Where to spend on Organic:
Along with the fruits and vegetables in the Dirty Dozen column, the author's recommendation was to consider buying meat and poultry, milk (higher fat content of the milk and of other dairy products made with milk= higher level of chemicals that may be present), organic baby food, and other fruits/vegetables your child eats on a daily basis.
The Dirty Dozen:
(Produce with the highest pesticide levels per the Environmental Working Group)
3. Bell Peppers
10. Imported Grapes
Where it doesn't really make a difference:
She said not to stress so much about packaged goods, and that, with a few exceptions, fruits and vegetables with an inedible peel contain relatively low levels of pesticides.
The Clean 15:
(Fruits and vegetables with the lowest level of pesticide residue, according to the Environmental Working Group)
7. Sweet peas
15. Sweet potatoes
"Carl Winter, Ph.D., director of the FoodSafe Program at the University of California, Davis says that, "'The amount of pesticide residue found in produce is not significant enough to make food unsafe. The most important thing is to make sure that kids are eating lots of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, whether they're organic or not." " (Emphasis mine)
"The bottom line: feed your baby some organic food if you can, but don't stress if you can't. If she eats a wide variety of nutritious food, you're doing your job!"
- Jessie Wholgemuth
She also recommends visiting foodnews.org later this year for an updated list.
I have been promising a modesty post for a very...very long time now. But every time I would sit down to type what I have been thinking and praying about, I would choke. Essentially I have been struggling with fear. Fear of what you all will think of me, fear that I will sound self righteous or condescending (most definitely not my intent), and even fear that I wouldn't be able to clearly communicate all that has been gerbiling around in my tiny brain these past few months. But I realized, just because this is a "hotter" topic than we normally post about, it's really no different than anything else I have written. It's just me, telling my story, the only way I know how.
I did not grow up in a household where I was given a strict dress code. I was homeschooled and probably dressed a lot like my mom. When I entered public high school I was afraid I would stick out like a sore thumb, instead I became invisible. I ached to look "cool", to stand out, and to be seen as some one special. I thought that if I could create a funky, creative, popular outer appearance then people would be drawn to me. This meant going to any lengths to wear whatever was "in style" no matter what that style was. It meant obsessing over every article of clothing, and trying on multiple outfits before going out, and it also meant never feeling content with who I was, or what I looked like. If you could have looked up insecurity in the dictionary my picture was probably there. As I grew older, got married, and had children I seemed to grow out of much of this, but I knew all the insecurities were still lurking somewhere just beneath the surface. Fast Forward several years to late last year.
Now I don't remember exactly (sometime last year) when the Lord first started laying the subject of modesty on my heart, but as He did I began to learn more about myself than modesty.
First - I was addicted/am to pants! This may sound ridiculous, but I did not like skirts, or dresses at all. I tolerated them on Sundays, but that was about it. I figured I could look and feel like a lady and not have to give up my pants. Now this may be true, but for me it was nothing but an unsubmissive heart in cute pair of jeans or painty scrubs (as was usually the case). So I decided to lay my pants and all other sloppy attire at His feet. I didn't want there to be anything (especially something silly like pants) between us. For those of you that know and see me regularly, I have worn pants a time or two since then. I'm just finding that I feel most feminine when I'm not wearing them. Needless to say, I'm still processing this one. I'll keep you posted.
Second- I am unbelievably stubborn! Okay this wasn't actually new news, but my stubbornness knows no bounds. This time it was in reference to the verse Roman 14:13. I took great offense to having to change the way I dressed because it might cause someone else to sin. (My brain doesn't always remember that I'm not a feminist.) So I struggled, internally, with this one for a long time. I made external changes, but resented the fact that I had to do it "because men couldn't control themselves". (Yuck - I know, just keepin' it real.) Then one day I started thinking, what is one thing I have a really hard time resisting? Answer - CHOCOLATE! I am capable, but it's soooo hard. Now, what if I saw a man, who is not my husband, walking down the street wearing an outfit that barely covered the fact that he was made entirely out of delicious, melty, creamy, oh so irresistible, dark chocolate. I would want to stop whatever I was doing, go over, and take a bit bite. Yes I know this scenario is just a little bit far fetched, but it really helped me understand a little bit more what our brothers in Christ are going through. And, yes, I have apologized to my husband for being such a baby on the topic.
Fourth - Okay there isn't a fourth, but I know that this isn't all I have learned, or will learn on the subject. It is a going to be a continual process. I don't just want to make a bunch of arbitrary modesty rules and not have the heart to go along with them. I also don't want to dress like I belong on a street corner until I feel "convicted" to do otherwise. May be one day the lines will be a lot less blurry, but for now this list is posted on my fridge:
- What statement do my clothes make about my heart?
- In choosing what clothes to wear today, whose attention do I desire and whose approval do I crave? Am I seeking to please God or impress others?
- Is what I wear consistent with biblical values of modesty, self control and respectable apparel, or does my dress reveal an inordinate identification and fascination with sinful cultural values?
- Who am I trying to identify with through my dress? Is the Word of God my standard or is the latest fashion?
- Have I asked my husband or other godly individuals to evaluate my wardrobe?
- Does my clothing reveal an allegiance to the gospel or is there any contradiction between my profession of faith and my practice of godliness?
The original Modesty Heart Check can be found here.
So that's my journey in a nutshell. I feel like I could write several more posts on this topic, but I am going to refrain - you're welcome.
I've been working on sharing this story for a while now. Two of the verses that come to mind when I think of this event were also referenced by Gina in her letter on modesty, so I think now is as good a time to post this since our thoughts are directed this way already. I want to share this story because it is a wonderful example of godly beauty which has encouraged and challenged me, and I think it can do the same for anyone. We live in a world where every emphasis is placed and value is based on appearances. This story always brings me back to the truth. Our sources of frustration, and sometimes even our shame, can still display the imperishable beauty of the hidden person of the heart when that heart is desiring after the Lord and obedient to Him.
1 Peter 3:3 Your adornment must not be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
I don't remember how we met K., but we were living in the Czech Republic at the time, so I'm sure that something about being the only two foreign families in our village somehow connected us. I do remember that K. was a gorgeous young Korean woman married to a wealthy business man, either German or Austrian, and that their beautifully groomed dog completed their "family". K. would come over to our house to have tea and English conversation with my mother. I can't imagine how lonely she must have been being transplanted all the way over there with her husband gone to work and only a dog to keep her company. I thought life was hard and I had 4 siblings, 2 parents, and schoolmates! Speaking of schoolmates, one day a horrible discovery was made. Even still I can barely type the word: Lice. I feel so dirty... but yes, we had lice. Lice is shameful to anyone, but to someone as cleanliness-conscious as my mom, I can imagine it was an especial trial. My mother runs a very tight, very clean ship. But lice is lice, and once it's near, it's everywhere. So it was attacked head on (oh yes, there's the pun) and with full strength. One of the methods was to spray a solution all over the head and then wear an unsightly white plastic bag over your hair for several hours. My mother was undergoing one of these treatments when K. happened to stop by unexpectedly.
It's funny how time and understanding change one's perspective.
I remember peeking down the stairs and there was the beautiful, always perfectly done up and dressed up K.. Sitting across the table in shorts and a T-shirt, with the dreadful plastic bag covering her scalp was my mother. Since the day was about attacking lice, there had been no fear of being seen in public or need for dressing to the 9's, or 6's even. At the time, the 10 year old me remembers feeling so embarrassed, wondering why Mom didn't just turn her away at the door. But now, as a somewhat more mature person and a mother and homemaker myself, I have grown to greatly admire the selfless courage of that lady sitting there wearing that plastic shame and engaging in conversation like she wasn't dying of embarrassment inside.
That image has been such a challenge to me over the years. My mother operates on a whole other level of cleanliness than I do, but even I have a hard time happily accepting people into my home when the house isn't at its best form or I'm not prepared. All of us want people to see us at our best, and we're most comfortable when we know that we're lookin' good. But here was true grace and real beauty: seeing past the beauty and the wealth (both of those things are so intimidating to me!) to the desperately lonely woman with no one in the country to talk to; getting over the embarrassment of being seen in her own current sloppy, 'unclean' state, submitting to the Lord's will and timing, and being willing to answer that need when most probably all she really wanted to do was run and hide.
I know K. came over many times when my mother was prepared, looking lovely and ready with tea and tasty treats, but this is the only visit that is seared into my memory. It stands out to me not because it was the best of the best, but because it was the worst case scenario and Mom still offered what she had to the Lord. When I am out of my comfort zone, my self consciousness keeps me focused on myself, not gently looking for ways to serve others, or quietly listening for the Lord's leading. At face value, this was a situation which I'm sure my mother would love to forget and probably isn't too excited to have me writing about. But God sees deeper than face value, sees to heart behind the service, and knows of the little eyes watching and learning from their hiding spot. I now understand that, peeking down from my upstairs vantage point, I wasn't just watching Mom; I caught a glimpse of the hidden person of my mom's beautiful heart. The quiet spirit that was sensitive to hear past any clamoring of self consciousness to the unspoken neediness of another being and the Lord's direction to answer that need. The gentle spirit that was stronger than any selfish feelings, which saw beyond her own discomfort to a lonely soul to whom she could minister God's love. She made K. feel welcome and comfortable like it wasn't anything at all.
It's easy to be a gracious hostess when you are the hostess with the mostest. And the world tells us that that's where it's at. Take a look at any magazine cover in the check-out line and you will see they have your 'best' in mind. They are all about your best: looking your best, dressing your best, living your best, eating your best, feeling your best, giving your best, getting your best. It is a pleasure to be able to offer good things to others, but there is so much more to the real aspect of gracious living! God has a much better best than this world can ever offer! Generally, when we are able to give what the world considers our best, we receive the glory for it and it ends there. One of the amazing aspects of God is His power to transform even what we would feel is our worst and least into the best and most when offered up in humble submission to Him and His timing. In the situations where we obediently give the Lord what we have, even though it's not necessarily what we'd like to do, He not only makes something beautiful, something good out of that meager offering, He receives the glory for His ability to do so, and we in turn are blessed by being able to glorify Him and bless others with that testimony.
What was once an embarrassing situation is now understood and treasured for the person it revealed, the God it glorified, the lady it ministered to, and the indelible lesson it taught a little girl peeking down the stairs. And all of this because of lice. He gives us beauty for ashes, in our weakness He is strong, the widow's two copper coins are more valuable to Him than the clanking of the surplus coins of the rich, and the heart that recognizes it has nothing of value to offer but humble obedience and loving worship is precious in His sight.
Mom shoveling stinky, dirty brown coal with a smile on her face. Feeding "The dragon", the furnace in the basement of our home in Vcelna, CZ. was one of many new challenges. As the typical child with only myself to worry about, I've always been mainly interested in my European experience. Now that I'm starting to understand what it takes to run a house and raise a family, I'm so very curious about her experience of having to make life happen for 5 very different children and a church-planting husband in a foreign country that had been demolished by socialism and where a very strange language was spoken.
First, thanks for asking! I was very glad to know that I'm not on any sort of pedestal - because I'm still a work in progress! But it has been so good for me this last week to think about what I do believe about modesty, if it is just a preference, and what the Bible says on the topic. I think I was on your blog but I don't remember at all what you look like or what you wear, so don't think I'm preaching to you specifically!
I'm not sure where to begin, so this will probably just be a ramble of my story and thoughts on the topic.
Growing up, my mom always wore skirts or dresses. I just took it for granted. When I got older I realized not everyone's mom wore skirts and when I asked about it, I was pointed to Duet 22:5 where wearing the opposite gender's clothing was described as an abomination. Now, of course, that is in the Old Testament and we don't attempt to follow the Mosaic law concerning sacrifices and such. But the laws described as abominations are applicable to today. The signs on a public restroom show that in our culture - pants are still thought of as a man's garment. While there may be activities that are more appropriate with slacks, I am glad I had the foundation of wearing feminine skirts.
Maybe you've noticed that the Bible doesn't contain many specifics about what to wear or what not to wear. I think that is good. I'm rather glad we weren't told to wear a robe like Jesus and His mother! I do believe that God provided enough Scripture and principles that we can come to an understanding of what a Christian lady should wear in our time and culture. But I also don't think we can just go along with what is worn in our time and culture without applying God's Word to see where it lines up. It may be more difficult today because the world around us has lost the basic principle of modesty like they may have had 100 years ago. None of us thinks it is "fun" to stick out and buck against the tide but as daughters of God and the temple of the Holy Spriti, we need to make sure are wardrobe is a proper reflection of our Lord.
In my teen years, I slid a little in my clothing. I would wear long (knee length) shorts and my t-shirts were probably too tight. I noticed that I didn't sit, walk or stand as femininely when I was wearing shorts then if I was wearing a dress. In my 20's I got back to wearing dresses, skirts, and jumpers again. I had a lot of good friends that were very dedicated Christians who didn't follow my standard of modesty. I sometimes wondered why I felt like God was calling me to dress like this - when other Christians wore whatever they wanted. I also didn't want to appear that I thought I was better then them because of my dress convictions. But I really felt like that it was a conviction. Not just a preference, or what my parents or church would want, but a conviction - a belief that this was how God wanted me to dress.
And (I don't want this to sound proud) but I felt like the Lord blessed my stand for modesty. Especially when I was in the city or with a crowd, there was a measure of protection from wearing a covering on my head and a dress. Men treated me differently, with respect. They held the door open and generally treated me like a lady. Maybe the Lord just gave me some of these experiences to encourage me, when I was the only one in the group that dressed differently. No one likes to stand out like a sore thumb - like you are dressed in some sort of strange costume. I'll never forget being in the metro in DC on Halloween night. Many people were in costume. I was with a group of Christians friends but I was the only one who dressed like I did. I figured others looking on guessed I was in some sort of Amish costume! Standing alone isn't not fun sometimes but I feel like there was advantages, beyond just obeying the direction of the Lord (which of course needs to other reasons!)
Some of the Scriptures that we can glean insight on what a Christan should wear.
1 Cor 6:19-10 - We are to glorify God - not just by our spirit but also by our body. Our bodies are not our own and the decision is not just depending on what we want but since our body belongs to God, what we wear should reflect His glory.
We women like to "look good", to be attractive. But the danger is when we dress to attract attention to ourselves. In Proverbs it talks of the harlot who dresses to attract men. Maybe our modest clothing will be so different from what everyone else is wearing that it too will attract attention. Just make sure it is a good reflection of the Lord. Not a slob but definitely not a slut.
I would suggest you ask your husband what he would like you to wear. Maybe he doesn't care. Or maybe he does. In some cases, a man is afraid if their wife starts to dress modestly, she will be some frumpy slob. A husband may want his wife to dress immodestly just to show off his "hot" wife.
As a wife, my body belongs to my husband. I don't want my body to be pawned over (even with just eyes) because it belongs to my husband alone. While modesty is very important, I don't think it has a place in a married couple's bedroom. Throw out the sweats and the granny nightgown, this is the place to dress provocatively. Our Christian husbands are expected to keep their minds and eyes pure all day long. Let's make it easier for them by having one place where they can purely enjoy their wife.
I hope you can make some sort of sense out of this ramble! Please feel free to ask more questions.
I pray that the Lord will give you wisdom. I know that God does not want to hide His will from His children. He will answer your questions when you seek His direction.
This is a project that I have been wanting to try for a looooonnnng time (4 years), but never got around to it. Now I am sorry I waited so long.
I have been recently re-inspired by Sarah K. who is doing some freezer paper stenciling for her etsy shop, ObberGobber, and for herself. Technically she should probably be the one doing this tutorial, but she has graciously allowed me to go ahead.
So without further ado...Freezer Paper Stenciling.
First you need to gather a few supplies:
- Freezer Paper - Can be found at most grocery stores and Walmart (I couldn't find it at Target).
- Fabric Paint - Tulip Soft Fabric Paint - This can be found at Michaels and online (I couldn't find it at Hobby Lobby).
- Exacto knife
- Cutting mat or cutting board
- Stencil - You can find these online or in stores. Sarah has a wonderful designer friend making hers. (pssst. m.s. I am not using your name so that people won't call you, and ask that you make them some stencils to.) And if all else fails and you can't find anything you want online, don't know a graphic designer and don't want to pay for a stencil, you can just draw one.
- Paint Brush - I used an artist brush, but Sarah has had success with a foam brush as well.
- T-Shirt - or anything else you might want stenciled (I'd like to do some retroesque tea towels for my kitchen). I got my t-shirts for $.99 at Checkers, so if you are needing shirts and live in the area, these were a great deal. They are "seconds", but the flaws were so minor you can barely see them.
Step 1: I went with drawing directly onto my freezer paper, but if you are going from a pattern it's pretty easy to trace. Just slide a picture under your freezer paper and outline.
Step 2: Carefully cut out your stencil with an Exacto and cutting board. I don't have a picture of this because I was taking all the pictures myself and didn't want to lose a finger.
Step 3: Iron the freezer paper, shiny side down, onto your t-shirt. I used the cotton setting - dry. (I pretty much use everything on the highest setting...hmmm...I burn a lot of things too, but not this time.) Also iron a square large enough to cover your stencil onto the inside of your shirt to prevent bleed through.
Step 5: Clean your bathroom, or whatever it is you like to do when you have 30 minutes to spare. I don't actually like to clean my bathroom, but that is what needed to be done.
Step 6: Test your fabric paint to see if it is dry and peel off the freezer paper. Mine was still a smidge wet, but I peeled off the paper anyway. (Apparently I have patience issues - cooking things on high, peeling off paper too soon.) I did leave the inside paper on for a bit longer.
Step 8: Grab a t-shirt model and snap a few pictures. (I made his shorts too, using this tutorial. Ha ha I just realized that I made almost the same outfit, completely unintentional - I made the shorts a long time ago, and Micaiah asked for a robot shirt.)
There you have it. I know that this may seem like a lengthy process, because I used a lot of words, but it really isn't. Start to finish it probably took me a little over an hour. I never actually have an entire hour to do anything, so I split it up in 10 minute increments over a couple days. So have fun, but beware it really is addicting!
I made this pizza crust on Monday and we thought it was outstanding!! Clint said that it is almost like deep dish...so big and filling! Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures on Monday, so I had to make the pizza crust again on Wednesday (darn!). We had Chet over for dinner and the 3 of us only ate 3/4 of this pizza because it was that filling....WOW!!
Here is the recipe/instructions:
1 (.25 oz) pkg active dry yeast, which is 2 ¼ tsp
1 tsp white sugar
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups of bread flour (I used regular flour)
2 TBS olive oil (I used canola oil)
1 tsp salt
1. In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. (Both times I did this I had quite a bit of foam on top of the water that I skimmed off and discarded.)
2. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes. (The second time I made this I added some Italian Seasoning during this step.)
3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan. (I rolled it out the first time and it was difficult, so the second time I put the ball of dough on the greased pizza pan and just pushed the dough out until it filled the pizza pan.)
4. Spread with desired toppings and bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
It all started with a conversation with Jeni on how when it gets hot outside ... my desire to cook and be creative seems to wane the warmer it gets. I don't know. I get hot. And then I start to feel lazy. And since we have an abudance of ground beef in the freezer, I often suggest to Eli that we grill. Again. Maybe again. And, well, how 'bout one more time this week?
But Jeni reminded about my good 'ole Crockpot! Of course! I can "cook", but not really! She also suggested that I take a lot at Crockpot365 's stuff out there. I just pulled it up this morning to get potato recipes. The In-Laws gave us a huge bag of potatoes from their garden, so one of my goals this week is to eat lots of potatoes and cut down on our weekly grocery spending! Funny thing was, my mom also had the 365 book sitting in her living room this weekend when we went over there!
So, if you're stuck in the heat with no desire to use the oven, think about pulling out your Crockpot! 365 has tons of ideas and recipes. I personally just searched for "potatoes" through the site to pull up a couple recipes to use this week. And ... I think I'll be using it each week for awhile!