November 11, 2012

Contentment... Again

I once had the privilege of meeting one of those "Titus 2" older women whose faith I had been admiring from a distance. I shared with her my greatest passions and highest aspirations, then asked for her wisdom on how to live gracefully while waiting for those opportunities. I expected practical advice on how to prepare for them or how to be patient while waiting. What she instructed me to do has turned out to be so much more difficult.

October 30, 2012

Homemade Cleaning Essentials

The way I clean my home has changed drastically over the past year. It has become easier, safer, and much cheaper. Here are my current criteria for cleaning methods
  1. It must actually work.
  2. It has to be cheap.
  3. It should be easy to use.
  4. Ideally, it's also non-toxic.
I'd love to share the recipes I've found for household cleaning products that generally meet those standards. I use five inexpensive essentials to make just about every cleaner, and several of those ingredients are items most people keep on hand anyway.

October 17, 2012

Reality Check

You know how you can see someone at church week after week  dressed in her flawlessly coordinating outfits, her hair blow-dried and shaped exquisitely, and her happy little family lined up in the pew beside her with perky smiles on their faces and you inadvertently form the assumption that her life is perfect? I think the same thing happens with blogs.

October 15, 2012

About My Best Friend

Let me tell you about my best friend.

Since I live with him, I know him pretty well.

September 21, 2012

Clutter and Eternity

I have strong feelings about clutter. It affects my consciousness of eternity.

I've noted before how I'm learning that having an impeccably clean house is only beneficial if it serves the family living there. In the same way, the material things that fill our homes are only valuable to the extent that they serve their stewards. If objects in my home are simply taking up space, they're actually hindering me as I endeavor to make home a place of purpose.

September 6, 2012

Six Rumors I Heard Before Marriage

I am no marriage expert. In fact, I am a marriage rookie. But I have learned some lessons over the past year and a half that no one could have taught me before I was married.

I thought of titling this post "Six Things I'd Like to Tell My Newlywed Self."

But the truth is that I had been told and had read these things before I got married. I just didn't really learn them until I lived them. Before I was married, it was as if these were rumors I'd heard whispered. But now that I've experienced the consequences of taking them seriously or not, I've seen with my own eyes that the rumors were true.

A Cloth Update

We haven't bought paper towels or napkins in a long, long time.
We like it that way.

About four months ago, we switched over from paper napkins to cloth with no looking back. We haven't missed those paper products one bit. The switch to cloth napkins was the easiest change I've ever made in the name of frugality.

August 25, 2012

Obstacle #3: Rebellion

The title of this post sounds harsh.

I've never been considered a rebellious person. My personality makes me naturally more compliant than insubordinate, more accommodating than demanding. But I have been rebellious within my marriage. In this post, first I'm going to explain what I mean by rebellion. Then, I hope to show how I've identified rebellion as one of the obstacles that prevent peace at home.

July 28, 2012

When Surrender is More Beautiful

Valentine, by George Lundeen, located in Decatur, Ga.

When I was a teenager, I used to hear women complain about their husbands leaving dirty clothes on the floor every day. I felt so frustrated when I heard them go on and on about this endless battle in their homes. At the time I thought, "If that's the worst thing they have to complain about, they should be thankful!" Later, as an unmarried young adult, when I heard the same kind of complaint from married friends, I would think, "She should be thankful just to have a husband."

July 23, 2012

"Just Wait Until..."

On a regular basis, my husband and I get told that we look like we're in love with each other. People say pretty frequently that we look at one another with "starry eyes" and that we act like we're still dating. I like hearing these things! Yet, almost without fail, there's a follow-up.

"Just wait until you have kids. All that lovey-dovey stuff will change."

Or sometimes it's
"Just wait 'til you've been married for [any number of] years. Trust me, you won't be googly-eyed then."

This cynicism isn't unique to my situation. For every person out there experiencing happiness, it seems there's someone else with a few more negative experiences under their belt, ready to quell it.

July 9, 2012

Why I Love Laundry: Simple, Frugal, and Beautiful

This may sound completely insane, but laundry is one of my favorite activities.

It wasn't always this way. Laundry used to be a dreaded chore. But now, I think I've discovered a laundry routine that suits me. I've fallen into a rhythm, and I look forward to doing laundry. I think it's because I stumbled into this laundry ritual that syncs with everything else I love in homemaking: it is simple, frugal, and beautiful.

May 16, 2012

Saving with Homemade Laundry Soap

Making frugal laundry soap is one smart, easy way to steward our resources purposefully. I spend no more than ten dollars per year on laundry products, total.

The original recipe was given to me at one of my bridal showers along with a ready-made five-gallon bucket full of the laundry soap (a genius gift, by the way!). We used that original bucket of soap for the first four months of our marriage before I finally got to make my own batch. Each bucket full since then has lasted the two of us about four months, and each costs me less than $3.00 to make.

May 14, 2012

The Cloth Switch

Today is the first day of a new era in my household. We're switching to cloth.

Napkins, that is.

Over the course of the past year, I've moved away from using paper towels for cleaning simply because of how expensive paper towels are. It's convenient to just wipe something down and then toss away the mess; but it's costly! Have you priced paper towels lately- even the store brand ones? I discovered that tossing a cleaning rag into a load of laundry is no more difficult than tossing a paper product into the trash, and it's a whole lot more resourceful.

January 28, 2012

Obstacle #2: Discontentment

Back in the day, when my husband and I were first becoming acquainted, he asked me the monumental question, "So what do you want to do with your life?"

Pensively, I told him my list.

#1. Be a mother.
#2. Wholeheartedly devote myself to something, without reservation.
#3. Be content.

That third aim might not seem very ambitious. Be content? As in, happy with where you are, not striving for improvement? "I like my life exactly as it is, thanks. I have no goals at all."