What’s Cooking Wednesday? Super Simple Pineapple Cake

“Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.” ~ Proverbs 15:16
pineapplecake

For the last few years, my husband Chris and I have hosted a movie night for our church. God placed a dream in our hearts to provide local families with a positive, clean entertainment venue, an alternative to the many ungodly opportunities Satan provides. Fortunately, our preacher jumped on our offer and helped us get the ball rolling for this ministry. Every first Friday of the month, we can be found serving homemade desserts and providing fellowship to whoever walks through the door. After the food and socialization, we settle in to watch an inspiring movie. Last month, we had thirty-nine people join us.

As this is our ministry, we provide the snacks. I try to do four to five different options to accommodate differing palates. You can imagine with close to forty attendees, this can get expensive fast, but today’s recipe has been a real life saver! I won’t take any credit for this one though; all credit belongs to a good friend. Several months after we started our ministry, I was sitting with my friend Denise talking about the desserts I planned to make for an upcoming movie night. She reached over, took my hand and said, “Honey, I’m going to give you the best tip you will ever get.” She proceeded to give me the following recipe with directions for baking.

You will need non-stick spray, a white or yellow cake mix and a 20 oz can of crushed pineapple.
cakeingredients

Mix the cake mix and pineapple.
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Spray a disposable cake pan with non-stick spray, and then pour the cake mix into pan.caketobake

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for one hour.
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Serve cooled.
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Amazing! And cheap. And fast. And hardly any mess. And did I mention, AMAZING?! Thank you, Denise, for your super simple pineapple cake; it truly has been the best tip ever! And if you’re wondering about the verse with this recipe, it’s just a reminder because this cake is sooooo good! Don’t eat it all, or you will get sick. LOL :) Enjoy!

Be sure to check back in after you have made this cake to let me and other readers know what you thought!

Tuesday’s Tidy Tip: Use What You Keep

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” ~ Hosea 10:12

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I am all about the purge. No one needs twenty-five mixing bowls, three sets of china and forty kitchen gadgets! You may be the world’s greatest cook. You may have a half dozen kids and need to prepare a dinner that feeds said army. You may voluntarily cook dinner for different church functions, family gatherings, etc. on a weekly basis. But you still don’t need everything that you have. None of us do.

Which is why I’m all about the purge. To help eliminate the clutter from our home, I keep give away boxes or bags in several inconspicuous places. One sister stopped by yesterday and left with a bag full. Another sister has a box of items I’m collecting for her in a piece of furniture in the front room. (Since the third sister says she’s purging too, no bag for her.) I keep a bag ready for clothes to take to my favorite consignment store, and I’ve always got a box for Goodwill donations. Let’s not forget the eBay box in the closet. Just because I don’t need something doesn’t mean that someone else couldn’t or wouldn’t use it.

I haven’t always been this way though. I remember the days in my not-so-distant past when I thought I needed to keep everything. I justified my obsession with a few common excuses.

I spent a lot of money on these dishes.”
“This was my mom’s book before she died.”
“I remember my grandmother using this cookie cutter.”
“My sister bought me this angel as a gift.”

These excuses justified my behavior and proved that I absolutely had to keep everything. Wrong! Letting go of certain items freed us from clutter, disorganization, stress, strain, so many things!
But today’s post isn’t about cutting out the clutter. It’s about using the things that you keep. If an item is special to you or reminds you of someone you love, it is okay to keep the item provided that you have a plan for it. The item does you no good and brings you no enjoyment if it is being stored in a closet for “safekeeping”. But if you find a way to use the item, then you will enjoy it.

Let me give you a few examples from our home.

Grandma Smith’s Jars: My husband’s grandmother died a number of years ago. My husband asked for her canning jars. A strange request. At the time we didn’t can, and he certainly didn’t/doesn’t cook. Yet, Chris remembers his grandma’s garden. He remembers swiping an onion or tomato and eating them straight out of the garden. He remembers how his grandma canned everything. He remembers that every time you were in her home, she offered to feed you. Hospitality was a great part of who she was, and for Chris the jars are a treasured reminder of her and her hospitable home. I use some of the jars for food but I found a way to let Chris enjoy his memory of his beloved grandma every day by using one of the jars as a soap dispenser in our bathroom.
sinkjar

Grandma Stacy’s Bowl: Several years ago, I stopped by my mother-in-law’s house. She had something for me. It was an old mixing bowl that belonged to her Grandma Stacy. My husband doesn’t have the wonderful memories of Grandma Stacy that his mother has but that bowl is priceless to me. It meant that I was a part of Sharon’s family, that I was a daughter that she wanted to pass along a piece of family history to. I wasn’t just an in-law to be dealt with because she had no other choice, but I was important to her. I love my in-laws very much and the bowl is a reminder that the love is reciprocated. The bowl resides in the fridge and holds our eggs.
eggbowl

Chris’s Green Pitcher: Several years ago, I participated in a secret sister exchange at church. One Saturday morning, I decided to do a little browsing to find some unique gifts for my friend. Chris loves to shop, so he tagged along. We went to an antique store, a store of homemade craft items, several florists. We had a wonderful time! In one of the stores, I saw this green pitcher that I really liked. It didn’t match my secret sister’s tastes at all, but boy, did it hit my hot button! Not one to deviate from the mission at hand, I refused to buy myself the pitcher. I had limited funds and I was determined that they were going to be spent on my secret sister. While I made my purchase, my husband disappeared to the restroom. I left the store and waited outside on the sidewalk. When Chris joined me, he carried a bag. In it was my green pitcher. How I love the man that spoils me and surprises me! I remember his love, and I remember the special day we had together meandering through stores looking for the “right” item. The pitcher now sits next to the stove and holds my spoons, spatulas, whisks and other cooking utensils.
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These are just a few examples from our life, but I hope it gets you thinking. What stored item(s) could you be enjoying? What memory is attached to it? How can you find a way to bring this item into your daily life? How can you use what you keep?

What’s Cooking Wednesday? BBQ Meatball Recipe

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” ~ I Corinthians 10:31
meatballmeal meatballs
At our house, we love finger foods. We don’t want to wait for a party or get together to enjoy them, so sometimes I’ll make appetizer type finger foods as our dinner. One favorite is BBQ meatballs. I serve them with homemade cornbread, cooked carrots, and a baked potato. Talk about comfort food!

Heidi’s BBQ Meatballs Recipe

Minutes to Prepare: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Number of Servings: 48+ meatballs

Ingredients:
2 pounds ground turkey
1 1/3 cup ketchup (divided)
3 tablespoons bread crumbs (panko)
1 egg
2 tablespoons onion flakes
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup of light brown sugar (can do 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 honey)
6 oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp hot cayenne pepper sauce
allmeatball
(disclaimer: accidentally had A-1 instead of cider vinegar out)

 
Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Combine meat, 1/3 cup ketchup, panko, and spices in bowl. Mix thoroughly and shape into meatballs. I use my melon scooper to make 1-inch ones all consistently the same size.
drymeatballs
3) Bake in oven until brown (18-23 minutes).
4) Transfer meatballs to crockpot.
5) Mix liquids with tomato paste and sugar and pour over meatballs. Stir gently. Cover, cook on low for 4 hrs.
wetmeatballs

Enjoy! What strange food tradition does your family have? What did you think of the meatballs?

 

Weekend Warrior Challenge: Try Something New!

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“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

God created a new universe out of nothing. He saved His fallen creation with an unprecedented move of sending His own Son to die for our sins. When we become saved, He creates in us a new creature. See a pattern? I really believe God loves NEW things! So today’s challenge is to try something new.

You should know that Chris and I don’t do things in halves. When we commit to something, we don’t just stick our big toe in and test the water. We take a running start, arch into position and complete a full bomb dive. That’s just the way we are. Well, several years ago, Chris and I went on a journey to rid our home of all toxins. We decided this journey was both spiritual and physical. We didn’t want anger, negativity, disappointment and hurt (all toxoids) to control our attitudes and emotions, to destroy our marriage and to infiltrate the lives of those who entered through our door. We didn’t want carcinogens and parabens to hide in our hygiene items. We didn’t want food like substances that have absolutely no nutritional value to enter our bodies through our diet. And we didn’t want cancer causing, poisonous cleaners to kill some germs on our surfaces while doing other damage to our bodies. We decided it was time for a change and took on the pursuit of a greener, more natural lifestyle. It started in a day, and we were going to change everything. We were no longer going to eat processed food, buy store bought cleaners, use pre-made, carcinogen filled hygiene items. Exhausting, right?!

Changing everything overnight is not a journey that I would encourage any of you to embark upon. What I would encourage you to do is to start taking baby steps. Today’s weekend warrior challenge is to try something new. We’re going to make a common household cleaner out of all natural products.

Rather than go out and buy 50 new products you may or may not use to bring about a more natural lifestyle, I simply want you to collect three items you probably have in your house already. Gather distilled water, rubbing alcohol, and white vinegar. If you don’t have distilled water, you can boil water, let it cool and use that. I also add essential oils to mine to mask the smell of the alcohol and vinegar but this is purely cosmetic and does not alter the cleaning capabilities of your product at all. (I didn’t list in the three original ingredients because I realize not everyone has this at home.)

glassingredients

For this recipe, simply pour each ingredient into an empty spray bottle directly and at the end (after you put the lid on of course), shake the bottle! If you can follow a recipe, you can make your own cleaners.
glasscleanerrecipeone

Start with 1 cup of rubbing alcohol (isopropyl).
alcohol

Add 1 cup of distilled water (or boiled water, then cooled).
diswater

Add 2/3 cup of white vinegar.
vinegar

Add 30-40 drops of lemon essential oil.
dislemon

Now, shake, shake, SHAKE your bottle! And in less than 2 minutes, homemade window/glass cleaner.

glasscleaner windowcleanerall

To print off the recipe used today, click HERE. Simply cut off the extra two and share them with someone you love!

Challenge Part Two

If you are the ultra-ambitious type, I want to extend your challenge. Once you have your window/glass cleaner made, I want you to count the number of rooms you have in your house and multiply this number by four. Now set your kitchen timer for that amount of minutes. For example, we have seven rooms multiplied by four. I will set my timer for twenty-eight minutes. Now get in there and speed clean the glass in your picture frames and mirrors. In less than a half hour (give or take a few minutes depending on house size), your entire house will have clean glass and mirrored surfaces! Ready, set, go!

glassclean

What about you? Have you ever made your own cleaning products? If not, what’s holding you back? If you completed either part of this challenge, check in below and tell the rest of us how it went. Also, if you have additional glass cleaner recipes, you can share those below.

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Ropa Vieja Recipe

ropa“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.” ~ Proverbs 15:17

Ok, so I need a little more than just herbs to make me happy, but I love the sentiment of this verse. It doesn’t matter how fancy (or not fancy) the meal is if there is love; it’s still way better than the best meal where there is hatred. Our dinners are not overly fancy or complicated, but there is always love here!

Last week on our tenth wedding anniversary, I needed a meal with a whole lot of love! I didn’t need fancy. I didn’t need tons of sides. I just needed delicious! Since grass-fed, hormone free red meat is so expensive, we do not eat it very often in our house. But this was a special day, so I decided to give us a special treat of ropa vieja. A loose English translation from the Spanish favorite is “dirty laundry”. The idea is that whatever you have left will be good enough. A true reflection of Proverbs 15:17. With just a handful of ingredients, it’s fast, inexpensive and so good!

 

Heidi’s Ropa Vieja Recipe

Minutes to Prepare: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Number of Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pound of beef flank steak (or stew cubes)
Salt/Pepper to taste
1/2 cup of beef broth (or water)
1 jar (1 pound, 10 oz) of Ragu chunky tomato sauce ( I do the chunky tomato, onion, garlic)
1 green bell pepper or poblano pepper (seeded and chopped)
4 oz can of chopped green chilies
1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes (more for hotter, less for milder)
ropa5 ropa7

Directions:
1) Sprinkle sea salt/pepper on meat and then sear meat in oil.
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2) Chop pepper and combine all ingredients except meat in the crock pot.
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3) Add meat and cover with sauce. Cook on low for 10 hrs (or high for 5 hrs).
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5) Serve over rice, with baked potato, or with side salad.
ropa

Enjoy! And be sure to check back in and tell me what you thought of this dish!

Tuesday’s Tidy Tip: Suit Up

clothing“He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.” ~ Proverbs 16:20

As Christian women, it is our duty to strive to run our homes wisely. Now our definitions of wisely may differ, but for me, a wisely run home is a well-organized, clean but comfortable house. I want my home to be clean enough that guests can stop over unannounced but not so clean that my family and friends worry about messing something up just because they kicked off their shoes, grabbed a quilt, and settled on the couch to read a good book or watch a movie. This is home. Comfort you can feel. Surfaces you can see.

How do you reach this point of having a wisely run household? Well, that’s a process. One I like to chat about here on the site and in my classes. The process may take some time, but I always remember the cliche “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Neither was creating the atmosphere I want in my home. Today, is not about the whole process but rather one minute detail that helps me to reach the desired end result. Today, I want to talk about using wisdom in the running of your household.

Any wise woman will tell you that the key to running a home is the correct tools. You cannot take a shower without a shower. You cannot sweep the floor without a bag in your sweeper. You cannot wash dishes without water. You cannot dust a surface without a dust rag. You cannot run a household without the proper wardrobe! Say what? Some of you are cheering — clothes and accessories are your dear friends! Others of are you more skeptical, but I wan to gently encourage you to hear me out on this one. If you want your home to be run with wisdom (and your view of a wisely run home is similar to mine), then you need to achieve the highest level of success when you schedule cleaning time. The “tool” here is dressing the part.

If you have a big interview for an executive position, you would wear a suit to the interview. You would want the interviewer to see that you were a serious candidate, one who understands the significance of the role and the value of presentation. If you work in a doctor’s office in any of the positions where you  help the patients, you are required to wear scrubs. If you came into the room in jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops, the patient probably wouldn’t take you seriously and wouldn’t allow you to examine them. Clothing matters simply because it tells people the nature of your position.

When you are cleaning your house, you need to convince yourself that YOU MEAN BUSINESS, that your productivity matters. As I already said, the right clothes help put you in the mood or the mindset of whatever you are doing. If you get up and start working in pajamas, when you get a little bit tired, it will be very easy to hop back into bed or lay down on the couch for a few minutes. Before you know it, the day has slipped away. Pajamas put you in the mindset of rest. Instead, you need to jump into the work. Nothing makes that easier than “suiting up for the job”. To do this, you want to put on real clothes (it’s ok if they are work-out clothes), comb your hair and put on lace-up tennis shoes (not the kind you can kick off).

Outfits are not complete without shoes and tennis shoes make or brake this outfit. In addition to making you feel ready to work, they allow you to do the 100+ little jobs that you would put off if you weren’t wearing shoes. The trash bag is full, so you can carry it to the car. The bills need to be mailed, so you can run around the corner to the post office drop box and mail them. You have a box of yard sale items priced for next month’s yard sale, so you carry them on to the garage and out of your living space. You have a bag of clothes ready for the Goodwill, you can load them directly in the car. Finally your tennis shoes make you less likely to climb in bed or settle down on the couch and put your feet up. You would have to take them off first which gives you time to evaluate if that really is the best direction to take or if you would rather keep cleaning just a little bit longer.
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Today’s lesson is simple but oh so powerful. Tell yourself that you are ready to move mountains and show yourself you mean business by dressing the part. Today’s Tuesday Tidy Tip is to suit up and jump into running a wise household! Try it and tell me what you think!

 

Weekend Warrior Challenge: It’s Driving Me Crazy!

couch3“Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:1

We all have that one thing (maybe more than one for some of us!) in our house that is driving us crazy. Laying in bed at night, you are thinking about it. First thing in the morning, it pops back into your mind. In the middle of a conversation, someone says something and an image of your issue floats through your line of vision. Some of us toss and turn all night long because it is wearing heavy upon us. Some may even dream about it. I know a few years ago, the mess in my house tormented me so greatly that I had nightmares of unannounced, horrified, condescending visitors!

Lately my “crazy spot” has been the couch in the library. A few weeks ago someone was at my house, and we were sitting on the couch. In the course of the visit, their pencil rolled between the cushions. Offering to get it, I reached my hand under the couch. I expected to feel the cool touch of the mechanical pencil’s plastic; instead I got crumbs, change and a paperclip. Pretending not to find these things, I pulled out the pencil hoping it wouldn’t be covered in loose debris. Thankfully it was not. We left after that and I didn’t have time to deal with the mess I had felt. I haven’t really had any time since then to deal with it, and yet now it’s tormenting me.
couch

Well, today’s the day we do something about it! This week’s Weekend Warrior Challenge is to tackle your “crazy spot.” Look at your calendar and schedule an adequate amount of time to get in there and destroy your crazy. I’m keeping it simple today so there are no excuses. Just get in there and get busy!
couch3 couch2

As some of you have asked for this, I will try to give you a little bit of a preview to some of my Upcoming Posts. I may not catch everything, but here’s hoping! Tuesday I will be discussing the importance of wardrobe selection in regards to household maintenance and Wednesday, I have a delicious recipe you won’t want to miss!

Meanwhile, what’s your “crazy spot”? How long will it take you to conquer the chaos and reclaim the space? Be sure to stop back by and update the rest of us on your progress.

 

3 Brilliant DIY Jewelry Storage Solutions

bracelets

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. ~ Philippians 2:2-3

Houses have feelings, and we want our house to feel harmonious. We want to be united with God individually. We want to be unified together as a couple, and we want the house to feel balanced and peaceful to all who enter through the door. Harmony. A beautiful idea, but sometimes easier said than done. Especially when the following formula takes over.

Limited Storage + Stuff = Clutter and Chaosjewelry

Determined not to let chaos steal our harmony, I try to let go of items and limit what enters our home. For what we keep, I search out creative storage solutions. I always employ the following simple procedure to plan any storage area.

1) Evaluate Needs. 2) Plan solutions. 3) Implement Change.

One area that was particularly problematic was my nightstand. The top of it filled with jewelry that I never put away. I had a store bought jewelry organizer but since everything became tangled in it, I never used it. Using the previously mentioned procedure, I came up with 3 ways to store my jewelry items.

 

1) Evaluate Needs: I needed to store necklaces, earrings and bracelets in an easy to get out, easy to see what I have kind of way.

2) Plan solutions: Looking through the house for solutions, I decided to use two of my dad’s fishing gear organizer boxes for the earrings and bracelets. This is perfect! You can adjust the size of the compartment to fit the jewelry piece that you have and you can separate your earrings by pair. The boxes are only a few inches high so they store easily in the short top drawer of my nightstand.
earrings bracelets gear

For the necklaces, I found some unused space in our bedroom. I keep my clothes in a vintage wardrobe, it has a top shelf, hanging bars, and floor space under the clothes. I use all of that, but I wasn’t using the doors. With a handful of small finishing nails, I hung my necklaces on the inside of the door. No more tangles! Plus, I can see all of my options and match the necklace to the outfit of the day.
jewelry jewelry2+

Finally, I decided to place a shallow, vintage bowl on my nightstand to temporarily house anything I take off right before bed. I recognize that when I am tired, I am no longer thinking about keeping my house clean. It’s far too easy to drop things wherever I am and crawl into bed. So I plan for this. One simple item can house a handful of loose items to make sure they don’t get lost and to keep the space from looking cluttered and unkept.
jewelry3

3) Implement Change: I filled my storage bins and hung my necklaces.

What creative jewelry solutions do you have? What potentially untapped storage option could you be using to solve your jewelry storage needs?

How My Dog Taught Me to Be a More Godly Wife

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” ~ Galatians 5:13

us
I never wanted a dog, but one day my husband showed up with a present for me. He held the tiniest little puppy I had ever seen. A 6-week old Chihuahua that fit in my hand. We debated names. Chris wanted our little guy to have an intimidating name like Killer; I wanted a floral name like Sweet Pea since our cats are named Daisy and Lily. We agreed on the tough name of Duke, honoring my childhood hero John Wayne.

Anyway, my husband didn’t want Duke to sleep with us, but it tore my heart out the way he whined the very first night he slept alone. I did not last an hour. I slept on the couch with him curled up on my pillow. Chris’s determination not to have Duke in our bed lasted about 5 weeks. I slept every night with Duke. Finally he recanted, and Duke and I moved back into the bedroom. The first two years of Duke’s life, I worked from home providing him constant care and affection. Even now when I work full time outside the house, he still adores me. I am the sun of his world, and his little puppy dog life revolves around me. Plain and simply, he loves me unconditionally. Through Duke’s actions toward me, I have learned a number of ways that I can be a more godly wife.

1) Greetings: Each day when I come home from work, Duke is waiting at the door. He jumps up on the couch where he is more my level. If I take too long to put up my keys, purse, etc. he barks excitedly. His whole body shakes in anticipation as he cannot wait to spend time with me. He’s never angry. Never greets me with problems. Instead he greets warmly and affectionately, genuinely pleased to see me.

Now to us, when was the last time that you greeted your husband at the door with a smile and a kiss? What about a dab of lip gloss and a dash of perfume? Do we show him that he is the most important human in our world and that we are just happy to see him? Or do we ignore his arrival? If we do make the effort to meet him at the door, is it so we can greet him or so we can let him know that one of the kids is sick, the bathroom sink is leaking again, or someone stole our debit card number and it had to be cancelled? Certainly, you husband, your partner in life, needs to know the issues that have arisen, but give him a chance to de-stress from work first.

I’ll be honest; I am always in the middle of cooking dinner when Chris gets home. Instead of rushing to greet him as I did in the early days of marriage, too often I think, he’ll find me. What message does that send to him? How would he respond if I was a little more Duke and a little less Heidi when he returns home after work?

2) Snuggles: Duke rarely sits still. He wants to play; He wants to run and chase. His favorite game is tag by the way, and he totally gets that he chases you and you chase him. He loves squeaker toys and likes you to fight over them with him. He’ll growl and act like he is so upset, but since we play the game often, I know how to cheat. All I have to do is lean over and kiss the top of his head. Instantly the growling stops and he drops the toy. Instead he wants to snuggle, to have me pet his head and speak gently to him. He soaks up my affection. I’m kind of a brat so I love on him just enough to steal the toy and go back to the game. He falls for it EVERY SINGLE TIME because one minute of mommy’s time is worth more than any game. No matter what he is doing, where he is at, who he is playing with, if Chris says “Want to give Mommy some loveys?”, he is done. He is never too busy to love me and always anticipates the time when he can.

Now back to our men. Chris and I love to banter with each other. We like to tease and torment but do we stop long enough to offer love and affection? Do we simply tease each other and then turn our backs on other areas of our relationship because they are too difficult or might take longer than 20 seconds which is time we do not have? Life brings many hardships and many issues, but it brings many blessings and good times as well. Do we get so caught up in the game of life that we forget to give each other some uninterrupted, quality snuggle time?

I will give an example from my marriage. Chris often asks me to sit down and watch a movie with him. Most of the time I’m too busy. If I stop, the laundry will not get done, the checkbook won’t get balanced, dinner won’t get cooked, the floors won’t get swept, and my list goes on and on. But when I am too busy to spend time with my husband, what story does that tell? I have learned that being too busy for Chris (even if I am busy serving him through housework) sends a dual message to Chris. First, he is not worthy of my time and second I am too busy with what I want to do to fit him in. Not my intention. So nowadays, I say “You get it set up, and I’ll be right there.” While he is setting it up, I gather tasks I can do in front of the TV – laundry, the checkbook, etc. As we watch the movie, I work on whatever. Towards the end of the movie, I make sure I put everything down and snuggle up. Chris knows he is number one and doesn’t feel neglected.

3) Sees You: After dinner, Chris will usually spend a few minutes on his iPad or watching TV. I wash the dishes. It usually only takes ten minutes or so. Whether he is in the family room or the bedroom, I walk in there (with Duke at my heels) and tell him to stay so I can clean the kitchen without tripping over him. The first five minutes I’m out of sight, he whines for me. Then he settles in with a bone and waits. I’m never gone longer than fifteen minutes. When I walk in to the room, he drops the bone, stands to greet me and the tail starts wagging. One of Duke’s most commendable attributes is his tunnel vision. It doesn’t matter if my hair is uncombed and I’m still in my bathrobe, all he sees is me. It doesn’t matter if I’ve only been away two minutes, he’s still excited. When I walk into the room, he lights up. He doesn’t see the imperfections or faults that I have. He just sees me.

Now to us, when your honey walks in to the room, do you notice that his jeans are filthy, and you are going to need to wash yet another load of laundry? Do you worry that if he sits down on the bed or couch in those jeans that he is going to get something dirty? Do you notice that he forgot to shave this morning and his neck could use a little TLC? Do we point out the problems or do we offer a warm greeting? Maybe the physical things are not what you notice but instead you think about his faults and ask how that worked for him today. Or you think back to last night’s fight and relive the most painful parts. When we criticize our husband’s flaws, we tell them in so many less words that their imperfections are more important to us than who they are as a person. Completely opposite of Duke’s message.

By now, you know two of my faults. I cannot stop EVER, so the first thing I see is the grime. Secondly, I am not always the best at keeping my mouth shut. Both of these things have caused a fight or two in my marriage.  But I’m trying. If I absolutely cannot stand the factory dirt Chris often brings home with him, I try a different approach. Instead of attacking Chris for his clothes, I might suggest that he come in, slip into comfy clothes, and put his feet up while I make him a glass of ice tea. At least in this way, he doesn’t feel judged the moment I see him but instead feels served. He knows that I love him and have his best interests in view.

4) Forgives: When Duke misbehaves, I employ a variety of punishments. He gets sprayed with a water bottle, gets put in a crate, or gets completely ignored–depending on his crime. He doesn’t like any of these punishments, but the great thing about him is that he forgives instantly and easily. I can punish him, and he can sit sulking in the corner. But the second I click my tongue for him, he comes running with tail wagging and tongue licking. He is ready to show me I am forgiven, and he loves me despite what I did to him.

What about your attitude with your husband? Can he trust that after a fight you will forgive him? Does he know that you will never mention the hurtful actions again? Or are you the kind of wife who feels the need to dredge up the past and remind the man you married of the many times he has failed you? If you are an excavation expert, how is that working for you? I’m guessing not very well. Proverbs 27:15 warns that “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.”

I have found that when I nag or complain, my husband’s coping mechanism is to turn me off. He doesn’t like who I am being at that moment so he shuts down. All the screaming, yelling, brow beating in the world won’t do me any good if he’s not listening. If a situation arises where we actually have a real problem and not one that is compounded by the inner voices of my head, it is better to sit down and patiently discuss the problem without pointing the finger or nagging that he has done this type of thing hundreds of times over the years. I need to remember Duke in these conversations and when he apologizes (or in some cases simply changes his attitude), I need to let go and forgive instantly and completely. It’s done and it’s not barging into my marriage again.

5) Protects: Duke is a little guy. He weighs under twelve pounds, but when it comes to me, he knows no boundaries. A couple years ago we went to Tennessee to visit relatives. As they have a lovely place out in the country, we decided to take Duke. I was sitting on the porch in a rocking chair with Duke sleeping on my lap when Aunt Libby’s gentle, old golden retriever loped up the steps. Instantly Duke was awake. As long as Pumpkin was on the far side of the porch, he was okay but the second he crossed over to our side of the porch, Duke was up growling. That big dog wasn’t going to hurt his Mommy! Duke’s actions were so intimidating that poor Pumpkin left her own porch with her tail between her legs.

Do you have your husband’s back? When you are at a family function and someone demeans your guy do you laugh and add your own complaint or do you stand up for him? When you are out with your girlfriends and they get started on husband bashing, do you join the conversation with a list of his faults? What message are your conversations about your husband sending to others and to him? Do they say that you respect and honor the spiritual leader of your home or do they say that you have a few hundred miles to go before you resemble anything remotely Christ-like?

Now, I’m not suggesting that you cannot joke and tease with your husband, family and friends. But I am saying that when your comments are made in spite, cause feelings of failure or hit just a little too close to home that you should not be making them. Those things are not funny and should be left unsaid. I’m also talking about what goes on behind your spouse’s back. My husband is far from perfect but I want others to see the good in him. I don’t want them to pick his flaws apart. If I am complaining about his issues, I give them the fuel to judge him or think negatively about him. Instead I want to build him up with other people. If they have never met him, I want them to form positive opinions of him so that when they do meet him, they look forward to it instead of thinking this is the jerk who does a, b, c. Your husband should rest in the knowledge that you are his helpmate and that you will protect him in and outside of your home.

We’ve got our work cut out for us. Being a godly wife may not always be easy, but as Christian women it is our calling. Embrace your calling, and learn that simple steps, courteous actions, and constant care build a stronger, more enjoyable marriage. Remember the lessons little Duke teaches and offer the same kind of loyalty and unconditional love to the man you married!

What lessons have you learned from your little furry friend(s) that has helped you become a better, more godly wife?

How to Clean In Between the Glass on Your Oven

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I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. ~ I Timothy 5:14

I am often teased that when I am not at work, I am at home cooking with my 1940’s dress, heels, apron and string of pearls. That is not the case! And this post is going to prove just how NOT “perfect wife material” I am!
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For a few years now I have been strategically using a tea towel to hide the spots in my oven door. A couple years ago, I was removing a hot pan and burned myself. I jumped and sloshed hot liquid down the oven door. I cleaned the outside and the inside, but it didn’t help. The door was still dirty because the spill went between the glass of my oven door. This past Saturday I fixed the problem. As I cannot be the only one to do this, I took pictures planning to share with you how to clean this difficult to reach area.

Let me first say that after doing online research, I tried the wire coat hanger with a rag through the holes at the top method. It was totally ineffective. First of all, you have to find your thinnest, most ragged rag to fit through the very tiny space. Second, you have zero mobility for reaching the areas that you want to tackle. Third, you cannot put elbow grease into a hanger. I needed a real solution and this wasn’t it. That being said, the area is transformed now!

Here is the oven before I started. Ewwwww!!!!!

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You start by opening the oven door. Unscrew the torx screws on the inside of your door. (Some have two; others have three.) I didn’t have a screwdriver shaped exactly like them, but my Phillips worked fine. As you unscrew them, your door will separate in two parts like this. Seeing this picture totally proves I’m not Suzy Homemaker, right?

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If you have lots of crumbs inside, you may need to take a vacuum hose and sweep them up first. Next, take your favorite window cleaner and clean the glass. You will be surprised to find that the spots wipe off easily because, unlike the interior of your oven, foods and liquids haven’t been cooked on.

Now, screw your door back together. You’re finished!

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I feel pretty silly for letting the door bother me for so long and not cleaning it sooner, but I really didn’t know how. I thought it would be more difficult! Excuses, excuses! Well I don’t have one for this job any more. Sooooo simple!

So, when are you going to tackle yours?

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