Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cleaning tips!

By Margaret Briggs & Vivian Head
I just got a book yesterday that is blowing my face off!!!!!  Phil (my husband), bought me a book when he went to Barnes & Noble.  What makes him even sweeter is he bought it with part of his special gift card!  Brownie points for him!  :)  The book is called Green Cleaning; Natural Hints and Tips For the Eco-Friendly Household.  It's on sale right now so you should buy it! :)

Now, the environment isn't really one of my passions.  I mean, I care about the environment...but I care more about Phil's and my future babies not swallowing poisonous chemicals or being around poisonous chemicals, and I like the idea of Phil and me not being around toxic chemicals too.  (It's okay if you think I'm a hippie, I come by that quite honestly (thank you Dad!)).  I just love natural remedies and solutions because they don't harm anyone.

If I could, I would probably re-name this book from something other than Eco-friendly to Human-friendly!  That's all this book is...great ideas, using non-toxic ingredients, to clean your house beautifully and efficiently!  Plus garden tips...laundry tips...and the list goes on.  Seriously, it's fabulous!  I already cleaned my hot water kettle this morning after reading the first HALF of this book yesterday.

Another great thing about this book is it only has about FOUR, yes, 4, chapters!  In these chapters it highlights 5 simple ingredients that can be used to clean practically EVERYTHING!  (Can you tell I'm a fan?)  Vinegar.  Lemon juice.  Baking Soda.  Tea-tree oil.  Borax.  Salt.  Done and done!

Every time I make a new solution or try it out, I will post it on here for you to read and try yourself.    I'll keep back to update them.  This book is definitely the thing I needed to have in order to get me on track for making my own cleaning products because it always sounded like too much to me before.  I hope you enjoy all these tips as much as I am!  Leave comments with feedback if you try any non-toxic homemade cleaners, or if there are any other fun books similar to this that you would like to recommend.


Ps-  If you're interested in homemade deodorant (using baking soda) that really does work, check out that post here...and the update on how it keeps working, here.

Cleaning tips I've tried and continue to use:
1.  Cleaning your kettle:  Put 2/3 cups of white distilled vinegar (you can get a gallon at a supermarket for like $5; it'll last a good while!) in with the water and boil like normal.  My kettle was really bad with hard water deposits caked on, so I boiled it a few times, rinsed it out, and put in another round of vinegar and water.  It looks like brand new now!

2.  Cleaning work surfaces:  Wipe all kitchen surfaces with full-strength white distilled vinegar to clean them and reduce bacteria (pg34).  Just did this and it works very nicely!  I also just read about lemons being a natural I'm planning on getting some lemons and getting some stains out on our white counter tops!

3.  Multi-purpose cleaner:  2 1/2 cups of warm water, 1/2 white vinegar, 2 tablespoons of baking soda. 1 spray bottle.  I would recommend measuring out the baking soda and vinegar and combining those first.  Let it fizz and bubble away, then add the warm water.  Stir, and then transfer into the spray bottle and wa-la!  There you have an all-purpose cleaner.  I use mine for my kitchen and bathroom mostly.  Be VERY CAREFUL if you spray stainless steal...just make sure to wipe it all off so it doesn't erode.  It's a grate cleaner for stainless, but you just want to make sure you buff it off too.  Sometimes I add an essential oil such as Tea Tree or Thieves for some extra kick, and nice spell!

2 Peter

The part in this weeks reading that really stuck out to me was in Chapter 3.  Verse 9 says, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient..."

I know it might be taking it a bit out of context because Peter is talking about the day the Lord returns and His promise to come back, but this part of this verse is really encouraging to me and reminds me that the things God has promised me, happen in His perfect timing.  It may seem slow in the natural, like He's just taking His sweet time, but in the supernatural it is happening right when God chooses as the perfect moment.  He is patient and doesn't get distracted or rushed.  I just love that.  He is patient.

It's a short and sweet Thought this week, but be encouraged that God's timing is perfect, and He is simply being patient to bring things to pass in your life.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Forgiveness is probably one of the most challenging, if not the most challenging things to do in life.  Forgiveness needs to come from our heads and our hearts.  Sometimes we can forgive in our head, but not in our heart.  I think when we forgive in our hearts, that is when freedom comes into our lives.

That is what my journey has been these last few months.  Back in February the Lord showed me I had a lot of unforgiveness in my heart towards people and how they treated or didn't treat me after my Dad died.  Before February, I had no idea that I even struggled with unforgiveness.  I would call myself a very self-aware person.  When things come up, I think I do a pretty good job in addressing them in a timely matter and figuring out what the issue is and how it can be remedied.  So when God brought this unforgiveness to my attention, I was honestly quite shocked!  I don't think I had ever really had to deal with this before.  Where do I start?  How does one forgive?  Do I actually have to forgive if I was the one wronged?

From that moment, God started me on a journey of forgiveness.  It has been one of the hardest things I've ever walked through because forgiveness means you lay down and surrender the fact that you are completely justified in being angry and hurt.  It means that you actually have to trust God to have vengeance...not you.  It means you have to let go of the hurt that has been caused to you that you now wear as a cloak around you for security.  It means you trade that cloak in for one you don't see yet, but one that Christ has offered you.

Anyone who says these things are easy is a liar.  Laying these things down is completely opposite to our human nature.  And if anyone has a justice heart like myself, laying these things down seem to go again almost everything you thought was just and fair!  Fight for the weak and victimized...even if that's you!  The person harming you should be punished and brought to justice!  Laying these things down is probably the hardest thing our heart has to do in our whole life, especially in cases that you were the one severely wronged.

That is the place I have once again found myself in.  God knew that the journey He started me on  back in February would be a warm-up for what I face now.

One night this week, God tenderly ask me, once again, to forgive...this time, in a situation which feels like there's more hurt, pain and anger.  Full of justification for those feelings.  I told the Lord this person did not deserve forgiveness because they probably didn't even know how wrong and awful they had been.  They need to know!  They need to pay for that and answer for what they did!  I mean this person broke my heart!  They need to be punished before I can forgive and let this go.  I need justice.  I am worth more than how they treated me!  It's not fair that I forgive when they think that they are in the right, where's the justice in that, God?!  I am so angry.  They don't deserve forgiveness! 

In the Lord's mercy and grace, He sweetly spoke to my heart and said, "These things are true, Hannah.  You are right.  They have been awful to you and they don't even know the extent of it all.  You do deserve to be treated better.  And they don't deserve forgiveness.  You are correct.

"However, my Hannah-girl, you did not deserve to have my Son die for your sins...but He did it anyway.  This, my girl, is why you need to forgive.  Because of what my Son did for you, not because of whether or not someone deserves your forgiveness.  You need not hold that anymore.  Allow me to protect you, watch over you and comfort you.  Let this go and forgive.  I desire freedom for you and that is found in forgiveness.  Allow Me to hold your heart and protect it.  I will do a far better job at that than you ever can, my girl.  Choose to forgive.  I want you to walk in freedom, but you must choose to forgive."

"Oh Father," I cried, "You love me more than I will ever know."

So...after struggling a lot with my anger, hurt and pain, I chose to forgive with my heart and not just my head.  The thing is, nothing has changed; my circumstances are the exact same today as they were yesterday--but I know that I am experiencing more of God's love today than I did yesterday.  Not because He has changed, but because I am now allowing His love to flow in the back corner of my heart where I so tightly held the hurt and pain.

Forgiveness takes trust.  Trust that God is all He says He is.  I want to trust Him with all my heart...and sometimes, often times actually, that means I must let go of what I think is just and fair and instead hold on to His promises and will for my life.  I want to love God more than I hate what has been done to me.

I don't write all this to have you think I'm awesome and a super-Christian.  I actually write this to maybe encourage you that you're not the only one holding on to things that are justifiable; you are not the only one who needs to let things go and forgive with your heart and not just your head.

Maybe forgiving with you heart is what Jesus meant when He told us to forgive 70 x 7 times (Matthew 18:22).  Not specifically that the same person or situation harms you 70 x 7 times and for each time we must forgive (which I'm sure He meant as well), but that everytime the memory of that harm comes back, we need to choose to forgive each time.

I think forgiveness from the heart is the most difficult thing we will ever do as a Believer.  Because it means letting of the justice we see to be most fitting and instead allow and trust that God's justice is actually the most fitting.  He's better at being Judge than you or me.

I'm still on this journey of forgiveness.  It's hard.  I have to daily say, "I forgive..." out loud.  I do know that one day this situation will become a little further away and that Christ's love will flow a little more freely in that corner of my heart.  I think He just wants us to just start somewhere.  His grace will be very evident once we take a step.  This won't be the last time you or I will be wronged, but maybe next time it won't take us as long to choose to forgive.


Thank you God for forgiving my sin and calling me your own.  I am seeing more and more, that I did not deserve that act of kindness from You, but still You did it for me.  Thank you.  Thank you that I am Yours.  Thank you that you love me with an everlasting love.  Thank you that I am a blessing to you.  I love you Papa.  Amen.

You are loved.

This song I wanted to share with you is written by JJ Heller.  She is one of my favourite singer-songwriters.  She has a gift of capturing thoughts, moments, ideas and perspectives in her songs.  This song really spoke to me and reminded me that I am loved.

I think we all need to spend more time thinking and remembering the fact that we are loved...because too often we walk around as though we are not.  I think it's easy to forget that the Creator of the Universe is madly in love with us...even while we were/are yet sinners.

Head up, shoulders back.

Remember.  You. Are. Loved.

Loved by JJ Heller.


Words and Music by Dave and JJ Heller
Do you dream of a home you never had
An innocence that you cannot get back
The pain is real
You can’t erase it
Sooner or later you have to face it down
You have to face it down

You are loved

Do you keep your thoughts inside your head
Will you regret the things you never said You have a voice
You have to use it
You have a choice
Don’t let them shut you down
Don’t let them shut you down

You are loved

Do you feel the ache inside your soul
You know you’ll never make it on your own
Sorrow is too great for you to hold it 
You're gonna break
Why don't you lay it down

Freedom comes in letting go
Open up the window to your heart
Freedom comes in letting go
Open up your heart

You are loved 

1 Peter

Foundations are so important. God has been speaking to me a lot lately about what are the foundations in my own life. It is often said that you build something from the bottom up, not from the top down. This is why a foundation is so important because everything else is put on top of it and it has to be solid and strong.

Foundations aren't glamorous or cool. When you think of a huge house with large rooms, cool windows, big screen TVs etc you wouldn't walk up to that house and say "Whoa! Check out that sweet foundation!!" We would more likely say "Check out that huge swimming pool" or "Did you see that sweet TV?" A foundation is that unseen thing that make those other things possible.

In 1 Peter he talks about Jesus being the cornerstone of our faith:

4You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.

Traditionally a cornerstone was the first stone placed in a building and all other stones where placed in reference to this cornerstone. Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith and everything that we bring into our lives and everything we do must be done in the context of him being our cornerstone. Sometimes we get distracted by the stuff that we do, good or bad and we forget the thing that's holding it all together. Don't neglect the cornerstone that is in your life. Don't let it become old or cracked but continually return to it so that it goes from strength to strength so that you too can go from strength to strength.

Written by Philip Day

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

2 Kings 18-21

If you haven't had a chance to read the last Thought, jump back and read that real quick...this Thought will be a continuation from that one.

I love reading about King Hezekiah.  We are told that Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of Yahweh, just as his father David had done.  Get this, he even removed ALL the high places and sacred stones and poles that the people had been worshiping.  He broke pagan sacred things into pieces!  We are also told that Hezekiah trusted in Yahweh and that he held onto Yahweh in all times, keeping His commands that were given to the Israelites so many years ago.

I don't know about you, but this is a GREAT breath of fresh air after reading about all the kings that were being so wicked.  And it gives us great encouragement and instruction that all the sin in our lives needs to be removed...not just the bad stuff.  That's not saying we are to be perfect, because that's impossible.  It tells us though, that we need to be actively surrendering what holds us in bondage.

This chapter really encourages me that in the midst of darkness, God can bring light.  Hezekiah had loads of wicked kings that preceded him and followed after him.  He could have easily followed the may examples of being disobedient and worshiping idols and not tearing down all the idols...but he didn't.  And he is the one that stands out so much in this book.

What made Hezekiah different from all the other kings, even some that did right in Yahweh's eyes was this---he tore down everything that didn't reflect God and he trusted Him in all circumstances.  In later chapters of this week's readings we read about how he fervently sought Yahweh for deliverance from the king of Egypt and for healing of his own body.  Hezekiah's life is as different from his predecessors as night and day.  This is the kind of leader and Believer that I want to be.  Tearing down the high places and everything that doesn't reflect God in my life, and trusting God no matter the circumstances.

Be encouraged that God is faithful and answers us when we call Him, just as he did to King Hezekiah.  He will help you tear down and crush all the idols in your life, if you would only ask for His help.