Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Your Patience is Appreciated

Friends, Bloggers, Followers, Lurkers and anyone else who is here, please forgive my rather sudden drop off from the face of my blog. I have much to share but time right now will not afford me the luxury of sharing it all. The enemy has been hard at work to steal, kill and destroy - I am standing in my victory!!!

Adding to that I spent Sunday and Monday at the hospital with a very dear friend who had a heart attack and is making arrangements to have open heart surgery - your prayers are appreciated ;-)

On the brighter side.....I have the giveaway figured out and need only the time to catch you all up and get organized. I love you all and seek your prayers as I walk through this round!!

Oh and by the way....Happy Birthday to me ;-)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Birthday Week - Day 2

Yesterday, I eluded to something wonderful that happened and promised that I would fill you in on it today. Those of you who know me personally or have been following my blog for any length of time know by now that my heart is in the country and anything relating to it. I have spent the last few years training myself and learning skills that I hope will help my transition to country living a little easier when at last we have a rural address.
To that end, this year we are doing 4H Club, this I think will be great for WonderBoy in getting him acclimated a little to what to expect in the country and for me well it really is a bonus as I get to hang out during the class and tag along on the field trips ;-) We spent yesterday afternoon at a farm just north of the city learning about how the farm functions day to day as well as being introduced to the animals that live there. They had lots of cats and dogs, chickens, a friendly rooster, sheep, an angora goat, horses and cows!! I love cows!! They have those big sweet soulful eyes and they give us wonderful milk and delicious beef. Those cows were mooing up a storm - it made me smile from my toes on up! But what really did it for me, what really put me over the top was this.......I got to milk a cow!!! A real live cow, real milk in a real milking bucket and everything!!! And I did it!! I was nervous at the thought but knew that I needed to suck it up and fight the fear - I mean how will I ever be a 'country girl' if I can't milk a cow!!!! And so I did ;-) I had a little shaky start until I got a feel for it as it were - I was pulling where I should have been squeezing - sorry Mrs. Cow, you were very gracious and patient with me. WonderBoy also gave it a go without any thought of hesitation - although he did not control his excitement as well as his mother. This is a skill that will come with age I pray ;-) The puppies were a big draw - let me tell you this boy needs a dog and we have promised one when we get moved. He is so crazed to have a canine side kick that I am pretty sure he will be asking when are we going to get his dog before the moving truck is unloaded!! The Principal is having good fun being sweet and showering me with Birthday Week attention - a girl could certainly adjust to this daily show of love and affection ;-) This morning he woke me again (he gets up earlier without an alarm daily, I love to get up early but need a little assistance which my dear husband is kind enough to supply), lots of sweet soft kisses to wake me (I know it's a little TMI - but that is what he did!!) and while the restroom was clear of surprises - this was waiting on the island in the kitchen. I know what you are thinking - a basting brush?? I was thrilled, truly! I have really wanted one of these swanky silicone types - and it's red - my favorite color, and it's shiny - shiny makes me happy too!! And another sweet handmade with a lots of love card - I am so grateful for this man!! I am certainly one of the lucky ones!!! Perhaps this will further explain my delight........ That pretty much wraps it up for today. There is no telling what Day 3 of Birthday Week will hold in store, but I will certainly check in and let you know as the week progresses. Thanks for dropping in and sharing my week with me!! Be sure to stop back in before the week is over - I am working on a giveaway, after all I can't be the only one getting goodies this week, I feel the need to pay it forward. I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing yet and when it will be ready, but it's looking good for the 19th though ;-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Birthday Week Begins ....... A Testimony of Victory

Birthdays are supposed to be happy, joy filled, celebratory times right? That is what I have always thought, a time to celebrate and honor, to embrace those we love. I LOVE to make a big deal over the birthday of a loved one, but oh no - not mine - do not make a fuss over me!! So it has been for the majority of my adult life. My birthday which is a week today has been a season of much stress, anxiety and sadness in my home for many years. My poor husband has tried and tried and tired to get it right. He didn't know and for a long time, I didn't either that he was doomed to fail no matter what he did. Stay with me, the story has a happy ending, but I need to dig a little deep to get there.
A few weeks back I posted Laying the Foundation this was the beginning of what I hope will be many more getting real and exposing the darkness to light posts. There is no question that He is calling me out of the darkness and into his marvelous light that I may proclaim His praises(1Peter 2:9) and give testimony to His goodness and powers of transformation in my life!!.......I'm going to bare a little here so if you don't want to know more than you already do.....this is a good stopping point ;-)
Several years ago now I began a wonderful journey through a ministry that I was introduced to at our church. Elijah House Prayer Ministry Training, brought me to an opportunity and a place in my life that I had never been before. Through the prayer counseling/training I was in a safe and loving environment where I felt the freedom to confront things that I had kept safely buried and hidden for in some cases most of my life. The healing that took place each time I attended a retreat/training weekend was unlike anything I had ever experienced. One weekend in particular we had attended the Friday night sessions and it was during one of those talks that something was mentioned relating to birthdays and sadness. Well my radar was bleeping big time!! My internal metal detector was deafening. The speaker talked about how some people struggle terribly around their birthdays and so we should know to ask questions like - What were the circumstances surrounding your birth? Was it planned? Happily anticipated? What kind of pregnancy did your mother have? What were the circumstances of your conception - relate these to the time of year they took place etc. - you get the idea. Due to of all the sad, secretive and just plain unpleasant circumstances surrounding my birth, I knew that this was something I needed to examine and have broken off me, and ultimately seek healing for through prayer. Well, I know now, that I must be one of His favorites, because that very same evening after most everyone had turned in for the night, the ministry house was quiet and myself and one other woman were the only ones still up. We talked and through conversation ended up discussing the sadness and struggles that I had always felt around my birthday. I was not planned, not wanted, nor was I happily anticipated - no wonder I had such a hard time embracing the whole "it's my birthday, let's celebrate me" mind set. This dear lady asked if she could she pray for me and with me, I was grateful for the opportunity to address this issue so soon after the light bulb had gone on. One of the things that had been suggested in the talk earlier in the evening was that, when working with someone who had issues surrounding their birth, to join with them before the Lord ask Him to show the person where He was at the time of their birth, what was His perspective of things. While she prayed a picture began to form in my mind, there was a painted cinder block wall in the delivery room, which Jesus broke through and He walked directly over to the delivery table and took me from the Doctor, cradled me in His arms out in front of His body and He was smiling the most marvelously brilliant smile I have ever witnessed, He sang to me , but not in words, more in emotions - it was stunning!! He slowly and joyfully and effortlessly danced around the delivery room with me in His arms, looking into my eyes with more love than I have ever known . I was so filled with His joy and love for me. I wept and wept but not from sadness, I immediately felt the absolute love and joy and knew the healing that had taken place through this prayer vision was what I had been seeking without even knowing I needed it!!

This experience was in the early Spring so when Fall rolled around, I was anxious to see how I would handle myself as my birthday drew nearer. I prayed and prayed and called out the enemy telling him in no uncertain terms that I was worthy of celebration and that he would no longer rob me of the joy and pleasures associated with turning another year older. He had the first 44 years, birthdays 45 onward belonged to me and my Creator!! So it was this time last year, a week before my birthday and I was armed with knowledge and healing and the joy of the Lord was my strength, the enemy was not invited to my party. I even did a little extra celebrating, starting about a week ahead with a good old fashioned night out with the girls dinner with my Mama Leisha Girls and several other events as the week went on. I did well and was happy and having fun!!

I am pleased to report that my 45th birthday was delightful!! I spent the day in Tennessee with The Principal and WonderBoy, we went to Falls Mill, letterboxed in and around Lynchburg, TN where we had a wonderful lunch on the square in at a neat down home BBQ spot. We drove around the countryside and even stopped at a place on Hwy 64 in Belvidere, TN called Swiss Pantry - I love to go there and get home baked Amish Cowboy Cookies!! We stopped on the way home and picked up some yummy deli salads, olives and crusty bread and had a picnic at home for dinner, we did gifts and my guys got me a cake that said Happy Birthday Princess/Mom on it - of course I cried!! It was a fabulous day.

Well this year, The Principal is excited that he can celebrate without fear of repercussion or certain failure, so much so that we have been joking about "Birthday Week" for sometime now. This morning, he woke me at 6am with a sweet kiss, told me the coffee was ready and a cheerful "Happy Birthday Week Honey" and after we made up the bed he said he would see me downstairs for coffee. When I walked into the restroom to do my morning business, this is what I found.......one of my very favorite things in the whole wide wonderful world is when my sweet husband makes me a card (especially if he draws a picture or scene of some sort- they are my favorite of the favorites) or writes me a note, so all by itself the note/card would have put a smile on my face and a tear in my eye. The fact that I am out of good body lotion and dry skin season is ready to jump into high gear is a fabulous bonus. And I have to tell you.....something almost as wonderful as this happened later today, but I'll wait and share that with you tomorrow - Birthday Week has begun ;-) I'm celebrating that My Father in Heaven loves me and regardless of what the circumstances were that gave me life, He celebrates me and that is more than enough good reason for me to put on a smile and join Him!!
Psalm 27:10 tells us ....
Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.
...... and He did ..... with a joyous smile, pure love and we danced ;-)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap Tutorial

This is one of those posts that I have been meaning to get around to for some time now, the delay has been that I don't have to make laundry soap often and so, the window of opportunity is small. One of the many wonderful things about homeschooling is it offers so many opportunities to teach Life Skills on a daily basis. So while I set WonderBoy loose to make his first batch of laundry soap I was on hand to oversee and guide and captured the process to share with you ;-) I have to admit, the idea of making my own laundry soap was for a long time, intriguing but a little bizarre and even intimidating. I have not purchased laundry soap now for 2 plus years and cannot imagine any reason why I would at this point. The benefits of making your own laundry soap far out weigh any reasons to purchase it for me. I know what is in it, I can add the fragrance I like to the degree to which my family enjoys it, I reuse the same containers over and over again and it costs pennies to make as opposed to the $15 per bottle I would be paying at the store for the same amount or less - pretty much a no brainer!! For me the most difficult part of making homemade laundry soap is finding a store locally that carries the ingredients. I can sometimes get borax at Walmart but have a hard time finding washing soda, when Kroger had it last week I bought 2 boxes - I am good to go for a while now.
1/3 to 1 whole bar soap
(this is preference - I have used as little as 1/3 of a bar with good results, but I tend to use a whole bar most times - I live with guys who work and play hard - any kind will do)
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
3 gallons/4 cups warm water
1. Begin by pouring 4 cups of water into a medium sized pot to boil.
2. While waiting for your water to boil grate as much soap as you plan to use, this can be done by hand or in a food processor - your choice. If using a hand grater watch your flesh!!
3. By the time you are finished grating your water should be boiling, add grated soap to pot and stir until dissolved fully. This will take a few minutes and some pretty consistent stirring, the smell can be very strong at the point so if you are sensitive to that kind of this you may want to seek the aid of a designated stirrer ;-) The mixture will be cloudy and milky looking when all the soap is dissolved.
4. Now using a small pail or drink pitcher add 3 gallons of warm/hot water to a 5 gallon bucket. The bucket we use is perfect for this job and used exclusively for laundry soap - it has measurements on the bucket and a foam grip to make moving the heavy full bucket no big deal - look for one like this - you will be glad you did. We probably got it at Home Depot, maybe Lowe's.
5. Now add your pot of soapy brew to the 5 gallon bucket. You will have a bucket of milky soapy water, not to worry this is how it should look - the magic comes later ;-)
6. Next, add 1 cup of washing soda and stir for 2 minutes with a large long handled strong spoon - you need to get the bottom of the bucket and edges in the stirring process so a small serving spoon won't work.
7. Once your washing soda is dissolved and well mixed in, add 1/2 cup of borax and stir for 2-3 minutes to dissolve and mix well.
8. At this point you can add your fragrance if you so desire. We love good smelling things at our house and so I like to add a little extra yummy smell - this time I chose a sandalwood amber fragrance oil that I got at the Dollar Tree - you can use essential oils but that would drive your cost up considerably - for something like this I am perfectly happy using Dollar Tree fragrance oil - it's up to you ;-)
9. Give it one final really great and wonderful stir.
10. Pop the lid on tight and let it sit overnight.
This is where the magic happens. In the morning you will open your bucket to 3 gallons of gelled glop - it will smell great, it will clean your clothes but the consistency will be a little watery and a gloppy - that is perfectly ok!
I transfer mine to a pour spout container that I keep above my washing machine for easy peasy dispensing when it's laundry time. Use 1/2 cup per load or the measure out in the plastic cup that came on one of those expensive store bought laundry bottles that you will never have to buy again - they work great ;-) I have used the same one for years and take great satisfaction in knowing that I will never buy another one again!!
So there you have it! Easy as can be, fun to make and best of all it's frugal and it works....what are you waiting for? Check your hair, jump in the car and run out and get the ingredients that you don't have on hand now!! If you have what you need to make this you should not even be reading this part!!

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