Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Saying Thank You!

Sometimes I feel like it is a dying art to say thank you anymore. My husband has always, since we were married, been a big fan of sending thank you cards to those who have extended themselves and made a gesture of hospitality or giving toward our family. Of course there are other ways to say thank you to someone; either by a small gift, phone call or other thoughtful gesture you can convey an attitude of gratitude. It doesn't have to be over the top, just something to let the other person know how much their blessing meant to you! As a follower of Christ I want others to know that I am grateful for their gifts of time, service, hospitality, or item that was given and didn't have to be.

We are trying to cultivate this attitude in our children as well, which is really sweet to watch as it takes hold and blossoms in their hearts. Phoebe will readily tell me after finishing a meal she has really enjoyed, "Thank you for that wonderful meal mommy!" When someone gets her something her first reaction after we get home is "I need to make them a card!" She is much quicker at getting that thank you together than I am; oh the things our kids teach us!

Thankfulness will spill out of a heart that is full and content for where it is and what it has already. When something is given on top of this it overflows to the giver and those around retuning joy for blessing. It is my heart's desire to have those around me receive joy and the abundance of the Lord. I feel like it is one of those ways that is so different from everyday reactions people receive that it can draw them to the Lord. Joy over the wonderful gift that was freely given, of His Son to die so we could have everlasting life, is something we hear so often, but it should never loose the wonder and awe that comes with so magnanimous of a gift.

 One of my excuses that I sometimes use for not getting the thank you sent right away is time. Really though, if you want to do something, you will make time for it and it will get done. So I am trying to think ahead and I wanted to make some little things to have ready to give to those who have and will help out when our new arrival decides to come.  I really like lotion bars as they are pretty and so nice to use, and I also really am liking this body sugar scrub for in the shower. It is simple, a snap to make, and the soft skin and smelling like strawberry short cake is pretty nice too!

Strawberry Body Sugar Scrub
Makes approximately 2 cups
  • 3 medium strawberries
  • 1 Cup fine sea salt
  • 2 Cups white sugar
  • 1Tbs almond oil
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla
Place all the ingredients in a small blender or food processor and pulse till combined

Use in the shower after washing to exfoliate the skin especially the elbows and knees, then just rinse off. It will keep in the refrigerator for a week or two if someone doesn't try and eat it first, this stuff smells so good!

 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

                                                               The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My Thoughts on Waiting

Let's face it nobody really likes to wait anymore. We have an instant, fast paced society that has little to no tolerance for all things slow. It starts pretty young too because my one year old has very real struggles with waiting for me to get dinner on the table, play with him or help him out of a tight spot. I am usually made aware of this by a screeching sound followed by a loud "momma!" This is repeated till I take care of what ever is bothering him. In an effort to help him realize that sometimes his "needs" can wait for a few more minuets we started to sing this song to him:

"Have patience, have patience,
Don't be in such a hurry.
When you get impatient,
you only start to worry.
Remember, remember that God is patient, too;
Just think of all the times when others
Have to wait for you."
The funny thing is that while he is having this struggle I have to admit that I am struggling in this area too right now. I am so ready for my little baby to be born/labor to start that it consumes a good portion of my thoughts and day. I am planning whole weeks around the possibility it could happen at any time now and just like the song states, "when you get impatient you only start to worry." I am worried about when it happens it will not be a good time for Josh and he will miss it and that I will not have help to babysit my children while I am having the baby. That I will have the baby in the car or that the cord is wrapped around it's neck and that is why I keep contracting with no baby. Really all this over thinking is a sin problem, I am not fully trusting that God will take care of me and "have all things work for the good of those who love Him" I am thinking that I can take care of things myself and by worrying I can accomplish something.
"So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:34
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Luke 12:25

God has repeatedly shown that times of waiting are for strengthening the faith and growing character in those made to wait as well as show His might and power in the situation. I am sure the children of Israel were more than ready to leave Egypt and be released from slavery but God needed to show his power and might through the plagues and strengthen the peoples faith in God. It also caused some Egyptians to believe and follow them to the promised land. Apparently I am in a place where my faith needs tested and God needs to be glorified. 

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do."  James 1:2-8

 So as I pray for a safe delivery with my husband present and children in safe, happy care. I need to believe He will come through with His promises and show my children that God is faithful and his promises are true. In all what I need is to have patience :)

                                                               The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Natural Close Shave

So for a while It has been hot, the icky sticky kind of hot that makes a person want to permanently live in water, and eat nothing but popsicles. Well it makes me feel that way, maybe because I am really pregnant as well so having children snuggling me from the outside and inside really is adding to my personal heat index.

At any rate I have been putting off wearing summer skirts and shorts because of the sad truth that I am not really thrilled to show off my calves, due to the fact this baby has given me some yucky leg vein problems. Never had them before, but I do now! However the heat has now become too much for me to handle in pants and floor length skirts, so sorry calves you are going to be exposed! This also unfortunately means more shaving and I just am not comfortable using the store bought variety as it contains sodium lauryl sufates and a plethora of other chemicals I don't want on my skin.

So I have been trying some other options out and I have decided the best way to go is a lighter foaming variety as the thicker creams clog the razors and make the shower a very dangerous place for a very pregnant momma with bad balance! After playing around with ingredients; trying to make it close to a foamy shaving experience I once enjoyed, I think I have found the solution for a smooth shave!
  • Almond oil~ rich in vitamins A, B and E all great for the skin. Also works as a light moisturizer without clogging pores
  • Honey~ another natural moisturizer, it is also anti-bacterial and an antioxidant so it keeps the skin clear and smooth by absorbing impurities
  • Castile Soap~ a gentile, allergen free, natural cleanser 
  • Glycerin~ seals in moisture, causing skin to look healthier and smoother
  • Lavender and Chamomile Essential Oil~ soothing to irritated skin, and smells great too! 
I like to mix mine in a foaming pump so I get  a nice lathery foam for a close shave. Summer is here so the less chemicals I am exposed to in my beauty routine the better!

Moisturizing Shaving Foam

  • 1/2 Cup Liquid Castile soap
  • 1/4 Cup Almond oil
  • 1/8 Cup Vegetable Glycerin
  • 20 Drops Lavender essential oil
  • 10 Drops Cammomile essential oil
  • 1 Tbs Honey
  • 1/4 Cup hot water
  • A foaming hand soap pump
Add the ingredients to the hand pump bottle and shake till combined. Use for a moisturizing close shave!
You will need to shake before each use as there are no stabilizers/emulsifiers in the shaving foam :)

Let's enjoy this heat and all the fun that comes with it! It is only here once a year!
                                                            The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

3 Ingredient Face Mask

It is not very often, at this point in my life, that I get much relaxation time. That is okay with me as the trade off is quite worth it, as my daughter says, "Mommy you and I are best friends." It is so true and I wouldn't trade my new "best friends" for anything. However some times I just want a little time to take care of myself, or just read something on my own, without my "best friends" there to ask why or what I am doing :)

This weekend I was able to have a little bit of free time after I put my children to bed to do some work on myself before going out in public; also known as the 2 hour shower. One thing I was eager to try out was my new heel shaver. My poor feet have always been plagued by thick calluses on my heels. For my bridal shower my dear friend took me to get my first pedicure and while we were both there getting our feet done the lady got out this magical little tool and proceed to shave off my "very dry feet" while my friend sat there in shock at all the dead skin falling off. It never dawned on me that I probably could buy one and do it myself occasionally, until this year when it just wasn't working to go and get my feet done and they really needed some TLC. I do love it but you do have to be careful not to take off too much or you could end up with some sore heels.

Anyway the other thing that needed some attention was my face. One of the joys of pregnancy is the hormone fluctuations that make your skin behave like when you were a teen again. Yes we all love the pregnancy glow but not the pregnancy breakouts so much. Time to make a mask! I used to love making and trying out home made masks and beauty treatments with my friends, so this made me feel nostalgic. I also made some of my own jewelery too this week with my daughter as that is what we used to do while we did our spa treatments. Blast from the past, and she was in 7th heaven. Back to the face mask I wanted to use something that would pull out the imperfections while soothing and nourishing the irritated, oily skin. So I mixed together some fullers earth, for drawing out the stuff trapped in my skin, some seaweed powder for putting in vitamins and minerals and tightening the skin, and a few drops of melaleuca essential oil for cooling and neutralizing the bacteria present on the surface of the skin. Let me tell you it felt wonderful! However my husband came home and was a little shocked to see me with it on, but isn't that half the fun of using a mask anyway, scaring the other unsuspecting members of your house!

The nice thing about it was not only did my face feel better just after I washed it off but then the acne disappeared in about another day so it did it's job well!

Oily/acne prone Skin Mask

  1. 1 tsp of Fullers Earth
  2. 1 tsp of Seaweed powder
  3. 2 drops Melaleuca essential oil

Mix together and add enough water to make a spreadable paste.

Apply to clean damp skin and let dry.

Rinse off with cool water and enjoy your fresh, clean face!

Sometimes you really need some time to relax and refresh yourself, so take the time to do it, either with or without friends!
                                                                The Farmer in the Dell

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Thankful for a Legacy of Faith

This weekend I get to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of my grandparents. I am so blessed and thankful that both sets of my grand parents have been together for 50 or more years! It is very encouraging to see them living and sharing in my life, and the lives of others in my family, the importance of marriage and oneness held together by the Lord. 

I had asked each of them to let me know what the "secret" was to staying together for 50+ years. Here are some of the nuggets of wisdom that I am able to now store away and use in my own marriage.
  • Keep your priorities: God first, spouse second and children third
  • A family that prays and worships together, stays together
  • Train your children 
  • In all things give thanks
  • Listen before you speak
  • Have a short memory :)
"As you know, a marriage is between a man and a woman and God until death do us part.  It is through the love and sacrifice of marriage that we understand that God is love and to be happy we have to constantly struggle to forget ourselves and love God and our spouse more.  Patience, faith,  humor and forgiveness play a  large part in marriage  but if we put God and our spouse first, there is no question that you will be together “until death do us part.”

"During labor there is a lot of pain but once the baby is born, the pain is quickly forgotten.  There have been many struggles, pain and sorrow but after 50 years of marriage you only remember the love."
Aren't grandparents amazing! 
"My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:1-6

Marriage is a difficult thing; we make a vow to another person to love and cherish them to death do us part but there is a lot of life in-between in most cases. So much of reality TV is spent on marriage and family, why? Because it is full of drama, and changes every day. The days are not always love filled, gushy moments where everything is wonderful, sometimes daily life and our own nature get the better hand. My husband and I are going on 4 years of marriage this September and we both agree it was one of the best decisions we have made, it also happens to be one of the most life changing.
Here are some of my first "shockers" as a young married couple.

Your needs are not always first or always taken care of: This especially gets emphasized when you become parents. It can lead to a bitterness of the soul if it is not properly discussed between the couple to figure out how to prioritize in order to take the best care of each other. I try and remind myself of this verse. "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus" Philippians 4:19 A perfect God has promised to meet my need, what reason do I have to complain.

Money or lack of can be extremely wearing: Thankfully my husband and I have been debt free since we were married, praise the Lord! However that doesn't mean we have never come across times of leanness or loss of an asset. Things get tight but the Lord always manages to show Himself mighty and provide in ways unexpected.

Sometimes you just get on each others nerves:  It could be because you are opposites or even just regular male/female differences but it has happened to everyone that has been married; of that I am certain! As long as you can laugh about it afterwards when you realize how silly you both can be at times.

Your spouse will change: Be prepared, for changes. Physically we change, spiritually we grow stronger (hopefully), mentally we become more alike but all of this strangely draws us closer together. It must be the "becoming one flesh" process. In all I have enjoyed this unexpected growing together. "and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one flesh." Mark 10:8

You will share everything:
Again this is even more pronounced when you are a parent too. From food to personal space nothing is just yours anymore. I borrow his sweatshirts, he eats my protein bars. It helps when are telling our children that everything belongs to the Lord so we should treat things well and be generous/share.  This just happens to be harder for me as I didn't have siblings till I was 16 :)

Marriage is beautiful, complex, surprising, challenging, joyous, painful, satisfying and everything in-between! I cannot imagine how much more we will learn about each other and grow closer together in the next 46 years, Lord willing, on our 50th anniversary.