Monday, June 30, 2014

Thejoyfilledwife's Husband's Addiction To Pornography

Thejoyfilledwife is one wise, young woman. I loved her post Never Defrauding Him Sexually and many of you did also. What many of you don't know is that her husband was addicted to pornography. I asked her to share her story with you since I know it is epidemic among men today in hopes of it helping many of you to know how to help your husband's battle in this cruel bondage ~

I don't think I'll forget the date as long as I live. It was Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 when I awoke in a panic, grabbing my phone as the chirp of a new email sounded. I quickly cleared the various texts that had piled up over the past several hours and began to delete the last of my emails. Drawing closer to the final message, I suddenly felt a pit in my stomach sink like a 1,000 pound lead weight. As my eyes fell upon the title of my final email, I knew in my heart that I was about to come face to face with one of my greatest fears in life. It was the weekly Internet accountability report we had subscribed to since we got married four years prior. The title of the email urged me to check the content report of the web sites that had been visited in recent hours, stating that there was cause for concern. Lord, please no...anything but this.

With all the courage that I could muster up, I swallowed hard and clicked. In a matter of moments, I felt the air escape from my lungs like a blow to the stomach with a steel pipe. Hours...upon hours...of pornographic image searches. I felt my heart crumble into a million pieces as I sunk my face deep into my pillow to silence my cries. Please, Lord...don't let this be true. But I knew in my heart that this was no mistake.

I would be lying if I said that I hadn't battled the urge to send the email straight to the trash without opening it. If I did, perhaps I could pretend I never saw it and go on with life as I knew before. When we go through tragedies, sometimes our first instinct is to pretend it's not happening, especially when we can't make sense of it all, or we want to ask why the Lord would allow us to face such heartbreak. Yet we serve a God who gives us the courage to fight those tragic battles with our head held high and peace in our heart. Peace amidst trials is nonsense to the world and, believe me when I tell you, these tragic times are often the greatest opportunity of our lives to show the world the One who dwells within us. The Lord has called us for such a time as this. If we but keep our hearts set on the promises of His Word that "He will never leave us or forsake us"{Deuteronomy 31:6}, He will use us to impact more hearts that we could imagine. When we choose joy in the midst of our painful circumstances, it is a powerful testimony to those who are watching from the sidelines. And trust me when I say, there are ALWAYS people watching from the sidelines.

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 
I Peter 3:1,2

Although my husband is a believer, I knew it would take an act of the Holy Spirit for him to overcome his addiction and subsequent struggle with anger and control. Still, I Peter 3:1,2 kept rising up in my heart. If unbelieving husbands can be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, could the Lord use me in that same way to help point my believing husband back to Him?

Lust is often a lifelong battle for men and we, as wives, can bless our husbands by being their greatest prayer warrior, meeting their physical and emotional needs, being patient with them, and by showing them respect in all areas {unless they ask us to sin}. We serve a God who changes hearts and there is no heart too hard for Jesus to soften. I pray we will allow Him to use us to minister to our husbands in ALL areas. Before I wrap this up, I feel compelled to say something very important to you fellow wives out there who were or are currently facing this same kind of heartbreak in your marriage ~

You are beautiful.
You are valuable.
You are precious.
You ARE good enough.

Not because of who you are, but because of Who you belong to. You are the daughter of the King. He made you just the way He wanted you and desires to use you to accomplish great things for His Kingdom. Please don't believe the lies of the enemy that tell you if only you were prettier, or taller, or shorter, or thinner, or tanner, or sexier, or better in bed, that your husband wouldn't have made the choices he has.

While we ARE responsible to fulfill our wifely role and to not cause our husband temptation through neglect or disrespect, we are NOT responsible for their sin.

When our husbands have a stronghold in their lives, the one and ONLY person who can break that bondage is Christ. Cling to Jesus, for He is "the author and perfecter of our faith"{Hebrews 12:2}. Do not give into fear, sweet sisters, for our precious Lord reminds us, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world"{John 16:33}.

It was a little over a year ago that I faced the most devastating battle of my life and marriage. The countless tears I have cried the past year from a heartbreak I sometimes questioned being able to survive, have given me a perspective I wouldn't have gained otherwise. Although I prayed for many years that Jesus would strip away the strongholds in my life, I never thought He would do it all at once ~ and while fighting for dear life to just survive another day and not give into feelings of hopelessness. But I have learned so much about the beauty of forgiveness and the power of prayer in the past year and, although I would never want another human being to have to endure what I have, I know that there are countless others out there who are facing this same battle. Please know that you are not alone.

Although we will be subject to all kinds of pain and suffering in this life, we serve a faithful and merciful God who desires to use our trials to accomplish His greatest will in us, if we let Him.

My relationship with Christ has deepened in ways I never could have imagined since last year. I think of myself as holding on to the bottom of Jesus' robe for dear life as He whisks my heart away to the secret place and covers me with His tenderness and love. Perhaps one of the most important lessons I've learned in all this is that joy is not a feeling, but a choice. I call myself Thejoyfilledwife, not because of what I am, but because of what I am becoming. And all by the grace of God.

By the grace of God, my husband is overcoming his addiction and he has told me countless times what a gift my prayers and patience have been through it all. Although he still battles his habits and earthly temptations, we are rebuilding trust every day. God is so faithful to walk beside us down this road.

And now, I leave you with the lyrics of a song that ministered to my heart when I began this painful journey a year ago. Our God is so faithful, sisters. Will you grab on to the bottom of His robe with me as we travel this road together? You are cherished and deeply loved. Yes, you.

What if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?
What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy?
What if the trials of this life ~ the rain, the storms, the hardest nights ~
Are YOUR mercies in disguise?
{Blessings by Laura Story}

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Filling My Nights With Song

There have been many nights that I could not sleep because of pain. The only way I would get through those long, painful, sleepless nights would be to have a hymn or praise song continually going through my head and focusing upon it. 

My favorite daily devotional is Streams In The Desert. I read it every morning before I spend time in the Word. It always greatly encourages me. The other day I read this verse, "Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night?"{Job 35:10}. It suddenly hit me, God was the One giving me songs through those long, painful nights to keep my mind focused upon Him!

Another devotional that meant a lot to me was this one ~

I once met a poor woman who earned a meager living through hard domestic labor but was a joyful, triumphant Christian. Some woman came to her and asked her how she could be so joyful when her future is so uncertain. She began listing all the "what ifs." The poor woman cried, "Stop!!! I never 'suppose. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. It's all the 'supposing' that's making you so miserable. You'd better give that up and simply trust the Lord."

We can do all we can to prepare for the future; get an education, get a career, save a ton of money, store food, learn to be self-sufficient, marry the perfect husband, etc. yet no one knows the future and we could lose it all in an instant {consider Job}.

The best thing we can do is to simply trust God and rest in Him. "Be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid, What can man do to me?'"{Hebrews 13:5,6}.

God is our Protector and Provider. He will be with us in the long, painful nights. He will be with us if we lose everything. He promises to give us strength for whatever comes our way. We can always rest in this powerful Truth. For we know that ALL things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His will.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Yay! It's Time To Clean Our Frig!

Last week, while cleaning my oven, I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and found a fabulous tool that I am using all the time! It is called the SKrAPr and it is GREAT for scraping off things. I have used it to to scrape off dried egg on my cutting board, the black junk around my stovetop and in my oven, things that have stuck to my refrigerator shelves, etc. It has become one of my favorite cleaning tools! 

I also learned a MUCH easier way to clean the racks in an oven. Instead of putting them into a big, plastic bag {my bags kept ripping}, just keep them in the oven with the bowl of ammonia overnight. I also put my wedding rings in the bowl of ammonia and any pots or pans that had baked on crud, I placed on the racks . The next morning, everything just scrubbed off easily! It was wonderful and so efficient and my rings sparkle. 

Today, Erin teaches us the FUN job of cleaning our refrigerators so crank up some praise music! {A positive outlook always makes things easier!} ~

Step 1.  Remove all items from the refrigerator. Place all items into a cooler to keep it cold while you are cleaning.  You may be surprised to find things that have gotten shoved to the back and forgotten.  It may have moss growing on it or smell rotten.  I like to have a trash can handy to throw the things that are beyond saving.  Other things, like vegetables that are wilting, I would feed to our chickens.  If you have chickens or pigs, they enjoy the leftover vegetables.  If you do not have animals, you could put the older produce into a compost bin.  It is always a good thing to repurpose everything you can to be more resourceful.  

If you plan to clean the freezer as well, it would be a good idea to unplug your refrigerator so the freezer can defrost while you are cleaning the other areas.  Treat the freezer the same as the refrigerator in all the steps listed below for cleaning... 

Step 2.  Vacuum or brush out all the loose crumbs.

Step 3.  Remove drawers and shelving and set them aside.

Step 4.  Spray everything down with straight vinegar.  

Vinegar helps to absorb odor and because it is acidic, it will disinfect as well.   

Make a very simple scouring powder...
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup borax
1/4 cup course sea salt
4-6 drops of essential oil  
{Bar Keepers Friend works great also!}

Sprinkle the scouring powder on all the surfaces, in the drawers, on the shelves and leave it set for about 3-5 minutes.  It will bubble and fizz because the vinegar and baking soda are reacting.  Do not worry, this reaction is not harmful.  It actually helps deeply cleanse.  Concentrate on all the tough spills. 

Step 5. Taking a damp rag, scrub everything down really well.  You may have to rinse out the rag and continue scrubbing several times over to remove the tough spills if you have them.  Have a bucket of water handy for rinsing and reapplying if necessary. 

Step 6. Wipe everything down with a clean, damp rag to catch the rest of the dirt, crumbs, or scouring powder.  Wipe down with a dish towel to dry everything and make it shine.

Step 7 Return all items to the refrigerator.  Make some decisions where you plan to store them.  I like to have my refrigerator organized by food groups.  I will put all my dairy products in one area, my vegetables in another, my condiments in the door shelves, and my protein foods together like eggs or meat.  This helps save time because you will know where to find things when you need them and there is less chance to forget things if they are in a certain place, thus saving money in the long run!  Wipe all items down with a damp cloth if there is buildup on any of the containers.  

Step 8. Pull the refrigerator away from the wall to gently vacuum the coils in the back.  This will be a huge energy saving step.  It will run way more efficiently if you have the coils cleaned off properly.  Sweep and mop under your refrigerator because it is a dust magnet under there.  You will find all kinds of things under there, maybe even a lost treasure or two!  

Step 9.  Clean the top of the refrigerator.  Remove all items that are stored there and taking your straight vinegar solution, spray the top and wipe it down.  Do the same on the entire outside of the refrigerator.  Use an old toothbrush reserved for cleaning to detail the under grate if needed.  The tiny bristles will be effective in between the little slots in there.  

Step 10.  Clean the seal and handle.  There is a seal that runs along the door.  It is a place that can tend to mold and deteriorate.  If they are bad enough, you can contact the company the manufacturer and obtain a new seal. If it is dirty or a little moldy, you can try the scouring powder with the vinegar to scrub it clean as well as the handle.  The handle will definitely look dirty because people touch it with dirty hands from time to time.  

Stand back and enjoy a fresh looking refrigerator!  It will smell great and look amazing.  To keep up with this, I suggest doing a run through each time you go grocery shopping.  That is what we have been doing for years and it makes it really easy to fit all our new food in there when we take things out and wipe it all down.  We do not remove the drawers or shelving, we just a quick wipe down with a damp rag and return all the food items back to their designated area.  

Prevention is key!  If you can stay on top of things, you never get too far behind!  
Happy Cleaning!

HERE is Erin's post and video if you need more detailed instructions!

By wisdom a house is built, 
and by understanding it is established.
Proverbs 24:3

Friday, June 27, 2014

Pulling Out The Red Herring

There are many people out there who would love to destroy a Christian's message. I have those who would love to destroy my ministry. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. {Mathew 10:16} We must ask the Lord continually for wisdom so we can clearly recognize the wolves among us.

For instance, I published a beautiful post yesterday about a young woman who willingly loves her husband and blesses him with frequent love making. I received a few very encouraging comments then out of the blue, I got a long comment about rape, as if we were promoting rape. Then others commented on this and the whole conversation turned around to a discussion about rape. This one person was able to turn around a beautiful post into an ugly one.

I told Ken I was getting a knot in my stomach as I tried to respond to all the rape comments and asked him if I could just delete all of the comments about rape. He wanted me to. I don't want my posts destroyed in the comment section by wolves who want to twist my words and pull out something that stinks.

I don't mind healthy discussions and questions but when it veers so off track, I will be deleting the comments. The main purpose of my blog is a teaching blog. I love teaching women how to love and obey their husbands, raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, be keepers at home, modest, etc. I have to be very careful in discerning whether or not a reader has good or evil intent when posting a comment.

Thank you very much all of you who support me in my ministry. I love mentoring women and teaching them the ways of God. I am so thankful the Lord has given me the privilege of having this ministry and I thank all of you for listening and learning from me. {I also learn a lot from you!}

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Never Defrauding Him Sexually

It seems the majority of women would hate the idea of giving their husbands sex three times a week. Yet, the majority of men would love to have it at least that often. How do we come together with this difficult issue? Thejoyfilledwife made an amazing comment on a post written by a man who said that as a husband and head of his wife, he could tell his wife he wanted sex three times a week. Of course, one woman was very upset with this comment and thejoyfilled wife responded ~

I immediately recognized that your "3 times a week" comment was you toning things down quite a bit, since you and your wife have been very open about the frequency of this important part of your marriage.  I also recognized that that comment would garner at least one negative comment, since, for some reason, this is an area of marriage that is often viewed as optional or that shouldn't be participated in unless both spouses are "in the mood." 

Imagine how quickly marriages and families would disintegrate if we had that standard for all areas of responsibility. If we had moms refusing to bathe their children because they didn't "feel like it" and husbands only willing to show up at work when they're "in the mood"...or the father coming home after a week of traveling for work to children who are lethargic and weak because mommy simply didn't "feel" like feeding them while he was away. Can you imagine the implications? Yet one of the most important responsibilities in our marriages, so important that it was made a command and is considered barbaric to most wives, unless it is by mutual consent.

I have been asked many times how in the world I was capable of saying "yes" to my husband sexually, even amidst severe morning sickness that lasted all nine months for both of my pregnancies. Or how I was willing to smile and express delight for my husband during intimacy, even when, inwardly, I was beyond exhaustion.

It's really not rocket science. I just made the decision to never say "no" when we got married. Call me crazy, but I took the command seriously. It really doesn't matter what I feel like toward my husband. My desire is to obey God. Denying my husband his marital right is sin and I sure don't need to willingly choose to sin more than I already do!

Just to clarify what I meant by "It doesn't matter what I feel like toward my husband..." I didn't mean that I don't desire my husband. I VERY much do. I only mean to say that, even if my husband and I have an argument and I really don't feel like being intimate, those feelings don't dictate my actions.

And my husband is very gracious and doesn't ask me if I have the flu...or obviously if I have just given birth...but I really try not to show my mere tiredness to him, or to mention it at all, because that can be pretty common when you are caring for a newborn and homeschooling a small child. Tiredness is a fact of life at this phase of child-rearing and I certainly don't want to allow this time of tiredness to keep my husband and me from thriving in this area of life...especially since, one day, the kids will be gone and we will have the home to ourselves again. I would rather keep the home fires burning now, so that time will arrive after great anticipation.

Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence {sex}: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other...
I Corinthians 7:3-5

***HERE is thejoyfilledwife's encouragement for those women out there who have higher sex drives than their husbands and have a difficult time relating to this post.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Having It All Together Before Marriage

Today, young people are told wait to get married. The woman needs to finish college, get her degree, and have a career. The husband needs to have a degree, a good career, and money in the bank. Oh yeah, you need a home and two cars also. Then you wait a few years after marriage "enjoying each other" before you have children. When all your ducks are in order, then you get married and later have children.

This is what society says today. I LOVE what this one grandmother told her grandson when she knew he wanted to marry his girlfriend but he was still in seminary and they were both young with no money, "Honey, I married your grandpa in the middle of a Great Depression," she said. "We made it work. Nobody can afford to get married. You just marry, and make it work."

This is one wise grandma. God never said that one must have an education, career and money to get married or have babies. Where does trust in God come from if you have everything in order and not having to depend upon the Lord?

Marriage was designed by God and He blesses marriages and having babies. He was the One who came up with the idea in the first place. My parents got married before my dad was in medical school. They lived in a condemned building for awhile and my dad sold Bible story books. God provided for them. They never went hungry, without clothes, or without shelter.

Most couples will tell you their favorite memories were of the times when they were poor and had very little. Ken and I lived in a tiny single wide trailer when we were first married. Our double bed barely fit into our bedroom but we were fine there. We didn't expect much, so we were content.

The man whose grandmother spoke those words above has been married for 20 years now and has had many trials in his life, all with his bride by his side. He ends his article with "Truth is, there's no way we could have made that budget work. And there's no way we could have grown up enough to be "ready" for what providence had for us. We needed each other. We needed to grow up, together, and to know that our love for each other doesn't consist in our having it all together. It didn't start that way, and we still had us."

I wouldn't have cared if all of my children were married young, but that was not God's plans for them. Once they met "the one" they were all married fairly quickly afterwards. They all had short engagements, which I fully encourage. But if your children find "the one" early, don't discourage them from marrying before all their ducks are in order. Allow them to figure out lives for themselves and begin married life early.

 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, 
they have neither storehouse nor barn, 
and yet God feeds them. 
Of how much more value are you than the birds! 
Luke 12:24

The article quoted from is HERE. It is well worth your time to read.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Is Wearing Skirts A Cultural Thing?

There has never been one woman in my life that I have known personally that wears only dresses. My Journey To Only Wearing Dresses generated many interesting comments. After pondering it for awhile, I think it matters a lot in what part of the world you live in.

I have lived in Southern California my whole life. No one that I know wears only dresses. Many Christian women feel very comfortable in a bikini and short shorts. Our pastors wear jeans and t-shirts when they preach! Very few women even wear dresses to church. Most of them wear jeans. (I am not afraid of standing out in my area by being the only one who wears dresses. This wouldn't bother me at all! I always try to live by my convictions, not by how others are living. I just am not convicted about it at this point, neither is Ken. However, I do think dresses and skirts are much more feminine than anything else women wear which is the reason many of you only wear dresses, along with feeling more modest in them.)

From reading other blogs and the comments on this topic, I think a lot of the women who only wear dresses live in the Midwest (or Southern middle states) and/or on a homestead. I know the Midwest is much more conservative than the east and west coasts. They vote way more conservative, more people attend church, conservative values are more accepted, people still dress up for church (I think), etc.

So for me to not wear a bikini (I wear a tankini top with board shorts) and to wear dresses to church is rare around my part of the country. California is much more casual (and liberal) than most states and that may be a reason I have never known anyone who only wears dresses. I have known many very godly women. They dress modestly, but just not in dresses only.

I definitely believe you can dress modestly without only wearing dresses. I think it all depends on what your husband, the leader of the family, decides is modest. As you know, I love the Pearls and the Duggers. All the women in these families wear dresses, they live in the Midwest, and live in wide open areas. If I were to bet, I would bet Jim Bob and Michael wanted the women to wear dresses since they are the definite leaders of the home. I am sure they discussed it with their wives and maybe, even the wives thought of it first, but it was something the husbands probably decided was best.

Therefore, I think it should depend on how each husband defines modesty. Ken doesn't care if I wear dresses, pants, or shorts. He thinks that I am always modest. In the past, he has told me things he didn't want me to wear so I never wore them again. We, as wives, need to respect and obey our husbands in this area.

Most Christian men in America probably wouldn't want their wives to only wear dresses. I am not sure about this but I don't think most men think that a women in pants and shorts that aren't too tight fitting are immodest.

If you are wondering if you should only wear dresses, discuss it with your husband and get his opinion. This, I believe, is how to best handle this whole wearing dresses only decision! Then stand firm in your convictions but don't become legalistic about it (thinking all women should only wear dresses to be godly). All I know is this topic should NEVER cause conflict between believers. Usually, women will quote me a verse from Deuteronomy about a woman never wearing something pertaining to a man. As women, we do need to be careful to dress as women and be easily distinguished from the men around us so our clothing needs to be feminine and modest always.

Likewise also that women should adorn 
themselves in respectable apparel, 
with modesty and self-control, 
not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire.
I Timothy 2:9

Monday, June 23, 2014

What Happened To Cooking For Your Family?

When I go shopping to a few of my favorite food markets, I like to get my food checked out by one of the cashiers that I have gotten to know. Recently, I was with one and we began conversing with each other. Somehow cooking came up and she told me that when she met her husband, she informed him that she doesn't cook at all. Therefore, he has learned to do all the cooking.

I am amazed at how many women don't cook today. It is almost as if they are proud of it. I think within the label of "keeper at home" and "She is like the merchants' ships; she brings her food from afar. She rises also while it is yet night, and gives meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens"{Proverbs 31:14,15}, there is the job for women of cooking for their family and feeding them nourishing food.

When I was raising my children, I didn't want them to have any junk: junk food, junk television, junk books, etc. I was very careful to feed them healthy food, made sure they read good books, monitored what they watched on television, what friends they hung out with, etc. I wanted to be responsible for what their hearts, minds, and bodies consumed, not allow strangers to be the ones responsible who could care less about their mental, physical, or spiritual health.

Women need to learn to stop using the excuse that they don't know how or don't want to cook. If you can read, you can learn how to cook. There are so many television cooking shows, YouTube videos, books, etc. that there is really no excuse not to be a good cook and even learn to enjoy it. This is a ministry you have for your family and it should be a priority to you.

Everyone loves a good home cooked meal. To walk into a home and smell the aromas of yummy food, makes home a home. We use to hear that the way to a man's heart was through his stomach. I guess today's woman doesn't care about winning a man's heart much anymore.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

War, Hunger, And Suffering Are Coming?

People are very afraid for the future. Many are becoming as independent as they can so when the economy crashes, they can feed their families. I just read this sentence on one of the blogs I read, "I have a friend who believes war is coming. Hunger. Illness. Suffering unlike anything we've seen." When we hear things like this, many hunker down, go off grid, and become completely self-sufficient. Some worry, fret, and live with no joy. Others do what they can to prepare but realize God is ultimately their provider and will take care of them.

I admire those who go off grid. If your husband is convicted about doing that, go for it and try to be content. There is nothing wrong with preparing and living this way. Worrying and fretting about the future is sin. Period. Stop watching the news. Stop listening to the radio. There is nothing you can do to stop whatever is going to happen in the future so why let your fear of the future rob you of your joy today.

If your husband isn't convicted about going off grid and wants to live with the luxuries electricity and gas provides, be happy and enjoy every day. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow anyways. Jesus may appear in the clouds tomorrow and all of us who believe will be taken up with Him. Worrying is a waste of a life.

If God would have told me 25 years ago that I would be filled with parasites and it would be years before they were gone but in the process making me sick. I would have two brain tumors and two brain surgeries, and I would have to have my neck fused, I would have told Him I could not handle it. However, He has been with me giving me strength every step of the way. Has it been easy? NO! It has been extremely difficult but I am here to write about God's faithfulness today.

We aren't suppose to know the future. We are told to smile at the future and take no thought for the future. Instead of worrying about the future, learn to be the best wife to your husband that you can be. Learn to cook healthy food from scratch. Learn to keep a clean home. Love your children, grandchildren, parents, friends, and neighbors. Learn to serve others and have others over for meals. Learn to trust in Jesus. He loves you. He has it ALL under control. He is still on His throne and we know how the story ends.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 25:33,34

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Cleaning Your Oven And Stovetop

This is my kitchen oven after cleaning it the way Erin taught. Well..I guess I cheated a little. My top oven is a self-cleaning oven so it was MUCH easier than my bottom one. The bottom one is pretty clean but not nearly as clean as my top one. I just didn't have the muscle to clean the back of it that good. However, the top rack was put into a large bag with ammonia and then scrubbed. The bottom rack was not and you can see how much cleaner the top rack is!

You won't find many toxic chemicals in my home. I occasionally use ammonia. It is the only thing that Erin and I have found that cleans an oven. Commercial oven cleaners are terribly toxic and I would never use them. Erin found through experimenting that a little bit of ammonia does the job better than all the other methods that are suppose to work. HERE is a link to the uses and warnings about ammonia. Now on to Erin's detailed instructions on cleaning your stove and oven ~

There was nothing on the internet that told me how to use ammonia on the cook top, so I experimented. I doused a rag in ammonia {it is a very strong vapor, so please use caution!!!}, set it on the affected areas, covered the area with a bowl, and let it set overnight. The fumes from the ammonia break down the grime like nothing else. By morning, a gentle rub of my non abrasive pad took everything off!! It was amazing to me. And easy! Ammonia is super cheap. I bought a half gallon jug at the dollar store for a dollar and it it the best stove cleaner ever.

It worked so well that I used it for the rest of the tough areas. I placed the grills, grates, and oven racks into the oven and put a big bowl of ammonia on the bottom.  I was careful not to breath it in. I let the ammonia fumes do their work while I was sleeping.  

After a good nights rest, I placed a trash bag on my counter top for a protective barrier. {I cleaned mine in my backyard. I didn't want the fumes and mess in my kitchen! Do wear gloves, however. I made a mess of my fingernails.} Out of the oven came these filthy looking grates. Not for long! I used a wire brush to work off the grime which virtually flaked off in chunks. For harder spots I used a plastic scraper.  This was super exciting for the girls and me. For some reason or other, effective cleaning methods make us giddy. While we took breaks from filming, the girls and I went to work on these grates.  We were sort of fighting over the worst grates because the thicker grime was more fun to peel off with our tools. After getting the worst of it off, we gentle rubbed it over with a damp scouring pad and then with a rag.  Wow! The results were amazing.  

The oven grates were not as receptive to the wire brushes so we got out the old wire scouring pad. That worked so much easier because you can wrap the fibers around the long, thin, metal bars and power it off to a shine. The results were much the same-amazing. {THESE are my favorite wire scouring pads. They are made of high quality stainless steel, last a long time, and don't rust.}

Inside the stove we placed a rag and poured a cup of ammonia over it. Then we let it set over night for the fumes to penetrate the grime. It worked so well. All the grime came off the window. We could see all the way to the floor through it. Everything just wiped off pretty easy without too much elbow grease. I suggest putting a sheet of aluminum foil at the base of the oven as a preventative step. {Some newer ovens advise NOT to do this.} Any food that should drip or bubble over, will drop on the foil instead of the bottom of your stove. It is much easier to toss the foil into the trash than to go through this process all over again. My grandmother always said...

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

The last step was to spray and wipe down the entire exterior of the stove to make it shine. I made a homemade spray cleaner by combining 2 cups vinegar with 2 cups of water. A 1:1 ratio. Spritz the entire top, around the controls, the buttons, and door to complete the shine. Stand back and watch how it sparkles.  

To keep the stove clean, simply wipe down the stove top after each cooking session. The grime will come off with very little effort. Watch for spills and pay close attention to the grates as well. This wipe down will only take about 2 minutes a day. 2 minutes a day will save hours of detailing.  

HERE is a link to Erin's video and post!

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, 
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, 
and our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10:22

Friday, June 20, 2014

Jill And Derrick Got Married!

Jill Duggar got married. The Jeub family was invited. They are a family of 16 children and have known the Duggars for a long time. Chris Jeub, the father, wrote, "Millions love and adore the Duggars. They're an oddity just like we are ~ which makes for good reality television, I suppose ~ but I believe there is one underlying value that makes the Duggars over-the-top awesome: NONCONFORMITY."

Paul speaks to us and commands that Christians not look or act like the world, "Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?...For ye are the temple of the living God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate"{2 Corinthians 6:15-17} Christians are called to "come out" and "separate ourselves from them."

The Duggars and the Jeubs take this very seriously. They also take this verse seriously, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind"{Romans 12:2}. They don't care what the world is doing or what they think. They only want to please the Lord.

God does put extraordinary demands upon us. Yes, He forgives us and accepts us into His family if we believe, but He also wants us to count the cost of following Him. He calls children a gift and a blessing and the man is blessed who has a quiver full. He tells us that women should be modest and keepers at home. We should hate what is evil and cling to what is good. We are to be loving, kind, generous, submissive to authorities, etc.

What does being separated from the world mean? It means we do not participate in their evil deeds. We don't watch or do evil things. We don't compromise with the world. We don't try to please and gain acceptance from the world. The only One we want to please is the Lord. Why does He want us to separate from them? Bad company corrupts good morals {I Corinthians 15:33}. 

It means you may need to separate your children from other children. It probably means you need to take them out of public schools. {Children are very easily influenced by others.} It doesn't mean you never have any interaction with unbelievers. It just means you don't do things they do that are not pleasing to the Lord.

Chris Jeub has a blog. He wrote about the Duggars HERE. I encourage you to read it. These are the families we should be looking to for examples on how to live our lives and be encouraged by them. There are very few of them around, unfortunately, but thankfully there are some.

***Would the world look at your life and call you a nonconformist?

Having therefore these promises dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
II Corinthians 7:1

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Running Home To Mommy

Several times in our first year of marriage, I ran home. My mom, however, would never say one bad thing about Ken and I was never invited to spend the night. I have seen parents support their daughters when their daughters wanted out of their marriage for reasons other than any type of abuse. This was always very sad to me.

My soon-to-be daughter-in-law sent me a wonderful article about a woman who ran home because she was "miserable" in her marriage. Her mother was one wise woman. She had her daughter make a list of all the things she didn't like about her husband: Bill never picked his clothes off the floor. He never told me when he was going outside. He slept in church. He had embarrassing, nasty habits such as blowing his nose or belching at the dinner table. He never bought me nice presents. He refused to match his clothes. He was tight with money. He wouldn't help with the housework. He didn't talk with me, etc.

Then she asked her to write next to each criticism of her husband the way she responded when her husband acted like this: I'd pout, cry, and get angry. I'd be embarrassed to be with him. I'd act like a "martyr." I'd wish I'd married someone else. I'd give him the silent treatment. I'd feel I was too good for him. The list seemed endless.

Then her mother cut the paper in two, handed her the list of her responses, and told her to go home and pray about them. After spending all afternoon doing this, her realization was "I saw a record of petty behaviors, shameful practices, and destructive responses. I spent the next several hours asking God for forgiveness. I requested strength, guidance, and wisdom in the changes I needed to make. As I continued to pray, I realized how ridiculously I'd behaved. I could barely remember the transgressions I'd written for Bill. How absurd could I be? Nothing immoral or horrible was on that list. I'd honestly been blessed with a good man—not a perfect one, but a good one."

She decided to go back to her husband. Her husband didn't change but she changed through God's power. She stopped looking at his faults and began looking to God and began loving her husband as God commanded her to do. Her husband ended up getting Alzheimer at an early age and she was so thankful she began treating him with respect and loving him as she should before this terrible disease affected him. You can read all of her story HERE.

I was listening to a woman teacher yesterday. She said that if you have a rebellious 15 year old son, stop quoting the Bible to him, stop making him go to church, stop yelling and screaming at him {as our natural inclination is to do}, but instead fix him his favorite meal, smile at him, speak warmly to him, win him with love. Therefore, if we are called to treat a 15 year old rebellious son this way, certainly we can treat our husbands this way who we are one flesh with, even if they leave clothes on the floor, don't help with housework, watches too much TV, is tight with money, etc.

Love bears all things, believes all things, 
hopes all things, endures all things.
I Corinthians 13:7

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why Men Are Happier!

Well, I finally figured out why men are generally happier than women and why women want to be men so badly. The following email was sent to me but there was no author and I have no idea where it came from, but it does have a lot of truth to it. 

Men are just happier people ~ What do you expect from such simple creatures? Your last name stays put. The garage is all yours. Wedding plans take care of themselves. Chocolate is just another snack.

You can never be pregnant. You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park. You can wear NO shirt to a water park. Car mechanics tell you the truth. The world is your urinal. {The only time I wished I were male was when snow skiing! How much easier to just go behind a tree than have to track down a bathroom, take off all you snow gear, etc.} You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.

You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt. {Righty tighty, lefty loosey!} Same work, more pay. Wrinkles add character. Wedding dress ~ $5000. Tux rental ~ $100. People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them. New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet. {This is SO true! I bought a new pair of heels for Steven's wedding. I rarely wear heels. They are so uncomfortable, but the saleswoman assured me that since they are leather I had to buy them a bit tight and they will loosen up. Yikes! When?}

One mood all the time. Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat. A five day vacation requires only one suitcase. You can open all your own jars. If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.

Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack. {No, really??? Why is woman's underwear soooo much more???} Three pairs of shoes are more than enough. Everything on your face stays its original color. The same hairstyle lasts for years, even decades. You only have to shave your face and neck.

You can play with toys all your life. One wallet and one pair of shoes -- one color for all seasons. You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look. You can 'do' your nails with a pocket knife. You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache. You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.

If Laura, Kate and Sarah go out for lunch, they will call each other Laura, Kate and Sarah. If Mike, Dave and John go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Bubba and Wildman.

When the bill arrives, Mike, Dave and John will each throw in $20, even though it's only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back. When the women get their bill, out come the pocket calculators...YEP!!!

A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs. A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need but it's on sale. A man has six items in his bathroom: toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap and a towel. The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify more than 20 of these items.

A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument. A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband. A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife. A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't. A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, but she does.

A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the trash, answer the phone, read a book, and get the mail. A man will dress up for weddings and funerals. Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed. Women somehow deteriorate during the night. {Oh, oh...lots of women won't like this one!}

Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears, and hopes and dreams. A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.

Thought for the day ~ A married man should forget his mistakes. There's no use in two people remembering the same thing! So send this to the women who have a sense of humor and who can handle it and to the men who will enjoy reading it!

I was emailed this because he knew I would enjoy it. I love the differences between men and women. I work very hard to work on the negative differences women have so their marriages and lives will be better. We all need to know our weaknesses and work on them with the help of the Holy Spirit working mightily within us.

Despite the above that makes being a man's life look much easier than being a woman, they are the first ones to defend our country during war, to fight fires and criminals, to have to provide for their families until they die, etc. Their lives are not any easier than women's, just different. Appreciate the differences!

I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God.
Ecclesiastes 4:12,13