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  • Abraham Lincoln on Criticism

    "If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."
  • Consider the Cost

    "Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events." ~Winston Churchill
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  • Charles Spurgeon

    "Our blessed Lord reveals himself to his people more in the valleys, in the shades, in the deeps, than he does anywhere else. He has a way and an art of showing himself to his children at midnight, making the darkness light by his presence."
  • Progress through Perseverance

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or whether the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; Who, at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; And who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. It is far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight of life, knowing neither victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
  • Psalm 7:10-17

    God will uncase the hypocrites ere long, and make them know, to their sorrow, what is was to trifle with Him." - Richard Baxter
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  • The Reformed Pastor – Richard Baxter

    “We must carry on our work with patience. We must bear with many abuses and injuries from those to whom we seek to do good. When we have studied for them, and prayed for them, and exhorted them, and beseeched them with all earnestness and condescension, and given them what we are able, and tended them as if they had been our children, we must look that many of them will requite us with scorn and hatred and contempt, and account us their enemies, because we ‘tell them the truth.’ Now, we must endure all this patiently, and we must unweariedly hold on in doing good, ‘in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God, peradventure, will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.’ We have to deal with distracted men who will fly in the face of their physician, but we must not, therefore, neglect their cure. He is unworthy to be a physician, who will be driven away from a frenetic patient by foul words. Yet, alas, when sinners reproach and slander us for our love, and are more ready to spit in our faces, than to thank us for our advice, what heart-risings will there be, and how will the remnants of old Adam (pride and passion) struggle against the meekness and patience of the new man! And how sadly do many ministers come off under such trials!”
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Ladies, YOU need to hear this… Listen up!

Hey ladies, my valuable, worthy ladies who love God and put yourself out there every day for others. Yes, I mean you.

Melody2 by Jesse Therrien from freeimages freesxc

I have something to tell you, something you NEED to hear. I’ve gotten so many letters, texts, Facebook messages, phone calls, and frustrated, “I need to talk to you,” face to face encounters that I have to address this. Urgh.

There is something you may not know and I’m going to tell you right now.

So listen up.

You are valuable.

You are loved.

You are who you are because God made you that way. That makes you special… special to God… special to me.

Yes, I mean you.

I see you day to day putting yourself aside and working for others, dropping by a vase of flowers for a sick older lady, changing diapers in the church nursery, going out to work to help support the family, caring your grandchildren, sacrificing for your children, washing dishes after a fellowship in your church, raising an adopted child by yourself, taking your kids to sports practice, blogging tutorials for strangers on how to save a dime, tutoring the student who just doesn’t get it, caring for a sick husband, encouraging others to keep going…

You do so much for others that I couldn’t possibly list it all. And yet, you are discouraged, feeling unloved and disrespected.

To quote a phrase in the Bible, because it is so simple yet profound, “These things ought not so to be.”

It makes me angry (yes, I can be angry and sin not) to see the women around me live discouraged, defeated lives because of how they are regarded by those around them.

It ends now.

Every woman who belongs to Christ (if you’re not sure, go here) must claim their position in Him, realize their value, and act like it!

No more questioning. No more letting people walk all over you. No more wondering if you can be used.

NO MORE!

You are not alone.

When you met Christ, you not only were forgiven, but you became brand new. You became His child, valuable and complete.

Did you hear that? You are complete in Him. He VALUED you enough to hang on that cross – FOR YOU.

So how is it that we wonder if we are enough? How is it that we question our value?

Um, no.

Right now you are going to realize you are valuable, complete in Him and to be regarded as such. No more are you going to accept the notion that you are not as good or capable or usable as that woman you think is better than you (or that woman that thinks she is better than you and lets you know it).

If someone tries to make you feel small, you just stand tall and tell yourself, “I am a daughter of the Most High God, I am valued, I am complete in Him.” Notice I said, “tries.” No one can put you in your place but God, and if you belong to Him, you are already placed in His hand and He is in your heart.

Repeat after me, “I got this.”

Photo by Stephen Davies freeimages

I don’t mean, “I got this,” as in “I’m perfect,” I mean, “I got this, I’m complete, I’m valued by God, I don’t need your approval, I don’t need you to put me in my place. I’m good where I’m at, in my God’s hand, loved and valued.”

Stop comparing yourself to other women. Stop trying to compete. Just be whom God made you. Accept who you are. Realize your value. Stand up and say, “I got this.”

Being submissive doesn’t mean we are a little mouse that walks around afraid to speak. If you’re not sure this is true, go read in the Scriptures about how all the women that served God were strong, confident women with purpose.

Being a good woman doesn’t mean you stand by while others smack you around with their words or actions. Others will not respect you if you don’t respect yourself. Stand up and say, “I got this.”

One friend recently said, “I’ve decided I will just stay in my room when they are home.”

Um. No.

You are not going to hide. You are not going to step aside and let them devalue you, take advantage of your insecurities or let them make you feel unloved. You are the daughter of a king. You step up and say,

“I got this.”

You are going to claim your position in Christ, say to yourself, “I belong to the King,” and take your place as a valued child. You are going to set your boundaries and claim your spot. It is your home. They are visitors. They will respect and cherish you or they will go.

I have a family of 5 living in our home and my 87 year old mother. None of them treat me like I am worthless. None of them push me around. None of them disrespect me. In fact, it is just the opposite. I have loved every moment my daughter’s family has been in our home for the past 5 months. I have gained much by having my mother in our home. We help each other, we laugh, we enjoy, we respect each other. When they move out in the next few days I will feel a loss. When my mother goes home to glory, I will feel a void.

If this is not the case with those around you, then you need to reevaluate your relationships, disconnect from those who do not value you and find some who do. Pray for a girlfriend who will uplift you and support you. Find someone who can encourage you and walk with you. Set your boundaries with everyone in your life and make it clear you know whom you, to whom you belong are and who you are not. And then tell yourself, “I got this.”

You are a daughter of the King.

You are valuable.

You are loved.

You are who you are because God made you that way.

That makes you special… special to God… special to me.

And yes, I mean you.

Blessings to you,

VAL signature

YouTube Explanation of How to Use Freeze Dried Food from Honeyville Farms

On my other blog, Love My DIY Home, I’ve been talking about preparing your pantry for a food crisis. This is an interesting YouTube video from Nutnfancy exploring the use of freeze dried food from Honeyville Farms in every day living as well as in your food storage. Check it out!

Homemade Automatic Dishwasher Soap

This is my second venture making soap. The first was laundry soap, now I’m shooting for two out of two and making dishwasher soap. This one is a piece of cake as it’s only mixing a few ingredients and you’re done. I’m thinking I’ve got to do pretty little bar soaps next for my guest room.

Here’s the recipe for making your own automatic dishwasher soap:

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1 Cup of Borax – at Walmart for $3.38
1 Cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda – 55 oz. box at Walmart for $3.24
1/2 Cup Kosher Salt – $1.68  at Walmart
1/2 Cup Citric Acid – Find this at Walmart in the canning aisle. Ball brand is $2.97
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I have read that you don’t need the Kosher salt if you have soft water. We have soft water at our new house, so I may find out I don’t need the Kosher salt. Mix all ingredients together and that’s it!

Homemade Powder Laundry Soap – NO GRATING

There are lots of posts about homemade laundry soap, but the thought of grating up bars of soap just didn’t cut it for me. I put off making this for over a year because I didn’t want to mess with the liquid recipes and didn’t want to lose a finger. When Jillian, my daughter, offered to make laundry soap while I’m out here in Virginia, I agreed. After she grated her finger, I researched and tried the microwave method. It took a bit, but I came up with a good way to make bar soap into powder.

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The recipe is simple, 1 cup, 1 cup, 1 cup. I like simple!

1 cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda – $3.24 at Walmart for a 55 oz. box

1 cup of Biz Detergent Booster – $3.00 at Walmart for a 60 oz. box

1 cup of powdered bar soap (one bar) – $3.98 at Walmart for 8 bars of Dial soap

Most recipes tell you to grate up the bar soap or use your food processor to make it into a powder. But I wanted to have all my fingers and Jillian didn’t have a food processor, so I decided to try another way – death by microwave!

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I broke the bar soap in half to limit the amount of middle since it took longer for the micro waves to reach the center in the first two times I attempted it. I put it in a glass bowl and set the microwave on 80% for 2.5 minutes. You might have to play with it since microwaves can be different. This is what I ended up with.

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After it cools, put it into a gallon size baggie and crumbled it up – very easy, just grab it and mush away! Make sure you wait till it cools, the centers stay hot for a while and will melt the baggie and burn your hands. Been there done that!

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Take a rolling pin and crush it into powder. Each bar equals about a heaping cup.

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Now you are ready to combine ingredients. Combine one cup of each of the Biz, Arm & Hammer and powdered bar soap. Just mix, and you’re done! Use one tablespoon of the homemade laundry soap for small loads, two or three for large or tougher loads.

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Rachel from Far More Precious, has some cute laundry soap labels that you could Mod Podge onto your jar.

Older is Better

While I can’t say what beautiful people we are, or even how adorable like I did with the other family pictures I recently posted, I can say how I enjoy the fact that my daughter, Jillian, has taken ahold of some of my passions – graphic design, portraiture, even the way she approaches her church service. These pictures are a constant reminder that she and I share a love of art and that we both tend to spend hours working on producing our own creative piece of art – we definitely share a desire to best ourselves with our next, newest project. Whether that be a poster with unusual font activity, or seeing in our photograph that we captured an emotion or essence of our subject’s personality – either way, we get satisfaction that we did something no one else has done. We work for the admiration of others – I admit it. It’s not a pride – it’s a passion. There is satisfaction when we see we have pleased our clients – that we have made someone’s life better through art. Sometimes we are our own client. We strive for original work. Original is good. It’s very good. It’s worth all the hours. It pays off in the end – or is it the beginning? I suppose that since she’s stepped into my world of creativity I won’t have an end. So since she’s in her beginning, I won’t really have an end. Maybe she’ll be fortunate enough to avoid her end by having a daughter who shares her passion too.

Take these pictures for instance. Mark and I are getting older, of course. But that doesn’t mean we need to look at ourselves and be depressed over how we are no longer young and as attractive as we once were. Attractive is relative. There’s more to life than looking back and wishing. Nope. Not us. Life is an adventure and we want take it all in stride. Older is better. We feel like we are newlyweds. Life has begun again for us. These pictures remind me that we have each other, we enjoy our life and we are still good together. That’s what art is. Life is better with art and it’s even better when you are the art. When you can give someone a picture that says all that – well, then you have “done good!” Jillian did that for us. I can walk down my hallway and look at our picture and enjoy seeing ourselves enjoy being married to one another. That is why I enjoy taking family pictures. It’s my way of celebrating the bond families have. Life can be a slippery slope – and it’s better if you have someone’s hand to hold while you slide down together. A picture is worth a thousand words and I want to be the one to write that book for whomever wants a copy.

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