Marriage According to our Maker

Last weekend my husband and I attended the wedding of a beautiful young couple. Though we didn’t really know the bride well, we knew the groom and have watched him grow into a wonderful, godly young man over the years we have attended our church. It was a beautiful service. Not only did I admire the decorations and other little touches that an artsy person like me would take note of, but I was especially moved by the service and ceremony itself.  I found myself blinking back tears a few times, and I know I’m not the only one there who was. Though I am an emotional female, I can tell you that everyone in that room could feel the absolute rightness of this union, the devotion of these young people, and the sense that God’s presence and His very hand was on this couple as they vowed themselves to one another.  It was as it was absolutely meant to be, exactly how God ordained it from the beginning. It was like even the witnesses in the pews were all standing on holy ground there together, even if for a brief moment. I was tucked in next to my own groom of 16 years during the service, reflective of my own marriage and the sacred covenant that marriage is supposed to be.

When we unselfishly love and live for our husband we glorify Christ and teach the world the true role of the Christian wife.

Fast forward almost a week. I get the dramatic “landmark” news about the Supreme Court’s decision regarding same sex couples and marriage rights. I see pictures of people cheering and waving rainbow-striped and equal sign flags. I see quotes and tweets and posts about how wonderful this all is, even from our own president.

I, on the other hand, felt sickened and downright sad. I felt nauseous.

I am not cheering about this decision, I am grieved by it.

 And if my sinful old self is grieved by it, our Creator who is Holy must be grieved more than we can imagine. Especially since He specifically created a man, THEN a woman—on purpose!!

Lord God said It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. - Genesis 2:18

My knee-jerk reaction may be to go on a rant about all manner of sinfulness and how the world seems to be” going to hell in a handbasket,” as the old saying goes. It sure feels that way some days. I could really knock out quite a heated post detailing my views.  However, I’m sure you already know how I feel by what you’ve read so far. I’m sure you’ve also read many articles by others blasting everyone who believes differently than they do. I don’t think that I could change your mind, try as I might. Just like you’re not going to convince me that gay marriage and the whole homosexuality issue is okay. Or changing one’s gender is okay. (Had to throw that one in there!)

Only God himself can change a heart.

So why the heck am I writing this?

I am doing this to remind us all of what marriage is supposed to be…not according to a twisted cultural trend, or what some friends or family think, or what some judges in Washington vote on 5-4.

Today I am focusing on what our God, the one who created you and me and all of humanity, has intended for us.

Today, instead of dwelling on my churned up emotions about everything in the news, instead of feeling downright ill at the sight of our White House lit up in rainbow hues, I am reminding myself and all who read this what YOUR CREATOR intended this institution to be all about.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh. Gen 2:24. <3

Check out Chalkboard Matthew 19:6 Printable- Instant Download on gingersnapinvites

My favorite bible verse: Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves "a cord of three strands is not easily broken" (this represents a husband & wife & God)

Easter Monday we go to picnic lunch by the Ocean to see the native chocplate lilies here on the Canadian Gulf Island B C. AMEN  ciao! newport beach: sunday verse

My signs, quotes and bible verses are carefully constructed, entirely hand-painted and hand-lettered (no vinyl), and stained in my own special

Great marriage quote from the bible

it's not for my comfort, but making me more and more like Christ.

It was God himself who united a man and a woman in marriage -Genesis 2.24

I know I will probably get some responses to this. Either you will love or hate what I just put out there. I make no apologies for what I believe and am tired of us “Conservative Christian” types getting OUR rights trampled all over. We will not be silent.

 However, I hope and pray you know that today YOU ARE LOVED. By me and by our Lord and Savior most of all. .

I will end with this quote I came across this morning and really struck home with me:

“We are far worse than we ever imagined and far more loved than we could ever dream.” (Tim Keller)

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

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Hello!

If you are new here or unfamiliar with my “frugal accomplishment” posts, here’s a synopsis of what they are about.

Basically I go over what I have done in the past week (it’s ended up being about two weeks in actuality) to save our family some money. Some of the things may be repetitive, others may be brand new. We are a family of seven that has lived on one income for many years–and done so rather successfully, I might add. We don’t do credit, our vehicles have long been paid for, and we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on our mortgage. Though my husband is the breadwinner, I have been the one to manage our money over our 16 years of marriage. I’m not patting myself on the back or anything, but I think I do a fair job at it, and as our kids have grown I’ve gotten much better at being frugal. (Sorry to break it to you readers with small children, but they get more expensive as they get older!!) Therefore, I feel like I know a little bit about what I’m preaching on here, so I feel like I can share freely about what I do on a regular basis.

Anyway, with that bit of background, here’s what I’ve done these last two weeks:

*Harvested sugar snap peas, beets, scallions, greens, and hull peas out of the garden. I blanched and froze some bags of the regular peas to keep for winter.

*I just got a nice deal on apricots and am making Apricot Pineapple Jam with them.

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*Didn’t do any big grocery runs.

*Had a leftover smorgasbord for several different meals instead of cooking up something new.

*The kids and I went to the North Museum in Lancaster for free yesterday! I had a free voucher for a family that I had gotten the day they reopened after remodeling. We had tried to go that opening day, but due to plumbing issues, they had to close their doors and issued family vouchers to everyone who had tried to attend. I literally got handed one before even going in. SO…I paid nothing and we all got to see the newly remodeled museum AND planetarium show for free.

*Packed our lunch instead of eating out for several different outings.

*We’ve been to the library a couple of times since school let out. The library is our saving grace during the summer! Usually we stop to trade in books about once a week and then attend some of their free programs too. The kids signed up for the summer reading program, where they can earn free coupons and passes to local places.

*I helped serve a wedding rehearsal dinner at our church one evening. When the meal was done, I was given some of the leftovers to take home for my crew. They were yum!

*For the same wedding, I had Longwood Gardens tickets that we had gotten free with our family pass. I gave them as a gift to the bride and groom instead of buying something. (Hey, I know that sounds cheap of me, but I thought it was a cool gift! It’s a great date destination.)

*I bought some very cool retro soda advertisement glasses for super cheap at a yard sale. My kids are in love with them and I purged some of our little kid cups in the process.

*One of our AC units was making some crazy noises and I thought we would have to buy a new one. My handy man checked it out and was able to fix it on his own. Hooray for guys that can fix stuff!!!

That’s all I have for the moment. Hope you’re having a wonderful week.

–Rachel

What I’m Into: June 2015

Hey hey everyone!

Here is this month’s installment of “What I’m Into,” where I share what either myself or my family is into lately:

*Flip flops. My favorite summer wardrobe staple! Barefoot is always great too:)

Try not to faint with surprise, but I bought a brand spanking new pair of flip flops from LL Bean in this cute orange and white gingham design. (Hey, I had a coupon!) I have had several pairs of theirs over the years and they hold up forever, plus are super comfy for walking in.

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*Julie of the Wolves. This is our read aloud book at the current moment. I used to love all of the survival tales (Hatchet, Island of the Blue Dolphins, My side of the Mountain, etc) and this is one that I am now sharing with my kids.

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*Tri Bond. We inherited a copy of this game from somewhere and just started to get into it. Some questions are easy, others you really have to think about. A nice spin on trivia games.

*Iced tea, iced coffee...basically any of my favorite caffeine in iced form on especially hot days.

*Ice cream. Unfortunately, this is my personal kryptonite, especially in the warmer months. Can. Not. Resist….

*Our garden. Many of you know we do a huge garden every year over at my in-laws’ farm, and this year’s is no exception. A lot of work, but we love getting fresh veggies out of it all the time.

*Skirts and sundresses. I don’t own many shorts anymore and have taken to skirts and comfy sundresses quite a bit. This is because a) skirts are more comfortable to me and b) I think I look terrible in shorts. Personal opinion.

*A clearer schedule. Hasn’t happened much yet in the week since school finished up, but next week and beyond look much MUCH better!! Yay!!!

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Hi everyone!

Hope you are all wrapping up the school year well and getting into summer mode. We have a whole day and a half of school left and I’m partially looking forward to it, partially in denial. I’m ready to be done with papers/homework/lunchboxes and looking forward to sleeping in/no homework/not as much *stuff* to keep track of! Ask me again in the beginning of August and I’m certain my tune will have changed!! It’s a little mixed feelings for me every year. So it goes.

Here are some little things I’ve done to save us some dollars in the past week and a half or so:

*Our school gave free vouchers to each student for School Spirit Night at a Lancaster Barnstormers baseball game. We also inherited two vouchers from my brother’s family, so the 7 of us went for free.

*My three younger kids and I brown bagged it at another school trip to Dutch Wonderland instead of buying food there. When we were done it was dinnertime, so I took them out to eat using some gift cards I had.

*My Mom gave me like $30 in Kohl’s cash, which I used to buy some new (yes, new!) sneakers for myself.

*The kids and I went to my husband’s grandmother’s farm and were able to pick a bunch of strawberries. I think we got about 10 or so quarts in total. I used them to make a couple batches of strawberry jelly and we ate the rest! (This pic is from last year when I was able to do the same thing.)

*From our garden we also got some greens, scallions, and sugar snap peas.

*I scored a nice heavy rain poncho thing for my oldest son at a yard sale for 50 cents. He is working as a counselor-in-training at a summer camp this year, so I will send it along just in case. (And yes, I’m totally in denial that I have a child who is not only old enough to work, but will be living away a good portion of the week.)

*Didn’t have to fill my gas tank at all!

Okay, now I have to ‘fess up a non-frugal thing. But it’s not one that I did, it was my hubs….

He has never really done much on Ebay before, but I am pretty experienced at it. He thought he was being frugal by bidding on used hiking backpacks instead of buying new ones, which can run pretty pricey.

He won one backpack, which was fine.

Then another e-mail rolled in saying we won another one. Okay, we could use two I guess…

I didn’t think to ask or check if he had bid on any more. I wrongly assumed he had just bid on two. NOPE.

Fast forward a day and we get two MORE e-mails saying he had won two more backpacks!!!! Aaaah!!! My frugal heart about had an attack. Thank the LORD I caught it right away and was able to cancel the two extra orders. Then I checked to make sure there were no more bids floating around out there. Thankfully not. We now have two hiking backpacks and I am good with that.

Thank you for listening to my Ebay tale. Happy June.

Rachel

Crocheted Rag Rug Tutorial

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As promised in the previous post, I am now putting on my tutorial for making crocheted rag rugs.

I have been enjoying making these and using up some of my fabric stash in the process!

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This particular one may be my most favorite yet–a cheery red, white, and blue.

The tutorial I am going to explain is for a rectangular shaped rug with stripes of color.

To make these, all you need is the following: scissors, a variety of cotton or cotton/poly fabrics, a large crochet hook, and a basic knowledge of crochet.

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Before you can crochet anything, you need to tear your fabric into strips. I make snips at one end, probably @1 1/2″ apart, then tear down the length of the strip. (A bonus: This is very stress relieving. I LOVE to hear that Rrrripping sound as I tear them!!) I personally don’t do the prep work for all the fabrics at once, just pretty much as I go to do each row.

Make a slit at either end of each strip. This is essential when you go to connect two together.

Make a slip knot with the first color you want to use. Using your large hook, chain a number of stitches together. However many you make depends on how long you want your rug to end up being, so this is up to you.

At the end of the first row, connect a new row of fabrics on.

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Take the new strip and slide one end of it through the slit of the “old” strip, just up about an inch or so.

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Then pull the tail end of the new strip through that slit of the piece that is sticking up through. I hope to heavens that makes sense. Hopefully you can tell what I’m talking about by my pictures of it.

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Just so you know, I did a basic single crochet stitch throughout this rug. Remember to chain two at the end of each row, then flip over to start at the right side beginning with the second set of loops.

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Keep on doing this process until your rug is the size you would like. Weave in any ends, step back, and enjoy your handiwork!

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**I will warn you now that this uses up a HECK of a lot of fabric, likely more than you’d guess. I didn’t mind because I had a ton, most of it acquired through yard sales or thrift shops. To me it was a great way to use some up. If you are buying for the purpose of making these, I would recommend buying old sheets and things like that at yard sales. They are easy to work with plus you get a lot of yardage at once for cheap.

**Also, another little tip: If your fabric is a heavier weight, you need to cut your strips thinner than I showed. (Otherwise it is a bugger to crochet with.) For my denim one I did strips about half the width of these I just pictured.

I hope this made sense and if you have any questions, feel free to ask away!

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

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Okay, so this is more like the last TWO week’s frugal accomplishments.

Here we go…

*We inherited two new shrubs to plant for free from someone else’s landscaping project. They look great in one of our small side beds.

*I bought a pair of yoga-style pants for my girl, then cut off the bottoms, hemmed them, and made them into little comfy shorts for her this summer. (Random rant–so many older girls’ shorts sold at stores are incredibly short. SO frustrating….)

*Made a couple of boy’s jeans with serious knee-holes into shorts too.

*I also got a pair of petite jeans at a yard sale for myself and converted them into longer shorts. Really, there’s nothing petite about me, so I didn’t have to cut all that much off the length!

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*I used up more of my fabric stash to make another crocheted rag rug. An amateur effort, but I really love how it turned out. I’m currently working on a denim one using some old jeans. Perhaps I really will do a tutorial on these one day.

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*My whole side of the family went to Baltimore last Sunday and visited the aquarium. We packed a picnic lunch and ate outside at some picnic tables afterwards instead of going out to eat. It was a really beautiful day. As my kids and both of my brother’s girls have spring birthdays, this was my parents’ birthday gift to them all instead of toys or a material gift. (Big Thank You to my Mom and Dad for this! Also, You’re Welcome for suggesting a picnic instead of paying for 13 people to eat at the Inner Harbor!!)

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They were also able to go down in the submarine that is parked near the aquarium. My little guys loved it-especially the torpedoes!!

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*Some of our lettuce greens are really thriving, so we were able to cut some and have it for salad several times.

*My Dad continues to give us containers of free cheese crumbles from his work. This is the crumbly stuff that is left after cutting blocks of fancy cheese. We are getting spoiled eating $14+/lb cheese for free!

*I hung out wash on some of the nice days instead of using the dryer.

That’s it for now. Thanks for tuning in!

Rachel

Where Have All the Groceries Gone?

You’ll have to forgive my cheesiness. I just came up with this little poem last night as I was lamenting the fact that all the food I just bought last week is already practically wiped out by growing children. Seriously.

ALL.THE.FOOD.

This one’s for my fellow Moms of hollow-legged kiddos out there…

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I remember it oh so well,

That trip I took just last week,

When I went to the store,

And drove the cart with the squeak.

Grapes, gouda, and granola,

Were tossed into that cart,

Along with beans, butter, bran,

And a box that said Pop-Tarts.

My cart was really quite full,

By that last stretch of aisle,

I had ‘em piled on high,

Paid and left with a smile.

Then I came on home with that load,

Bottles, cans, and many a box,

I filled the fridge, pantry, freezer,

We had everything but Maalox!

“Oh the meals I can prepare!”

“The lunches I can now pack!”

How naïve I was just then

Before that first snack attack…

The kids came home from school,

Cracked open the Cheez-its to eat,

They quickly emptied that box,

And moved on to something sweet.

Next went the apples and grapes,

And the Pop Tarts as well,

Also the nuts and the chips,

The bag now an empty shell…

By a few short days later,

I was struck almost dumb,

For those once filled-up cupboards,

Now contained but a crumb.

My tale is just about through,

It would make quite a sad song,

If you have a houseful of kids,

Food NEVER stays around long!

What I’m Into: May 2015

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Happy Belated Mother’s Day!

Here’s a little up-to-date list of things either myself or my family are into lately:

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*Dutch braids. Both my daughter and myself have been wearing these a lot as of late. Usually we do it along one side with a ponytail. It’s very easy to do and it doesn’t take much time, even with our longer thick hair. I am not one to take time to do my hair, so I am glad for something semi-polished looking and easy to pull off.

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*The Perfect Game. We discovered this movie on Netflix one Friday night and absolutely LOVED it. Very clean and family-friendly, but also based on a true story. I highly recommend it for anyone to watch.

*Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. This is a sequel to the Chocolate Factory and has the same main characters. We are almost done reading this one out loud together. One of my twins, Josh, is so enchanted with Willy Wonka that he is dying to dress up as him on an upcoming special day at school. He is going to be adorable!

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*Being outside! Can I hear an amen on that one? It has been absolutely gorgeous here most days lately and I am loving every minute of it.

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*Flowers-Just because they are pretty! This is a shot I took at Longwood Gardens, which we visited on Mother’s Day.

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Another picture perfect view from Longwood!

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*Yard sales. I LOVE attending yard sales and scoping out good deals. It’s like a treasure hunt where you never know what you’ll find. Case in point: I found this large basket at one last week for 75 cents. (The rug shown is a crocheted rag rug I just completed! Fun to make, plus it uses up some of my vast fabric stash.)

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*The arts. In the last several weeks we have had a boatload of arts-related performances through the school. I had one in the school play, the same one in band, one in chorus, and a girl who is in love with the violin and plays with the orchestra. My two younger boys aren’t old enough to be in any of those yet, so it could be more of that type of thing here in a year or so!! Lots of performances, but we are now through them–at least until early December.

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

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Hey hey everyone! Hope you’re enjoying this beautiful May day.

I have a few new goodies to share about things that I did this past week to save us some cash:

*My husband cut our boys’ hair (and his own) with clippers. That’s five haircuts that we did NOT have to pay for. Been doing this for years!

*I had a $5 off a $50 purchase coupon I was able to use at a local grocery store. That, combined with another really good coupon deal, helped me to pay only $41 for what would have been a $50+ grocery trip.

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*On a whim, I picked up a 50 cent vintage denim Wrangler jacket at a yard sale. 50 CENTS y’all. I am VERY excited to share that I listed it on Ebay and it sold for almost $90! Wow…proof that shopping yard sales sometimes pays off!

(Fun extra tidbit: I also found a matchbook in the pocket with Hunt’s Catsup advertised on it from the 60’s. It still had matches in it.)

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*I made a batch of laundry detergent, plus glass cleaner and my all-purpose cleaning spray.

*I hung out wash on some nice weather days.

*Had two different nights where we noshed on leftovers for dinner instead of letting them go to waste. I call it the “Leftover Smorgasbord.”

*My husband brought home a bag of sausage end pieces for free from work. Occasionally he gets to do this with the different varieties they make at his shop.

Well that about covers it. Not too shabby, eh?

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!