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Knowledge, inspiration, and encouragement from a Christian perspective is my goal. I post a weekly commentary, which could be about world events or the events of my week. Other days I might share stories, recipes, homemaking tips, book reviews, political talk, biblical truth, or other blogs and websites I like. This blog is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.

Monday, November 29, 2010

MAKE YOUR OWN TOOTHPASTE IN ONE MINUTE


I'm so excited! I just whipped up my very first batch of homemade toothpaste and I'm thrilled with the results.  This was not a time consuming project.  I added all the ingredients and had them mixed in one minute.  I've been reading bad things about fluoride, so I've been looking for a fluoride-free toothpaste.  Not so easy to find, and the brand I did find costs about four dollars a tube.  So I checked out one of my favorite sources for homemade everything and discovered two recipes at Passionate Homemaking.  There's a link to this site under Home and Health Links on the right side of my page.

I decided that I wanted baking soda in my toothpaste, so I made a combination of the two recipes suggested on the Passionate Homemaking website.  Here's my recipe:

                                               Nell's Homemade Toothpaste

1/2 Tbsp. Dr. Bronners castile liquid soap (or any natural castile liquid soap)
   5 Tbsp coconut oil
   2 Tbsp baking soda
   2 packets of stevia
   1 Tbsp of water (less or more depending on the consistency you want.  I added very little water).

I stored my toothpaste in a small glass jelly jar.  You can also water this down enough to store it in a new soap dispenser bottle and then you can pump it directly onto your toothbrush.  It may sound strange to make toothpaste out of soap, but Dr. Bronners soap is made with natural ingredients and organic oils.  No health hazards to worry about, unlike the store-bought toothpaste that contains not only toxic fluoride, but also might contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which is considered unsafe by some experts.  I used the orange oil soap.  It also comes in peppermint and other varieties. I found Dr. Bronners soap while out shopping one day, but it's also available at Amazon.

The coconut oil I found at Wal Mart.  It's called Lou Ana and I found it on the top shelf in the cooking oil section.  I also bought the stevia at Wal Mart.  It comes in a box of 100 packets and it's made by Spring Valley.  You can find it in the vitamin section.  Stevia is an all natural herb that is a safe substitute for sugar.

I just love homemade recipes.  It makes me feel self-sufficient when I don't have to depend on already-made store-bought products.  Anything I can make myself is just more satisfying to use.  The reason I want to avoid fluoride is because it's toxic.  And although we might not ingest much since we spit out toothpaste, I still feel better knowing the fluoride isn't in there.

Did you know fluoride is banned from drinking water in nine countries?  Yet in this country we hand out fluoride pills to children in school.  I'm not sure if they still do this.  I opted out of the school's fluoride program years ago, but I remember taking those little white pills myself in grade school.  Kids would put them in their mouths and then spit them out when the teacher wasn't looking.  Although they probably didn't realize that they were doing themselves a favor. They just hated the taste.

If you're not convinced that fluoride is worth your concern, I posted a video below that you might find interesting.

The Dangers of Fluoride & Water Fluoridation

Urgent call to action on Senate Bill 510 Food Safety Modernization Act - NaturalNews.tv

You have until 5:00 Monday November 29 to voice your opinion about this bill. Scroll down to Thursday November 25 for information about how to do that. The first vote will take place at about 6:30 tonight.  Click on the link below to watch a five minute video about this bill.






Urgent call to action on Senate Bill 510 Food Safety Modernization Act - NaturalNews.tv

Sunday, November 28, 2010

WHY PAY FOR A MOVIE TICKET?

I just returned from a day of shopping with my mom.  We walked the mall for three hours, and I'm feeling it.  The shopping headache hit at about 3:00.  Why shopping never fails to give me a headache I don't know because I do enjoy it.  I love walking.  It's the best exercise and it's nice to have things to look at while walking, unlike time on the treadmill where there's not much entertainment.

Shopping is certainly entertaining.  There's no place like the mall for people watching.  I don't know if you'd call it eavesdropping, but I love to tune into the conversations that are going on around me as I walk the mall.  The way people look at one another, the things they say and do.  I'm fascinated by all that stuff in a curious sort of way.  I witnessed an argument between a man and a woman.  She stood directly in front of him while loudly accusing him of something.  He showed no emotion while trying to change the direction of his steps so she wasn't right in his face.
 
I'm not sure which group is more entertaining, adults or children.  Kids love those fountains that you throw money into, and every mall seems to have one.  When my mom and I sat near the trickling water, just before heading home,  a young girl came running up to the fountain with such enthusiasm that she leaped across the outer perimeter and jumped up onto the water's edge.  She had a wish to make and it should have been that her mom would take it easy on her.  After throwing in her coin, the girl was met with a verbal punishment and a yank of her arm that sent her to the floor.

Why pay money for a movie ticket when there's a free show in the mall?  Walking among so many different people allows you to see glimpses of who they are.  Some of it isn't pretty, but other times you get to witness joyful moments, acts of kindness, or glances between couples that are obviously in love.  While coming out of J C Penney, I saw a man looking over at the woman who walked beside him.  It was a look of adoration that any woman would love to receive.  He was saying something to her I couldn't hear, but it didn't matter because the way he looked at her said it all.  Love walked by me and made me smile.

Then I overheard a conversation in the ladies room between a mother and her son.  I was standing at the sink while they were chatting in one of the stalls.  The boy was telling his mom about the mean kids at school and she said, "When someone talks to you like that, just say, Don't talk to me and walk away."  I caught a glimpse of them coming out of the stall as I was leaving, and again I had to smile.  It was a sweet moment that reminded me of the days not too long ago when my son was young enough to go with me into the ladies room.  It's funny how watching and listening to people can spark memories you weren't expecting to recall.

Shopping is more than looking for items to buy.  A day of shopping can be filled with all kinds of wondrous surprises.  Like running into someone you haven't seen in a long time, someone you would want to run into.  Or free samples of really good pizza.  We happened to be in the right place at the right time when we noticed a sheet of sliced pizza, fresh from the oven with a "free sample" sign nearby.  People were gathering quickly, but we managed to snatch a slice.  I especially enjoyed the crust.  I don't get people who chomp pizza up to the end crust and then toss the best part.  This pizza crust was crispy and thin, just the way I love it.

But the highlight of the day was when my mom found a red Christmas blouse with a touch of ruffles and sparkle. She tried it on and loved it.  It was so her.  But the price tag said No.  Forty eight dollars is a lot for one blouse.  After carrying it around for a bit she decided it's okay to splurge once in a while.  I watched from a distance as she paid for the blouse then headed toward me smiling with her arms in the air, waving the register tape.  I knew what had happened.  "Nineteen dollars!"  I said in disbelief.  She saved almost thirty dollars.  "Now we can go out to eat," I joked. 

I think that maybe my headache today was from taking the whole day in.  Shopping is drama.  I only mentioned some of the drama, but it was a good day.  And the thought that kept nagging me on the way home was why we don't go shopping together more often.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

CRAVING COMFORT cookbook review

My neighbor brought me a loaf of banana bread yesterday.  It's neat to know that people still do that sort of thing.  As we stood at the door chatting, the bread warmed my hand.  Warm banana bread is something I can't resist.  Two seconds after saying goodbye, I was slicing a generous end piece while inhaling the sweet aroma. This bread was made with fresh walnuts, which made it extra special because I don't add nuts to my recipe.

I love to bake, and banana cake or bread is the goodie I bake most.  It seems that every week I have three or four spotted bananas on my counter that I need to do something with before they spoil.  I recently discovered that bananas freeze very well if frozen whole or in chunks.  And my sister-in-law claims that  banana is great to have in the freezer because it can be tossed in the blender to make an icy cold smoothie.  She adds chunks of frozen banana to a pack of Carnation instant breakfast and milk. Sounds yummy!

Comfort food, that's what banana bread is.  And my favorite recipe actually comes from a cookbook titled, Comfort Foods:  America's Favorite Foods Cooked The Way You Like Them by Rita M. Harris.  This book is available at Amazon and I highly recommend it.  My Comfort Foods has many stained and wrinkled pages, the sign of a good, often-used cookbook.  I like the personal notes added by the author at the top of each recipe.  She says that Moist And Creamy Banana Cake is a very old cake recipe that was given to her when her daughter was born and is her favorite cake.  Mine too.  It's moist and delicious.  

Right beside the banana cake recipe is a recipe for carrot cake, my second favorite cake.  And the Super- Moist Chocolate Cake made with mayonnaise, that's a winner too.  Some other dessert recipes I have marked as winners are Peanut Butter Bars, Macaroons, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Apple Pie, Chocolate Mousse Frosting, Very Rich Cheesecake, and Oven-Baked Caramel Corn With Nuts

But this cookbook isn't just about desserts.  It also contains recipes for appetizers, breads, soups, salads, sandwiches, main dishes, side dishes, vegetables, sauces, dressings, condiments and beverages.  I wrote "excellent!" at the top of the crab cake recipe.  Also marked as good are the recipes for buttermilk biscuits, stew, potato salad, layered salad, burritos, chicken parmigiana, cheese manicotti, fettucine alfredo, meatloaf,  twice-baked potatoes, and tuna noodle casserole.

There were many days when I'd come home from school and find a pan of warm tuna noodle casserole on the stove.  That dish reminds me of my childhood.  That's what comfort food is. It's memories.  It makes us feel warm and cared for.  A big bowl of buttery mashed potatoes does that for me.  That's also my daughter's all-time favorite food.  But she prefers instant, which I can't understand.  I like real mashed potatoes with lots of lumps.  And sure enough there's a recipe for Lumpy Mashed Potatoes in the Comfort Foods cookbook.

Well I gotta go.  I have a pile of laundry waiting for me and an empty cookie jar that I'm sure I'm going to hear about before the day's over.  Hope you find some comfort in your day. 







Friday, November 26, 2010

ARE YOU REALLY GONNA EAT THAT?

Writing about food the day after Thanksgiving might not be my greatest idea, but it's what's on my mind today.  I've been trying to make some changes in my eating habits and diet, which might be rubbing off onto other family members.  Yesterday I noticed that my husband didn't use the microwave.  Instead he reheated some Thanksgiving leftovers from Wednesday night on the stovetop.  This amazed me because I've been saying for years that microwaving isn't healthy and he would just laugh at me.  I gave up using the microwave years ago after reading that the molecular structure of food is drastically changed in a microwave oven and the food is left depleted of vitamins and nutrients.  I never did feel good about microwaving food.  It's one of those things that just seems too good to be true. Heating food that quickly can't be healthy.

Apparently my hubby has come around to my way of thinking after reading about the downside of microwave cooking. So now I'm wondering what we could do with that space above the stove.  Perhaps I could remove the door, disconnect the unit and use it as a space to put some potted herbs.  Or maybe a book shelf.  Hmmm.

It doesn't take much effort to educate ourselves about the food we eat and the best way to prepare it.  Yet how many people really think about what goes into their stomachs.  How many of us realize that there is a direct connection between our health and the foods we eat?  And how many of us are willing to read labels, give up certain foods or make the changes necessary to live a healthier life?  For some people it's just not worth the effort or maybe they just don't know where to start so they put it off and pretend it doesn't matter.

I discovered a good place to start if you're looking for a simple guideline on what to eat and what to avoid.  One of my favorite blogs, Hallee the Homemaker, is a treasure chest of all kinds of information in an easy to read format.  You can find a link to this blog under "Home and Health Links" on the right side of my page.  Today Hallee posted an interesting article about the health benefits of cinnamon.  If you hit the "Our Diet" button at the top of Hallee's blog, you'll discover some excellent suggestions about what we should and shouldn't eat and why.

Hallee and her family adhere to the Levitical Diet which is based on three principles that make total sense.  One of those principles is to eat only substances that God created for food. Another is to eat foods as they were created before they were changed or converted into something humans think might be better.  I especially like this principle because our food supply is polluted with food that is anything but natural.  Humans have taken the food God gave us and converted it into unhealthy substitutes.

They tell us sugar is bad for us, so they add chlorine to it, call it Splenda and tell us it's a healthy substitute for sugar.  Or maybe you prefer aspartame, which causes cancer in laboratory animals.  Equal, Nutrasweet, Sweet N Low, it's all the same processed chemicals that make us believe we're doing something good for ourselves when we may as well drink poison.

Margarine is another example.  I grew up on Blue Bonnet margarine in the sixties and seventies.  Back then it was touted as a "healthier" alternative to butter and our parents believed it.  Margarine is simply an artificial animal fat substance.  It's fake butter.  If you set margarine outside in the sun, it doesn't melt.  It reminds me more of plastic than food. Probably does a great job of coating the arteries. Everything's better with Blue Bonnet on it?  Thanks, but I'll pass.  God gave us butter and I trust Him more.

The latest health craze is soy. The soy industry spent millions of dollars putting out stories that soy is a miracle food.  What they don't tell people is soy has one of the highest concentrations of manganese.  Dr. Russell Blaylock advises people to avoid all soy foods.  In an interview with Suzanne Somers for her latest book Knockout,  Blaylock explains that soy also has very high concentrations of fluoride and glutamate.  "Manganese, flouride, and glutamate are terrible brain toxins," said Blaylock.  "Giving soy formula to children is associated with Parkinson's because of the manganese.  Women have been lulled into thinking that eating and drinking all this soy is good for them, but it is loaded with all this manganese, which is a powerful brain toxin and has been shown to cause brain atrophy."

Unless the label says otherwise, you should assume that the soy you eat is genetically modified.  The National Institute of Environmental Health Services states that unfermented soy is an endocrine disrupting chemical.  It contains natural hormones that emulate human hormones.  In case you're wondering why your son or daughter went through puberty at 11 when you went through puberty at 14, read some food labels.  Soy is in everything.  And precocious puberty isn't the only thing that results from the consumption of soy.  Cardiovascular disease, brain abnormalities, miscarriage, and various cancers are also on the list, among others.

Genetically modified food (GMO) is another example of humans messing with the natural food God provided.  These foods are scientifically engineered to behave a certain way.  If you splice a tomato with DNA from an arctic flounder, you have a tomato that can withstand cold temperatures.  Yum!  They've even created seeds that contain their own pesticides.  Isn't that clever?  And the reason they don't label genetically modified foods is because they're afraid you might be turned off by it and not purchase it.  Imagine that!

There are currently eight major GM food crops on the market, so memorizing them will help you avoid any and all food products that might contain GMO's.  Avoid soy, corn, cottonseed, canola, sugar from sugar beets, hawaiian papaya, some varieties of zucchini and crookneck squash.  You'll also want to avoid any derivative of these such as high fructose corn syrup and cooking oils.

Who knew eating healthy was so darn complicated?  Yes it's a hassle to learn these things and try to avoid the garbage out there that's being passed off as food.  You could throw up your hands and say I'm nuts and I read too much. But if you look at all the diseases that are present today, diseases that were unheard of 200 years ago, before people got the bright idea of messing with the natural forms of food, then you might start to think I have a point.  Whether you believe it or not, check out Hallee the Homemaker.  Her site just won a 2010 Best Blog Award.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Take Action with the Grassroots Netroots Alliance

Take Action with the Grassroots Netroots Alliance

THE POWER OF THANK YOU



I love a great story, especially one that inspires me.  The December Reader's Digest contains a great story about a man who had reached his breaking point.  John Kralik's law firm was losing money and its lease.  He was being sued and he was going through a difficult divorce.  Some days he was so preoccupied with his problems that he walked into the street without checking for a Walk sign.  One day a car missed him with a honk of the horn, and John wondered whether he might be better off if he had been hit.

He didn't want to die exactly, but he craved the peace he might have in a hospital room.   His list of problems grew when the woman he had been dating broke up with him.  Hoping to clear his mind, he went for a hike on New Year's Day in the mountains alone.  Only his inner voice that kept saying, "Loser" went with him.  While hiking, John became lost and he worried that he wouldn't find his way back home before dark.  Then he heard a voice.

"Until you learn to be grateful for the things you have, You will not receive the things you want." was the voice's message.  He couldn't explain the voice, but he knew the message was important.  After walking 15 miles, he finally made it home.  And John had an idea.  Every day he would find one person to whom he would write a Thank You note.

He sent the first note to his older son, thanking him for the Christmas gift he had given him, a single-cup coffee maker.  When he signed the card, See you soon, he realized that he hadn't made an effort to spend time with his son, aside from a major holiday.  He didn't even have his son's address.  So he called him and his son suggested they get together for lunch.  During that meeting, his son repaid a $4,000 loan that the father had forgotten about.  His son was selling real estate and had received his first big commission.

After this strange and wondrous visit with his son, John wrote to him again, thanking him for repayment of the loan and being true to his word.  He also wrote to his younger son pointing out the positive changes that were taking place in his life...a new job and a clean, organized apartment.  John was becoming a cheering section for his children and building a closer relationship with them by sending Thank You notes.

By February, John was sending Thank You notes in all directions.  It made him realize how many people he had neglected to appreciate.  He sent a thank you note to his apartment manager when he responded quickly to a toilet that wouldn't stop running.  John suffered from insomnia and that week he blamed the noisy toilet.  Shortly after thanking Mr Roberts, John discovered that the man had died.  He decided to go to his funeral and was surprised to see so many people there because he was an odd man with a spooky presence.

Mr Roberts had liver cancer and had been waiting for a transplant that never came.  When he was trying to fix that toilet, he was in the last days of his life.   At the funeral, John spoke to Mr. Roberts' wife and was told that he was "such a people person."  He had misjudged this dying man and was now grateful that his last words to him were words of appreciation.

Like John, I've learned to express appreciation too.  Of course I have frustrating days that lead me to complain at times.  That's part of the human condition, especially in today's hectic world.  And being a writer gives me a certain literary license to share frustrations people can relate to and maybe get a laugh from, like the many mishaps that can ruin my day, which I wrote about weeks ago in "Life In The Spin Cycle."

I have moments where I throw up my hands and say, "Lord, could you give me a break?"  But more often I have joyful moments and I'm extremely grateful for so many things, so many people, and I don't hesitate to show it.  I've given flowers to teachers and bus drivers, baked cookies for the mail lady, brought gifts to neighbors, and I've sent countless Thank You cards for every reason imaginable.  The last card I sent was addressed to the mother of my son's best friend.  I thanked her for raising such a thoughtful young man who has been a cherished friend to my son.  What mother wouldn't love to hear that?

I've said my share of Thank You's and I'll say many more as the years go by.  Since my husband reads my blog, I'm including a Thank You to him.  James, I love you and I appreciate that you take an interest in my writing.  That means the world to me.  Also, I fell in love with your sense of humor many years ago.  And although you act like a goofball at times, I would rather have laughter in my life than grouchiness.  And although you are a bit too thrifty, I'm grateful that I'm married to someone who's conservative with money.  Your frugal ways have gotten us out of debt while people much older than us are still making house payments.

And while I'm at it, I must include a Thank You to the other person in our home, my beautiful daughter, Delaina.  Lainy, you have your dad's sense of humor and it is such a wonderful thing.  I'm so glad you're in my life.  Thank you for being who you are...my talented, silly, girl.  You are such a smart cookie!  So determined to get A's.  I love your thoughtfulness and the way you love to make and give gifts.  You and Kody have been my greatest gifts.  I am so grateful that God blessed me with children.    

I also count among my blessings some pretty terrific friends and a loving family.  My dad died years ago, but my mom is living not too far from me.  I'm grateful that she's healthy...still roller skating after seven decades of life.  She's doing better than me.  I gave up skating this year after falling and needing several chiropractic visits to fix me. The rest of my family, my brothers and sister, I cherish them.  How boring my childhood would have been without them.  How empty my life would be now without my siblings.  I'm grateful that God blessed my parents with a house full of children.

As for my friends, I don't have a long list.  What I have is quality friendships with a few fabulous ladies that I look forward to seeing at our monthly gatherings, which we call girl's night.  Next month we're meeting at a restaurant.  December is the only month we break from those yummy home-cooked meals we take turns making.  Girl's night is a chatty time.  We laugh, sometimes there are tears, and we always walk away from the evening feeling like we're part of something really special.  Friends are a soft place to land when life gets messy.  Friends take the edge off life and without close ties to other women, I feel an emptiness I can't explain. 

My friends are my support group.  They're my cheering section.  They think it's great that I'm freelance writing and volunteering for good causes.  My friends see the value in what I do, so they don't have all kinds of suggestions as to how I could "enrich" my life and get "further ahead" financially.  They're not competing or comparing.  They actually care about me and what makes me happy.  

When someone celebrates your happiness as if it were her own good fortune, that's the sign of a true friend.  How many people do you know that actually do that for you?  Who comes to mind?  If I were you, I'd show my gratitude to each one of them now, while they're here and the opportunity is available.  That kind of friendship is a treasure that deserves doting over.

If we open our eyes, we can find treasure in every situation, in every moment of every day. And if we openly express our gratitude for those things, we set in motion a blessing that eventually returns to us in even greater measure.  John Kralik learned that lesson and wrote a story about it, which ended up getting published in Readers Digest.  He proved the power of a spoken, "Thank You"  Those two simple words changed his life.

Kralik discovered something that made him richer than all the people he had envied.  Never again would he question whether life was worth living.  He started paying attention when he crossed the street.  He learned that each day held something that he didn't want to miss.

Maybe that's why we set aside one day each year to remind us that Thanks giving is powerful stuff.  Some of us really do need to be reminded.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sweet Potato & Apple Casserole

This is one of my favorite websites, Passionate Homemaking.  Spend some time exploring this site.  It's a joy to read and will inspire you to be a Martha.

Sweet Potato & Apple Casserole

Thursday, November 18, 2010

TRUTH: HANDLE WITH CARE

If we could only open our mouths to speak truth, how often would we speak?  When we pass along information that may not be true, we are guilty of assuming...a tempting thing to do, but not the right thing.  Gossip thrives on assumptions.  Since we don't know the facts, we can create all kinds of reasons why people do things.  But are we speaking truth?  And if it's not true, will it do good to pass it on?

These are questions I ask myself every time I write, every time I share a link or a video, every time I speak.  Sharing truth is not easy.  People disagree on what's true and what isn't, so my truth isn't always seen as your truth.  But regardless of how people feel about a subject, that subject is either true or it's not true.  We can't take something as black and white as truth and make it subjective to individual areas of grey.  The law of contradiction tells us that opposite ideas cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. For example, the earth can't be round and flat at the same time.  It's simply not possible.

One example of making truth subjective is the belief that all religions are true and equal.  "Tolerance is the new mantra in America today...You are now supposed to accept every belief as true.  You are supposed to be especially tolerant of religions and are not allowed to question anyone else's beliefs...BUT to say that it is intolerant and narrow to question another person's beliefs is in itself an intolerant and narrow position." -Bringing Your Faith To Work  Norman L Geisler and Randy Douglass

When I'm trying to say something, I often recall that someone said it perfectly in a book I have read, so I weave their comments into my own comments.  This is how I convey truth.  I agree with what that person is saying and I believe it to be true.  But it's not true simply because I believe it.  Its true because it's true.  And if I pass along information that's not true, then I helped no one and I've contributed to a lie.  Hence the saying, "When you assume, you make an  a*#  out of "U" and "ME".

How many times a day do we assume things?  And how many people do we hurt by our assumptions?   Only the person involved can know the truth of her situation.  No one else can really know the whole story unless she herself tells it.  But for some reason we thrive on assumptions and second-hand information to draw conclusions about people.  I've done this myself and whenever I do it, I get a bad feeling.  That's the holy spirit convicting me of my wrong.  I'm so grateful to have that inner radar to set me straight again.  I'm reminded that I need to step off my all-knowing pedestal and hand the keys to the kingdom back to God.

Sometimes we simply don't know if something is true or not.  Only God knows.  So wouldn't we be better off to pray about those things than to harp on them or pass them on as fuel for the gossip fire?  Truth is a big responsibility and we don't always handle it with respect.  We get a thrill dragging others down with our gossipy tidbits.  Or when we do speak truth we speak it harshly.  Sometimes I find myself going back to past blogs and deleting certain comments because they're too harsh.  I'll remember something I wrote and it will nag at me until I reword it or delete it altogether.  Always needing to have a harsh condescending comeback is a sign of pride.  Another thing I've learned to do is pause before responding to criticism.  The first thing that comes to my mind when someone trashes me is never pleasant.  I want to tell them to get a life.  But what good would that do?

Doing the right thing, choosing the good option is a struggle.  We can either promote assumptions or we can promote truth.  But just because something is true doesn't mean we should pass it on to others.  It takes a great deal of integrity to keep truth to ourselves when sharing it would hurt someone.  I guess the ultimate question is, "Will sharing this information help anyone or will it do more harm than good?"  When that becomes our guide for exchanging information, then we've put other people above ourselves..above our need to appear intelligent, above our need to have a clever comeback, above our craving for gossip, above our wanting to lift ourselves up by dragging others down.

Assuming takes no maturity at all. Blurting out everything that comes to mind is something a toddler can do. But handling the truth in a caring manner requires discretion.  Lord help me to do it in a way that is pleasing to You.  I know I can't please everyone with my words, so help me to please You.  Then I can be sure that what I say will do more good than harm.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

LIFE IN THE SPIN CYCLE

What if everything could be exactly the way you want it?  I often wish for one perfect day, just to see what it feels like.  My perfect day would begin by waking on time without an alarm clock.  I'd feel energized, rested, and eager to jump out of bed.  I'm not a morning person.  I always wished I could be, but whatever those morning people have pulsing through their veins isn't pulsing through mine.  Maybe I need to start drinking coffee.  When I wake up, I just want to go back to sleep. 

At this time of year, it's even harder for me to crawl out of bed because our house is cold.  My husband likes the thermostat set to 62 degrees.  No, that's not a typing error.  I said sixty-t-t-t-twooooo.  I recently read another woman's blog in which she was complaining that her husband sets the thermostat to 68.  She should spend a week at my house.  This morning I threw off the covers, ran to the bathroom, turned up the heat to 80 and jumped back into my warm bed.  When I complain about the cold house I usually get a speech about  our tough and frugal ancestors who lived without electric heat and trudged outside in the dead of winter to use the outhouse.  Every time I hear that speech I want to steal his toilet paper and replace it with shucked corn cobs.

My husband has his own bathroom, which is my idea of perfect.  I think every family member should have a separate bathroom.  I share a bathroom with my daughter and it's one of my biggest gripes.  Every day I'm frustrated by her habits...water on the floor, water around the sink, hair bands, hair pins, and soggy wash cloths in the bathtub, overturned shampoo bottles leaking down the drain, toothpaste tubes without the cap, gobs of toothpaste here and there, dirty clothes left on the floor.  And right now she has a collection of twelve bath towels hanging behind her bedroom door, each one used only once.  My perfect day involves none of these things.  My bathroom is sparkling clean every time I walk in.  The toilet is self-cleaning, no mold grows in the shower, loose hairs disappear instead of collecting on the floor or on the walls after blow drying, and I never have to change my socks after stepping on a wet bathroom floor.

My perfect day would have no inconveniences of any kind.  No wasted time answering phone calls from people I can't understand trying to sell me things I don't want.  And the things I do want arrive in the correct size and they always work when I first purchase them.  I don't have to ship anything back and get charged for  return postage.  I also don't have to stand in line waiting for service.  Waiting is something I don't do well. Yesterday my daughter and I both had doctor appointments.  We waited in the waiting room.  We waited in the examining room.  We waited to check out.  Then we drove to the pharmacy but couldn't get our prescriptions because the computers were down.  So we drove to Wal Mart only to find a line of people waiting.  So we drove to Rite Aid where we waited some more but thankfully the line was much shorter.  After dropping off the prescriptions, we were told it would be a thirty-minute WAIT.  Four hours later we arrived home.  I headed straight for a tub of hot water, hoping to lower my blood pressure.

I know there are worse things in life than waiting.  But for just one day I want to know what it feels like to have nothing deflate my day. No lost sunglasses, no getting home from the grocery store and discovering I forgot the most important item on the list, no automated messages when I want just one question answered, no running kids to doctors, no ugly itchy skin ailments that won't go away like ringworm and rosacea,  no discovering my favorite shoes chewed to pieces, no dog puke on the carpet or worse yet from the other end, no stink bugs in my tea cup or lady bugs in my hair, no checking ourselves and the dog for ticks after each outing, no setting off the smoke alarm with a pan of burned peas and having to scrub the black stain left behind, no forgotten cookies that come out looking like lumps of charcoal, no pink socks that should be white, no shrunken wool sweaters or twisted, stretched-out clothes from being spun too hard.

Being spun too hard.  That's a good comparison.  Life spins us too hard at times.  Sometimes we need to escape the spin cycle and make time to do nothing.  Stress is constant doing without a break   We feel like we're being pulled in a thousand directions and we have nothing left to give.  We want to cry out, "When do I get time for me?"  After the day I had yesterday, I changed my plans for today and lightened my load.  Today I'm goofing off, spending the day in sweats and slippers, sipping hot drinks  and watching the dust settle.  I learned a long time ago how to take control of my life and claim time for myself.  Even if it means saying "no" to an already scheduled outing, I'll do it without guilt.  Even if I must disappoint someone, I'll claim time for myself.  Because if I'm not mentally and physically well, then I'm no good to anyone else.

I'll never get the perfect day that I fantasize about, at least not in this life.  But I'm grateful that I have the ability to step away from the frustrations now and then.  Living in the spin cycle is a daily reality for many women.  All the frustrations I described above are chores that women tackle outside the workplace.  Add work stress to the mix and it's no wonder women are exhausted.  Maybe a perfect day means more than a day without mishaps.  At the end of the day, it's even nicer to be appreciated.  If you know a woman who is constantly doing for others, constantly on the run and living in the spin cycle, give her just one perfect day and let her know she's loved and appreciated.