Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Urgent Article for Wives

It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
Proverbs 21:19

Dear Friends,

I know it's time for another "House of Order" post, but I just read an article for wives that I simply MUST share!!!

Here are a few excerpts from this important, sometimes uncomfortable, article that I feel EVERY LDS wife NEEDS to read, ponder, pray over, and ACT on!

From one desperate husband:
“But what about us men whose wives treat them like slaves? I've been married 30+ years and have never had a breakfast or lunch made. She won't even wake up to see me off in the morning, and when I come home in the evening I'm expected to do my share of the housework, and somehow my share is the biggest share. Oh, my wife is a full-time homemaker."
“I am allowed two pair of pants; anything else is a waste according to my wife who can fill two closets. I don't even own a pair of jeans to do yard work."
“My wife has only said "thank you" twice in our marriage for me holding the door open for her."
How his words just break my heart! None of us should shirk our important stewardship as wives and helpmeets!!!

This article is not afraid to address how important intimacy is for husbands:
President Spencer W. Kimball said, “There are many aspects to love in marriage, and sex is an important one.  Just as married partners are not for others they are for each other.” (Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 73)
One husband was courageous in really telling the truth that is happening in WAAAY too many LDS homes!
One disheartened husband wrote, “Like many good husbands, I work long hours at my job, hold responsibilities in the church, and also do my share of cooking meals, washing dishes, taking out trash, bathing young kids, and the rest of the household chores.  My wife works a part time job that allows her to be home with the children most of the time."
“Here is what I have observed with my wife and many sisters in the church under 40.  They don't feel that running a house and taking care of children is rewarding or their primary responsibility.  They have many activities taking them away from the children and out of the home.  They have their TV shows that they watch religiously, no matter what impact that has on children's schedules, family scripture reading, and family prayer time.  Many seem proud that they can't cook, can't iron, and rarely do any housecleaning.  My wife and I have talked through these issues, and we are trying better to meet each others needs. . . ."
“Several recent studies show that American men work about 10 hours more per week than their dads did, many have hour long commutes, and that American men spend more hours caring for children and doing housework than other men, or their fathers did."
“The reality is that American LDS men are working longer, spending more time with children and housework than ever before, while American LDS women are doing less.  They have fewer children than before, they spend less time caring for the children and home.  My wife points out that she spends more time driving the kids to activities.  After a while, we both chose to limit the children's participation in sports and activities to make more time for the family.”
Dear Sisters! Do we recognize ourselves in any of this? I am so ashamed to realize how much we sometimes fail our husbands, our brethren in the Gospel. I am so thankful for Sister Beck, and for her bravery in challenging us to DO BETTER!!!  

We CAN do better, dear Sisters, and I pray that each of us will take a good, long look at our priorities and come face to face with our weaknesses, and then go to our Father in Heaven in prayer and beg for His forgiveness and help in becoming the women of God He knows we can be!!!

Here's the link to the ENTIRE article:

Wake Up Call for Wives

I'd love to hear your comments and ideas on these difficult, though necessary, words!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

"A House of Order": Being Prepared

Preparing together as a Family!

I've shared several of my personal experiences with preparedness here on OFM before (September 2007; September and October 2008April 2009), but it is such an important topic in this day of economic and natural turmoil, that I feel compelled to say more on the matter.

My husband and I are far from perfect in the "Being Prepared" department, but I CAN honestly say that we are constantly working on it! I know that it can feel overwhelming at times, but just keep in mind that preparedness is a PROCESS. We simply need to look at our family circumstances, and work on one thing at a time!

To begin with, my husband and I sat down and talked about the areas where we're strong, and where we're weak. We examined everything: debts, water storage, food storage, preservation and storage of important documents, gardening supplies, fuel, and 72 hour kits.

Then we budgeted some extra money he'd earned, and stocked up on some food storage that we've used up. We also bought a few things that we'd always planned to buy, but had not yet done so.

Because I don't want to overwhelm and frustrate you, and I want you to finish reading today's post feeling that you CAN be prepared, I've decided to share some tips that have helped me in my efforts.

1. Make paying off debts a higher priority.

Not only does this help lighten the burden we feel when we owe others money, it also feels GREAT to fill our obligations and be free of guilt! We cannot ever have true liberty when we are plagued by debt and the negative effects of paying interest.

One tip to getting started on the journey toward debt-freedom is the Snowball Effect: Pay off your smallest debts FIRST, and then roll the money you've been paying toward them into the bigger debts. This works well because we get the exhilaration of eliminating more debts, faster, and encourages us to continue the process.

2. Make a Preparedness Plan

If you had a home fire, where would you and your kids meet once you all got out of the house? If you and your family had to evacuate your home, where would you go, and would you be able to get everyone out and have what you needed to survive for at least 72 hours? If your husband lost his job, would you have enough food for your family to eat, and enough savings to pay utilities and other costs until a new job is found?

These are questions to ponder over and discuss as a family. We have a "Family Night" once a week that facilitates this kind of  meeting, but do what works best for your family. However, PLEASE take some time and discuss this together with your husband and all your kids!!! The scriptures say "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear," and I know it is a true principle.

Once you've discussed these kinds of questions, sit down together and make a plan. WRITE IT DOWN, and do something toward preparedness on a regular basis in your home. Whether it's practicing a fire drill, learning how to turn off the natural gas, learning where to go during a tornado, knowing where the 72 hour kits are stored, understanding how to prepare and eat food storage basics, or securing the water heater, these common sense, small things will be huge problems if people try to figure things out while in a panic during a disaster.

Our children will have peace from the knowledge we share during these family discussions-- and so will we!

3. Store Water

I live in a VERY hot place, and water is profoundly important where I live-- but so it is wherever people live! We can live three weeks with no food, but only 3 days without water. Here's a FABULOUS website on being prepared, and this gentleman has excellent advice on storing water.

4. Store the food your family eats!

We should each have a goal of storing three months of "staples" to use in dire emergencies, BUT we should also constantly be adding to the food we keep in our pantries. In the stress of difficult times, it is comforting for all family members to have the things they usually eat on the shelves.

The lady whose storage philosophies have helped our family-- and many of our friends!-- the most is Wendy DeWitt. I recently found that someone has fully recorded Wendy's AMAZING food storage presentation at this blog. Give yourself some time to sit and watch it-- you will be so glad you did! She teaches the most powerful preparedness principles I've ever heard! (And I've been taught to "Be Prepared" my whole life!)

5. Put together and store 72 Hour Kits for all your family members
The key to being successful in this effort, is to keep them updated and ready to go. My husband and I learned this the hard way when we left our kits too long without checking them. Melted hard candies, rancid granola bars, and clothes that were too small are just a few hiccups that could have been a pretty big deal is we had actually needed to use them!

Again, I really like the "I Will Prepare" website. It contains a HUGE amount of information, in an easy to find and understand format. Here's another website with a straightforward list that looks good.

Make Family Preparedness a Priority

There are many, MANY things we can spend our money on, but when disasters or difficult times come, which will be more important to our family: vacations, extra toys, gym memberships, and other "extras"? OR the food, water, savings, emergency supplies, and family plans we need to make it through these difficult times?

Every little bit we do to prepare our families helps us face the future with faith, rather than fear. More great information on being prepared can also be found here.

I know we can each find even just ONE thing to do today that will help us on the path to preparedness.



Saturday, June 4, 2011

"A House of Order" : Organize Yourselves Part Three

Dear Friends,

I'm sorry that my blogging has been slow for the past few weeks, but I have been busy SPRING CLEANING!!! Oh, and how good it feels!

To give you the reason for the recent chaos of my home, I teach a Shakespeare class to homeschooled teens. We spend the first semester reading and studying a tragedy, while learning all about Shakespeare's life, his plays, Renaissance times, etc.. THEN, for the second semester, we put together and perform a Shakespearean comedy. This year, we performed "The Comedy of Errors," and had a great time!

"Oh, bind him! Bind him!"
Lovely Ladies
My Amazing Cast!

HOWEVER, as happens every year when I get swallowed up in such a BIG project, the play takes over our lives for a couple months, and the house gets in a VERY sorry state.

Oh, my. It's pretty darn SCARY.

The carnage of the laundry alone makes me want to cry.

SO! In an effort to be accountable to my friends, and also to brag on my "Ta Da" list just a bit, here's what I've accomplished in the last month:
  • Cleaned, vacuumed, and detailed the inside of my ginormous, people-moving, fifteen-seater van.
  • Moved my refrigerator and stove and swept, scrubbed, and polished the floors and appliances.
  • While my stove was pulled out, I decided to add a bit of wallpaper to my kitchen, between the countertops and hanging cupboards.  
I love red toile!
  •  Set up a closet organizer in our "Family Closet" room, where all the kids clothes reside, donated an ineffective and icky dresser, put away most of the winter clothes (This is a process that lasts practically until next winter, for me!)

  • Moved around the furniture in my Family Room, which resulted in scrubbed walls and vacuuming in all the little dark corners that never see daylight.
  • Moved around the furniture and redecorated in my living room. (It helped when I finally moved all the Shakespeare costumes and props out of there!)
  • Donated a van full of excess STUFF we no longer need to our local Deseret Industries, a thrift store and charity run by the LDS Church. Clearing out so much excess was exhilarating. I need to keep it up!
  • Cleaned out and organized our storage room (which is in a small building in our backyard) top make room for more food storage. We also found some sturdy, large, metal shelves at Sam's Club that my awesome husband put together for us. I now have a place for all my boxes and boxes of fabric and sewing supplies! (yes!)
  • My husband and I have been focusing on preparedness, and it felt so good to replenish lots of the basics we have used up, as well as finally getting around to storing WATER. (Kinda necessary here in the desert!) I am excited to blog more about "Preparedness" in the next couple weeks, so check back!
  • We moved my baby's crib out of our bedroom and into the Family Closet room, so she can get more uninterrupted sleep, and also so I could move my sewing machines into my bedroom. (And out of the already packed Family Room!) She's almost a year now (just another week!), and it was time. *sniff*
  • I am still in the midst of attacking Mt. Washmore, but it feels GOOD! Washing, drying, folding, hanging up, sorting out and storing too-small and winter things-- I've even (are you ready for this?) PUT THE FOLDED LAUNDRY AWAY! In my little world, this is akin to a miracle! I think my husband and children are in shock from all of the clean clothing in their drawers!
As you can see, I just haven't had a moment to sit down and blog, but I can assure you that I've been really excited to share all this organizing with all of you!

Some of the things that have helped me stay motivated (and away from tempting time-wasters like Facebook) are:
  • Good, uplifting music: This gets my energy going, and helps me stay motivated, even when I get tired. Snow White really did know what she was talking about with the "Whistle While You Work" concept! It helps my kids stay motivated to help me, as well.
  • Recordings of Inspiring Books: I am currently in love with the Librivox website! How can you beat FREE MP3 recordings of lovely, old classic books in the public domain?! Granted, not all the readers are good, but it has been a real delight to listen to some books I've been meaning to read, but haven't had the time. It's been gratifying to see my kids sticking around to help, simply so they could hear the story, too. (We've been on a Louisa May Alcott marathon-- so inspiring!)

  • SPRING, spring, spring! Even though here in the desert, it's been lovely weather for many months, there is still something about the change in the air that only spring brings that inspires me to get organized and cleaning. I think it's also a way for us desert-dwellers to prepare for the long, hot summer when my kids can no longer play outside much. (It's like autumn in the North!) Having lived in both warm and cold climates, I can see the parallels.
  • TIME: What a joy it has been to have no deadlines, few places we have to go, and no more stress of the show bearing down upon us. Dedicating my time and efforts to putting our home in order has been such a joyful process! I feel like I'm doing what I was meant to do, and it makes my husband, my kids, and even ME happier, to live in a home of order and cleanliness. Things are never perfectly clean, but almost everything has a PLACE, and that is actually a pretty big thing for me!
I hope you are enjoying your home and your family wherever you are, and I pray that this summer finds your home cleaner, your family happier, and your heart full of love and rejoicing! I'm so grateful that the Lord has given us work to do. What a blessing to be partners with Him in creating the home environment our families need and cherish!

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