Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring Cleaning....In More Ways Than One

Spring cleaning has commenced! Hubby and I have been busy emptying out closets, hauling off old books and tossing out bits of this and that. We still have more to do but it sure does feel good to see the bags flow out the door.

I thought today how much this is like my spiritual life. Satan attacks my mind, heart and soul. It doesn't happen all at once. Instead he creeps in here and there and before long, my life is cluttered with doubt, discouragement and resentment. It takes a determined effort to clear all of that out and to recommit to keeping my eyes on Jesus.

My effort in cleaning out my house is to keep my load lighter for the future plans that God has in mind for me. Likewise, keeping the cobwebs out of my spiritual life lightens the load I carry in my heart and allows me be filled with the mind and heart of Christ.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith....
~Hebrews 12: 2

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Updates On The Homemaking Binder

Warm and sunny weather abounds here in North Carolina and I'm really itching to get outside and plant something. But we have been warned that its still too early for that and so I am trying to remain busy inside the home (for the most part, anyway). I have been working on my English Paper Piecing project and hope to show my progress soon!

I have also been continuing to organize my homemaking binder and thought I would share some things I have found to help me. One of the biggest helps has been visiting , where I found some wonderful printable pages to add to the binder. Organized Home has pretty much has thought of everything there, including the "Weekly Planner," "Weekly Menu Planner," and the "Master To-Do List." Also, check them out on Facebook!

I then searched the web and found some very nice pages to keep for a "Prayer Journal." Keeping prayer requests in writing helps me remember needs and also helps me keep track of God's faithful promise to hear our prayers. My prayer pages even offer a section for recording how God answered each request.

Also in my Faith section is my "Prayer Wheel." The Prayer Wheel shows you in 12 easy steps how to spend 1 hour in prayer. Each step is broken down in 5 minute segments and each prayer begins with 5 minutes of praise and ends with 5 minutes of praise. Other portions include Confession, Reading God's Word, Petitioning and Listening. To the left of the wheel is a guide to help you better understand how each of the twelve steps can be fulfilled and its complete with Scriptural references. Since I rarely have 1 entire hour at a time to devote to prayer, I simplify this wheel by breaking it down into smaller time periods. If I devote 1 minute to each section, that is a 12-minute prayer time. If I devote 2 minutes, that is a 24-minute prayer time, etc. This is especially helpful for someone (and we've all been there) who feels like they are in a rut with their prayer life. Focusing on each portion of the Prayer Wheel helps my prayers to be more defined and structured. Without the wheel, I would rarely take time to wait, meditate, sing or listen.

There is one last thing that I have found to be very helpful in my binder. I was mailed a free sample of Post-It Pocket Tabs. I had almost forgotten about them but finding them made me jump for joy. The clear pockets adhere to the front of each section and have a tab that sticks out to label each compartment of my binder. In front of the Home Planning section, I positioned the Pocket Tab and placed our insurance cards inside the pocket. The photo above shows how I placed some coupons in one of the pockets until I could file them away in my Couponizer. Those Pocket Tabs are wonderful tools!

I would love to hear from you. What projects do you have in the works?

I will praise you, O LORD my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
~Psalm 86: 12

Thursday, March 15, 2012

CAUTION: Projects In Progress!!

Have you ever had "one of those weeks?" For some reason, it's been like that for me. Even so, I have tried to make time to work on things that must be done...and add in some fun stuff too. I spent the first part of the week doing some volunteering at church and then working on my homemaking binder. The binder is not completed yet but I only have a few more things I need to add. The categories I have in the binder include:
1. Home Planning (calendars, insurance cards, important numbers and dates)

2. Financial Records (budget and upcoming needs, contribution records)

3. Menu Planning (menu calendar for each week, inventory records of my freezer, pantry and larder, as well as shopping list and coupon planning. Favorite recipes/recipes to try)

4. Faith Accountability (my Bible reading schedule, my prayer wheel, my prayer list, missions projects, visitation records, Bible studies and favorite Christian music)

5. Crafts, Hobbies, Gardening and Reading/Book list (projects completed, projects in progress and projects I would like to attempt, DMC floss color chart and checkoff plans and recipes, herbs and their usages, "Books I've Read" list and "Books to Read" list)

A new craft I want to attempt is English Paper-Piecing. My blog friend Sarah-Anne has inspired me by posting a wonderful tutorial on her blog:

I think you will enjoy reading about Sarah-Anne while you are there and that you will be blessed by her, as I have been. Hubby was very kind today and took me to pick out some rather inexpensive fabric to get me started with my plans. Now I am ready to start cutting out my templates!

This evening, after fabric shopping and grocery shopping, I came home and whipped up 3 more batches of homemade detergent. My kitchen smells wonderfully fresh!

I am so thankful that God gives us strength for each new day. Even when things are hard, and relationships are tense, and nothing seems to be falling into place, the Lord is firmly in control...and I should remind myself to simply rest in His promises.

But now, this is what the LORD says......"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned....
For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel.....Your Savior."
~Isaiah 43: 1-3

Monday, March 12, 2012

How Do You Read The Bible?

I am curious to know how other women read the Bible? Do you use study materials? Do you follow a set pattern...or just read wherever you land? I hope a couple of you dear ladies will respond below and let me know how you read and study God's Word?

I have read the Bible through using a guidebook a couple times. I have also used workbooks and sunday school materials to direct me in my readings. I have found that mixing it up works best for me. One year, I will use devotional books and then the next I will use a day-to-day guide to allow me to read the entire Bible in a year (or about a year, more or less).

This year, I am once again using a pamphlet called, "Through the Bible In a Year." I am trying to focus more on reading and understanding rather than reading at a set pace. Because of that, I am about a month behind schedule....but that's ok. I am truly enjoying the process and all that God is teaching me and showing me.

~Abram believed in the LORD and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Genesis 15: 6

Friday, March 9, 2012

Homemaking Organizer

One new project I feel led to start is a "Homemaking Organizer." I definitely need to get a better plan to combine all of my homemaking needs and goals in one central system. I have watched several videos of women creating household organizing systems and each one is somewhat different, based on the needs of the individual creating it.

I decided my "Homemaking Organizer" would be a binder, with several pockets and dividers. I felt I would need several categories, such as Bills and Household Paper Work (most of my bills are online now...but this would still help centralize my budgeting needs each month), Menu Planner and Favorite Go-T0 Recipes (for quick meals), Important Numbers and Appointments, Shopping and Coupon Lists, and Prayer List/Bible Reading Chart. I could also use a couple pockets for medical receipts, household receipts, etc.

Today, after hubby made a couple hospital visits, I realized that we were near Ollie's. I love that store! The theme is, "Good Stuff Cheap!" I especially enjoy looking through the books. They have such a large selection that is continually changing. I always find good deals on children's books, Amish fiction, Christian non-fiction, and other books. I also love looking at their craft and scrapbooking aisle.

So hubby took me to Ollie's and while searching there I found the neatest notebook organizer! There was only one problem: it was for parents to use for their babies. But the binder was very cute..and full of goodies inside. I really thought, with a few alterations, I could make this organizing binder work for me. The front simply said, "A to Z Organizer," and the binder had plastic pages, pocket dividers, a tear-off week-by-week calendar (perfect for menu planning), and decorated notebook pages. The theme throughout was animals....very cute indeed! The price for all was just $9.99, so it was a great deal. I decided to purchase it and adapt it...I will call it a "re-creation project!"

I also purchased a large Debbie Mumm Deluxe Scrapbooking Set...4 kits in one, entitled "Four Seasons." There were puff stickers, regular stickers, sparkle sticker and 3-dimensional stickers...along with tons of beautiful scrapbook pages. The price for this book was only $6.99. The colors go along perfectly with the binder. By combining these two together, I think I can create a really lovely and purposeful Household Organizer that I can use for years to come.

I will keep you updated on my progress....

Teach me to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom.
~Psalm 90: 12

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Remembering A Friend....

Word came yesterday that a dear friend had died suddenly due to an asthma attack. Tears flowed as I realized that life is brief...but beautiful.

Robert L. Williams was a brilliant author, professor and publisher. Mostly, he was our friend. My husband and I met him almost ten years ago and he enchanted us with his wit and joy for living. He, with his lovely wife Elizabeth, encouraged us on our way, as my husband set about to complete his first book for publication. Through the years, we shared many hours of stories and laughter with them.

The following is a link that will give you just a glimpse of Robert L Williams, as he and Elizabeth, along with their son, Robert III, rebuilt- by hand - their home after the previous one was destroyed by a tornado. I hope that you will take just a moment to look at the article, which is complete with photos.

While our hearts are sad, we are also rejoicing. Robert was a believer in Jesus Christ. His Bible, that he kept near his chair for quick reference and treasured reading, was well-worn. He enjoyed talking about Scripture and sharing it with others. We know that today, Robert is enjoying by sight all of the promises we believe by faith. And he is breathing in the rich and glorious breezes of heaven.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
~Psalm 116: 15

Thursday, March 1, 2012

"Homemade" Fabric Softener

I had so much positive response concerning the homemade powdered detergent that I decided to share a couple frugal ideas for fabric softener. One way is to simply buy fabric softening sheets on sale or at the dollar store and then cut them in half. I spent years using whole sheets and it was pretty wasteful and unnecessary. As soon as I open the box, I cut the sheet in half and then store them in a sandwich sized container. I have an old Wonder Bread container that I love and its the perfect size. I have found that keeping the sheets sealed up tight preserves their wonderful scent better than leaving them in the box. Its also easier to dispense the half sheets. Just by using a half sheet, you can double your money and it works great!

Another method we use is what I call "homemade" fabric softener. I hate to say that it really isn't completely homemade...but it is a very frugal and easy-to-make recipe. Start with a wonderful-smelling liquid fabric softener. One of my favorites is Suavitel. The bottle pictured above was found at a local dollar store for just $1. Also purchase some regular sponges (these were also $1). Take your scissors and cut the sponges into thirds. Take any plastic or glass container that has a large mouth and a lid and fill the jar 1/3 full of your liquid softener. Fill the other 2/3 with water, leaving a little headroom at the top. Now place several of your cut sponges into your container and allow them to soak up your softener mixture. Each time you get ready to dry your clothes, wring out one or two of the sponges and toss in the dryer with your clothing. After your clothes are dry, you will notice they have no static and smell wonderful! The sponges will be dry....much like little bricks. Just put them back into your softener mixture and allow them to soak up the liquid. Then re-use as needed. When your mixture starts running low, simply refill using the 1/3 softener to 2/3 water. You will truly be surprised at how long this mixture will last!

Before you go, let me share my Bible verse for today. God's Word is always such an encouragement to my life...and gives me strength for each day.
Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.
~Psalm 40: 5

Keep making the most of God's gifts to you! Blessings....