Not too long ago I wrote a blog about clutter. I’ve had to keep the topic in the forefront of my mind since we are in the process of reducing the number of our possessions before our move. Although I don’t think that I have a whole lot of knickknacks, I do have more – we all have more- than we really need, and so we are in the process of purging.
Think about how much “stuff” that you have accumulated. If the rust and dust were a testimony of your life – your habits, your stewardship, you priorities – what would they say? We get so used to our piles of stuff that they become invisible to us. Maybe it would be a good exercise to walk into each room of your house and consciously view it as if you were an outsider. What do you see?
Recently I came across this book: The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life.
As with many things, simply reading a book, no matter how great the ideas are that the author has to offer, is not a magic formula for life-changing transformations. We’ve got to motivate ourselves from simply thinking something is a great concept, to actually doing something about it.
How much more does this apply to God’s instruction book, the Bible? God has offered us the opportunity to enjoy a life-changing transformation, but simply reading about it won’t make it happen. How often do we read God’s Word or hear it presented through a motivating sermon and we think that we really want to do better at such and such? We all have areas in our lives that need some improvement. We know we need to do better, but in many cases our best intentions are forgotten by the next day. Somehow we’ve got to make the transition from thinking about it to actually doing it. We’ve got to want it badly enough to do something about it.
Don’t wait until January 1 to resolve to do better. Spend some time in self-evaluation. Evaluate how you can declutter and simplify your possessions. Doing so will give you freedom to concentrate on more important things in life. But more significantly, spend some time contemplating your life – your character. Be willing to lay aside anything that is hindering you from running your Christian race.
“Therefore let us also,
seeing we are compassed about
with so great a cloud of witnesses,
lay aside every weight,
and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run with patience
the race that is set before us”
I love my sewing machine. George bought it for me a couple of years ago, on our first furlough. I lugged it as a carry on all the way home to Tanzania and I am so thankful I did.
I’ve had a sewing machine ever since we were married, but my old one was…well…old. It still works, but it needs a new springy thing on it, which was hard to find in a short amount of time. Anyway… I’ve put my new one to good use, and would like to use it even more.
So, what does that have to do with Tuesday’s Tip? Sewing is a wonderful skill to have as a homemaker. You can make things for your home. Are you trying to think of ways to save a little money here and there? How about making cloth napkins? You could sew each family member’s initials on a corner (or whatever it is that you do to signify each family member) so that you can reuse them if they aren’t soiled, and you won’t have to share because you’ve forgotten whose is whose. We have a couple of small windows in our bathroom, and I took a white sheet, cut to size, and then hemmed it with a decorative stitch.
Sewing is a great avenue for making unique gifts for people. Linz just made a really cute camera strap. Hmm, I wonder who it’s for? (*raises hand* I know, I know!! ) I’ve sewed several items as gifts for people here: I made dresses for a couple of different girls, I’ve made several baby quilts to give as baby gifts.
Here in Tanzania, it helps greatly to know how to sew. I’m able to make skirts, especially, for Linz and me. And then as most of you already know, I made all the bridesmaids dresses and the flower girl dress for Julia’s wedding. Almost a must if modesty is desired.
If you don’t know how to sew, I highly recommend that you learn. Don’t have a sewing machine? You don’t have to spend a lot of money. Look on ebay or Craig’s List or in your local classifieds. You can start out small and work up. Instructions for almost any project can be found on YouTube.
What are some things you have sewn?
Share your ideas, even photos.
I’d love to hear about them!
Warning: sewing can be addictive! Going to the local fabric store can be dangerous! There are SO many pretty fabrics available and it is easy to spend more than you need to, so you have to be careful about that. Sign up to receive fliers, only buy fabric that is on sale, don’t buy on impulse. Obviously sometimes it’s not cost effective to sew some things, but, that being said…
Get busy and have fun creating!
Amazingly, I am doing a blog two days in a row. This time it’s back to Tuesday’s Tip. I thought I’d mention two things that I particularly enjoy having for my kitchen.
First, I have a huge marker board on a kitchen wall in which the space is not usable for anything else. This marker board has been great for several reasons. We write down things we need to buy the next time we make a trip to the store. We use it to write down menus for several days at a time, especially when we are planning for company. Third, we use it to draw silly pictures and write notes back and forth to one another – like this:
Second, quite a long time ago I made a chart which lists various food categories, and then I’ve listed a number of food ideas that fits each category. The purpose is so that we don’t get stuck in a rut of eating the same things over and over again. That doesn’t happen to any of you, does it?
Since we were traveling in the car for several hours today, I decided to use some of my time to create a new list. I know there are probably some things that I’ve forgotten to include. Feel free to use it as is, or use it as an idea to create your own list with foods your family enjoys. And by all means, if you have some ideas, please share!
I hope you all have a great week!
When I think back to when I was a small child, some of my most vivid memories have to do with gospel preachers visiting in our home, sitting around our cramped dining room table, and enjoying my mom’s good cooking. You really don’t get to know people until you sit down and enjoy a meal together. Since George and I have been married, we also have fed many people around our table. Being the wife of a preacher and missionary, there have been numerous occasions when it was necessary to come up with a meal on short notice.
Have you ever had one of those days when you’ve been gone from the house most of the day? It’s almost supper time, there’s nothing in the house to eat, so you end up going through the fast food drive-through. Uh-oh, there goes the budget! What about those frazzling homeschool days, when you are exhausted by 3:00 and are just too tired to be in the kitchen on your feet for another hour or two to prepare a meal? Or, there are visitors who came to worship, and you’d like to show them some christian hospitality, but you haven’t planned to feed four more. Sometimes you can order a pizza, but let’s face it, if we did that every time we were in a pinch, we’d be broke. If you can relate to any of the above situations, then you are a perfect candidate for bulk cooking for the freezer. This method of cooking ahead has saved the day for me on many occasions.
Think for a moment about all the things that are available in the freezer section of your local grocery store. You too can prepare tasty foods ahead of time, ready to be pulled out and served in short order. One of the easiest ways to get started is to start doubling your meals when you cook, and then eat one and freeze one. Even if you only have a small fridge/freezer, you’d be surprised at what you can freeze. For example, make a double batch of spaghetti sauce (no, not out the jar . Save out a portion that you will use right away, and the rest, after is has cooled thoroughly, can be put into a sturdy freezer bag and freeze flat. The frozen bags can then easily be stacked, which is a great space saver. Do this a few times and you will start to store up a nice selection of foods which will be a great time saver on those days when it seems like there is just not enough time to prepare a good home-cooked meal.
Here are some other ideas which have passed the test in our home:
Green Beans (wash, cut, freeze – no blanching needed)
Yellow crook-necked squash ( wash, slice, freeze)
Cooked pumpkin (great for pulling out later to make muffins or pie)
Apple sauce Cookie Dough (watch out for cookie dough snatchers – you know who you are!)
Biscuits (prepare through the cut out stage, freeze on a cookie sheet. After frozen, put them in a freezer bag. Pull out however many you need when you are ready to bake, just allow a few extra minutes for cooking)
Breakfast breads (banana, cinnamon, pumpkin, etc.)
This list could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. There is SO much more that can go in the freezer besides ice cubes and ice cream.
Storing up food in your freezer for those days when you are short on time or have unexpected company will greatly reduce stress in your life. How wonderful it is to be able to invite someone over and pull out a roll of frozen chocolate chip cookie dough, and within 15 minutes have a warm batch of cookies to serve to your guests, with only a couple of cookie trays to wash.
“Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
1 Peter 4:9