A Simple Heart, A Simple Home...
 
Dearest Readers,
 
I write today with an overflowing heart. My heart is filled so full that it must be pouring out into the very air around me:) The stirrings of my soul are the call I feel being whispered to me on working towards more simplicity.
 
In today's times we are always on the go and we are always looking for material things to make our filled hours easier. It is a very high tech world we live in so that was the natural course of action in most cases. I have been reading the most endearing and inspirational book: "MOTHER TERESA ~ A Simple Path" compiled by Lucinda Vardey on this very topic. These words are washing through the inner places of me and urging me to let it change me... to let these words change the way I live my life. I exhort you today to look inside the core of your being to see if perhaps you may need some of that change as well.
 
Our homemaking can be so beautifully done that we can have peace in the works of our hands. We don't have to continually fill it up with things... things are more work. We can spend that time serving others! I'm not trying to encourage anyone throwing everything they own out the door and living in stark poverty, nor would I want to.
We can just live with so much less than we realize and things can be so much better when we do. We can be thankful for freshly cleaned clothes, the sheets and blankets allowing us comfort at night, the abundance of clear water running, and so much more.
We can keep whatever we have neat and in order so that it can all be appreciated.
The sense of order will help to restore more than our homes but our souls as well.
 
This isn't just a call to have less in material possessions. We need to learn the beauty in simplicity! Our lives do not have to be hectic! When Jesus Christ is the very first and most important thing in our hearts, minds, and lives - such a wondrous peace settles in and calms all of the chaos. This is the call I am sending out... a call to serve Jesus first, others second and us last. This doesn't mean we can't take basic care of ourselves... when we make this mistake we are trying to water others from a dry well and it just doesn't work. We CAN fill up with Jesus... More of HIM and less of us.
We can make choices to pray and give each day over to Him Who owns it anyway.
In this book, Mother Teresa gives 5 ways to live more simple lives - I would like to share those with you...
 
Prayer.
"I always begin my prayer with silence, for it is in the silence of the heart that God speaks. God is the friend of silence - we need to listen to God because it's not what we say but what He says to us and through us that matters. "
"Prayer is needed for children and families. Love begins at home and that is why it is important to pray together. If you pray together you will stay together and love each other as God loves each one of you."  "Pray every day."
 
Faith.
"If you need a guide, you only have to look at Jesus. You have to surrender to Him and rely on      Him completely. When you do this, all doubt is dispelled and you are filled with conviction."

Love.
"We must be loved by God first, and only then can we give to others. For us to want to give love to others we must be full of love to give. God acts in this way. It is He who moves us all to do what we are doing, and if we feel His love for us then this love emanates from us. Is love has no boundaries."
 
Service.
"Prayer in action is love, and love in action is service. Try to give unconditionally whatever a person needs in the moment. The point is to do something, however small, and show you care through your actions by giving your time."
 
Peace.
"Works of love are always works of peace. Whenever you share your love with others, you'll notice the peace that comes to you and to them. When there is peace, there is God - that is how God touches our lives and shows His love for us by pouring peace and joy into our hearts."
 
-MOTHER TERESA- A Simple Path-
 
Everything you just read can so easily be applied to your family, to your homemaking! I know that I am going to make some changes towards more simplicity in my home - however humble others might see it. I will work at remembering that I am only concerned with pleasing my Lord and there is real and pure PEACE in that!
 
 
Managing Your Kitchen Wisely
From: "Looking Well to The Ways of Your Household" by Mary Carney
(This is a WONDERFUL book on Homemaking for my family. It is a large paperback [not too thick] but is centered towards the homeschooling family. Even with that, it has some great help for homemakers!)
 
On Cooking Ahead:
 1.      Make a list of all the main dishes you regularly serve now.
2.      Choose several which would be easily made in bulk and which will freeze well. How about choosing just three dishes to make four meal's worth of the first time? This will give you a dozen nights in the next month when dinner is already fixed.
3.      Plan your cooking day. List all the steps involved in cooking your chosen recipes. Place the steps in logical order.
4.      Make your shopping list, being sure you have everything you need. Be sure to include some heavy-duty freezer bags and freezer paper for storing your meals in.
5.      Shop.
6.      Prepare for cooking day by cleaning the counters, soaking any dried beans you may be using, and perhaps boiling your chickens the night before. Get a good night's sleep.
7.      Bright and early the next morning, start following your cooking plan, and within a few hours, you will have a dozen future dinners in the freezer.
8.      If you have leftover meat, beans and chopped vegetables, it's a good bet you'll be having vegetable soup for dinner tonight!
9.      Take a few minutes to write down what went well, and what could be improved next time.
 
 
A Prayer for Peeling Potatoes
 By: Marjorie Holmes
 
I don't peel potatoes as often as my mother did, Lord, but when I do, I'm grateful. I suddenly feel near to You, my creator. And near to the past which produced me, near to all the people from which I came.
For hungry as though we often were for other things, Lord, you always supplied us bountifully with potatoes. And we never got tired of them - baked, boiled, fried, or eaten raw with salt. (We even made potato sandwiches sometimes, after school.)
What a variety of possibilities you put into this homely food. What beauty you thought to include, what pleasure.
....The vines with their starry blossoms. And digging for them - as we have to dig for many of life's best things - to find them clinging like small brown gnomes to the parent root, or scattered about like treasures.
 
Potatoes. Dusty, earth - colored potatoes. Humble, plain, yet holding within their white flesh the stuff of life for our survival. The miracle of nourishment.
A potato. To feel it's weight like a nugget in my hand. To prepare it for its place in my family's meal. This is to see and know absolute beauty for a minute; this is to participate in the very essence of your plan. For as I cook this potato I too am performing the simple, necessary function you mean for me. I too am creator.
 
Laundry Line
 
This will be a bit different from the regular laundry tips I send in. This is more of one woman's way of doing it and I include this great author's name and book title at the end:)
 
"I only wash once a week for a family of seven. I do this because I don't like having dirty and clean laundry lying around every day of the week. I don't really have any desire to interact with my laundry anymore frequently than once a week. I really don't have that many loads. We have a large capacity washer, and I wash about six loads of clothing (not including diapers, towels, or sheets) per week. We wear our clothes for more than one day if possible.
I have small square laundry baskets for each child to carry their own clean clothes to their room and put away themselves as soon as they are able. The empty baskets are stored in their closets as a place for them to put dirty clothes. I use these small baskets to sort the laundry on laundry day. I encourage all of the children to help.
There are time-savers that make the laundry go faster. We sort the clothes the night before laundry day. I put the denim/dark load in the washer before going to bed. This load usually takes the longest to dry.
I try to take clothes out of the dryer as soon as it beeps, so wrinkles are minimized and I don't have much ironing. Even if I can't fold right that minute, I can lay out the clothes.
As warmer weather returns I am reminded of my clothesline. I  did not think I would like this at first. Clotheslines seemed like more work to me, and I am not looking for more work. After I tried one, I was pleasantly surprised. We can hang up two or three loads at once. This is faster because the dryer is much slower than the washer. I can be outside enjoying nice weather while conversing with my children."
 
"The Busy Mom's Guide To Simple Living" by Jackie Wellwood
 

 
love, Sandy :)

 

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