenever my kids (or my former students) try to argue with me. I simply say, “Well that may be, but ….” You can use a different one, such as “I understand, but…” or “That may be true, but…” For example, my children are fighting. I address the situation and say that they shouldn’t be yelling and pushing each other. One will know no doubt say, “But he started it!” I will answer with, “Well, that may be, but we should not yell or hit each other.” Then the other child will say, “But he broke my Lego creation!” I again will answer with, “Well, that may be, but we should not yell or hit each other.” Once we have done that a few times, the kids will be calmed down enough to actually listen to reason. But if we engage in the argument with them, we will never get them to that point.

There is so much more to disciplining our children, and there’s no way for us to cover it all. The above principles will simply help us to be more effective in discipline. However, I must say that it is not natural to do things this way. We must practice, and be intentional and prayerful with it. God will help us as we go along. I have been using these principles and techniques for 11 ½ years now, and I still have to work at it. But it is so worth the effort. My children are no angels, but at least I can deal with them without going completely insane! God has blessed our efforts, and He will bless your efforts as well as you seek to raise your children to be more like Him.

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
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book review::and the shofar blew

>> June 8, 2010

Francine Rivers is one of my favorite Christian authors.

She seems to have a knack for taking tough subjects and making them approachable through fiction. As a teenager I was sucked into her "Mark of the Lion" series. In college I appreciated her portrayal of God's relentless love for us as she retold the story of Hosea and Gomer in "Redeeming Love".

Several years ago I bought "and the Shofar Blew" at my local bookstore. I read it, liked it, didn't think much about it.

Last week I was browsing our newly unpacked bookshelves and picked it up again. Read it cover to cover in two days.

This time I could relate to the book in a whole different way. Being a PW for the last 7 years gave me appreciation for her description of the battles raging over the hearts and wills of young pastors.

Rivers skillfully exposes the potential for arrogance and self-centeredness in successful young pastors. She showcases the dangers of upside down priorities to the young pastor's marriage and family. And she deftly illustrates just how easily "church" can become infected with an egocentric country club mentality, how gospel can be replaced by greed, how preaching can become prattling - without us ever being able to pinpoint the actual shift.

I felt so powerfully moved by this book that I urged my PH to read it too. He's working through it in the rare bits of spare time he has... But already the story has sparked great conversations between us about how we can prayerfully safeguard our own ministry journey from these pitfalls.

I don't know if Rivers wrote the book for a pastoral-family audience, or if she meant it for a broader Christian readership. I'm sure both categories could find something to apply to their own roles. But as a pastor's wife I found it especially timely and practical.

If you've never read this book, I totally recommend putting it on your summer book list. And if you have read it, I'd love to start a discussion on what you learned from the story in the comments below.

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
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"complete him" challenge...

>> June 7, 2010

So girls, I came across this challenge and decided that I'm doing it! Want to join me in making our husbands feel loved and amazing this summer?

There's a challenge for each week from June 7th to August 9th. Watch the video below, and if you decide to join, you can link up on Courtney's page and post the Challenge button on your own blog.

Leave a comment if you're going to join! 

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
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HOW TO::make your own soap

When I got the idea, Craig (my PH) made me promise that we wouldn’t smell like “dirty hippies.”  

My mom, who was a hippie (and still is for all intents and purposes) would often say, “I was a hippie, but I was never a dirty hippie.”  So maybe it’s a misnomer all together. 

At any rate, Craig was concerned.  I figured, The stuff costs two dollars, so if I have to dump it, who cares?
So what's this stuff that caused such a stir over cleanliness in our home?  

Jenah’s Home Made Laundry Soap. 

I shamelessly take credit for this whole notion, but in reality, I first heard about making your own laundry soap not from a hippie, but none other than the Duggars.  Yup, you heard me right.  Nineteen kids and counting.  Something about this family intrigues me.  

And when they talked about making their own laundry soap to save money, I thought, Interesting… why can’t I do that?   I balked at doing it for a long time because it just seemed, well, a little too “out there” for me.  And maybe just a little too much work.  There was no way that a homemade anything could work better than something that I could purchase at Target, right?
Somewhere along the line we have been fed the lie that there is no way homemade anything can be better and we've decided to believe it.  But the truth of the matter is: this stuff is great. 

I really had nothing to lose (well besides the $2 anyway) so I gave it a try.   I hunted down all the things I needed: Borax, (easy)  Fels-Naptha bar, (easy if you know where to look) and washing soda (a little trickier.)  I gathered my supplies along with a five-gallon pail (with a top) from Menards, and went for it. 

I was a little uncertain, but decidedly hopeful.  Could this really work? 

I followed the directions.  But once I was done it was just sort of, well, runny.  All Free and Clear is so… honey-like.  I prepared myself for the “it was too good to be true moment,” but instead I was pleasantly surprised.
The only thing that mattered was that our clothes smelled nice and that they were clean.  Check and check. 

Some “money saving” ideas I have tried are at best passable. 
Other things are doable. 
Some are ok, but for the money I save I can put up with it. 
But the thing with laundry soap is -- I would never buy commercially made detergent again.  Ever.  This stuff is awesome.  And $2 for TEN GALLONS?!  Bring it on.  I will take the 25 minutes to make it.  And I will take the time to hunt down washing soda.  It is so worth it.
I even gave this away for gifts at Christmas last year.  And you’ll never guess what I got in return.  Empty laundry soap bottles with a pleading, "Can I have some more, please?"           

Ok, so how do you make this stuff?  Well, gather your supplies, and I’ll show you how. (Tips on finding the ingredients are at the end of the blog.)
Jenah’s HomeMade Laundry Soap
Fels-Naptha bar
washing soda
five-gallon pail (with a top)

Step one:
Grate the Fels-Naptha bar (I like to use my food processor.)  In a saucepan, heat 4 cups of water and the grated soap till the soap dissolves.  Stir it around a little.

Step two:
Fill your five-gallon bucket halfway with hot water.  Mix in 1 cup of washing soda, ½ cup borax and the melted Fels-Naptha mixture.  Stir it around.  Fill to the top of the five-gallon pail with more hot water, then let it sit overnight to gel.

Step three:
The next day, mix your soap in the five-gallon pail (My friend Raychel’s husband Seth mixes hers for her with a joint-compound mixer.  Craig never seems to be around when I need his mixing abilities, so I find a large stick or use a giant ladle.)  Fill your laundry soap bottle/container half full with the soap, then fill the rest of the way with water.   (Remember, when you make this, the soap in your five-gallon pail is DOUBLE STRENGTH, so don’t forget to dilute it every time you fill up your laundry soap container!) 

Step four:
Wash your clothes!  For a top loader, use 5/8 cup.  For a front loader, use ¼ cup.  Someone asked me if this works with all water temperatures.  The answer is, YUP!

Ten gallons of laundry soap.   For all of you “math challenged” out there like me, that’s a whopping 180 loads in a top loader and an unbelievable 640 loads in a front loader. (Real loads, not just the make believe kind conventional detergents claim on their bottles.)

Enjoy Your Fresh Clothes!

Scrounging Tips:
Fels-Naptha: On the bottom shelf of the laundry aisle.  Almost every larger grocery store has them, although, I have NOT found them at Target.  It is a small bar, like the size of a regular bar of soap, but the smell is strong.  Your nose will lead you to it.

Borax: If you can't find this, there is something seriously wrong with you.  Just kidding.  This I HAVE seen at our Target, so therefore you should be able to find it ANYWHERE, maybe even at the Kwik-Trip.  Found in the laundry aisle.

Washing Soda: Not to be confused with BAKING soda.  Baking soda and washing soda have COMPLETELY DIFFERENT chemical make-ups.  This comes in a box, about the size of a small box of cereal.  They do carry this at our large grocery store here in town in the laundry aisle.  However, if yours does not, talk to a manager and they should be able to get it for you.  If you can't get it where you live, try a bigger town, Or the internet.  (The shipping can be expensive, though.)  Once you get your hands on it, it will last you a LONG time. 

Five Gallon Pails: Hardware store or large lumber land such as Menard's or Lowe's.   
© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.



>> June 5, 2010

Girls, I owe you an apology.

This week has been scant on posts, and it's my fault. We were visiting the grandparents in another state for Memorial Day, and the week has been crazy.

A few days ago, my 7-month old son reached up to pat daddy's face and accidentally gouged out a chunk of daddy's cornea instead.

That required a trip to the doctor, a round of antibiotics, and a pirate-worthy eyepatch! It also meant that I needed to do all the family driving for a bit.

And blogging dropped to the bottom of my priority list.

We'll get back on track next week. Thanks for your patience in the meantime!!

© Sarah K. Asaftei, 2009 unless otherwise sourced. Use allowed by express written permission only.

(Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone.)


positive discipline - part 3

>> June 2, 2010

Let’s continue our discussion on positive discipline. First of all, let me reply to a comment that was made about how discipline shouldn’t always be pleasant. By positive, I don't mean pleasant. I mean the results are positive, as opposed to negative and destructive. There's a difference between punishment and discipline. Discipline will always result in positive, whereas punishment will be negative. Discipline is making disciples out of our children--instilling the character of Christ, while punishment is simply acting upon our children because we don't like what they did.

Now, to continue, positive discipline should be honest and clear. To be honest, we need to stear clear of sarcasm and generalizations—a general rule in communication, BTW—and honestly communicate our feelings about the misbehavior. Last night, my son did something that I thought was rude and disrespectful. So I told him, “I felt disrespected when you did that.” I was honest about my feelings, which helped him to realize that his actions had an effect on someone else, namely me. Additionally, I focused on how I felt, rather than accusing him of deliberately acting that way. It prevented him from getting defensive, and all he could do was apologize and think about what he had done to hurt me.

Secondly, being honest means that we don’t threaten something that we know good and well we can’t or won’t follow through with. We should never threaten that we will leave our child somewhere if they don’t come right now. We, of course, won’t leave them there, and we really don’t want them to think that we will. Instead, we should focus on what we can control. For instance, (depending on the circumstances, of course) say your child doesn’t want to leave the toy aisle of the store; you could say instead, “I am leaving here in 1 minute. [Give them a warning, or count down; it helps to be proactive, remember?] Now you can come riding in the cart, or you can come walking.” (Or holding my hand, or holding the new toy, or without the new toy, etc.). We should always be honest in our discipline, because we want to not only discipline our children for Christ, but to teach them to be honest too.

Next, positive discipline should be clear. We can be proactive by clearing explaining our expectations and boundaries before hand. Many times it isn’t misbehavior as much as it is not knowing what their parents actually want. And when a child does misbehave and is in need of discipline, focus on the action rather than the child. We want to be clear in what the misbehavior was. For example, rather than saying “You were selfish and rude to your brother,” we could say, “Taking that toy away from him was rude, and we don’t want to be rude in our family. We want to share and be kind.” Then follow it up with a choice, such as, “Now do you want to give it back to him, or should I?” You clearly stated what was wrong with what he did, clearly how you wanted him to act, and clearly what you want him to do next. The clearer we are, and the more “thinking” words we use—words that make our child think rather than get defensive or want to fight—the more discipline is taking place. Because then the child is having to think about their actions, and how they should have handled it, and will handle it next time.

Next week, we will discuss how positive discipline should be fair, appropriate and level-headed. Again, feel free to comment on this post or my previous ones on positive discipline.

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.

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