Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Three Things I LOVE About My Husband!

Three Things I LOVE about my husband:

1. My hubby has a wonderful sense of humor! He has kept me laughing for almost 28 years of marriage....

2. My hubby reads his Bible and writes in his Bible Journal everyday...without fail! He leads by example and he is such a blessing to my life with his witness.

3. My hubby praises me! He always says I look pretty....or that my cooking tastes good...or that the house sure does look nice. Those things are such an encouragement to a homespun wife!

I love my husband with all my heart and thank the Lord for giving him to be the man of our home.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What We Can Learn From the Simple Life

"A happy memory never wears out."

This little quote stopped me in my tracks. I just love it...because its so true. I came across the quote while reading a book that I have thoroughly enjoyed, "Amish Values for Your Family," by Suzanne Woods Fisher. I had read Fisher's Amish fiction before, and when I heard about this non-fiction work, I decided to order it. The book is full of wonderful stories and great Amish proverbs, like the one above. Across the top of the front cover are the words, "What We Can Learn From the Simple Life."

For me, the simple life is...homemade (and often store-bought!) cookies, freshly folded clothes, hearing the bird's song, smelling bread in the oven, giving a hug to my husband after his long workday, playing pattycake with my granddaughter, and sitting quietly to stitch. The simple life is a life that begins each day with praise to God...and ends each day in thanksgiving to Him. I have learned that the simple life is not always uncomplicated. Matter of fact, one half of the phrase "simple life" is "life." And life can get very unpredictable and difficult. It can and it will. Sickness comes without warning, troubles arise without notice, and hearts break in the night. But the simple life involves trusting in the Lord's guidance in everyday living.....

"A happy home is more than a roof over your head, its a foundation under your feet."
-Amish Proverb

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The February Tree

Today, I set to work on changing out the decorations on my little tabletop tree. Before Christmas, I decided to leave the 9 footer in the basement and purchase a smaller tree that would be easier to put up and take down. Since my health had not been good in the months leading up to Christmas, my family was in full agreement with my decision...especially after they saw how cute the little tree turned out to be!

When Christmas was over, I made a decision. I was not going to take down the tree. It was simply too cute. Instead I was going to decorate the little tree each month of 2012. The January Tree was full of pink and purple snowflakes, as well as cupcake ornaments and purple foil icicles. I loved it! Throughout January, I have planned and plotted about the next tree...and oh what fun it is to plan and plot and imagine!

The February Tree is full of hearts of pink and red. One says, "Jesus Is Love"...and I'm so glad He is. Two others spell out the names of my granddaughters. There are some hints of glitter and purple too...and the tree skirt is zebra print to match the ribbon streamers. I'm really pleased with how it turned out and I certainly had fun crafting the hearts and decorations.

I thought how much joy it was for me to create the little decorated tree. I sat in a chair nearby and watched the twinkling lights. I started to wonder if this is how God feels when He looks at us. After all, we are His creation. He made each one of us, the millions and millions of us....but each one unique and special to His heart. How it must hurt Him to watch His lovely creation as we fall prey to sin. For all the times I have failed Him, I ask forgiveness. I pray that I will keep my eyes on Jesus and that my life will reflect his light!

"The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin;
The Light of the World is JESUS!
Like sunshine at noonday, His glory shone in;
The Light of the World is JESUS!

Come to the light, Tis shining for thee;
Sweetly the light has dawned upon me.
Once I was blind but now I can see:
~Phillip P Bliss, 1875

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Fun Stuff...and the Good Stuff

Part of what I love about being a homespun wife is the freedom to be creative! I love making things and keeping my hands busy. Recently, I decided to complete a balloon wreath. It looked so bright and colorful in the photos I had seen online...and I thought it shouldn't cost very much. It's just balloons and floral pins, after all. And after I realized that both of my granddaughters have birthdays coming up, I knew the wreath was something I wanted to make for them to have at their parties.

The project started out well enough....a few large packs of balloons and floral pins, and an 18-inch straw wreath that I got at 40% off with a coupon (another homespun policy...always try to use coupons!). But unfortunately, those few packs of balloons fell WAY short of completing the project. In the end, I had to raid my local Wal-mart of every pack of balloons they had for sale. Then, I had to find another Wal-mart....and then another one! The completed wreath held about 900 balloons! It also was very costly to make, which I hadn't taken into account. The supplies were approximately $60.00! That was not in line with my efforts at household frugality! Even so, the project turned out well (see photo)...and my oldest granddaughter, Ella (who will be 3 next month) said, "Ooooo.....I want it for my birthday, Mimi....I want it for my birthday, Mimi..." That definitely made it worthwhile.

This true-life event reminded me of the Scripture where Jesus talked about being prepared and counting the cost. In Luke 14, Jesus spoke these words, "Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to complete it?" When we follow Jesus, he expects us to count the cost of that discipleship....and pick up our cross and follow him. Notice that he does not ask us to carry the cross of another. Instead he tells us to carry our own cross. And for each one of us, that cross might involve something totally unique to you or to me.

I have counted the cost...and I have chosen to follow Jesus! I will carry my cross, with his help. Whatever path he has ahead for me, he is able give me the grace and mercy to complete the journey. He will do the same for you too. Along the way, there will be fun stuff...like birthday balloons and celebrations and accomplishments. And there will tough stuff....like kids with addictions and living with health problems and struggling through this world. But in the end, its all good stuff....because its our cross...the cross we are carrying for Jesus. And Jesus is Lord of All!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Homemade Loaf

I would love to brag about the perfections of being a homespun wife....but I would have to make stuff up. Let's face it: there are no perfect homemakers. I remember a newlywed neighbor telling me once, "All I want out of life is to be the perfect wife and keep the perfect home." Oh my!

There may not be a "perfect homespun wife," but trying to be the best wife you can be for your husband is well worth the effort! Most importantly, being the best homemaker you can be for your Lord should be considered a joy, not drudgery.

Even so, being in the kitchen seems like a drudgery for me most of the time these days. I hate to admit it...but after 28 years of raising children and doling out casseroles and cakes and cookies, I am getting tired of the kitchen. Fortunately, I have a bread machine. It doesn't do all the work but it does the bulk of it and that is a time-saver for me. I am currently on the 4th bread machine of my marriage. I'm terribly hard on them and they don't last as long as husbands, but I would highly recommend getting one and keeping it operational. (A happy husband will continue replacing it, as long as you keep using it!)

At the bottom the page, you will find, "The Homemade Loaf." I follow a simple, homespun recipe that makes a beautiful and delicious loaf every time. I thought I would share the recipe with you....

The Homemade Loaf

Toss the following into your bread machine:
1 cup water
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 tbs honey
1 tsp salt
3 cups bread flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Select the dough cycle. On the final beep, remove the dough from the machine. Gently kneed for a moment or two on a lightly floured surface and form dough into a loaf shape. Place loaf into a lightly greased pan and allow to rise. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes until bread is lightly brown. Some ovens require less baking time.

The thing I love about this loaf is that there is no sugar in it...only honey. You may also use half whole wheat flour, if you choose.

Even though I get tired of being in the kitchen, making bread always relaxes me. I find myself humming along with the bread machine. And the smell of bread baking in the oven is exactly what you would expect to find in the home of the homespun wife!

"She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family....
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks."
Proverbs 31: 15, 17

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Accepting God's Plan

My life as a homespun wife began on May 13, 1984. My fiance had just graduated college the day before and it was a bustling weekend of activities. In addition to college graduation and our wedding day, it was Mother's Day weekend too. Later, when I became a mom, I realized that my wedding anniversary and Mother's Day, being celebrated in the same week, would mean a bonus of gifts and surprises.
Marrying my husband was not what I wanted. Yep...that's what I said. It's not that I didn't love my fella and desire to be his wife. It's simply that I had spent many months protesting God's will for my life.
I had grown up as a minister's daughter and determined early in my life that living in a minister's home was not for me. The "life in the fishbowl" and intense scrutiny and criticism of the minister's life led me to decide that as soon as possible, I would leave that life far behind.
When I left my parent's home for college, I experienced my first taste of "freedom." I was able to get out from under all the expectations and simply be myself. One day, while in the college cafeteria, I met the funniest and most delightful young man. As we shared our meal together, I fell head-over-heels. He quickly invited me out to a basketball game later that evening on campus, and it was there in the gym that he broke the news that broke my heart. This cute, preppy and humorous young man was a ministerial student. My hopes immediately deflated. How could this be?
Over the following months, God worked on my heart. It was tedious and gut-wrenching for me. But the Lord kept bringing me around to His way of thinking. How was I to know that His plan for me was the very thing I was running from?
Psalm 31: 3-5 says, "Since You are my Rock and my Fortress, for the sake of Your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for You are my refuge. Into Your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth." When I first read this Scripture, one thing jumped to my eyes...the words, "Into Your hands I commit my spirit." Were these not the very words uttered by my Lord while He was dying on the cross? Even in death, my Lord was quoting the Scriptures. Jesus was giving His all to God's plan.
How can I do anything less? Lord, I give my ways to You.....Here is my spirit, Use me.