It's winter in upstate PA. Oy. It's cold. And the wind is blowing, reminding me just how cold it is. Now, we live in a parsonage, which is just like renting, only we don't pay for anything. Well, we don't pay for our heating or our electric, however, eventually it would get back to us. If it took more out of the church's coffers, then it might mean less out of the pay. Not only that, but we want to be good stewards of what we have. I learned some of living since we've gotten married. Seems like God put us in the pot rather early and so I've learned how to 'make-do' with what I've got.
Here's what I'm doing:
We've got a heat leaky house. The windows are single-paned and don't latch well. There is no gasket (I can't think of what that's called, but it's the stuff in between the window and the window frame.) One particularly windy night I could see the window shades moving. Too drafty. So I did this: This is a window quilt. I don't know if that's the true name of it, but that's what I'm calling it. It is a quilt, the size of my window, put right in the frame. It seals the perimeter of the window, while creating a second, thermal pane. I made it out of a layer of ewy cotton that I wouldn't use for anything else, an old blanket for the batting and then muslin for the front. I do still have window shades for looks, but this is what keeps it warm. This is our guest room window (one of them) and this was the draftiest room. It is now the warmest room in the house. I have one in each window in the guest room and one in Nadia's window. Her room faces the prevaling wind out here and so gets some pretty good gusts. I also did this (and while this isn't a novel idea, it still works.)
It's a window snake. This is our bathroom window and it too faces the prevailing winds. I needed a quick fix for the window as the quilts do take a bit of time. This is just a flannel tube with fabric scraps inside. I made it a bit flexible so that I could shove it in the cracks and kind of mold it to the shape I needed it. I also have one in the study, which also is facing the prevailing wind. I hope to have a quilt in this room too. There's nothing like a stark artic wind on your bare thigh to wake you up in the morning!
And on another note of saving money, I have made a 'web' of sorts of my basement. The Lord has blessed us with a huge basement. I am putting it to good use. My poor clothes dry hardly gets used anymore. I have strung laundry line all over the basement. It takes about 24 hours for a load to get dry. I don't mind. The furnace is down there so that helps and our clothes are lasting longer. I am also washing all of our laundry with cold water (except diapers, that still gets the hot stuff). And all of it, including the whites, come out wonderfully. Now since we've gotten a little bit more money coming in, I can invest in a higher quality laundry detergent. I am serious, I see the difference and I use so much less per load than my arm and hammer. It is worth it. Plus it doesn't have the harsh smells like the other stuff does. That junk bothers me. I also was able to buy the fabric softener. That is the one thing I will say for hanging laundry, it does have an exfoliating quality to it. I also use two tablespoons of baking soda in each load. I believe that helps.
I also took advantage of the turkey sales and got a huge one. I baked it up (then opened the oven door after baking), picked it, packaged and froze it. I have like at least 10 meals from that one bird. I also got another turkey for later. I was buying a whole bunch of beef, but my last period was very painful and we just started eating more red meat, so I am attributing it to the hormones in the meat. I am trying to revert back to our 'slim' menus. Fish, poultry, beans and the like for a month to see if it makes a difference. That is, if I get a period. Anyway.
That's what we are doing to save a little more money. I won't know if it's making a difference, as we don't see those bills, but I am trusting it is.
I am trying to maintain some consistency with my blogging and in light of my past post I thought I'd send an update your way.
It's been a week and a half and I have not slapped Nadia. Now I did yell like once or twice, but at least I can count it on one hand the number of times. I am doing well. But it is the Lord, I tell ya. He is my strength, and he is my 'whisperer' in my ear. He reminds me and stays my hand. I am blessed. Thank you Lord.
Andrew has noted that our house is more peaceful and quiet. Meals are more enjoyable.
Now you might say, is Nadia just being better? Nooooooooooooo. In fact, she's worse. Well I should say she is throwing more tantrums and still getting into the same number of things, but overall she is responding faster now to my voice. Which is a good thing. I wanted that. Especially when something is dangerous. She threw the worst tantrum I've seen yet. It was this morning. She wanted to wear her PJ's all day. Oy.
There is more laughter, more rest, and more play in our house. It's good.
It has come to my attention (aka, I've been convicted) of several things. My daughter and I both have colds. Not so big, but she is just a tad harder to deal with and I am a little more short tempered when I am sick. Put us both together like that and its a recipe for malcontent. Some background: Nadia and I have difficulty getting along of late. It could be that she's 2, or it could be me, or both. I have a tendency to yell and slap too much. I am also a perfectionist when it comes to being a mother. I have this fear that I am going to mess her up. But the thing of it is, I cannot do everything perfectly when it comes to her! I am not going to parent all right, all the time. That frustrates me, because I don't want to mess her up. I just need to accept that. I have a tendency to yell at her when she is not doing what I want her to do. And at the end of the day, when she's been in bed, I feel that ominous guilt. I feel so bad! I really do love my little girl. I struggled with connecting with her for a long time, but I can finally say that I feel love for her. But yesterday, with a combo of the above things and being home with her all day, I lost it. And while I was ashamed for my behavior, I am thankful that God has redeemed it. He convicted me of several things. Because of my foggy cold mind I am going to list them, because I just need to get it out:
I yell and slap too much.
I have a victim mentality
I am a negative person.
I am allowing my anger to control me.
I know I have the ability for self control, I have lost 121 pounds and that takes a lot of will power and self control. However, I was relying on myself for the ability to control my anger and also the answers on how to raise my child. That was foolish thinking. I cannot perfectly rear my child, however, I can partner with a perfect God to help me. In response to #1 I am not going to slap my child anymore, I am not saying spanking is not good, I am saying it is not good for me. I need a clear boundary and this will be it. Maybe it will change, but for now. I am also going to try to maintain a spirit of peace in this house. My husband is the spiritual head of the house, however, I am the general manager of the house and therefore I do set the tone of the house. It has not been peace for a while. For this, I am going to stop yelling. I am going to take a small moment before I respond to my child in her whatever to talk to the Lord. "What am I to do about this? How do You want me to respond to her right now?" 5 seconds more of a tantrum is worth it to hear the Lord. A lot of my attitude has been because I feel like life is happening to me. Woe is me, I have another cold. Woe is me, my child is waking up at night. Woe is me, woe is me! Wow, talk about a victim mentality. No wonder the mood of the house is dreary. I am choosing against this. Part of this is a negative attitude. I am going to choose to look at life through realistic eyes. Not negative, and not really positive, because this too can be annoying. But rather, realistic eyes. Yes, I have a cold, but it will get better, I can still function. Yes, Nadia got up last night, but at least I got lots of sleep, not like newborn days. You know I deal with anger. But also part of my revelation has been that I allow my anger to control me. Not anymore. It's not right and a lot of people I love are getting hurt in the process. Unfortunately a lot of this will be healed through process. I need to be in situations that anger me, annoy me. And unfortunately it seems that the Lord is using my daughter to do this. I have to ask Him why, I don't want her hurt. But it seems that He is. I can only trust Him that he knows what He is doing. Throughout this whole process I have come to a scripture that speaks to me. 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." 33 They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, 'You will be made free'?" 34 Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
This comes from John 8. And the part that struck me is that to be free to be truley free, I need to abide in His Word. The Holy word. The Blessed Word from the mouth of God. And I know that, but needed to be reminded.
8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
This comes from 1 Timothy 4. I spend a lot of time in exercise, well about an hour a day. What would happen to me if I spent just as much time reading His word? I was convicted. I am not saying that spending an hour working out is bad, I believe it's good. But I also need to exercise myself in godliness too.
So with all of this, I am convicted. Thank you Father for that. Thank You that You don't let us to wallow in our muck. You help us out. Thank You.