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The Welcome Home
November 11, 2004

Homemaking Sharing

Dear Sisters…

We’re all traveling this road together, and were you to stop by, you'd see that I am just like you: still in the Hand of the Potter, daily being trained and reworked by the LORD. Our home is a welcome home to our family and to you, our friends... most of all it is a home where the LORD is at work and we’re in all stages of growing in Him.  There are so many ways in which the LORD is visibly evident. It seems to me that this month, in particular, really demonstrates the order of the seasons. I pray that you will be refreshed in these seasons and that you will be encouraged in the LORD. I hope you will take some time away, just now, have a cup of tea and let me share with you some things the LORD has laid on my heart to share this week.
 
Each year with the change of the clocks, I do a few semi annual things in our home. Do you have a regular time to check and/or change your smoke alarm batteries? Every year with the change of the clocks, I change the batteries in the smoke detectors. I have a sheet of paper in the kitchen on the inside of one of my cabinets that I have listed in columns the date and whether or not the battery was checked and/or annually replaced.

I check the fire extinguishers, and vacuum under the fridge and in the dryer vent, too. Some of you may remember how I wrote to you several summer’s ago regarding the home I saw at the beach in California that had burned because of lint accumulation in the dryer vent. It was so stirring to see the shell of that elegant home and the still beautiful yard surrounding the shell of the home. It was sobering to me to think of the potential fire hazards in our homes. We need to always trust the LORD for His protection and provision while doing what we know to do in the maintenance of our homes. A fireman told us that a couple of the greatest fire hazards in the home are the accumulations of lint under the fridge and in the dryer vent.  We recently replaced our dryer (Again!), it was so surprising how much lint and a great deal of other things had accumulated at the exhaust vent at the base of the dryer.  Under our fridge got a thorough vacuuming, too!


This is a wonderful time of year for planting and planning… both literally, and figuratively! A time for planting for Spring season… and a time of planning and planting spiritually for the coming seasons of your life. As we are nearing the end of the year, it might be a good time to think back on commitments made at the first of the year. Remember in January when we had a bright new year ahead of us... a clean slate, a new hope, an unwritten book...? Well, now that the year is coming to a close, the clean slate is probably a bit tarnished, some hopes may be dashed, and some notations in the book are written with regret. Could I encourage you to give it all over to the LORD once again? God is the God of new beginnings and new hope. If we have made mistakes, errors, sinned against the LORD, our husbands, our children... He tells us in His Word: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." -1John 1.9

If you intended to get up a bit earlier to be with the LORD Jesus, if you intended to memorize the written Word, if you intended to be a sweet offering to the LORD and to walk in His ways and yet you have failed... would you join me in recommitting your way to Him and ask Him to forgive you for the things you know you ought but haven't done, ask Him to be your guide... ask Him to give you the grace to obey His Will and His Word. Maybe you will join me in praying the LORD will grant you the wisdom needed to manage the home, to love your husband, to work with the children, to minister to your neighbors. Time is important to the LORD... it is evident in His Creation. How we spend the time He gives us must become more important to us.

Ephesians 5.6 says: "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." And in Colossians 4.5: "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time."
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I have been thinking for some time about organization, home and time management "stuff" ---and I have written to you about all of this several times---but it has really hit me again that many of us never learned time and home management not because our mothers were not guiding us in these areas, but because our mothers, many of them, didn't have half the things(!) we have today and they were not faced with the same decisions we are faced with today---and vice versa. They didn’t have the sort of schedule we have, nor all the “stuff” to make their lives *easier!* I have the great blessing of having some very organized daughters and sons. While I’ve been sick, they’ve had charts, schedules and tasks for every day. I sorely lack these organizational skills and have to really work hard at being orderly.

Go back in the theatre of your mind and picture the home in which you were raised. I did this, and thought: even though my parents were very affluent compared to my husband and me, they certainly didn't have all the things(!) we have today. Consequently (and this has all changed drastically now), my mother didn't have to organize, containerize, prioritize the way I have found needful in my home---she had other things with which to concern herself. I know she had several obligations and had a large home to manage, but she surely didn't have all the stuff(!) we all have today. She didn't have Rubbermaid bins, boxes, stackers, space makers, organizers, etc., etc. I know things are much different for her even today... she's begun to "need" all these things, too, even though this isn't the way it's always been. I am imagining that it was probably much the same with you. We sure need loving encouragement to press on, to decide what it is that the LORD requires, what is important, and how we are to manage what the LORD has called us to. This is one of the reasons that I desire to write to you each week---not because I have such great ideas or such a wealth of wisdom to impart---no, it's because I long to encourage you to good things. Whatever it is the LORD has called you to, and wherever you are, I believe more than ever, that we all need helpful inspiration to walk with the LORD and to look to Him. I do not know anyone who, from time to time, does not get discouraged along the way. It's discouraging sometimes: the dailies. It is discouraging sometimes when we fail at the very things we "know that we know that we know." I feel this way sometimes and that is why, though I feel incapable, I believe the LORD has prompted me to walk with you along the way to encourage you to trust in the LORD with all your heart, to try a little harder each next time, to love your husband and your children, and to live out your life as a sweet offering to the LORD.

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Some of you may remember me sharing this: *What do you have on hand?* I imagine many of your are like me in that there may be many things you wish you could do, wish you were able to accomplish, wish you were able to afford, but for whatever reason you are unable. Well, what do you have on hand? I share with you from time to time things I’ve "had on hand." Maybe I could be of encouragement to you as we walk along together.  My mother and grandmother used to ask: “what do you have on hand?” when I wanted to make something… cooking or sewing.  I appreciate that early training.


When I’ve needed pot holders or curtains or dresses for my daughters, I just take a look at materials I have on hand and see what I might do to sew them, re-make a dress out of a larger dress, cut up an old blanket to make padding for pot-holders, etc. When something’s been totally worn out, I take a look at the value of the buttons and sometimes I remove the buttons and string them together for my button box. I can’t recall how many times buttons have been re-used.

A few times I’ve wanted paint or wallpaper to fix up our home. It all looks fine---but the paint is old on the inside, the lath and plaster walls sure need attention..  Well... I went out to the shop to take a look around and found some paint. This may go against your grain, and ordinarily, I wouldn't like this solution, but here I was in need of paint and I was faced with a dilemma: do I use what I have, or do I wait? Well---okay, so you know where I'm going with this... I painted a wall---and I have done this exact same thing before---I just use what we have on hand.  I am learning that what we have on hand is: doing the next right thing. I did this several years ago----ooooh, too bright and too pink! So, what to do, what to do. I decided to try sponge painting and looked under my sink for a sponge and in no time I had, with a couple of colours, made a nice change that I am still happy with (okay, and still surprised!). I failed to mention that I hadn't done this before and most all of my painting “career” has been this sort of "hmmmm, I wonder what's out in the shop" sort of painting.  Every now and then we have gone to the hardware store to actually choose paint and thankfully I have always had lots of help with the big jobs *and* have occasionally ended up with an extra gallon of unused paint in a favourite colour. All that to say, if you are wishing that you could make an improvement in your home, but lack the resources, I would ask: "what do you have on hand?”  and would it be alright to use it?


I’ve been sick with pneumonia for a few weeks and all the while I’ve been mulling over some cleaning that needs to be done---I do sort of a deep cleaning a couple of times a year. Things like, taking down the curtains, washing, starching, ironing and re-hanging them. Or, things like, putting all the yard furniture away, all the “sports” equipment, etc. away, or covering things till spring. Things like, taking down light fixtures and bulbs and cleaning them. I’ve been delegating some of these tasks and so, little by little, they’re getting done. I am so grateful to my children for their help in doing some of these necessary tasks. Do you have an annual cleaning schedule? I learned this from my mother in law who has a very orderly way of caring for things.

When I get well, I’ll do a thorough house cleaning in order to do that deep clean. For my initial deep house cleaning, I will be going around our home with a garbage bag and a "give away bag." I’ve found over the years that it is much easier to *clean* a clean house than it is to try to do everything in the home at once. I’m thankful to be able to enlist our children's help in all of this.

I pray that you are walking closer by the LORD each day and that it is your hearts' desire to live pleasing to Him. I am praying for you as I write, that the LORD will bless and guide your days and your thoughts...and that you will be a fragrant offering to God. I guess the thing I want to leave you with today is to not be discouraged and do not give up. The LORD loves you and cares for everything that concerns you.


It is with love in Jesus that I send you this letter this week ---pamela


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