Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hello Old Friends

I’ve been turning into a more natural person since living in the country. It really isn’t hard to be more natural since I was not at all natural to begin with. I watch my husband garden, get milk from a farm, have reusable grocery bags, walk outside, and use a clothesline. I’ve even been on a little natural cleaning kick. There’s something fun and exciting about using vinegar and baking soda to clean stuff too. The fizzing makes me happy. I started to mix my own cleaning solution.

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I don’t know who Alice is. I got this recipe at ECFE from the Parent Facilitator. Her name is not Alice.

Alice’s Wonderspray, 32 ounce bottle

1/4 cup white vinegar

2 tsp. Borax

3 1/2 cups hot water

1/4 cup liquid dish soap

Optional: a few drops of essential oil (I’ve heard Tea Tree Oil is a good disinfectant but I already had the peppermint stuff from some failed craft project so I’m using that up. It smells good and minty.)

In 32 oz. spray bottle (guess where you can get these for $1?) mix vinegar, borax and water thoroughly. Add essential oil if desired. Add dish soap last.

It works great and it’s cheap to make.

But we’ve had the stomach flu in our house. Nothing makes me want to get on my knees and scrub the bathroom like I should more than that. So I had to go back to my old ways.

Hello, Mr. Clorox. Progress is being made when the house smells like a swimming pool.

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Even though I used bleach I still was kind of natural.

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And then I needed more germ killing peace. Thank you Lysol and generic Lysol wipes.

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But the flu came back. We happen to have a friend that sells commercial cleaning supplies to hospitals. That seemed like the kind of germ killing power we needed. CDC-10 sounds pretty high powered doesn’t it? It kills germs that I have never even heard of before. The bathroom was clean enough for me to take a bath in after I spent all day cleaning in my pajamas.

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If anyone else gets it I will be ticked at my high powered friends. But it won’t last. Even though I may choose the natural way more often, there will always be a place in my heart for my old friends. Just like we sing at Girl Scouts: Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Move Over Martha

I’m not that adept at being domestic.  Martha Stewart I am not.  But I have been cooped up in the house for almost a week with sick kids.  Plus, it’s fall and I always feel kind of domestic as the weather turns colder.  So, I figured that I should do some stuff around the house since I couldn’t ignore it any longer. 


I cleaned my room.  My whole room.  I moved my dresser all by myself and vacuumed all the crevices.  I organized my closet.  OK, so it’s not MY room, I  share the room with Mike.  And I mainly cleaned it because I thought we were having overnight guests stay there.  They didn’t come since we had sickness.  I still finished cleaning our room anyway.  I know, amazing.

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That’s not a pile of clothes on the bed, it’s my daughter.  Also, notice how beautifully my team of decorators have decorated the walls.  I would have it no other way.


Then I baked a fancy Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake.  Seriously, there are chopped walnuts and oats in the crust.  I’ve had the recipe clipped since 2006 so I thought it was high time I try it.  It was fabulous.  Next time you have 36 free hours, you should totally make it.  I decided I should take a picture of it.  I happened to have some apples laying around that I didn’t put away.  So I threw them in for effect. 

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Then I put in some more apples that I had picked off an apple tree.  Too much?


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Then I decided to clean the kitchen.  I bleached the counter tops.  I scrubbed the stove top.  I lit a candle. While I was cleaning under the colander with the garden potatoes I didn’t use the other night and never put away, I started throwing other random produce in there too so I could wipe the counters.  Mike came home and said he liked my basket.  Accidental Martha.

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I rearranged the pantry.  I wanted to get my beloved Crockpot off the counter.  Mostly because I’ve been threatened that I need to make something that is not all mushed together.  So we’re having tacos and spaghetti this week.  I even cleaned out the play dough box before I put it away.  Yes, I put it away.

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I went to bed pleased.  Clean room, clean kitchen, most of the laundry done.  So please tell me how on earth did my kitchen end up looking like this in the morning?

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And sometimes this is why I give up.  I also lost our cell phone, again.  So don’t try to call.

Because I’m not that creative and the domestic stuff doesn’t come naturally to me I don’t feel like a very good Mom.  But I still want to provide a home for my family.  A place they like to come home to. A refuge from the world.  A place they feel safe, loved and warm.  A place they want to bring their friends to.


The other night, Mike showed up with a 16 year old visitor for dinner.  He hasn’t had homemade food in a long time.  He is not able to  live with his mom.  He relished sitting at our table and eating a lot of food (when he wasn’t busy texting). 


So I continue to press on.  Even if I have to be an accidental or red-neck Martha, I still want to make my house a home.  And that does not come from the craftiness of my hands or the cleanness of my house, it comes from the love in my heart.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

God’s Eye View

This is my Grandparents church in rural Northwestern Minnesota.


My parents were married there. My Grandparent’s 50th Anniversary was there. I spent many summer Sundays and Christmases at that church. We always seem to be tied up on Sundays so my kids haven’t been there too much, but we were able to worship there this summer. (which makes my Grandma very, very happy!) My kids thought it was a very fancy church. When I told my aunt that she laughed. It’s all about perspective. To kids who worship in a high school every week Maple Bay Church is fancy!


I’ve been reading in Ezra about the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. After the city of Jerusalem and the original temple were destroyed and the Israelites were exiled to Babylon. They were allowed to return and rebuild when when Cyrus, King of Persia came to power.

They must’ve felt jubilant and justified as they returned on a mission to rebuild the Lord’s house. The temple was important to the Jews because it was God’s residency among them, the center of their worship. Maybe they expected the wind to be at their backs as they finally had the chance to fix things.

Shortly into the process, their enemies in the area began to make trouble for them. They pulled some strings and got the construction halted. It probably wasn’t how they expected things to go. There were 20 years between the start of the construction and its completion.

Why would God allow them to return just to halt their efforts and allow them to become discouraged? How much worse could things get? From destruction, to exile, release, begin rebuilding, stop, finish: 70 years! Then after Malachi’s prophecy: silence. They didn’t hear from God for hundreds of years.

We know from reading the New Testament and the prophets that God had a plan. He was orchestrating things for his ultimate plan: the coming of His son to be our Savior. But they didn’t know. They couldn’t see beyond their own circumstances.

And when I’m discouraged and feel like I’m moving backwards more than forwards I can’t see it either. Why do bad things happen? Why can’t I ever get ahead? When will this trial be over? What is God’s plan and purpose in all this?

I was wondering how my life might look from a God’s eye view. My attempts to do things seem to be frustrated. I don’t know why it all doesn’t unfold easier. I try to be more patient and I fail. I try to like being a homemaker but sometimes I don’t and I’m not that good at it. So I asked God to show me the big picture of my life, the God’s eye view.

What’s the purpose of my little life here, from His perspective? These are the things that he’s impressed on my heart through His word.

Glorify God and live a life pleasing to Him. Seek His forgiveness for my sins and allow Him to make me new. Love Him, follow Him. Put Him first.

Tell others about Him and His loving sacrifice. Show people my gracious and merciful God. Share with them how to have peace and hope. Encourage others to trust Christ and grow in Him.

Be a wife and mother who is a Godly influence. Serve and humbly work to meet my family’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

It’s funny that in the weeks I have been praying about this not once did I ever feel led to thinking about the things that usually frustrate me in my life. Things like having a clean, organized house, trying to make ends meet, having money for extra stuff, getting time to myself or fulfilling my desires. I think those are all things that my selfish, sinful nature and society tell me that I need. If I continue down that path it will never be enough. Maybe my frustration and discouragement is due to me looking at life from the wrong vantage point.

Society says: Stand up for yourself. Fight for your rights. Put yourself first.

The Bible says:

“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” Matthew 19:29-30

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” John 13:13-14

Society says: Do whatever it takes to get to the top.

The Bible says:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4

Society says: Be beautiful, well-dressed and in charge. Spend more time and money on your appearance than anything else.

The Bible says:

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

Society says: Don’t waste all your time and energy to your family. Focus on your goals and dreams for life.

The Bible says:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Maybe you could use a God’s eye view too. Take some time and ask God to show you His plans and purposes for your life. You might be surprised like I was that my disappointments and hardships are part of something bigger. God’s plan is to make me more like Him and get me ready for forever with Him. We can’t see all the pieces from here on this earth,but we can trust His view from eternity.

It’s not over. There’s more to His plan. He’s coming back. Then we’ll see everything from the God’s eye view.

1 Peter 1:3-6

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kind of trials."

1 John 3:2

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Near and Dear to My Heart

When I was in college, my roommate and I used to write long, silly poems to each other during class and stuff them in our mail boxes.  It was always a thrill to get one and have something funny to read during class.  This might be why I don’t remember a lot of what I should from college.  So, sorry Mom and Dad if you feel like you wasted your money.  But I think you’ll find my poetry skills are worth a lot.

I was inspired to write another ode because of my deep love and affection for something.  I think you’ll see how important it is to me. 


An Ode to the Dollar Store

I’m in love with a store

I used to think was a bore.


But when everything is only a dollar

I cannot help but yelp and holler.


I always find what I want in a flash

without spending too much cash.


They have what I need

like a good friend or a trusty steed.


I’ve found lots of things for my Sunday School class

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and also some fancy things made of glass

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In the fall it is nice to have Scarecrows around

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Brushes and storage baskets are easily found

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A hat to wear running when my feet hit the ground

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Future birthday gift steals

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Fairy wings bring little girl squeals

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Then there’s candy and gum and of course Diet Coke

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The wrapping paper and greeting cards there are no joke


They do have some things there I won’t buy

like lingerie, and that is no lie.


it would only be better if it were all free

because you know that money does not grow on a tree.


I don’t even have to worry if I catch the plague of the swine,

because you can even shop at this store on-line.


Dedicated to Robin.