Sunday, October 30, 2011

Laundry Schmaundry - Your Dryer Loves You or Loves You Not?

Some days my dryer loves me,
some days my dryer loves me not.

When my dryer dries my clothes quickly and efficiently,
it loves me.

When my dryer when shrinks a shirt, sets in a stain,
or turns a zipper into a roller coaster for Hot Wheels,
it loves me not.

So, in keeping with the theme
Laundry Schmaundry
I'll reveal secrets learned early in my married life
that keep the love relationship between my dryer and me healthy.

This is my dryer.
Yep, it's lookin' kinda' red neck.
But, hey, my hubby fixed it!
If you didn't read the epic saga, you might wanna'.
And, it's still working...
I've told you secrets about

Remember those dryer secrets I promised I'd tell?

1.  Stains still on the clothes when thrown in the dryer will always be on the clothes. Heat sets the stain. As you throw things in the dryer, check for stains and rewash.  It's cheaper than buying new clothes.

2.  Zippers that go in dryer will usually come out looking like roller coaster track. (Pants are the exception.)   Hang them to dry after finger pressing the zippers smooth.  Zippers are usually made out of a different fabric than the clothing.   Fabrics shrink at different rates. The majority of the zippered tops at the thrift store are there because the owner probably got tired of sitting down and having the zipper rise to meet her. 

This rule also applies to bras and fabrics with mixed fibers. Spandex shrinks less than cotton so the material can bubble. Heat also slowly depletes the integrity of the fabric, so you might not notice the damage until it's too late.

Sweaters rarely go in my dryer, they are also hung dry, sometimes just smoothed over the back of my couch.  I know, lazy, right?

My drying rack folds up and fits neatly between the washer and the wall.

3.  Pens left in pockets can break open in the dryer and like a Spin Art Machine and spread ink throughout the ENTIRE interior of the dryer.  Don't worry, in a few days it will completely dry and you can still use your dryer.  Names are not used to protect the guilty.  Gum can be scraped off the dryer, so can stickers, gummy candies and things too disgusting to even be correctly labeled. If you didn't check the pockets before washing, check before drying.

4.  If saving money, 1/2 dryer sheet works.  I also leave in the old one when toss in a new one.  It takes a few cycles to completely use up the stinky, static killing stuff.  You can also throw the used dryer sheet in the wash cycle to add a little extra whatever-it-is-that's-on-those-things to your water.

I don't like to iron and don't have time to iron.  I don't have time to rewash or redry a wrinkled load.  Kids shouldn't have to hunt in baskets of clean, wrinkled laundry to find something to wear.  I fold clothes into each person's basket, the kids are required to put them away.  I also have one basket for linens.  By disciplining yourself to take the time to fold immediately, you can save more time and money.

If you're really pressed for time, you can take clothes out from the dryer and lay flat on the dryer.  Come back to fold and put in baskets as soon as possible.

6.  Use correct hangers.  The pink one is for articles with sleeves.  The white hanger is for articles with straps.  If you all know this, then this is ONLY for my children, just in case they ever read my blog.  The white hanger leaves funny marks on the shoulders of dress shirts.

7. Clean lint trap with each load.  Yea, you might know this, but obviously, when you read these stats, a lot of people don't.  I could be saving lives, here, people.  Bear with me.  Some have the lint traps below the door, can dig in there and get out a lot of extra lint.  Once a year I unplug dryer, unscrew back and pull out lint and things.  Last year, score, 50 bobby pins were nestled in with lint near the fan. I  took an amazing picture but, surprise,  the card wasn't in the camera so the picture never showed up. 

8. Rolled up  hems means overdried, especially on heavy items, denim skirts and jeans.  Pockets with flaps can permanently dry askew. Finger press pocket flaps down, then partially dry in dryer or air dry. If previous overdrying has rolled up your hem, try ironing them dry.

9.  Keep fabric weight in mind.  If you put a pair of dark jeans with ten dark dress shirts, the shirts  dry first and are overdried by the time the jeans are dry.

If you don't like doing laundry
and you've read the entire
Laundry Schmaundry Series,
you might be overwhelmed with all my laundry rules.

Just remember, I designed my laundry system  out of a desperate need
to save money and time.

The more efficient your laundry system is,
the less time you'll be in your laundry room.
The more money you save,
the more money you'll have to shop.

What's not to love about that?
More time and money?
More time and more money just from doing your
Laundry Schmaundry
Momma Mindy's Secrets.


What's a tip you have to share I missed?

I'd love to hear from my readers!

Making your home sing Mondays

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Give out Gospel with Your Candy

When we were first married and had young children,
we were in a dilemna about Halloween.
We didn't want to participate,
but also felt awkward hanging around the house
with all the lights off, pretending we weren't home.

Then an older believer told us he used the opportunity to pass out tracts.
For one night out of the year, you have kids knocking on your door.

We decided to follow his example and make the most of the opportunity.

This has been our tradition for years.

I like to put the tract and the candy in a ziploc bag for efficiency.
I give 2-3 pieces of mid-sized items.

When we first moved into the neighborhood, we had very few visits.
As we've gotten to know the neighbors,
and gained a reputation for giving out a lot of candy,
more kids come knocking.
(I know this because I heard more than one kid say on the way to my door,
"This is the lady that gives out bags of candy!"

I've noticed the bounty is going up,
when we were kids you might get
one little Tootsie Roll.
Now, some people are giving out whole candy bars.
I don't have to go overboard, but I don't want to be stingy.

Last year we had about 80 guests, and we ran out.

This year I'm making 100 bags.

Some years I've had booklets on hands for the parents
along with special treats just for them.

This is a great Gospel booklet to give out,
with common questions people would ask,
and the answers the Lord would give from the Bible.

Is God Speaking?
What is God Like?
Who Am I?
What Went Wrong?
Is Sin Serious?

I've also created other fun Candy Gospel Ideas
you can see in this older post.
 I apologize for posting at the last minute.
I should have done this a week ago!

This year you can start small,
just pass out tracts you buy from a Christian bookstore.
If they don't have Halloween themed ones left, I use a cartoon type.
It's important to me that the Gospel is clear.

As those kids come knocking on your day,
pray over them.

You just might be the only mommy praying for that precious soul.

May you help bring blessing to the world's holiday!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Laundry Schmaundry ~ Making Laundry Detergent

My series
Laundry Schmaundry
is turning out to be longer than I thought.
Who knew I'd have so much to say about

And, I never thought I'd be one of "those" women who make their own detergent. 

All those years we lived on a teacher's salary, laundry soap was a luxury.
I shopped sales, used coupons, did rebates and used as little soap as possible.

Once my sweet hubby surprised me and with a gift ~
 a 25 pound box of name brand laundry detergent.

I was thrilled.
I was overjoyed.
I was speechless.
I could look forward to months of laundry without worrying about
the next sale,
the next coupon,
the next rebate.

Unfortunately, I was also allergic.
Days of itchy hives later, I figured  it out.
I hated to break the news to my hubby
that his love offering was ruining my life.
A sympathetic neighbor offered to trade
my box of  soap for her new box.
I'm still grateful for her kindness.

That would have been a good time in my life
 to know how to  make my own laundry soap,
but nobody talked about it,
 there was no Internet, and no way to find out this secret.

Now, I'm  at a time where I don't have to pinch pennies
until boogers come out of Lincoln's nose.
(yea, I made this up)
Now, we're making our own laundry soap.

My daughters wanted to learn,
so I was the support team.
OK, so I'm not  really one of "those" women,
but my daughters are!

 I bought them a bucket.
That was the extent of my involvement.
But, it's a really, really, really special bucket.

I didn't want a traditional bucket with one a lid
 you can't get off without biting your tongue so you don't say a bad word.
I've lost some strength due to health issues,
and I didn't want a lid I needed help to open.
I also didn't want to break a  fingernail.
That's a catastrophe, ya' know!

As I hunted around our local hardware store, asking the teenage worker
a lot of questions, he finally offered this amazing solution.
High on the top of the shelf, they offer this cool lid for their 5 gallon bucket.
You pop the lid down into the can, but the inside piece unscrews easily.

The simple ingredients.

Grate one bar of soap and cook with water until melted.
You don't have to measure the water, just use your biggest pot.

Mix in
2 cups borax
2 cups washing soda

Stir until dissolved.

Dump into empty 5 gallon pail.
Add hot water almost to top.
Let cool overnight.

See how easily the lid unscrews?
I love the lid.

One fresh batch of laundry soap, waiting to be used up.

You're probably wondering what kinda' spiritual analogy
 I'm going to bring up about soap.

While searching my Online Bible for a verse on soap,
I doubted I'd find one. I couldn't think of one off the top of my head.
I was wrong.

Jeremiah 2:22
Though you wash yourself with lye,
and use much soap,
Yet your iniquity is marked before Me,”
says the Lord GOD.

Soap works for bathing and laundry,
not for removing our sins.
Iniquity is a sin committed on purpose,
therefore the consequences are greater
than for unintentional sin.

Trying to remove our sins by cleaning up our own act,
doesn't work.
The Lord calls our "good deeds" filthy rags.

When I was in college, my little fellowship was active in campus ministry.
At the beginning of each year, we passed out thousands of Gospel tracts,
aiming to give each student at the University of North Dakota the good news.
We also had Bible studies, the young men did open air preaching,
and we all shared the Gospel on an individual basis.

I'd witnessed to John and he wasn't interested in the Gospel.
However, the next Fall, he joined our group
and was frantically passing out tracts on a street corner.

I said, "John did you get saved?"
John looked confused, "What?"
Rewording my question, I asked, "Did you trust Christ as your Savior?"
He was still confused and didn't answer.
Finally I asked, "Why are you passing out tracts with us?"

John's answer broke my heart.
"Well, I did some really  @#$%#$ stuff this summer, oops,
 sorry, I mean some bad stuff, and I'm trying make up for it."

No matter how I explained the Gospel, he refused to hear.
He felt passing out tracts would cleanse his soul from stains.
He was wrong.  He was using "much soap" instead of the blood of Jesus.

Go ahead, make your own laundry soap.

Just don't try to cleanse yourself from sin,
go to the Savior.


For some fun tips and recipes for scented soaps,
visit my friend Kimmie's blog,
She delightfully describes herself as
"Mama to 8 children, one homemade and 7 adopted,
married to my handsome Knight and daily following hard after Jesus."


If you still want more recipes try Tipnut.

 You can even make it in powder form.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Laundry Schmaundry - Wash Schmaush

This week I've let you in on a lot of personal secrets.

Now, sista' ya' hafta' wash the clothes. 
That's what this series
Laundry Schmaundry
 is all about.

I know a lot of you don't like laundry
so when you read this series you have about as much excitement
as I do when I read a cookbook.
Wait, I don't read cookbooks!

But, I share because if I can inspire or help you in any way,
it might make the job a little more pleasant for you.
If I help you a lot, maybe you'll make a meal for me
and I won't have to cook dinner.

So, finally, onto
 Momma Mindy's Washing Secrets


Water Temperatures

I always start my cycle on hot water, add the soap, make sure it suds, then choose my temperature.

Hot - only for whites
Warm - lights and towels
Cold - for darks and reds.  Also for anything with urine or vomit or blood.  Isn't it amazing that the ickiest things in life are cleaned up with the cheapest, most available substance - cold water?

For several years, didn't have warm water attached to washer and ya' know what?  My laundry still always got clean using only cold water.  Life is more about making your circumstances work, rather than longing for different circumstances.

Pre-treating stains.

The crucial point here is to get the stains out or nearly out before you throw them in the washer to ensure you get the stains out.

Like my mother before me, I am a huge Spray 'n Wash fan. 

Like my mother before me, there were years I couldn't afford this luxury.  Yet, it is a luxury to some SILK~ Single Income Lotsa Kids~Family.  Yea, I made that up.  SILK sounds better than DINK~Duel Income No Kids~ doncha' think?

So, that's when I started keeping a toothbrush in my laundry room.  Sometimes, I just used a bar of soap for pre-treating.   I'd get the bristles wet, run it over the soap, and brush my stain away.  Obviously, you have to be careful about the kind of fabrics you're running your bristles over.

I also would just dip the toothbrush into the detergent lid to get a little soap.

For ring-around-the-collar, a white collar wife's worst enemy, I sometimes used shampoo. I read once if it works on the grease in the hair, it should work on the grease on the collar.  So, that last little bit in the bottom of the bottle would be diluted with water, squirted on the spot.

I'm a slow learner, but I recently added hydrogen peroxide to my pre-treating routine.  Just watch it bubble away blood.  It's amazing!

Laundry Detergent

I've always used the cheapest of the cheapest soap, and used half the amount they recommend. Secretly, I think it's a conspiracy.  They tell you to use more than you need, so you buy twice as much.

About six months ago, my daughters began making laundry soap for me.  But, that's another blog. 

We have sensitive skin, and soaps with a lot of color and/or perfumes bother us.  We LOVE the smell of them, but it's not worth itching all the time and breaking out in little bumps.

Fabric Softener

Although we love the smell, this is something else I couldn't afford for years, so it isn't a habit.  Besides, I could never remember to run down there to put it in.

When I was visiting my married daughter this year, I used her Downy fabric softener ball and it worked well.  I wanted to sit inside the washing machine and figger out how it knew when to open up because it was the rinse cycle.  Anyhoo, if I ever think about this while I'm at the store, I might actually start using this.


Machines today have a bleach dispenser, which is wonderful.  Pouring a few cups of water down the dispenser after you add the bleach will ensure drops of bleach don't damage the clothes in the next load of laundry you wash.

I also know for a fact that if you don't carefully screw the lid on the bleach jug and set it on top of the washing machine, it will shake, rattle and roll all over the the laundry room.  It could ruin the load of clothes in the washer and the pile of laundry on the floor.

Getting my whites white is the bane of my existence.  For years, I used Clorox bleach.  Now, I'm using Oxy. I've tried pre-soaking, I've tried using them both, I've tried washing the loads twice, to no avail.  This is where I am an utter failure.  I cannot get my whites white. 

Instead, I bought the Teenage Boy black socks.  Works great.  I buy the girls colored socks.  Works great.

Then, the girls decided they wanted to go with the luxury hotel look for their bathroom and bought all white washcloths and hand towels.

Anybody have any good advice on getting whites white?

Washing Machine Care

A dirty machine means dirty laundry.  Dirty and grime can build up along the inside of the lid, along the edge and even along the top of the drum.  About once a week, when I'm washing a load of towels, I take a washcloth and wash down the machine in these areas, then toss the washcloth in the load.

The Washer Woman's Psalm

...Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
...Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
...Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

I love doing laundry, because I love the results.  You instantly see and smell a difference.

The Lord must have that same feeling, when He looks down on His people,  sees the glorious white linen because they're washed in the blood and smells the incense of the  prayers of the redeemed ones wafting in His nose.

And like any good parent, when the garments are defiled, He lovingly washes them over and over and over again.

However, in the Lord's laundry room, there is never a stubborn stain He can't remove.  But He doesn't need Spray 'n Wash, He uses His perfected method ~ Pray 'n Wash.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins,
He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
 and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Laundry Schmaundry - Sorting Out Secrets

Yesterday I revealed a dirty secret about myself.

I admitted to my faithful blog readers
I like doing laundry.

I came up with a cleverer (it's a fun word to say over and over)
 title for my blog when I posted it on Facebook,
but it was too late to change it.

Drats.  I am always clever too late.

Anyhoo, if I could, I would rename yesterday's blog

Since you are now well-versed on putting laundry in the hamper,
 the second blog in my series
Laundry Schmaundry
reveals more dirty, dark secrets.
Er, make that
darks, reds, lights,
towels and whites

Yep, ya' guessed right.

Momma Mindy's Sorting Secrets

I know yer' already thinkin',
"What's so hard about sorting laundry?"
I'm thinking as long as I still find pink things that used to be white
and nubby clothes at the thrift stores,
not everyone in the world knows how to sort laundry.

To keep your dirty laundry from getting dirtier by being stepped on
or being worn again by someone passing through the laundry room,
I recommend sorting bins.

It looks neater and is more efficient. 
You'll always know which load needs to be done.

 Mount Washmore won't be looming
as if the Cascade Mountains grew another peak overnight.

A friend uses a row of laundry hampers under a long counter.
I used to use kitchen garbage cans under a red chrome table.
A tension rod and curtain hid my dirty laundry.

When the hamper upstairs is full, I bring it downstairs and sort it.
Monday is normally my only laundry day,
but when I was doing laundry for all six kids,
one day a week wasn't enough.

I still started on Monday,
but then watched the sorting baskets.
When one basket got full, it got washed.

Sorting Rules:
1. Stains are sprayed before tossed into bin.  Gives
Spray-N-Wash a little extra time to work.

2.  Things in pockets are put
 in their laundry basket or a tin cup, unless it's money.
I keep all money.
It's never enough,
but the thought of having a few pennies and nickels to call mine
can offer a special incentive to doing laundry.
I nag ask the kids to check pockets,
but since their failure could mean ruined clothes,
I don't skip this step.

3. Damp items are hung on the edge of the baskets
to dry and prevent mildew.

4. Towels are  washed only with towels.
Jeans are the only exception, because they're the only fabric
that doesn't get nubby from tossing around the dryer with towels.

5. Whites are only with whites so they stay white.
One red sock can turn an ENTIRE basket of whites pink.
Personal experience will validate that.

6.  Reds are always washed alone.
I include their pink cousins, nothing else.

7.  Darks have their own basket because I normally
wash them in cold to maintain their color. 
Unless it's a load of a teenage boy's
dirty black socks, t-shirts and hoodies,
they get warm water and maybe a longer cycle.

8Lights usually show more dirt and don't leech color,
 so are washed in warm water.

9.  Sorting isn't just for color, but fabric weight
Once they're separated into their own baskets,
I might sort again as I'm filling the washer.
I don't wash heavy jeans and sweatshirts with lighter items,
because they take so long in the dryer and 
the lighter items will be overdried.

The Lord uses the sorting process, too.
He separates like a farmer separates
He even sorts by color,
those dark with sin go in one pile and those
washed white in the blood of Jesus in another.
Psalm 51:2
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
The good news?
You can always be moved from the dark pile to the light pile.
Psalm 51:7

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

He can wash away sin and make me
whiter than any of those stinky socks I try to bleach.

That's one little secret,
I can't keep to myself.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Laundry Schmaundry - The Hamper Rules!

My hamper doesn't rule,
I rule.
These are just the rules for my hamper.

Other women like cooking, so they post recipes.

I like laundry.
I know, I'm weird.
If you don't like laundry, I can help you.
I would do yours if you lived closer,
but since you don't, I'll share my secrets of success.

Momma Mindy's Hamper Rules

1. If it ain't in the hamper,
it's ain't gunna' get warshed.

(In honor of living in Kansas for seven years,
today I'm saying "warsh" instead of "wash."
Didja' catch that?)

Even though that's the rule,
the truth is,
 many times they put their dirty clothes in the hamper

I've finished the laundry.

It doesn't matter how many times I say

"It's laundry day!"

"You put your dirty clothes in the hamper, right?"

... there's still glitches.

Maybe the clothes were hidden under the bed,
because they were too embarrassed to show me their dirt,
'cuz I told them not to wear their Sunday clothes to play football.

Maybe they've stained a brand new shirt.

Other times, they're just lazy. 
They hear me calling, but choose not to answer.
They think what they're doing is more important than
what I want them to do.

But, I stick to this, unless they really need a certain item of clothing
and/or them going without their clean clothes would embarrass me.

But, the more you bend the rules, the more they will.

2.  No towels in the hamper.

We live in a very moist climate, things mildew quickly. 
I've had clothes ruined by being smothered
at the bottom of the hamper by a damp towel.

3. Hamper is fer dirty clothes, not clean ones.

If you don't have kids, yer thinking I'm an idiot.
If you have kids, yer runnin' for your marker to put this
statement of brilliance on your laundry hamper.
To clue in childless, hamper-issue-less wonderful readers,
kids love to shove their dirty clothes in the drawers,
and put the clean ones back in the hamper.
Sometimes, they shove them in the hamper still folded.

I know, it's absolutely unbelievable.
I know, if you had kids, they'd never do that.
Good luck with that one, honey.  :)
Lemme' know how it turns out,  because years from now,
I'll still need advice.

Yea, it's totally legal to sniff  the clothes in the hamper,
refold, and put them back with their clean clothes.

4.  The way clothes go in the hamper
is the way they go in the warsher.

The above display is one dirty t-shirt still clinging to
one dirty zip-up.  They will cling to one another in the washer, too.
If they're still clinging, they'll be tumbling around the dryer together.

With six kids I don't have time to pull apart a ton of laundry,
unroll those nasty sock balls, and pull undies out of the pants.
Yea, I had two examples, but didn't use the pics.
Don't want to humiliate my children too much.

But still, despite having rules to
protect their laundry and make it  easier
for Mommma Mindy to warsh their laundry,
they still break the rules.

Yea, it's annoying, frustrating and can make me crabby,
yea, me, I get crabby,
but I really do love my kids and I do love taking care of them.

I encourage myself with these verses:

Galatians 6:9
 And let us not grow weary while doing good,
for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Philippians 2:14
 Do all things without complaining and disputing.

Each time they don't follow
the hamper rules,
 I have to decide if I'll make the child
live with the consequences
if I'll extend mercy and wash another load of clothes.

The Lord just knows what it feels like to be a parent
who's rules aren't followed.
He just has
way more kids
and way more piles of dirty laundry.

We just think we can shove it under the bed where He can't see it,
or we think the stain is so bad He can't cleanse it.
Sometimes, we ignore Him calling us when He notices our stains.

Let's go back to rule #1.

If it ain't in the hamper,
it's ain't gunna' get warshed.

Let's be good kids,
and toss our dirty laundry in His hamper.

'Member?  He's the one who can warsh it
and make it whiter than snow.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Really? October is Almost Over?

On some occasions, I plan  far ahead and succeed.

On other occasions, I do minimal planning and still succeed.

 I'm now at the point where I'm trying to do as little as possible,
and still be able to call the occasion a success.

Take fall decorating, for instance.

I usually love to begin the school year with a bang
and decorate my house with all kinds of cool fall things.

Last year, I did an awesome job.
Last year, it took a long time to take it down.
Last year, I didn't get the fall decorations in the attic till summer.

This year, I'm a little slow on the uptake.

My game plan had to change because my life is different.

Instead of rummaging through my attic, we went to a local outdoor market.

My faithful sidekick and companion, Rebekah,
chose the best pumpkin of all.

Really, she did.

Notice the mild weather?
Lovin' it!

For the years I feel more maroony and less orangey
the new white pumpkins are great.

Nothing says fall better than these babies,

and one of these.

When we got home I put someone else in charge.
Yea, the blonde one, not the burlap one.

She decorated the buffet with my green glassware and her
farmers' market finds.

It was a thrill for Rebekah to "be in charge"
arranging, rearranging and calling out for my approval.

It's so wonderful to give kids a little boot out of the nest,
and see where they fly.

A bag contained mini gourds, pumpkins and Indian corn.
(Are we still allowed to call it that?  The name always makes me feel so not PC)

Pedestal bowls are a great way to decorate for the seasons
simply and inexpensively.

The green felt placemat is from Target, I found three and nabbed them.
I also put one on the mantle and one on the coffee table.

I also have pedestals in clear glass.
For years, my Christmas centerpiece was vintage glass balls
with bits of evergreen cut from a tree in our yard.

Even branches, pinecones and leaves can look amazing.

Place a few mini pumpkins where candles used to sit
and you have instant fall decorating.

No fuss, no frills, no ladder climbing,
and all can go into my compost at the end of the season.

I might go into the attic and pull out a few more things,
but I am giving myself permission not to, if I don't wanna'.

Sometimes, our best ideas come when we have to simplify our lives.

We women like to beat ourselves up with all these imagined rules
we have about how our homes, holidays and closets should look.

Learn to enjoy the moment.

You may be creating even better family memories.

Besides, we all know,

"If Momma Ain't Happy,
Ain't Nobody Happy"
and for now,
simplifying my life,
is what's making this Momma happy.

Making your home sing Mondays

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Lord Spoke to Me

In the Scriptures the Lord spoke
through the wind,
through a donkey,
through a still small voice,
through the prophets,
through the mouth of babes and
through a burning bush.

He speaks to His people,
but they don't always listen.

Sometimes, when we aren't listening,
He tries a different approach.

He's a gracious, patient God.

Two Sundays ago,  I was rummaging around in
a drawer in a Sunday school class.
Since I am the one who organizes and buys supplies,
I thought I knew what was in this drawer.

I was wrong.

Somehow, these verse cards appeared,
just when I needed them.
When I was beset by trials and not walking
in the peace that passes understanding,
the Lord spoke to me.

I deserved a knock upside the head,
because I wasn't believing all He had already promised.

But, the Lord spoke in quiet beauty instead.

This time, I heard Him,
I praised Him,
I cried,
and I believed Him.

Instead of that rap upside the head,
He beckoned me with a heart of eternal love,
everlasting grace and undeserving mercy.

I finally picked up the handle on the suitcase of His promises,
and began carrying it with me on my journey.


How has the Lord been speaking to you?

Has He given any extra encouragement just when you needed it?

I'd love to hear how He is working in your heart.

Because that's what kind of amazing God we have,
He loves to speak to His people.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's the Little Things that Count

Several times a year, my husband takes me to a writing conference
to learn the craft and meet published and aspiring writers.

He makes arrangements at a nice hotel,
we eat at restaurants,
and enjoy a weekend get-away.

This past weekend we were in Portland
to hear Clint Kelly keynote for the Oregon Christian Writers.

Sometimes, I still get this
"pinch me, it can't be real" sensation
when I'm in a fancy, grown-up situation.
Ya' know, we're still pretty much
Red Necks
at heart.

Despite the presence of the Concierge in the foyer,
(that's FOY-AY, if you've watched Princess Diaries)
the Valet at the door to park your car and open your door,
(I'm not a feminist, I let them open the door for me)
and the fanciness all around,
that's not what makes my heart go pitter-patter.

It's those little things that make me happy.

Believe it or not,
this was really thrilling to me.
It was like an extra special welcome to my hotel room.

I had to pull it out and see how it was done.

I worried,  wondering if it was considered
"wasting toilet paper"
if I threw away the accordion piece instead of using it.

Don't tell my parents, k?
Raising six kids on a teacher's and a secretary's schedule,
they had to have financial guidelines for the house,
including strict rules about how much tp we could use.

The pattern was repeated with a washcloth and hand towel on the tub.
Yea, I'm pretty simple to be enthralled with these details.

My muse on these little things began taking a shape
of its own, when I began thinking about my life.

It's also
The Little Things 
 that thrill our families.
It's easy to think life is about the big moments,
the extensive family vacations,
the expensive presents,
planned holiday celebrations and
bigger homes and newer cars.

When I listen to my older kids talk,
their favorite memories are usually mundane
occurrences that didn't even register in my memory bank.
A quick survey made this list.

The kids love ~
*Mom or Dad acting out of character
*playing Spoons
*family dinners
*building snow forts
*family roller-blading adventures
*trips to Tastee Freeze

They didn't mention anything related to money,
getting what they wanted for birthdays and Christmases,
big purchases or any of the trips we've taken.

The two main ingredients in all their favorite memories?
1. The whole family participated.
2. Everyone was happy.

My husband doesn't collect anything,
doesn't want anything,
never needs anything.
Coming up with gifts for this man is hard,
but living with him on a daily basis is easy.

For him,
it's always
The Little Things That Count.

He loves ~
*his scalp scratched, nothing relaxes him more
than having my fingers run through his hair
*when I call him at work just to say "I love you"
 "dwanna' know whatcher' naughty kids just did?"
*being complimented
*when I repeat things I've learned from him

After 25 years of marriage
and 24 years of parenting,
I still remind myself what's important.

When life gets faster and busier,
it's easy to say NO to  little things.
Sometimes I think I'm too busy to
go for walks,
sit around the table after dinner to talk,
play games or
watch a movie.

But, that little thing 
 might become one of their favorite memories.

I want my kids to look back on these moments
we've shared as a family with the same I awe I had
when I beheld the accordion folded toilet paper.

It's The Little Things That Count.