Family Life

The Strength in Submission

untitled

In a society who prides themselves on the indoctrination of our young females to be strong and independent, the concept of being submissive sounds completely radical and counter-cultural.  After all, it’s easier to listen to celebrity figures, like Beyonce,’ provoking the question: who runs the world? Followed by her clear declaration: girls! With this kind of model for our generation of women, it’s highly unlikely to find titles of “how to be submissive” as a featured article in Cosmopolitan magazine or TV programs like the Diligent Housewives of Atlanta.

And what are our men doing as we run the world? Just take a look at the current “family” television shows. While the mom character is portrayed as the superwoman heroine of her family, the dad has taken a less significant position as the proverbial screw- up, who is oftentimes the butt of the joke, rather than the head of the household- where comical normality is found in the wife and children rolling their eyes, disrespectfully talking back and completely objectifying his authority.

Rebelling against the idea of submission to authority did not, however, begin during current entertainment or even the feminist movement. It began at the very beginning in Genesis with Adam and Eve. Just as women want to be the leading lady of their own lives and desire to prove equal to their counter-part, Eve was fed the same lie by the serpent- it was not good enough to be just human. Eve wanted to be like God, just as Satan wanted to be God.  Satan did not want to be subject to God’s authority, just like women today don’t want to be subject to their husbands. This is not to compare women to Satan or men to God, but to see the mirror of sinful nature that exists to be something we were not created to be.

But to the wife who practices diligent submission- she’s a doormat, weak, and pathetic, according to feminist definition. On the contrary, submission requires anything but weakness. Our media tends to focus more on how women can glorify themselves, so it’s difficult to understand  the strength in denying ourselves and resisting our own stubborn will for the sake of another- the one who holds the position of whom we have been groomed by society to supersede. Instead of complimenting our men, we choose to compete with them. But do you realize that not being subject to your husband is actually incompliance to the Word of God?

Not submitting to your husband reveals a deeper condition of the heart. At the very core of submission, is a humble heart- one that serves and honors, even in times of tribulation and inconvenience. How we submit to our husbands is a direct reflection of how we submit to Christ.  When life is difficult, we still must submit ourselves to God. The same holds true that when our husbands displease us or things don’t go our way, we still are called to submit.  Recognize your husband’s position as the head of your home- physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. The leadership ordained to your husband was not created to permit him to be a dictator. You do still have a voice- an important voice to help him. But your demeanor should be temperate and respectful.  God did not design our role as a lowly position of burden, but as a divine covering of protection and love. And that, my friends, is a beautiful gift.

It is not easy to deny yourself. Remember though, we are held accountable for our behavior. And we do our work as unto the Lord, not men. And He has called us to be submissive. But I would encourage you to allow your husband to lead you, just as he is led by God.  I am so grateful God blessed me with a husband who desires to follow Him. It sure makes my job as his wife a lot easier.  I encourage you to pray for your husband in his appointed position and ask God to grant you the humble strength to be submissive, as is fitting in the eyes of our Lord.

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker

*Please stay tuned next week for part 2 of this topic as we dive into ways we can be a submissive wife!

Uncategorized

A “Holy Ground” Vision for Home

cmimg_72288

What’s the first thing you do when you return home from a long day of work or running errands? Chances are, you remove your shoes.  Perhaps you want to spare the carpet or don’t want your infant to navigate on a floor that has been walked on by the same germ-infested soles that went into the grocery store bathroom earlier that day. Or maybe because removing our shoes is a simple comfort of home- when our tired toes meet the soft fibers of the floor- and we can calmly exhale after a long day. At this point, you may be wondering how taking off your shoes applies to living intentionally with a holy ground vision of home.

Recall the story of Moses and the burning bush. Moses was a prince of Egypt when he learned that his family mistreated and enslaved the very people who biologically gave him life. He abandoned his royal position in order to help free his people. When Moses encountered the burning bush, the Lord clearly spoke: “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5).  Unlike the homey satisfaction we receive when we remove our shoes, God was not instructing Moses to get comfy.  God was reminding him to humbly respect Him in the midst of His holy presence and He was also preparing Moses for the work that he was set apart to accomplish. Can you grasp the connection?  Ladies, I believe God is speaking the same important message to us today.

As you remove your shoes and begin to prepare to set about the work in your home, remember that the place you are cooking, cleaning and nurturing the next generation is holy ground. God has called us for a great ministry under our roof- to live intentionally by equipping our family for the service of Jesus Christ.   You may very well be questioning how in the world your home can be holy ground it’s hard to see past the unaccomplished chore list on the fridge or the way you lost your temper with your kids this morning. You’re likely thinking “holy” is not the appropriate word to describe your home. But look beyond the work that must be done in order to make your homestead esthetically radiant or even your moment of temporary insanity and see the work that is required within the hearts of those we are admonishing (our children) and submissively serving ( our husband).

Maybe your day began with a screaming baby, a chorus of adolescent bickering and a cold cup of coffee- Moses had been wandering in the desert for forty years when God gave him a high calling (just when you thought your bad day is beyond repair for God’s miraculous vision for your home). It’s easy to have trouble envisioning our imperfect lives in our imperfect homes as holy ground, but nonetheless, it is still our calling as wives and mothers to wholeheartedly  minister to our family.  Our family has been entrusted to us by God.  Just like God set the bush ablaze, He has the power to set our souls on fire on behalf of His kingdom.  And God deeply desires for women to recognize that His greatest work for us is found within the walls of our home and see the beauty in our purposeful mission.

It’s hard to grasp how we can change the world as we’re changing diapers. But the good news is God still deposits us with the grace and strength to spiritually remove our shoes and set about the work of the King. Be encouraged, dear friends, that in the midst of what often feels like a season of day to day failures, redundancies, and wandering, we are planting eternal seeds and cultivating our holy ground. The tangible crops that we reap may take years to grow, but it is not in vain. They say “home is where the heart is” and God has designed you and I to love and nurture our home by sowing His Word into the hearts of our loved ones.  Remove your shoes, ladies, for your home is holy ground!

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker

Budgeting

How I Feed My Family of 4 On $100/Week

Groceries

I know what you’re thinking…I must be one of those “as seen on TV” coupon gurus.  With a wave of my scissors,  I can cast savings everywhere. Not so. Although I envy those who can walk out of a store juggling a mountain of bags that only cost like $15,  I find coupon clipping requires tedious discipline that I reluctantly utilize on the occasional  well-worth deal.  But I have discovered other strategies to be just as effective for money- saving and time-saving as well. Every well-thought out strategy begins with a plan of action. Just as my coaching husband scripts football plays, I make a different sort of game-plan-  instead of formations in my playbook, I chart inventory, carefully create a weekly menu and write out a strategic list before facing the shopping cart traffic jams and bumper to bumper check-out lines.

With these tips, you too can maintain keeping your family full on a humble budget of $100 per week!

1. Be Resourceful.  Before I figure out my weekly meal action plan, I sort through my current household inventory of my pantry, fridge and freezer. Instead of making a dish that requires purchase of a whole list of new ingredients while perfectly good groceries continue to make their journey towards their shelf light at the end of the tunnel, I consider how I can use those items to make something.   I also check for staple items that stretch a meal- like pastas, potatoes and rice. If I bought rice last week to make a chicken and rice soup, then I create a different way to serve rice the next week, like a sausage jambalaya or chicken and veggie teriyaki over rice.  This incorporates ingredients I already have on hand, but in a way that won’t leave my family questioning “didn’t we just have this?!”

2. Plan the Weekly Meals. Once you know what ingredients you already have to work with, creating a meal plan is a cinch. What requires a half hour of time eliminates a week full of maddening brain-scrambling trying to decide what to make, while your kids and husband are looking at you for answers to the age-old question of what’s for dinner.  A meal plan also simplifies making a grocery list to include the items required for preparing suppers.

3. Prepare One Meatless Meal Per Week. I could safely classify my husband as a carnivorous specimen, but once he realized how much meat was adding up in our grocery budget, he complied (eventually) to one meatless meal per week. Make a hearty vegetable soup or pasta with homemade marinara sauce- your family will survive- last I checked, death by vegetables has yet to occur.

4. Eat Left-Overs. Left- overs used to only appeal to me for lunch the following day. But I discovered that we often still had left over left-overs, so not only was this habit wasteful, but it added more expense- and time- to cook something new every night. Now when I cook, my family has left-overs the next night, followed by a night of cooking a different meal. And the cycle repeats.  This requires me to cook only 3-4 times per week. The benefits are great for your wallet, but also rewarding with more quality family time, rather than time spent over a hot stove.

5. Make A List. I stand by to-do lists and grocery lists. It’s like having an organized visual of my thoughts.  Making a list and sticking to the essentials will help to avoid those impulse buys that accumulate dollar signs (and buyer’s remorse) during check-out. And being armed with a well-devised list, you can kiss last minute “Oops, I forgot something” runs to the store goodbye!

6. Alternate Organic with Regular Items. Like so many others I know, I threw my grocery budget to the wind and jumped on the organic band wagon at one point…but the reality of doubling my spending left my checkbook feeling pretty depressed. But after counseling my budget and consoling my wallet, I derived to a new plan of action- and alternating was my simply profound solution. Some weeks, I purchase organic meat and vegetables, but buy regular snack food and cereals. Another week, I buy regular meats and purchase the organic granola bars and frozen yogurt. Organic items seldom go on sale, so it is important to mix and match.

7. Mix and Match Fresh with Frozen/Canned. The key to buying fresh ingredients on a budget is buying in-season. During the summer, I love taking advantage of the beautiful blueberries, strawberries and melon.  In winter months, if I crave a delicious fruit smoothie, I purchase frozen fruit to keep cost down. As I make meals throughout the week, I alternate making fresh vegetables, like freshly roasted garlic asparagus one evening with canned carrots with a homemade ginger glaze for another night.

8. Limit the Purchase of Beverages.  Pop and juice not only wreak havoc on your body, but your budget as well.  Buying a couple liters of pop and juice can easily wipe out 10-15% of the total budget. Even bottled water can add an unnecessary expense- consider buying a personal water bottle to re-use instead.

9. Don’t Be Fooled by Sales. Red- sticker savings usually give the illusion of getting a deal, but sometimes, a sale may be taking advantage of you instead of you taking advantage of a sale.  Watch for the items labeled “Buy Two for…”  Some of these savings only add up to a matter of pocket change, so you basically got duped into doubling your purchase spending.  Sometimes it saves to not “save.”

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker

Home

5 Fool-Proof Ways to Organize Kid’s Bedrooms

Tornado warning! Don’t panic and run to your basement- I’m not updating you on your weather forecast- I’m referring to the inevitable state of your children’s bedrooms.  At the end of yet another eventful, action-packed time of playing with toys, games and pretend, it almost seems easier to just place some caution tape across the door and call it a day. Well, you would unfortunately have to enter the disaster zone at some point. But I am here to tell you that there is a solution for damage control. You can maintain your home (and your sanity) by applying these simple tips to organize your kids’ rooms and keep them organized!

Picture1

  1. Keep, Toss or Donate. It’s a good habit to do a little inventory, so to speak, on your kids toys from time to time. I routinely practice this after birthdays and Christmas, when the kids get to stock up on some new toys. Make three piles. If a toy or game is broken or missing parts or pieces- it’s time to bid them farewell. Then there are the toys who don’t get a lot of attention and are often found in a corner or stuffed under the bed with a company of dust bunnies. If they are in good shape, consider placing them in the donate pile or next summer’s garage sale heap. This is my personal favorite strategy for throwing out – I mean retiring unused toys- for lack of better explanation to my four and six-year old.

 Picture1

  1. Categorize Alike Toys into Bins. Qualifying bins can be anything from small plastic tubs, decorative fabric boxes or baskets. This is an effective alternative to a toy chest- which honestly does not fall into the category of organizing toys- don’t let the nostalgic dancing bears on the box fool you- it’s the textbook definition of organized chaos. Yes, the toys are compartmentalized, but at random and in no particular order. You might be amazed at what you can find at the bottom of a toy chest- anything from a missing Uno card, to moldy crackers, maybe even a neighbor kid. Organize alike toys in the same bins. Have a bin for Barbie’s, a bin for cars, bin for animals, action figures, etc.  This also helps alleviate the headache from the daily “Mom! Where’s my…”.

 

Picture1

  1. Utilize Wall Space. Floating shelves or baskets are perfect for displaying and storing your child’s favorite stories, coloring books and crayons. It frees up drawer and closet space, while adding a sweet  personal touch to the room. This concept is not limited to just nurseries anymore. Children of reading age can enjoy the benefits of having their books on display to encourage their reading.

 

Picture1

  1. Take Advantage of Closets. Maybe you’re picturing the current state of your child’s closet: stuffed to the brim and bursting at the seams- that is not what I’m referring to! My approach to bedroom organization is to avoid having every inch of the perimeter of the room displayed with toys or furniture. You want the room to feel spacious and open, not cluttered. Relocating toys can offer a solution to keep a room looking clean, while also providing functionality. Instead of an elaborate closet organization system for clothes, consider consolidating clothing to dresser drawer space. Use the closet space to store toy bins, baby dolls, dress up clothes and games. Closets create easy accessibility for children, but also designate a structured place for things when guests come to visit. And unlike a jam-packed closet, you won’t have to feel embarrassed if those doors do open.

Picture1

5. Organize Dresser Drawers. It’s the same concept as the toy bins. Organize clothing into    drawers with other like clothing- pajamas with pajamas, shorts with shorts- you get the idea.  Evaluate sizes of clothing at the beginning of each season. If you can determine that your child won’t fit that adorable sweater next winter, it’s time to sell or donate.  If you find you still have a lack of dresser space, simply put out- of -season clothing into labeled tote containers to store in the basement or garage until the next appropriate time of year arrives.

 

Organization can be challenging and time consuming, but necessary when we are striving to manage our homes with the upmost efficiency- may the good Lord grant you patience in the midst of sorting through the rubble. But when the job is done, you can remove the caution tape and unroll your sleeves with a great deal of personal satisfaction. Maintenance is key to keep your home functioning and running smoothly. Although this requires a degree of self-discipline as well, you may want to use this as an opportunity to introduce these concepts to your children and hand over some responsibility for their rooms. Having a designated place for everything will make their job easier when putting things away and teach them beginner organization skills and stewardship. Now go forth and conquer those bedrooms!

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker

Food and Recipes

Grandma B’s Wonder Frosting

 

FullSizeRender.jpg

Often, the most cherished recipes aren’t discovered in renowned cook books written by world class famous chefs or even the top selling dishes at five star restaurants.  In our family, the best recipes are passed down from the archives in Grandma’s test kitchen—where love is always the first ingredient and the portions of food are just as abundant as hugs and kisses. But of all the recipes that have adorned our tables for years, one in particular remains the undefeated champion: Grandma B’s frosting.

Grandma always called it wonder cake frosting—I’m guessing because it’s simply so wonderful and has marveled our family for generations. Traditionally, my grandmother used this icing for her wonder red cake, as opposed to the commonly known cream cheese frosting.  But the icing was so good, it became the only icing for every cake in our house. And I have adopted the beloved tradition to share with my family and friends. Store-bought icing doesn’t hold a candle to this icing—it truly takes the cake.

 

Grandma B’s Wonder Frosting

 Ingredients:

 2 ½ Tbs. Flour

½ Cup Milk

¼ Cup Crisco

¼ Cup Butter, softened at room temperature

½ Cup Granulated Sugar

½ Tsp. Vanilla Extract

 

Directions:

 Combine flour and milk in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens to a sauce.  Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm.  Cream together Crisco and butter. Add sugar and vanilla.  Add the milk mixture to the butter mixture and beat with a mixer until light and fluffy.

 

Don’t attempt to deprive yourself and wait for a birthday or special celebration in order to have a reason to make this recipe—  you don’t even have to wait until after dinner. In the wise words of my Dad: “Life’s short—eat dessert first!” Enjoy!

 

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker