Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Purpose of Hospitality

I have been thinking about the purpose of hospitality lately. It can be so easy to get so caught up in the logistics of hospitality that we forget about the reason that we do it.  When I remember to keep that purpose as the focus then things go so much smoother!

  So the purpose of hospitality is not showing off your house - even though lately I have seemed to do plenty of that as we have had a lot of company and most all of them want to have a tour (which I don't mind at all) since they know that we have been building our home. But even in the midst of giving house tours (which is NOT the purpose of company) I can still work on the real purpose of hospitality and truly all of life.

  That purpose is to Glorify God.

So how can we glorify God in hospitality?

FIRST: I have found it really helps to pray and ask Him for His help and His leading and direction as you have people over to your home. This is something I need to do more often. When I do remember to turn things over to Him it just gives me such a peace.

  • We can invite over a young mother and her children and encourage her through godly conversation.
  • We can find ways to share God's word with our guests. Possibly inviting them specifically for a Bible study or possibly just looking for opportunities in the conversation to share how God has been speaking to you lately.
  • We can have a family over that has been feeling cooped up over the course of the winter and the kids would really like some interaction with others. This can be an opportunity for your children to be God's hands and feet as well.
  • We can pray with or for our guests. Right then or say you will (and remember to do it) when they mention a need.
  • We can develop friendships with others who are not Christians through hospitality which may cause them to be open to the gospel someday.
  • We can invite over groups of Christians to encourage the strengthening and unity of the Body of Christ.
  • We can invite over Christians and those that are not at the same time to allow more connections to form for allowing more opportunities for the gospel to be spread.
  • We can get-together for a time of music in which we worship our Creator.
  • We can practice hospitality and when together do some act of service (maybe making quilts to donate) that can then bless others.
  • What other ways can you think off?
  Many times when we have people over we have no idea just how God will use that specific time of hospitality. Perhaps a connection will be formed, perhaps God led us to have a specific person over because He knew that they needed encouragement to stay faithful in their walk with Him or maybe we were the ones that needed the encouragement. 

   All I know is that God wants us to be hospitable. When we give our lives to Him and allow Him to use them the way that is best - then God will be glorified.

   May God bless you as you show hospitality to others!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Goals for Good Health - Natural Tooth Whitening

Lately we have been kind of focused on teeth quite a bit. We have been working to make flossing a new habit for everyone (and it is going pretty well) along with drinking more water (also helpful for having better teeth). We also had a dentist appointment for Aaron and Megan and they are scheduled to go back for some fillings. But while we wait for the appointment we are using black walnut hull as much as we can to see if perhaps their teeth might heal with that. I should have used it earlier. I don't know if it has time to work at this point. I guess we shall see.

  Progress is being made on other health goals too. This week I have been working on having better posture. I still have a lot of work to do but it is a start. This week has gone much better for getting to bed on time and we have also been getting our stretching done. This week has been a success so far.

  I have been wanting to work on some natural tooth whitening methods that will also  help with overall mouth health.

 This week it is my goal to make this toothpaste and also implement some of the ideas in this post. I will try to take a before picture soon and then update you all in a week or so.

  Have you ever tried natural whitening methods? I would love to hear your thoughts on them!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Actually Enjoying Ironing

Ironing is not one of my favorite activities. In fact it can get put off for quite a while around here. Quite a long while. Like this was the first time I ironed since before we moved.

  But anyway- we generally don't need to iron much. Though Ken wears dress shirts to work we buy the "Wrinkle Free" variety (which is sometimes true and sometimes not) and we try to get them pulled out of the dryer and hung up promptly. If that doesn't happen then they generally get thrown back in with a wet load of clothes. As far as the rest of us we try to not have many clothes that need ironing and if they do we might rationalize that after an hour or so either the wrinkles will have worn out or it would have been wrinkled anyway so it isn't going to make much difference.

 Ken however had been building up a group of shirts that I had tried to treat carefully when taking them out of the dryer but he still thought they were to wrinkled to wear. I had been putting off ironing them but this past weekend I had some extra time and thought it would be good to spend it in a way that would bless my husband.

   So I pulled out my ironing board and iron and put it up in our room in front of our southern window and was able to iron while enjoying the view and the sunshine coming in. I also grabbed the pen and paper that I had been using to write down some long term goals and I was able to think more about that and jot some more things down while I worked.

  It was really quite a pleasant half hour or so and it really feels good not to feel the pressure to get it done anymore. I think I might like ironing after all.

What sort of relationship do you have with your iron? Do you love it or hate it or are you somewhere in between?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Why I Believe We Will Live Eternally

I believe that this life is not all that there is. In scripture God tells us that there is an eternity. Here are some verses to show why I believe that.....

Matt. 25:46, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. "

John 5:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life." 

Mark 9:43-48 "And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ 
Psalm 41:13 "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen." 

Are you ready for Eternity?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Our Master Bedroom Shower

 Ken and I like to take showers and it is an extremely rare day when one of us wants to take a bath. So when it came to making our bathroom a shower was what made sense. We had thought we would have a shower inset but Ken wanted it to look nice. After visiting with our plumber however he said that the only option through him was a solid color fiberglass. That was not what Ken had in mind. They work perfectly well and we were quite satisfied with that at our last house but that wasn't what he wanted here.

   So Ken says to me - "Do you think you could tile a shower?" I with very little tiling experience wasn't so sure but I went on line and watched a bunch of YouTube videos and hesitantly said "I guess so". Tiling a floor didn't sound to hard as it was flat and didn't need to be waterproof but a shower sounded a little more challenging.

  This was a project the I mulled over in my mind a lot before starting. I also watched a lot of YouTube videos. Some of them over and over again. What really concerned me the most was not actually the tiling but making the mortar pan. All in all - it was (I will admit) a kind of lengthy (around a week or so of quite a bit of work) project and there were times I would have loved to be able to give it up (before I ever got to the actual tiling) but it felt very good to get it done and we are quite happy with it and I love that we have a custom shower for less money (I think) than a fiberglass one would have been. The contractor thinks that I probably saved around $3,000 doing it myself.

Here is the process that we took to get this shower done:

  1. The contractor framed the walls in according to our specifications.
  2. The plumber put the pipes and valves and stuff that was needed in the walls. He also put an adjustable drain in the floor.
  3. Ken framed in shelves for soap and stuff and also put some more framing in around the base.
  4. I put down tar paper to keep the moisture from the mortar from absorbing into the floor and causing it to dry to fast.
  5. I put metal lath down on the floor.
  6. I (with helpers as my back was really troubling me at the time from my fall on the stairs) mixed up mortar (Type S Mortar with 4 parts sand and one part Portland) and put it on the floor of the shower to make a sloping pan. I had to slope it from 1 1/2 inches on the outside down to the drain hole in the middle.
  7. After that dried I was then ready to put in the rubber Membrane. When I did the I had to fold corners and then nail the membrane on the edges about 4 - 6 inches up (no nail holes down where it might leak).
  8. Then I cut the membrane out of the drain hole and attached the second part of the drain.
  9. Then I was ready to put the cement board over all the walls and in the soap shelves.
  10. Next I put some tile spacers over the seepage holes on the drain so that they wouldn't fill with mortar.
  11. Then I put another 1 1/2 inch thick layer of mortar over the whole base. This of course had to slope too.
  12. Now I was ready for tiling. You do the walls first and then the floor. Putting on thin set mortar and then the tile/rock.
  13. Grouting comes next.
  14. Cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning is what comes after that.
  15. Then the grout should be sealed.

When we decided to tile our shower we figured we would just use some of the same tiles as we used on the floor for the shower. Except I realized we would need something smaller for the floor. I really liked the different pictures I have seen of pebble shower floors. They look so neat and natural and so that was what I wanted. Ken wasn't so sure. He was afraid it would be uncomfortable on the feet and also he wasn't sold on the look. But he said I could go ahead.

  So I started checking around to find stones. I didn't need a ton and I didn't want something terribly expensive. I didn't care for the stones "tiles" that were made for a look like that which were at Menards. I figured I could find them cheaper anyway. Ken suggested that maybe one of our local landscaping companies would have some and that sound like a good idea to me. He had heard that they had polished stone and I figured that they quite likely would have just the smooth stones that I wanted too.

  I set up a time to go over and look at their rocks and was a little overwhelmed when I did that. They had barrel after barrel of polished rocks. I had my kids and an extra child with me when I went and they thought it was a blast looking through all the rocks. The owner had said they could climb up and check the upper barrels and they thought that was great fun.
They also just loved seeing all the rocks that were available. These Easter egg (dyed rocks) were a hit in their eyes. Unfortunately what I wanted was quite different from what they loved. And I wasn't finding what I wanted. The rocks were to shiny and to unique. And I was having trouble finding ones that matched my tile.

 But then we noticed the split agates and started to consider them. They were a great color and they were really pretty cool! They were also a little cheaper than the other rocks. I took a sample home to show Ken and he said to go ahead.

  We are pretty happy with them in our shower. They aren't what I was originally thinking but they are neat, unique and comfortable on the feet and were really easy to lay and I like them!
 I used them as accents on the walls and then for all of the floor.
 The shower is far from perfect but it is functional and we thinking it is pretty and were are pretty happy with it.
 Some of the slices ended up being polished so I tried to put the polished ones on the walls.
 I think diagonal tiling adds a neat look so I want to add that to this shower.
 Water makes the rocks look really cool. They really aren't that yellow - that is just from the nighttime lighting.

 A shower curtain is still up for debate. It works without ones and I like the way it look that way but we are concerned about moisture getting out on the walls and potentially causing mold to grow. We don't want that.

Have you ever attempted a project where you felt overwhelmed at first but after you got going it worked out okay? I would love to hear those stories!

 Thanks to God for His grace and patience with me as I work on projects like this.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Homeschool Highlights - "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"

Not long ago our family had fun watching a neat old movie called "Mr Smith Goes to Washington". I had read about it on Amelia's Blog (a sweet fellow blogger) and then when visiting with my sister I learned that their family had watched it an enjoyed it. We don't watch many movies though so some time passed before we found the time to watch it. I was quite excited to finally watch it and was not disappointed.

Here is a clip from the movie that you might enjoy....

  This movie isn't perfect and there was a little drinking in it as well as exposing lies and deceit that was found in Washington (even in this fictionalized one) and still is (in real life) but it has a pretty neat message and a good reminded of what we truly do need in government.

Here are some reasons that I really liked it from a homeschool Mom's perspective.....

  • It reminds us of what the founding Fathers of our nation desired for this country.
  • We get to take a (black and white) tour of Washington DC. Our kids have never been there and that was fun for them and for me as I remember my times there.
  • We learn what is involved in writing a Bill and having it become law.
  • We learn about Filibusters. What we see in the movie makes us curious so then we start doing research - Can you really not even have a break to go to the bathroom?, Who had the longest Filibuster? What have past filibusters been about?, etc.
This movie would fit in quite well with teaching on government.  It was enjoyed by all of our family and I think your family would enjoy it too.


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