Friday, October 31, 2008
More on contentment...The "Little Whiles"
In the excellent article on contentment at Homeliving Helper, Lady Lydia contrasts steadiness with restlessness:
"One way to gain the ability to be satisfied with life is to have a steadiness of purpose. Although it may rain when you wanted it fine, you are able to quickly find a substitute activity that will be useful and beneficial. Contentment sometimes depends upon your ability to be resourceful, a trait which can also be learned by substituting things when you do not have what you need. Being resourceful means finding different ways of doing things when other plans fail. Steadiness can be achieved by sticking to something until it is completed, even if it cannot be done all at once. If this is not practiced, it may be more difficult to stay dedicated to other kinds of duties which require more commitment.
Many women are restless and unable to understand that there will be an end to some trying times in life, and they will not put up with any inconvenience or any boredom or any hardship. If they learn at home, they are much better prepared for life's ups and downs, and can be content, even when others around them are undependable, disloyal, rude, or ungrateful."
Oh, how I needed this lesson when I was a young mother (and still need to remind myself of it.) I recall that an older friend of mine once counseled me to "be patient in the 'little whiles' of life."
She said this when I was nearly in tears over our family's second bout of LICE -- gasp! I was horrified and embarrassed that I had failed to protect my dear children from catching them. Eliminating the pesky critters required that everyone in the family take showers with nasty smelling shampoo, a lot of washing of linens, putting stuffed toys in bags for the prescribed amount of time, and painstakingly combing my children's thick, thick hair with a little tiny comb. My children and I had to stay indoors, and we had to miss our usual activities. None of this was in my picture of how things should be going at that moment. Of course, the Lord works all things for good, and I should have been looking to His picture of how things should be going.
What are the "little whiles" of life in which we must be patient? These are little trials -- such as lice -- which will soon pass. These little things will pass whether you have a good attitude or a poor one. If you let them unnerve you, as I was doing, the trial will pass slowly -- or it will feel that way, at least. You will make yourself and your family miserable in the process. If you maintain a hopeful, cheerful attitude, the little trials will seem to pass quickly. You and your family will even be able to find some things to be thankful about in the process.
By the same token, if we are prayerful, God can help us stay focused on his purpose for our lives even in the midst of a string of "little whiles". As in the parable of the sower, I can so often be the soil that is full of thorns -- the thorny soil that chokes the good seed with the worries and riches of life. God, however, can help us all to be the good soil -- the soil in which the seed multiplies to a large harvest. Mark 1:1-20.
Resourcefulness in the "little whiles" of life turns what might be a trying event into an opportunity. I learned that I wasn't the worst mother in the world just because my children contracted lice. I also learned that I needed to keep this little calamity in proportion. It's hardly the worst thing that can happen to a family. In fact, our "quarantine period" was a great opportunity for my children and I to spend a lot of quiet time together.
On this earth, Jesus was always mindful of his purpose. A great study to do is to read through the gospels and jot down every statement Jesus made about why he came to earth. Sometimes, his disciples got so focused on their own idea of the mission that they walked unwittingly by the very people God wanted to reach. Not Jesus. He took the time to talk to a troubled woman by the well, to call an eager tax collector out of a tree, to talk to a woman who had touched his cloak in a crowd, and to bless little children. Jesus was so in tune with his father's will and his love for people that he knew exactly when to stop and when to move on. Luke 4:42-44
Jesus said that to do the will of his Father was his food. John 4:34. Even when it was hard or uncomfortable, Jesus found satisfaction in carrying out his Father's mission. He traveled around, spreading the news of the kingdom and healing people. He had a purpose for His goings; He
wasn't just running to and fro because of a restless heart.
Much of our restlessness comes from a lack of unity with God's purpose for our lives. One thing about the homemaking life is that our quiet labors bring us in touch with what is going on inside of us. If we are not filled up with the Lord, we will keep searching for something to distract us from the emptiness we feel deep inside. We will find it hard to endure tedium or to cope with the "dailiness" of life. We will demand instant gratification and be unable to wait for things to come to us in their proper season. We will start one project and flit to another and never finish either one. Ecclesiastes is a portrait of a man who searched out every occupation and every entertainment "under the sun" and found them all to be wanting. He concluded that the best course in life is to fear the Lord and keep his commandments.
The woman who finds her satisfaction in the Lord will have a more peaceful heart. She can endure the "little whiles" and even the "long whiles" of life, knowing that the Lord works all things for good for those who love him and are called according to His purpose. She can be content even if her marriage is not all she wishes it to be at the moment. She will have faith for her children's future even if they are struggling with something in the short term. She sees little trials as an opportunity for her faith to grow and to be refined. She looks for ways to serve the Lord in everything -- from scrubbing a toilet to spending happy hours with her family to sharing her faith. She trustfully obeys the Lord and faithfully looks to him for the outcome.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Here's a wonderful article from Homeliving Helper about contentment. If you haven't read it already, I hope you'll check it out.
To me, contentment is closely aligned to having that quiet and meek (calm and gentle) spirit that I Peter 3 talks about. No matter whether our culture values these qualities or not, God finds them to be of great worth.
Here's the word that is rendered quiet or calm in I Peter 3: Hesuchios. It means quiet or peaceable. It is akin to the form Hesuchia, which means
- description of the life of one who stays at home doing his own work, and does not officiously meddle with the affairs of others
"Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread."
The word for meek or gentle is praus. The definition of praus is
- mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness
As you can see, contentment, meekness, and quietness all tie in together. They all have their origin in resolutely trusting and obeying the Lord no matter what the circumstances are.
Some women -- especially those who were trained from birth to have a contended mindset -- seem to bear these wonderful fruits of quietness, meekness, and contentment naturally. Others of us -- myself included -- must be disciplined in prayer and in setting our thoughts on the right things in order to maintain these qualities.
Our culture associates these characteristics with someone who is insipid, boring, unhappy, and oppressed by others. Is that the case? Well, consider the opposites of quietness, meekness, and contentment. An absence of these traits would manifest itself in discontent, fretfulness, insecurity, worry, irritability, lack of trust in God, mistrust of others -- especially mistrust of those in authority, ingratitude, difficulty in working peaceably with others, rebelliousness, an over-concern with protecting one's own rights, contentiousness, nagging, trying to control others, inability to be happy unless people and circumstances are exactly as you want them to be, unrealistic expectations, and a neglect of one's daily duties. Aren't these last qualities the things that so often create unnecessary pain in life?
It seems to me that the meek, quiet, and content person is much happier than the one who resists these traits. Though it may seem counter-intuitive to our modern minds, the person who possesses meekness, calmness, and contentment is the stronger person, too. Because of quiet trust, this person is able to endure both the little trials and the larger storms of life.
"My crown is in my heart, not on my head, Nor decked with diamonds and Indian stones
- William Shakespeare
"A contented heart is an even sea in the midst of all storms."
"A sense of contentment makes us kindly and benevolent to others; we are not chafed and galled by cares which are tyrannical. We are fulfilling our proper destiny, and those around us feel the sunshine of our own hearts."
- Edward George Earle Lytton
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I'm a day late in participating in this Monday meme from over at The Simple Woman. I had a hectic day yesterday between my father having a minor health crisis and our hosting a party to watch our local football team on TV last night. But, this morning, I was inspired to join in by this lovely day book post from very CALM.
Around My Home...All is quiet. The light is streaming in through the windows, and my house feels bright and warm. Downstairs, the shadows of the leaves on the trees make lovely, bouncing patterns on the couch and floor of my husband's home office. In my office/sewing room/extra bedroom/ the shadows of the shades alternating with ribbons of light are making lovely patterns on my sewing area.
I am thankful for...the wonderful friends who came over last night; for my dearest hubby and for the fact that we will celebrate 28 years of marriage next month; for a quiet morning.
I am wearing...a blue dress, ivory tights, and my comfy but cute work around the house brown shoes.
I am creating...order out of disorder! After both my father and me being sick all last week and throwing a party last night, it's catch up day for me today -- provided that my father is well.
I am going...maybe to Wal-Mart to buy cat food and a curtain rod.
I am reading...Mere Discipleship by Lee Camp.
I am hoping...that soon, I will finally finish the simple curtain panels I've been trying to get done for some months now.
I am hearing...the central heat. Usually, we are serenaded by lots of birds, and that is my favorite "at home" sound. They are quiet today, however, so I plan to put on some soft music later on. Another of my favorite sounds is the crackle of candles with wooden wicks. I don't think I will light mine today, though, as I want to save them for really cold weather.
One of my favorite things...curling up with a quilt as I pray; spending quiet time with the Lord. Another favorite things is all the lovely butterflies we've been seeing around our house in the past couple of months.
Here's my picture thought for the day: These are my initials and my Hubby's initials.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Kelli posted some encouraging thoughts about her adjustment to motherhood. Her openness will be a comfort to any young mother who is feeling so many things -- happy and perplexing and even frightening or wistful-- as she starts on the journey of motherhood.
I can relate to many of the things Kellie felt, including anxiety. My children are in their twenties now, however. So, when I look back upon those times, I tend to forget what an adjustment they were and remember only the joys. I guess I'm like the example in John 16:21: A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. You forget it even more as time goes by.
Even though I don't think of it as much now, early motherhood was an adjustment for me! I had quick and easy natural labors, for which I am greatly thankful. Later, after I came home from the hospital after each birth, I had health challenges: fevers after both births, bouts of heavy bleeding after one birth; the reality of what it means to care for someone 24/7, my inexperience as a mother, etc.
Of course, there were the wondrous things as well: nursing!; holding each of my children for the very first time; hearing their little coos and their laughs. I loved nursing!!
I think God used the adjustments I went through as a young mother to show me the basic selfishness of my own nature and to teach me what His self-giving love is like. In fact, he has used every stage of motherhood, including the one I'm in now, to teach me something. Often, I've been a slow learner!!
Each stage of mothering brings its own joys and its own challenges. My children are both happily married now, but I still am constantly on my knees for them.
Motherhood is a profound expression of the feminine nature God has given to us. When I had my first child, I felt as if I'd joined a great sisterhood of mothers. I still feel that way sometimes.
As an older woman, I'd like to pass on a bit of advice that was given to me and that I ignored to my peril: It takes about a year after the birth of a baby for your internal organs to be fully returned to normal. Even though you may feel fine, you do need to be careful about lifting or moving objects heavier than your baby, and you do need to learn all you can about taking care of your health, especially your internal health. Many of my peers are starting to have health issues that result from "inner sagging" if you know what I mean. Taking care of yourself when you are in your most active childbearing years pays off when you hit middle age and beyond. Do those Kegels ladies!!
Also, each mother experiences the emotional, spiritual, and physical challenges of birth and taking care of a newborn in a slightly different way. Some have easy labors and bounce back to full energy quickly. Others have a harder adjustment. I hope young mothers feel free to enjoy their recovery from birth and the bonding process with their newborn at their own pace.
Oh, one more note to brand new moms: No matter what you suffer as a mother, it's worth it! Even if you are going through some hard times, take note of little happy things to treasure up in your heart, as Mary did about Jesus. The time will pass more quickly than you know. I used to nod my head when older women said that to me, and I believed it as an abstract fact. In actuality, however, I had no idea how quickly my children would become adults. It was especially hard to imagine that on a long day of changing diapers and running after toddlers. Now, I look back, and I finally get what those older women were talking about! Take time to enjoy, enjoy, enjoy your little ones now.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
It can be a challenge to serve meals that are both nutritious and budget-friendly -- not to mention tasty to the family. The wise family manager is able to stretch her dollar to meet all three requirements.
One way to do this is to cut expensive impulse buying by having a small supply of goods on hand. If you can build up at least a two-week to six-month stock of food (as well as toiletries, medical supplies, etc.), you will be less likely to rush out and spend too much in a pinch. Moreover, your family can live off of your extra store in the event of an emergency. Situations where you might need to live out of your "stock" for a while range from missing a paycheck to being snowed in to having a new baby in the house.
Have you ever found yourself standing in line with all the other grocery store customers who are trying to buy milk and bread when a hurricane or a snowstorm is rolling in? By keeping your kitchen well-stocked, you can avoid such last minute trips. In this way, you are helping to cut down the minor panics that such events can bring.
Also, by keeping a well-stocked kitchen, you will have something to share with others if that is needed. I read about a family who donated their stock of food to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
We're not talking about hoarding here. It's poor stewardship to keep so much food on hand that it goes to waste in the end.
In general, it's cheaper and healthier to cook from scratch than it is to buy pre-packaged or "quick" foods. However, we all have situations in which we need to throw a meal together in a hurry. In such instances, it is more economical to have some "quick" foods on hand, rather than to go out and buy something.
It can be daunting to think of stocking your kitchen with extras if your grocery budget barely covers your family's basic needs. You can build your extra stock one item at a time. Look for deep sales on items that your family frequently uses. For example, if you're buying mustard and mustard happens to be dramatically priced down that week, snag an extra one. Little by little, you'll build your store of extra supplies.
If an item's marked down because it's almost at it's sell by date, it's probably not suitable for your extra stock.
If you can goods yourself, you can easily and economically build up a year's supply of many items. Not everyone can can their own goods however, so don't feel that you must in order to stock your kitchen well.
In keeping things stored, here are a few principles to keep in mind:
1) Check how long an item can be properly stored. Mark when you bought it or canned it or froze it.
2) Rotate your items so that no one item is sitting in storage past its spoil date.
3) Keep your family's tastes in mind. The items one family keeps on hand may not suit another family.
4) If you have a tiny kitchen, be creative about how and where you store things. Even small spaces can become extra "pantries". Just be sure that your items are stored in a way that if a bottle should break or a water jar should burst, your flooring won't be damaged. Also, be wary of places where the goods will be exposed to extreme heat, extreme cold, or too much moisture. Also, store things in containers that won't be tempting to children, pets, or "uninvited critters".
5) You can keep apples from an orchard (or your own trees) fresh for about a year if you bag them in zip-lock bags with just a teaspoon or less of water. Don't put in too much water!! Also, make sure the bags are tightly sealed and seal them back each time you remove an apple. If you live near apple-growing country, look for an orchard near you.
Here are some ideas of things that can be easily stored. I'm sure you can think of many others, but these should give you some ideas:
1) Powdered and canned milk; canned goat's milk; buttermilk powder for baking; powdered egg for baking; frozen homemade or store bought pie crusts.
2) Any variety of dried and/or canned beans.
3) Flour if you bake a lot; bought or homemade baking mix; rice (be careful to avoid contaminating your other supplies with meal worms. These often come into the kitchen on rice. Store your rice in the freezer for a month or place your rice in a glass container.) Large container of cous-cous; corn meal
4) For quick meals: frozen cookie dough; frozen rolls or frozen bread dough; frozen chicken pieces; extra casseroles (frozen); soups -- canned or frozen; dessert mix; homemade pudding mix or store bought pudding mix.
5) An extra jar of each condiment that your family likes, e.g. mayonnaise, mustard, pickle relish, jam, jelly etc.
6) coffee/tea/herbal teas -- make sure you don't exceed the date when these taste fresh.
7) cocoa or carob powder
8) canned tuna or canned chicken
9) spaghetti sauce/noodles/canned olives or mushrooms
10) canned tomatoes; MSG free chicken or beef broth; bought or homemade seasoning mixes
11) frozen and/or canned veggies and fruits
12) juices and water
Monday, October 20, 2008
There's a lot of angst right now in our nation about the overall shape of our nation's economy. Other countries are watching what happens in the U.S., as well.
The building block of any healthy economy is the home. As we've already discussed, our English word "economy" comes from the Greek term, oikonomíā, which roughly translates to the management or rule of a household. (Oikonomíā also the root word for ecology.) Though the home is an economic unit in its own right, it's often interconnected with a small business or farm. These, also, are building blocks of a sound economy.
The home is where taxes are paid, where salaries are used or saved or invested, and, often, where income is generated. It's where the next generation of workers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and consumers learn their values. If a family can achieve some measure of economic health -- not luxury, but stability -- and are able to share with those less fortunate, they have become one healthy functioning economic unit that contributes to the country's overall welfare.
It does the keeper at home little good to fret about things on a global or national scale that are beyond her control. If she can find a constructive avenue for helping -- as she very well might -- that is one thing. But, it is unhealthy for a woman to become anxious about things she cannot control and to take on a burden she cannot carry by herself. Instead, it is better to focus on what one can do, rather than to bemoan what one can't do. In many cases, that comes down to managing one's household budget well.
We've already looked at some spiritual aspects of managing a home economy. Chief among these is faith in the Lord's provision. In practical terms, however, what can one woman do? Here are a few suggestions:
1) Familiarize yourself with the whole counsel of God concerning money. You'd be surprised how much the Bible has to say about this important topic.
2) Read books and blogs that help you develop a frugal, prudent, and generous mindset. You may or may not be naturally gifted at managing your household's resources. In either case, there is always room for growth. There are many resources to help you, so take advantage of them. Don't expect instant perfection of yourself. Look at doing the best you can with what you have as a happy adventure. Make a game of it.
3) With your husband, set financial priorities for your household. Pray together about how you use your money. Being united in this area will do much to foster an atmosphere of harmony in your family.
4) The U.S. and Western Europe have enjoyed a standard of living that may not be indefinately sustainable. In order to correct the troubles in our consumer-driven society, we all might have to re-think our priorities. Things we may have considered to be necessities may become luxuries. Whether this happens or not, one great secret to a peaceful household is to happily do the best you can with what you have. Learn to be content whether in plenty or in want, as Paul says. Teach your children to be content, as well. In your conversation, talk about your blessings more than the things you might have to do without. Teach your children that their value is not defined by what they wear or the things they own. Teach them how to enjoy things without worshipping them.
5) Dare to give sacrifically at times, and teach your children to do so, too. Think of Marmee and the girls in Little Women giving up their Christmas breakfast for a starving family. They complained in the short term, but they learned valuable lessons of character in the long term. Winston Churchill said, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
6) As a family, learn how to maintain the things you have: cars, shoes, appliances, clothing, faucets, heating, air conditioning, etc. It's important to know what needs to be done when so that someone in the family can either do it or hire it out to be done, if necessary. I tend to let my husband think about cars and applicances and such, but it wouldn't hurt me to familiarize myself with the process in case I ever find myself needing to oversee that part of our life someday.
7) Make a weekly menu and a grocery list. Keep at least a mental inventory of what you have in the way of foods, cleaning supplies, etc. Plan a way to use leftovers. Keep things organized and in place. Organization goes a long way toward eliminating excess spending.
8) Use what you have before spending more. I have extra cosmetics and extra cleaning products. I am on a mission to use them up before bringing in any more. The only exception might be allowing myself to buy a green or hypoallergenic cleaning product. Otherwise, it's use it all up before I spend more!
9) Keep a little stock of extra goods. When an item is on sale, consider picking up an extra one. If need be, you can live out of this extra stock for a time. If you don't have much storage space, be creative in finding healthy ways to keep your goods. Along with this, think in terms of having emergency supplies for inclement weather, etc.
10) Use an old-fashioned change jar. You'd be surprised what you can save simply by tossing extra change into a bucket. Cook from scratch. Find out if it's cheaper for you to grow some of your own food. You can even grow tomatoes and other vegetables on the balcony of a city apartment!
"Doing up cut fingers, kissing hurt places, and singing bedtime songs are small things by themselves; but they will inculcate a love for home and family that will last through life and help to keep America a land of homes.
"Putting up the school lunch for the children or cooking a good meal for the family may seem very insignificant tasks as compared with giving a lecture, writing a book, or doing other things that have a larger audience; but I doubt very much if, in the ultimate reckoning, they will count for as much...It belittles us to think of our daily tasks as mall things, and if we continue to do so, it will in time make us small. It will narrow our horizon and make of our work just drudgery.
"There are so many little things that are really great, and when we learn to look beyond the insignificant-appearing acts themselves to their far-reaching consequences, we will, 'despise not the day of small things.' We will feel an added dignity and poise from the fact that our everyday round of duties is as important as any other part of the work of the world.
"And just as a little thread of gold, running through a fabric, brightens the whole garment, so women's work at home, while only the doing of little things, is like the garden gleam of sunlight that runs through and brightens all the fabric of civilization."
Laura Ingalls Wilder from "Little House in the Ozarks", written in May 1923
As quoted by Kathy Peel in "The Family Manager."
Friday, October 17, 2008
I've snagged a few great deals for my daytime "at-home" wardrobe. First, I bought two dresses on clearance. One is a simple, forties-inspired dress in a blue color that is somewhere between royal and navy. The other is a simple burgundy cotton. They are comfortable enough to do housework in, yet passably cute enough so that I don't feel "frumpy" in them. I also wear them out to the store or any other place I need to go during the day. I don't always wear dresses at home, but when I do, I seem to find extra enjoyment in tending to my home. These particular dresses were marked down to such a low price that I don't mind wearing them out.
My next buy was a pair of brown Thom McAn flats with round toe, tan stitching and a strap across the bridge of the foot. I found these at K-Mart, of all places -- our run-down K-Mart that I was sure would go out of business once the Super Wal-Mart opened across the street. The store has held it's own after all, and while I am not crazy about K-Mart merchandise, I have found some good bargains there. (These bargains include two rose bushes -- love em!)
The Thom McAn flats have proved to be surprisingly comfortable so far. They are the perfect shoe to wear while managing a home and an at-home business. They are cute enough that I have worn them out a couple of times. Mostly, though, I slip into another pair before leaving the house. I have read some negative things about the quality of today's Thom McAn line, so don't rush out and buy any Thom McAn's without checking them out. However, I'm finding this particular style to be a great buy for the low price.
My other wardrobe find was free. I brought home a barely worn, wonderfully soft, dark-navy denim apron with pockets on the front from my Dad's house. When I tied it over my blue dress, I felt so right working around the house and in my kitchen.
Tip: If you keep a pair of shoes for working inside the home only, you won't track dirt around your house while you wear them. I'm a total barefoot-indoors girl, myself, but in my old age I've realized that a good pair of shoes protect your feet in several ways. They give your feet support, plus they soften the blow if you drop a can on your foot or have some other little household accident. Not only that, but wearing shoes can be a psychological booster. It can signal to your brain: "What we are doing right now is important." Let's get going! As much as I've resisted Lady Lydia's and Flylady's advice on this issue, I'm thinking that they're right after all. Sigh!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Back in June, I blogged about wanting to come up with a vision statement for my role as a keeper of my home. I drew examples from a couple of other blogs.
Here's my attempt at coming up with a vision statement to help me stay focused in my role as keeper at home. I'm phrasing it as a prayer, because I do not consider myself to have attained this, at all. In fact, I'm a little embarrassed to share this publicly, because it is such a personal goal. I'm afraid it will sound as if I'm self-righteous or the "syrupy" kind of religious or as if I think I have it all together or something. It's just a way of helping me stay on track.
I included the part about taking my home making role as seriously as one might a job outside of the home, because I sometimes feel the pressure in today's culture to think of my role in the home as less important than it really is.
For even the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also out to love one another. I John 4:11
Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. Psalm 119:54
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in my love; just as I have kept My
Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be made full. John 15:10-11
My prayer is that the Lord will always be the builder of our home.
Unless the Lord builds the home, they labor in vain who build it. Psalm 127:1
My prayer as an older woman is to serve the Lord in my home in a way that his name will be honored and never dishonored.
Titus Chapter 2:4-5 ...that the world of God may not be dishonored.
My prayer is for the Lord to use me to be a loving and helpful companion to my husband. One way I can do this is to manage our home well so that he can fulfill his role.
Proverbs 31:11 The heart of her husband trusts in her.
Proverbs 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
Proverbs 31:12 She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
My prayer is for the Lord to use me to love and to encourage my children and their spouses and, if the Lord blesses them with children, my future grandchildren.
Behold, children are a gift from the Lord. Psalm 128:3
My prayer is to treat keeping my home as my main career and give it the same time and attention that a person who works outside the home gives their job.
Titus 2:5… Workers at home…
My prayer is to extend my arms to those outside of our family. My prayer is to use my home as a base for serving the Lord in all areas. I pray to welcome strangers and show hospitality.
I Timothy 5:10 And if she has devoted herself to every kind of good work.
I pray to be creative, prudent, faithful, and thrifty; to speak with kindness and wisdom; to look well to the ways of my household; to be a steward of whatever resources the Lord places in our hands; to serve nutritious food within a budget; to dress and keep my person in a way that encourages and refreshes my husband and family; to have strength for my tasks; to attend to my family’s clothing needs; to work with delight; and to choose my materials and endeavors well.
My prayer is to remember that I follow a Lord who gave up His home while on earth and also to remember that I am a pilgrim on this earth. I pray for the Lord to help me create, on a thrifty budget, a peaceful, restful, and joyful space around us no matter where we may lodge.
I welcome any suggestions and feel free to share your own personal vision statements either by leaving a link in the comments section or writing it out for us. I love to read the vision statements on other blogs. :)
I've taken down the light house Wallies that I was using in the bathroom. I enjoyed them for many years, and they still looked nice. However, I would like to move in a different direction. I don't know if any of you have tried Wallies, but I think they are an inexpensive and easy way to add a little decorative touch to your walls without doing full wallpaper. They come off easily when you are ready to change decor styles.
I am going to take photos tomorrow to post to get opinions about whether I should keep or return the white eyelet shower curtain. I already have a soft-blue shower curtain, which I've used for many years. I washed it to see if I could freshen it up. I placed the eyelet over it in the hope that the blue would show through the eyelet, but the blue is so soft and subtle that I'm not sure it works. Anyhow, I am thinking white might be fresh and in keeping with a spa feel. Of course, Topaztook had a point about using white floor mats in the bathroom. They can start looking dingier earlier than colored ones can. That might apply to a shower curtain, as well.
DH suggested before I could even ask him that we could pain the bathroom. I'd like to do a cheery blue.
I have some old-fashioned soap advertisements that I brought back from France. I'm using them in a bedroom right now, but am thinking of moving them into the bathroom instead.
My father-in-law, who is an excellent artist, had given each of his four children a set of three small paintings of a lighthouse that is located where we all spent a summer vacation together once. I have been using them in the bathroom, but will move them down to our entry hall, where we have a collection of his paintings.
So far, I haven't spent very much on the bathroom at all.
I hope I'm not boring anyone with details of my efforts to create a spa-feeling on a budget. It's just a fun project for me. I want to have it done by Thanksgiving so that my children -- especially my daughter and my daughter-in-law -- can enjoy it.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Also titled "I have always relied on the kindness of neighbors"...
Our cat was missing for many days now --so long that we were actually thinking of putting up her food dishes so we wouldn't miss her every time we saw them. She was out during our last spell of several rainy days in a row, and I hated to think of her getting soaked. She does not enjoy rain at all!
I am guessing one reason she did not come home is that is afraid of two larger cats who seem to think our yard is their territory. Also, she seems very healthy, so I imagine someone thought she was a stray and has been feeding her.
When I was out walking yesterday, I met a neighbor I had not met before. She's lived in our neighborhood for almost four years, so it was nice to make her acquaintance. I mentioned in passing that our cat was missing, and she thought she had seen her. I told her where I lived, and she volunteered to bring our cat back to us if she showed up near her house again.
Well, this afternoon, I was on the phone with a friend, and I saw a blue van in my driveway. This kind neighbor had placed her little toddler boy (a wonderfully handsome little fellow!) into his car seat, had scooped up my cat, and had quickly driven to our house. I appreciate her thoughtfulness in bringing our little Ninette back to us. I know that it probably wasn't easy for her to interrupt her day with a toddler to bring a strange cat home to someone she just met. I'm so thankful for nice neighbors!
Ninette is craving lots of attention, but she's being very mum about her big adventure. I'm just delighted to have her home again.
Monday, October 13, 2008
We have the fall sniffles at our house, so I am craving some "medicinal" chicken soup. I pulled out my crock pot and threw in a few chicken tenderloins, a box of no-MSG and organic chicken broth, and a bit of veggie and fruit concentrate. Don't worry; the concentrate tastes more like veggies than fruits, so it will complement the broth.
To that, I added a leek and an onion plucked from my own garden. You may get a giggle out of this: Whenever I buy more green onions at the store than I use at one time, I stick the extras in my garden soil. Of course, I do this only with the ones that have roots on them. The onions take root and grow somewhat larger, though they never get as round as other varieties of onions. That way, the onions last longer than they would when refrigerated, and I use them in cooking just as I would use any other kind. I know it sounds strange, but it's a thrifty tip that works for me.
The leeks, I started from seed.
After chopping up the onion and leeks, I added lots of celery. I had some in my fridge that I had intended to use for a shower and didn't. It was still fresh, but it was high time that I used it. According to Organic Facts, the health benefits of celery are that "they are rich in vitamin C, they lower cholesterol, prevent cancer, reduce high blood pressure, and promote health. Celery contains amino acids, boron, calcium, chlorine, essential fatty acids, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sulfur, zinc, vitamin A, Vitamins B1, b2, b3, b5, b6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K and fiber." The site goes on to list a number of health benefits, as well as a warning that pregnant women should not consume celery seed. How accurate all that is, I don't know. But, I like to think that the celery will add some good things to my soup.
I will either make drop dumplings from a biscuit mix or place biscuits on top.
I'm positive chicken soup and a hug for the cook are good for whatever ails ya!
An attack of allergies/asthma/cold kept me home from church yesterday. As I was praying, something turned my thoughts to the empty tomb. I realized there are so many reasons to praise God for what Jesus accomplished in the resurrection. Then, I reflected how often the Christians in Acts and the letters referred to the resurrection. They talked about it all the time. I decided I should think and talk more about it, as well.
Here are some reasons for praising God for the resurrection that I came up with. Maybe, you have some suggestions you want to share, as well.
1) The empty tomb turned what looked in the moment like the greatest defeat in history -- the cross -- into the greatest triumph. People in Jesus' day expected a triumphant Messiah who would restore earthly glory to the physical nation of Israel. When He took the way of the cross instead of becoming an earthly king, his enemies gloated (Matthew 27:39-44) and even those closest to Him were stumped (Matthew 17:21-24). When he rose from the dead, his followers finally understood. It was in going to the cross that Christ defeated the powers of sin and death and opened the door of salvation for all people. What does that teach us? In our darkest moments, look for God. He can do the most amazing things.
2) The empty tomb teaches us how to live. We find it hard to take up even the smallest of our crosses and follow Jesus -- or, at least I do. What, Lord? Wait on you in this situation when I want to take some kind of action -- RIGHT NOW! Deny myself for my health's sake, when I have convinced myself that I deserve that second piece of German chocolate cake? Forgive and love that person, who has verbally attacking my husband or my children? Be humble? Don't try to argue the other person into seeing things my way? Share my faith with that intimidating person? Trust you with all my heart when the situation looks so dire? To our natural self, the way of the cross hardly ever looks like the logical choice. Yet, Jesus proved by his resurrection that the way of the cross is always right. If we take up our crosses daily and follow Jesus, God will raise us up. Luke 9:23-26. And, the way of the cross is the only way we can hope to make a lasting difference in this world.
3) The empty tomb helps us understand that God has life within Himself. Death could not keep Jesus in the grave. We are dependent on God and the blessings He gives for physical and spiritual life. God does not depend on anything outside of Himself for life. He is the author of life, and He gives life.
4) The empty tomb is proof that Jesus defeated our greatest enemy and our greatest fear -- death. For the Christian, death holds no terror, but the sure hope of living eternally with the Lord. I Corinthians Chapter Fifteen
5) The empty tomb means we are no longer slaves to the penalty of sin or to the power of sin, either. We may still battle sin, but we are no longer under its complete control. Through God's power, we can live a resurrected life. "How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. Now, if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him." See also II Peter 2-11.
6) The cross and resurrection are the power that we come in contact with through baptism. "In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature,not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead." Col. 2:11-12, See also I Peter 3:21-22. Isn't that amazing that God allows us to participate in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ? Otherwise, we'd just be getting wet.
7) The empty tomb means that our Lord is still with us! Can you imagine the joy that Mary Magdalene must have felt when Jesus said to her, "Mary!" and she realized it was her crucified Lord standing there -- alive! Or, can you think what amazement and happiness the other disciples felt when Jesus appeared to them? John 20:10-31. We can know this joy, too! Christ is in heaven interceding for us; He walks among the churches; God has sent the Holy Spirit to be with us! Not even death -- Jesus' or ours -- can separate us from God's love! Jesus says, "I was dead and behold, I am alive forevermore." From Rev. 1:18.
8) The empty tomb means that our loved ones who have died in the Lord are not separated from us forever. They will be raised. "Jesus said to her, "Your brother shall rise again. Martha said to Him, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day. Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:23-25
9) People have been trying to discredit the resurrection for 2,000 years. Yet, no one has ever successfully been able to do so.
10) The empty tomb means that our pasts don't define us. Like Paul says, we leave what is behind and press on toward what is ahead. We are new creations in Christ. Every day is a new day in Christ.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Who hasn't heard this famous saying about thrift? We learned it from our grandparents, who probably learned it from their grandparents.
In the time of the Great Depression and World War II, this made perfect sense. After all, goods and money were scarce. Even those who were very comfortable during this period -- as my father's family were -- were still of a thrifty mindset. People purchased carefully, and they did not throw items away simply because they passed out of style.
In those days, items from clothing to tools to household goods were made to last. Appliances and such were more more mechanical in nature and less dependent on complicated, computerized electronics. Thus, their lifespan could be extended by careful maintenance. Families passed on the mindset and the skills needed to keep household objects in good order and even perform some repairs. If something couldn't be mended or repaired at home, it could be taken to a nearby shop for affordable service.
Also, because people did not accumulate as much junk as we do nowadays, there was room in the house to save items that might come in handy later. If you did buy a new radio, perhaps the older one might be cleaned and repaired and passed on to a newlywed child.
Those of us who are cleaning out the homes of elderly relatives realize that many kept this mindset even after becoming more affluent. They kept on saving everything -- from true heirlooms to things that have no current value. Who hasn't read stories about Depression-era people who have kept every scrap of twine or tons of scrap paper?
The mindset of buying the best quality items you can afford and using them until they wore out served Depression-era people well, because it is based on some timeless principles of thrift. People from generations previous to the Baby Boomers who are still alive are typically better prepared financially than the Boomers and beyond. Of course, these are generalizations and there are many exceptions. However, the reason the generalizations came about is that there is a good deal of truth to them.
The Depression and World War II generation has a lot to teach us about thrift. However, in recent decades, it has not always been beneficial to hold onto every little thing just in case it might come in handy.
Starting in the 60's and ramping up in the 80's 'til today, goods have become more and more disposable. Manufacturers talk about planned obsolescence, or purposely designing something so that it will not last and the customer will have to buy a new one. This concept actually came into existence in the 20's and 30's, as mass production became more important to our economy. However, even in the early days of planned obsolence, items lasted longer than they do now.
Along with planned obsolescence comes designing, advertising, and marketing all aimed at making us buy the newest style garment, car, refrigerator, etc. In recent years, it seems, style cycles have become shorter and shorter.
On top of that, many of our things are built around complicated electronics now. These things are usually as costly to repair as they are to replace.
Not only that, but our technology is developing rapidly. The gadgets that help us manage life today may be eclipsed by tomorrow's newer invention. My mother-in-law has not been able to understand why she couldn't find anyone who would take the ancient computer she wanted to give away. It simply is not compatible with today's software.
No wonder that many of us today have developed a "stuff is disposable" mindset. We think, "If it breaks, I can get a new one. These are last year's shoes; I 'need' new ones." Many people today do not take care of clothing, cars, and other possessions as our grandparents did.
Since we can afford to have more stuff these days, more of what we buy can easily turn into clutter if we hang on to it long enough. Some of us have learned the hard way that this clutter is expensive to cart around, time-consuming to clean, and, on top of that, an element that disturbs the peace of a home.
Emile Barnes says in her book, "15 Minute Organizer", "We live in a world of mass production and marketing. We must learn to sort and let go of certain things, or else we will need to build a huge warehouse to contain everything...Years ago, when we got something we kept it until it wore out, but, today, it may never wear out before we tire of it...On the average, people keep things several years after their usefulness has passed. Perhaps, we overbuy and have supplies, materials, and tools left over. The things we liked years ago are not what we like and enjoy today, but we keep them anyway."
Today, we even have TV shows devoted mostly to getting us to get rid of clutter. We have shows in which people arrive in the studio with bags of their clothing, none of which works well for them, and they are coached how to buy a new streamlined wardrobe. We also have shows in which people come into overcrowded houses and help people weed out the junk.
Of course, as you blogging sisters have shown us, we need not follow our culture into excess consumption. Should our economic woes continue, those of you who have already been making attempts to be frugal and creative will be ahead of the game.
So, where will our culture's situation go from here? No one's quite sure how the overall economy is going to pan out right now. I don't believe we're in for another Great Depression -- at least not yet. However, I do think more and more people will see the need to learn financial disicpline. My guess is that advances in technology will continue to make computers, I-pods, and the like become quickly obsolete, but in other areas people will give up their "it's all disposable" mindset.
I imagine that we'll see a return to the principles of "Use it all. Wear it out. Make it do, or live without." I think it will be good for all of us.
This is just speculation, but I wonder if the following will come true:
Repair services may become affordable again.
Canning will become more popular than ever.
Sewing will cease to be an expensive hobby and become part of everyday life again. The prices of sewing machines and sewing machines might come down. Fabrics might be better made and more reasonably priced.
People will buy well-made things, rather than stylish throw-away items.
People will maintain cars, refrigerators, and the like for longer periods of time.
People will grow more of their own food, and gardening supplies might become more affordable again.
It might become fashionable in new neighborhoods to have clotheslines and gardens once again, even if those neighborhoods currently have covenants that frown on those things.
More women might see home economy as a worthwhile occupation. The value of a prudent wife might once again be recognized.
Well, those are just my guesses. What about you? Where do you think things are heading? What will the future wave of thrift look like?
And, how are you currently putting into practice, "Use it up. Wear it out. Make it Do. Or, do without?"
Update on bathroom redo:
I brought home two of the above bathmats, but haven't taken the tags off. I may go with a plain, shaggy bright blue instead. I bought a white eyelet curtain, which I hope will go over the plain blue one that I have in there now. That would be three layers: the liner, the blue fabric, and the white eyelet, but I'm hoping it will all fit on the rings for a blue peek-a-boo effect.
What do you think?
Thursday, October 09, 2008
I was experimenting with my template today. I'm still using the old blogger on this particular blog, because I would have too much customized stuff to move to a new template. Anyhow, I was excited to learn how to add quotes and photos to the sidebar by posting, using the edit html to get the html code, and then adding the html to the template. In the process, I decided to clear up some blank spaces. Whatever I did, I inadvertantly moved several things from my sidebar to the bottom of my main page.
Does anyone have a suggestion for fixing it?
"Don't refuse to go on an occasional wild goose chase - that's what wild geese are for." ~Author Unknown
I saw this quote and picture on the sidebar of the Button Willow Chronicles and thought it was charming. If you love cottages, inspiring quotes, tips from old homemaking books, and lovely illustrations, quotes, and graphics, you'll enjoy this blog. Be sure to give it a visit.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
If you'd like a treat, visit Mrs. U, read her post for Oct. 3, and follow her link to Mrs. S. These ladies tell two lovely stories that are connected with this painting, and I'm sure you'll enjoy them. I have a feeling this is going to become a favorite print of mine.
Monday, October 06, 2008
I'm participating in Emma's "A Commitment to Loveliness" challenge this week. You can find it at http://charmingthebirdsfrom thetrees.blogspot.com.
Here's my list:
1) Get in some sewing on my living room curtains.
2) Review my wardrobe; re-organize shoes and accessories; put away the most summery things
3) Continue working on my "Spa Getaway Bathrooms"
4) Bake something for someone
5) attend to nails
Are you tempted to be fretful these days? If so, you're not alone. I've read many articles which say that health officials are seeing an increase in stress.
Why are the people around us so uneasy? Well, as we all know, the economy is shaky. Prices, jobs, home businesses, real estate values, retirement possibilities, and personal budgets are all affected. We are also in the midst of a hotly debated political contest. Whatever convictions people hold, they realize that the outcome can affect our nation for good or for ill. Our culture is in flux, and many people aren't certain that the changes are positive. We are in a war, and some segments of the population are not happy that this war is being fought. The media sensationalizes all of this, and people can't pick up a newspaper, browse the Internet, or turn on the radio or TV without hearing someone opine about how dire things are.
On top of this, people who want to live godly lives -- especially those who want to keep godly homes -- are facing negative pressures from without and struggles from within. Anything worth doing has its challenges, and the road to godliness is no exception.
Then, there are the challenges that can occur in any time and in any place. Some people are concerned about the spiritual and physical well-being of their loved ones. Others are facing health challenges. Still others don't know how to overcome hurts from the past or feelings of inadequacy in the present.
In this environment, we have the choice to live out a real faith or to become frazzled along with everyone else. Whichever path we choose affects how well or how poorly we fill our role as keepers of our homes. It also determines the influence we will have in this world.
I don't know about you, but, as I work around the home, I can find myself meditating on concerns rather than meditating on the things that are true, noble, pure, lovely, and faith-building. When I let my mind settle on worries, I become inefficient and distracted. Because my attention is divided, I make more mistakes. I also miss opportunities to rejoice. From the overflow of my anxious heart, I can infuse my home with a disquieting influence, rather than a peaceful one.
When I live in trust, on the other hand, I am so much more efficient. I am able to concentrate fully on my activities and, thus, to do them well. I also enjoy them more. Plus, God opens doors for me to scatter seeds of faith, so that His peace shines through me. I am more encouraging to my husband and to my children, as well as to others in my life.
Here are a few suggestions that help me keep my focus where it should be. I hope you'll enjoy them, as well:
A. Consider what kingdom you're living in. You're either a citizen of the kingdom of heaven, or you're a citizen of the world. There's no dual citizenship. (Philippians 3:19-21, Colossians 1:13, Hebrews 12:27-29)
What does this mean in practical terms? True disciples of Jesus have their heart set on doing the Father's will on earth as it is done in heaven. They follow Christ's example and lay down their lives for a hurting world. They also fulfill their responsibilities to earthly authorities. In the process, however, they remember that their true home is the eternal and unshakable Kingdom of God. Thus, they do not let themselves become unsettled or entangled by temporary circumstances. Whatever is happening with the economy, politics, or culture at any given time, they know that God works all things for the good for those who love Him. They know the Lord is in control and that his purposes will prevail. They believe that their Heavenly Father -- their King -- will take care of them. This can bring great peace and joy, even in the midst of difficult times. Matthew Chapter Six, Roman Chapters Twelve and Thirteen.
B. Come to terms with the fact that not everyone is going to approve of or understand the decisions you make. Also, don't fret if the world doesn't always fit your wishes or expectations. Is your heart and, thus, your home an outpost of heaven's kingdom? If so, your values and your choices will be in conflict with the worldly kingdom's values and choices and vice versa. Matthew 5:1-12, Luke 16:15, Col. 2:7-9. Peace comes from trusting that the Lord's ways are true and good. Peace also comes when you let go of an undue concern for the approval of men. John 5:43-45. In the psalms, people express the pain of being misunderstood, but they take it to the Lord and leave it in his hands. That's a good example for us to follow.
Of course, we often mess up, and people rightly point out our failings. Sometimes, we may even need a helpful rebuke to gain our attention. "Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it." Psalm 141:5 Our natural response may be to become defensive, but the Scriptures urge us to love life-giving correction.
Usually, people speak their concerns to us in love, but not always. If you do receive harsh criticism, look for a grain of truth in it. Make right whatever you need to. Do your best to forge a bond of peace. Otherwise, surrender the matter to the Lord and go on about your business. "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18
C. Pray about everything, be anxious for nothing, think about faith-building things, put the scriptures into practice, imitate godly examples. God promises that if we do this things, He will give us a peace that passes understanding. Phil. 4:4-8
Followers of Jesus experience trouble just as everyone else does, and we should not pretend that we don't. The key is how we face these troubles. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."John 16:33
D. Pray for leaders, nations, the spread of the gospel, etc. Pray; don't stew or fret! Colossians 4:3, I Timothy 2:1-3,
E. Bloom Where God Has Planted You: Be faithful in the responsibilities that God has set before you. Do all you can to have a great marriage. Love your husband and children. Love your neighbors. Have great friends with whom you can worship and pray. Manage your home well and keep your appearance neat. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, doing it for the Lord. The Lord fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Even if you think your sphere of influence is limited, God can multiply your faithfulness so that it nourishes many.
F. Take practical steps to focus your thoughts on the good. Memorize scripture. Write down encouraging verses on 3X5 cards and place them in your kitchen or carry them with you as you go. Sing! Listen to music that makes you feel happy. Turn your thoughts to prayer throughout the day. Count your blessings. Think about how God took care of many people in the Bible who were faithful in adversity.
G. Overflow with gratitude. Let your conversation be wholesome -- full of grace and seasoned with salt. Col. 4:6
Remember that complaining, bitterness, and worry are contagious; love, joy, faith, and peace are contagious, too. Which set of attitudes do you want people to "catch" from you? "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe." Phil. 2:13-15
H. Don't listen to negative chatter from the media all day long. Instead, find positive things to listen to and watch. A little news, a little TV, and a little Internet go a long way. It's not necessary to listen to repetitive news stories to know what's going on in the world. Nor, is it necessary to have the TV on all the time in order to be entertained. Be selective about what you read, watch, and listen to. Choose only the best.
I. Leave the things that belong to God to Him. Humbly follow through with what He has asked you to do:
"Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture." Psalm 37:1-3
J. Use your experiences to teach your children and younger women that God is faithful. If you are on the way to becoming an older woman, you have already faced many difficulties in life. You can look back and see where you responded well and where you made mistakes. You have had opportunities to see God's faithfulness in action. "I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread." Psalm 37:5 Children and younger women, on the other hand, may experience hardship for the first time. You can help by saying, "I remember when I was going through ________. This is how God helped me."
Every stage is a new stage, and every stage brings with it new challenges and new joys. I've been married almost 28 years, and I appreciate older women who are walking ahead of me on the road of faith.
We still have among us those who survived the Great Depression and World War II. Ask them how they handled things, and learn from them. Teach your children to respect them as well.
K. Train your children to live faithful, fruitful, joyful, and courageous lives.
Bathroom getaway on a budget program:
Accomplished over the weekend:
A) Blew up photos -- not sure will use. May re-purpose artwork around the house, instead.
B) Found inexpensive bath pillow at Wal-Mart for guest bathroom. Someone gave me one as a present a while back, and I've been using it in my bath and loving it.
C) Added small quantities of medicines to my containers of little doo-dads and cosmetics.
D) Tucked away feminine supplies in guest bathroom
E) DH assembled white shelves with beadboard look to hang on our master bathroom wall. The shelves have doors, so it makes a nice place to hide away extra bathroom supplies.
Friday, October 03, 2008
My current feminine fun is re-doing my tiny little guest bathroom and my master bathroom to feel more like pretty spas/getaways. I don't have a whole lot to do to the master bathroom -- just a few touches. But, I'm really concentrating on the guest bathroom.
Since we're empty nesters with two open bedrooms, we have a lot of company. So, I want my guest bathroom to be inviting and also convenient. While I'm re-doing it, I'm thinking of my daughter and daughter-in-law for inspiration, but I would like all guests to enjoy the space. I don't want to overdo the frilly thing so much that our male guests, particularly my son and son-in-law don't feel comfortable. It's so fun, though, to make a feminine space for my two lovely daughters.
I'm also using a stay in a luxury hotel as inspiration. I took note of how they do things.
Oh, and my goal is to do this on a teeny budget.
This week I'm deciding which of several pictures I might enlarge and place in frames to put in the guest bathroom. I'm going to take down some wallies of light houses that I've had for eight or nine years and go with more of a spa theme.
So, please read the previous post and cast your vote for which two -- if any -- of the photos might work for my project.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Help me decide which of these photos -- if any -- would look good enlarged and in frames in a small bathroom. I'm pressing onward with my "Thrifty Turn Bathrooms into Spa" projects.
I'm only planning to use a couple of photos -- It's a small bathroom! These were taken in Florida, but I don't want them to look "too obviously Florida". I'd like for people to imagine that they could be anywhere romantic and warm -- say on the Mediterranean or in South America, for example. I am looking for frames with a slightly "Old World" feeling.
I'm not the world's greatest photographer, so don't be afraid to say, "Back to the drawing board -- or, rather, back to the photo board for you. "
I have no idea how to rotate photos in Blogger, so please excuse the need to turn your head sideways to see some of them properly. Obviously, when I print them at the photo kiosk, I'll rotate them.
So, how about it? Vote for your favorite two!
Items accomplished so far:
1) Purchased two big white fluffy bath sheets for our master bathroom. I purchased them at Wal-Mart. There are more luxurious towels in the world, but these are nice to the touch and were a good price. DH loves big, over-sized towels. Our old towels are not as big and are getting a little ratty and faded looking. We have a lot of guests and are hard on towels. I have not purchased new ones in quite a while. I usually gravitate toward towels in pretty colors, but I believe that it's good to have a set of basic white on hand. They look fresh, go with anything, and generally wear well.
2) Purchased and put together a five tier chrome shelf for the smaller bathroom. Still deciding if the scale is right, though DH thinks it's ok. On those shelves, I've placed pretty containers with little necessities and luxuries, plus candles. Both my daughter and daughter-in-law love candles. I have several small packages of bath needs. I also placed a mineral soak for athletes so my son and son-in-law won't feel overwhelmed with all the girly stuff. I am going to fold some towels on the bottom shelves. That will make having a house full of guests a lot easier, as I now take out towels for each guest from my linen closet and distribute them. If people can just grab the off the shelves, I think it will be handier.
Still on the agenda: Buy bath pillow for guest bathroom. Someone gave me one for my birthday one year, and I use it still. I love it! Also, figure out a budget-friendly way to pipe soothing music into bathrooms or at least in bedrooms.
Topaztook left some great suggestions for turning my bathrooms into rooms that feel like spas on my last post about my bathroom project. If you're looking for ideas for your own bathrooms, you'll love her comments. I plan to re-read and implement some of her suggestions.