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Author Archives: westernwoman

Hunger and Fear

img_20161102_100521663Has the fear of want ever overcome the urge to eat? When things are tight and the bare necessities don’t present themselves past the day? It is scary to imagine what the next 4 years will bring, but let’s talk about this; don’t be afraid. Eat what is set before you.

With a new presidency looming, we can expect financial bubbles, dips, new structures, change of every kind, and lots of fear. But let us not be afraid.

I understand having some food, but refusing to eat it. What if we don’t get paid on time and can’t buy more? What if? Believe me, I have intimate knowledge with that feeling. Let’s not be afraid.

God has promised us good things. God has allowed us to ask for our daily bread. It is not a promise that we won’t ever be hungry; but it is a promise that God provides all our needs. So, let us eat. Let us not be afraid.

God has allowed a candidate to be our next president. We will not be terrified. We will not be paralyzed with fear. We will eat of our daily provision. We will trust God for tomorrow. And we will hope, pray, and believe in God’s purpose for the next 4 years.

*Note, I have taken a long hiatus in my writing for personal reasons, and just found this unpublished piece. However, I feel it still applies, a bit late for the 2016 elections, but maybe for the 2020, or in general. At any time, we are called not to fear. We can look back and see that God was faithful, He is faithful, and we can be confident that He will always be faithful.

Simple Joys

Organizing too much can make things complicated. Purge. Make it simple.

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Here is my very simple, organized entry closet

An entryway should be very functional. Pretty, but plain and simple.

Do you like konmari? It’s OK if you don’t. She’s right about a few things, though. Keep those things that spark joy.

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Wine glasses are neither functional nor simple. But maybe they spark joy. I’ll keep them.

I hardly ever have a drink, yet these glasses make the cut. They spark joy. I simply look at them and feel fancy while mopping up milk and rocking my mom hair. Simple.

Services I No Longer Pay For

Services I No Longer Pay For

We now have mostly wood floors and no longer need to clean carpets. Win. We also have working lawn equipment. That’s good! We no longer enjoy the oil-field income, so every little bit helps.

(mid) Western Woman

Dry cleaning and a few other chores one can do just as well at home; how is the quality? Sometimes, one can decide that good enough is good enough; some services one may opt to skip completely; and for the rest… save it for a professional.

  1. Hair care; I cut my family’s hair, including my own. I decided that I would be ok with the occasional “oops!” for the return of saved time and money. (I used to color my hair too, but no longer want the chemicals, nor do I have the time.) I actually get compliments on my hair a lot, which tells me that I must be doing something right. https://westernwoman.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/cut-your-own-hair/ https://westernwoman.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/cut-your-own-hair-short/
  2. Carwashes; we pay for it only in freezing weather (which is most of the time in Minnesota!) We wash our own cars as long as the hose works.
  3. Food Service; Yes, I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep…

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Laugh

img_20161126_204551216I needed a laugh today. All week, actually. So when my aunt jokingly suggested I wear a prom dress to the grocery store, that is exactly what I did.

I took off my coat, smiled at each person I passed, and sailed through the store like it was a beauty pageant. People are so shy. They all pretended it was perfectly normal and kept walking. I think that was the funniest part!

My handsome little escort put warm fuzzies in my heart. Another bonus.

Please laugh with or at me, and then tell me something silly you do to get your giggle going on rough days!

Saying “No”

Saying “No”

O-oh tidings of overwork and stress. Like it or not, the Christmas race had begun. When did a peaceful Christmas season completely disappear? Let’s take it back. For our families, for ourselves, and for the real meaning of Christmas.

Here are some words that won’t kill you:

1. I’m currently in the middle of several projects.

2. I’m unavailable that day.

3. Please ask someone else to take a turn and step up.

4. Thank you so much for thinking of me, but I don’t want to add anything else to my plate.

Here are some gift truths that department stores would rather you didn’t know:

1. You don’t owe anyone a gift. That’s right, nobody. Give to show your love, if gifts are the correct love language for that person.

2. If you choose to gift, only do so within your means.

3. It is perfectly fine to regift something if you think the recipient will like it.

4. Don’t give clutter just to give. Do they want/need that item?

5. One underused trick that needs to come back: Giving a service. (babysitting, help with upcoming taxes, snow removal, organizing, whatever you have to offer.) Your forte may be your friend’s weakness. Know your audience. A lot of people would be so thrilled for such an offer.

Tidings of comfort and joy. If the circumstances don’t reflect the song, question the situation. You will thank yourself. #takingbackChristmas

Overwhelmed

IMG_20161026_150844996.jpgWacky Wednesday is a time to let down your hair because the perfect moment will never happen. Weekdays are crazy. Weekends are chaos on steroids. Here are a few hacks I have found that help me survive. Welcome.

1. Sleep is great if you can get it. A cup of herbal tea, warm milk, wine, or even melatonin are great if you can get to sleep a little earlier. Good luck.

2. Exhausted and it’s only 9 A.M? Take a brisk shower. Cheat your body into feeling like it had two extra hours of sleep.

3. Coffee works until it doesn’t. Drink water. Do your best.

4. Cut your to-do last in half. Twice.

5. Outsource. Simplify. Pray.

6. Above all, remember that God WILL give you more than you can handle. Inhale grace. Exhale stress. Turn to Him. He WILL help you. Let Him.

Stop being overwhelmed and do something crazy today. Happy Wednesday!

Frugally Healthy

I’m not going to tell you to buy vitamins and food that you can’t afford. I know what it’s like to wash towels in the bathtub because there were no quarters for the machine. If there isn’t money for laundry, there certainly isn’t money for grass-fed beef. I have been there. So that is why my top advice for budget living is to be as healthy as you can. Here are some ideas to stretch those dollars:

1. Sleep!

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so do what you can to not get sick. A visit to the doctor would blow our family budget in a minute. Be well-rested so the body can recharge on its own. Cost: Free.

2. Water.

If coffee and other beverages are taking over, let the body to adjust to simple water. Maybe not cold-turkey, but do your best. Water flushes out toxins. Toxins make you sick. Cost: Water filter cartridges as needed.

3. Supplements …

… but only if you can afford them. Food first. Don’t buy vitamins if you can’t afford good food. We don’t. Cost: Do what you can afford.

4. Healthy Food.

This one is tricky. Health food is expensive. You just do your best. We know it’s cheaper and healthier to make your own than to buy ready-made. Be careful not to eat unhealthy food that can destroy your health. In a perfect world, a healthy diet will have all the vitamins and minerals you need; no supplements required. Cost: For a family of 6, that may be $400-$1000/month. (If you have less than $400 available, and it’s not being used irresponsibly in another category, you are probably eligible for assistance.)

5. The outdoors.

This one is a great way to destress, get vitamin D from the sun, and experience some natural exercise. Cost: Free.

6. Plug your ears.

If someone is quizzing you on whether you are buying the right things, and you know it’s not in the budget, don’t receive it. It’s stressful. Stress can make you sick. File #13. Cost: Free

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Getting some healthy rays while we eat al fresco.

Being healthy is the best thing you can do your budget. You will be able to work better and avoid the cost of sickness. Do your best. And most importantly, know that you can, because you are wonderfully and fearfully made.

I Have Another Baby

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I Have Another Baby

And he has my heart. He is this little bundle that melts my heart not only for him but the older littles all over again.

Hard times. We’ve all been there… Or will be! Hard, hard, hard times.

I had a really rough pregnancy. It was mostly emotional. I had a lot to deal with in the last year, but I won’t go into all that. Some of it is confidential, and as for the rest… I know you understand, because we all deal with things. It was hard. My midwife suggested I consider antidepressants at least to get through the last bit, however I was too stressed to get to the doctor for a prescription.

We will all go through the fire. If you haven’t yet, rest assured that you will!  The difference with childbirth is the estimated due date of when the fire will come. Expected or blindsided, fire is still hot.

How I did it:

The birth was beautiful. And hard. My emotional state was not conducive to sleep leading up to it, so my main problem was tension and fatigue during labor. So I prayed for a while, until I was too tired to pray. My mind would seem to shut down periodically as I tried to reserve strength. The birth team consisted of three very skilled Christian professionals, my mom, and my husband. I could feel their prayers, and those of people not present, when I was too tired to pray.

But the main thing, yes, the great hero of the night was the Holy Spirit in the room, comforting me. I couldn’t fight. I couldn’t escape. I just had to BE. Continually going through my head was Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”

Sometimes you don’t need to fight. Sometimes you just need to be held in the arms of the Father. The Holy Spirit fights for you. So be encouraged, Dear Ones, because you are never alone, and joy comes in the morning.

Toilet Paper and Seedling Time! To save a few pennies…

Toilet Paper and Seedling Time! To save a few pennies…

This year I am keeping it simple. (Work hard, but not get carried away.) Our garden was prepped last fall with compost and chipbrush. I am praying and believing for soil that is rarin’ and ready to go by Last Frost.

Our first batch of seedlings are in the windowsill, in homemade newspaper boxes. Easy and free. I also have eggshell cups waiting for the smaller seedlings, when it is time to start those.

The seeds are all heirloom seeds I saved from the last couple years. Praise God for that! God invented sustainability.  (What are heirloom seeds? non-genetically-modified seeds; the plants they produce will give seeds that can be saved to produce after their own kind. The seeds and seedlings from the store are usually gmo, and will be good only for one growing season. If you save the seed from your gmo plants, you will get an inferior or failed crop the next time around.)

What was my other money-saving tip? Huh? Oh, yeah…

Hubby and I decided that toilet paper is entirely too unhealthy, non-sustainable, and EXPENSIVE, so I went ahead and purchased Soft Spray  (pronounced “biday”) http://products.mercola.com/toilet-bidet/ It was our Valentine’s Day present. I know! So romantic. It was what I WANTED 😛

Don’t worry, we will also continue to keep TP on hand How do I feel about the bidet? I love it, but it is a spraying hazard. Picture trying to get a 3-year-old’s cute little bum all the way back to the right spot on the potty. Ha! The water goes spraying straight up into the air. Everyone gets wet, and all in the wrong places. So, the learning curve is happening.

Overall, I really like the Soft Spray Bidet. Definitely an investment.

Cheers!  To clean bums and happy gardening.

Update, 6/2016. The bidet is not all that. Oh well.

Whole Wheat Substitute

Whole Wheat Substitute

Ever look for a whole wheat option for a recipe? I don’t know why there are not more whole wheat recipes out there.

Solution: Substitute whole wheat flour, (or buckwheat flour, coconut flour, what have you…) and increase the fat content just a titch. Maybe another splash of water, too.

Stop looking for “whole wheat cookie/cake/bread recipes”.

Done.

Happy baking!