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Thursday, January 31, 2008

The History of Tussie-Mussie

Have you heard of the infamous and misunderstood tussie-mussie? Currently thought of as a nosegay, or compact bouquet of flowers and herbs, it has a colorful, if obscure, past with hilarious connotations. In light of its modern bridal and festive associations, I really couldn't pass on the irony.The language of flowers, having robust historical and literary antecedents, includes this little gem,

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Growing Your Own Saffron

Saffron is an expensive spice that has a very distinctive flavor and aroma. It is prized throughout the world, but often only used for special-occasion dishes because it is so expensive.By weight, saffron is the most expensive spice on the planet.

Where Does Saffron Come From, Anyway?

Saffron comes from the three stigmas of an autumn blooming crocus plant, the Crocus Sativus. The

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Using Herbs for Dental Care

Because commercial toothpastes and other tooth cleaners and whiteners contain harsh abrasives, detergents, and bleaches, you can give your teeth a break by buying herbal toothpastes, or making your own. Here are some tips for quick, effective tooth care:A sage leaf rubbed over the teeth and gums will help clean them and make them feel smooth and fresh.Alpine strawberry rubbed over the teeth can

Redesign Your Blog #3: DEALING WITH PESKY HTML

First: PLEASE forgive me for not having continued this series until now. If I told you about my month of January, you would understand why I haven't blogged very much, but suffice it to say I have had a very busy and exhausting month.

Click to read PART ONE and PART TWO of the "Redesign Your Blog" series! This third and final post will deal with the html aspects of blog redesign, and will be fairly simple, as I'll try to just address the html issues you guys have asked about. At the end of the post, I've included a final list of all the links I've found helpful in doing my own blog redesigns.

***As I warned you before, please save your existing template in a word doc before you begin fiddling with it. Then you can play around all you want to and rest assured that if you mess it all up (which happens sometimes for us non-experts), you can go back to "normal" without any problems!***

In the last post (part two), we talked about some options for selecting a background design, or using a solid color for your background. Here is a great link that will show you how to use a background design and implement it into your blog design. It tells you specifically how to insert the saved graphic file into your template... If you'll scroll down, you'll see a headline that says "How to make an image repeat across the whole page (like wallpaper)"-- this section contains the exact instructions I followed to get this lovely brown graphic as a background on mine, so I know it works, at least in blogger format. Here's another how-to about backgrounds.

In the last post (part two), we also discussed how to design a nice little signature to wrap up each post you write. Blogging Basics 101 has a great post about how to add your blog signature into your html. This blog gives information about blogger, wordpress, and typepad, so check it out! It's very helpful and she tells you precisely how and where (in your html) to insert the file so that it will automatically show up on each post you write.

* Have fun trying out new colors using the html 6-digit color codes. Use the color thesaurus I've mentioned or your design program to select colors, and then play around with them-- there's a whole section of your html that controls the colors on your blog (background color, text colors, sidebar widget colors, etc.). You can play with these to your heart's content, and come up with some interesting combinations that will make your blog stand out. I think it's best and easiest to read a blog that has dark text with a white background... but you can play with yours and see what you like. The great thing about doing it yourself is that you don't have to stay committed to anything. If you don't like it, change it-- no harm, no foul!
* The more you play around (even in small ways) with your html, the more familiar you'll become with it. You'll start to notice patterns: how the lines end, how new sections are added in, what a widget portion of html looks like, etc. So keep looking at it, and as you increase your blog's visual appeal, you'll be adding to your own understanding of html. I've found this to be true, and I'll bet it will hold true for you too.


Finally, if there's something you want to know that I didn't answer here, you can always google it (of course), or check out Blogging Basics 101-- she has some great posts about design, html, graphics, and more. Hope this helps you put some finishing touches on the blog redesign you're doing... while this may not be comprehensive, I wanted to make it as simple and user-friendly (in non-expert language) as I could while still giving you the basics for a good redesign. I hope I've done that. If you have any big questions or see a huge gaping hole of something I didn't discuss, let me know- it may just be an oversight. (I've had the flu for over a week, had sick kids for 2 weeks before that, and just got a wisdom tooth pulled last night, so my body and mind aren't exactly working like normal!)

Blessings and Happy Blog Redesigning!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Do Poppy Seeds Contain Drugs?

The poppy is a red flower with a thick seed pods that carry the popular poppy seeds used in cooking. Although there's been a great deal of misinformation about the ability of poppy seeds to create false positives in drug testing, more modern testing does not confuse culinary poppy seed ingestion for drug use, and you shouldn't refrain from eating or using poppy seeds in cooking because of it. If

Have Republicans Lost Their Way? (And Other Political Musings...)

I've spent the last hour and a half poring over the fascinating international edition of Newsweek (the Jan. 28, '08), all about Bush's leadership and the declining influence of the Republican party over the last few years. One article in particular caught my interest and I want to share a portion of it and open up this issue for discussion here, if you're willing.

"The resentments of every group that has felt ignored are being taken out on the Republican candidates."

Excerpts from "How My Party Lost Its Way", by Michael Gerson, President Bush's former speechwriter:
As each one of them steps forward, ... he is greeted by ideological sniping. Mike Huckabee is targeted by free marketers... for his economic "liberalism". John McCain is attacked for his heresies on immigration and campaign finance reform. Rush Limbaugh argues that the nomination of either candidate would "destroy the Republican Party." Mitt Romney attempts to avoid this kind of criticism by blending in...with his surroundings-- a social conservative in Iowa, an agent of change in New Hampshire, a protector of the auto industry in Michigan-- and gets criticized (including by me) for his inconsistencies.

In this cycle, many Republicans seem led to support their candidate by the process of elimination--"I guess I could live with X." At the same time, many Republicans seem led to oppose candidates passionately-- "The nomination of X would end Western civilization." This is a factionalism of Bolshevik fervor, and it is a bad sign. Parties that prefer purity to victory-- a la Goldwater and McGovern-- usually lose. At this moment, Republicans look like the party that wants to lose the most.
The first bolded sentence is interesting to me, because right now, I actually feel this way. Course, I'm passionate about Huckabee as the best contender for President, as probably all of you know. But there is one candidate left that stands a chance that I believe I absolutely could not support (and that's Romney- because I don't believe his change of heart about abortion. There are too many inconsistencies, too late in life, for me to believe that his conversion is about anything but political expediency). So,

Question #1 is this: Have you experienced this kind of vicious dislike for a major presidential contender (you don't have to even share who it's against-- I'd just be interested in how many people actually have felt this kind of emotion/passion
against a candidate!)?

The second bolded section, though, worries me... so,

Question #2 is: Do you think the Republican party is too fractured to mend the wounds (economic free marketers vs. evangelicals vs. libertarians vs. hawkish Republicans, etc.) and is doomed to lose in November 2008?

Gerson then finishes his article with an insightful point, which I believe has merit:
...[T]here is, perhaps, one large American political figure who could cause depressed, fractious Republicans to bind their wounds, downplay their divisions, renew their purpose, and join hands in blissful unity at the Minneapolis-St.Paul Republican convention.

And that figure is Hillary Clinton.


Question #3 is: What do you think about this last excerpt? Do you think Hillary-hatred is strong enough to unite people around even candidates that they have developed strong distaste for (during the primaries)? Is Hillary-hatred enough to revive a weakened Republican base and cause them to unite around a less-than-perfectly-pleasing-in-every-way candidate?

More personally, if you have a particular Republican candidate that you strongly dislike, can you project yourself into the future and consider if you could possibly support that person if it was a two-person X vs. Hillary race?

Your thoughts and comments are welcomed and encouraged... dialogue with me here about this!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Make Lavender Sugar

For an unexpected and rich taste, try making your own lavender sugar. This is a unique treat that's easy to make and fun to use.Uses for Lavender SugarLavender sugar is a great alternative to vanilla sugar as a topping for candies, cakes, and other pastries. It's also a wonderful sweetener for tea. You can leave your lavender sugar white, or use food coloring to give it a slight tint. Either

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Herbs for Oral Health

If you've had concerns about the use of strong mouthwashes and toothpastes, consider their safer and gentler alternatives. Herbal oral products provide antibacterial protection without the fillers and stabilizers associated with major manufacturer's brands. They also often drop the strong bleaches, chemical antibiotics, and dyes that you've come to accept from the more common drug store

Back Home

Palms Cypress House, Key WestJanuary 16, 2007We arrived back safe and sound 5 am Thursday morning from our much needed vacation to the sunny south. We stayed at the historical Cypress House bed & breakfast in Key West, Florida for a few days then in a condo in Hallandale, Florida. The gardens at Cypress House were filled with lush tropical vegetation and talk palm trees. Wood decking formed

Voddie: Two Options For Parents

I was listening to a Voddie Baucham sermon the other day from this website (I can't remember which one now), and I came across this, and had to rewind it and re-listen about 85 times to be able to type out the exact quote, but I wanted to have it on paper to remember.

He's talking about the legacy we'll leave behind as parents... what we'll have done or accomplished in our lifetimes. I hope it challenges you like it did me.

"When I get outta here, there could be a couple of ways that I go.

Way number one? I could leave here saying, “I got mine. I got it all. My philosophy was, ‘get all you can, can all you get.’ And I got it! I’m there! I came, I saw, I conquered! It was AWESOME!”

Here’s the other possibility: My wife and I invest our lives in a relationship that is an illustration of the relationship with Jesus Christ and His church, and do the best that we can to spend the rest of our days together, bringing glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ through the way that we love, respect, honor, and cherish one another. And then, at the end of our lives, when we breathe our last, we will have raised a mob of children who have been brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, so that when the adversary sees me breathe my last, he does not say “phew! Don’t have to worry about that one anymore!”

Uh-uh… when I breathe my last, the adversary will see a MOB of godly children crawling over mom and dad, moving the line forward, further than I ever could have in my own life, with my own limited resources. So that when it’s all said and done, it’s not about ME and what I experienced… it’s not about ME and how satisfied I was with what I accumulated and acquired, but it is about a godly heritage and godly legacy that has been left behind because we grasped and understood and walked in the design of this thing that we call marriage. THAT’s what I’m choosing.

So, that challenges me to ask myself, "what am I choosing? Today? This year? What am I choosing for our marriage, for our family, for our children? What am I choosing to be and pour into my husband and into my children? What and who am I going to leave behind to continue this unseen battle against the enemy? Am I living out this kind of life-purpose perspective in my actions today?"

Any thoughts?

Friday, January 25, 2008

It's Not Too Late to Protect Your Plants from the Cold Weather

The cold weather is upon us, and if you live where there's a freeze, be kind to your plants. Check to make sure that plants that are borderline for your growing zone are well mulched and protected from the wind chill and freezing temperatures. A Calla lily that survived last year's mild winter may not make it to spring this year without a little help. Be good to your plants when the

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Make Lavender Bath Salts

Bath Salt Ingredients

Reduce stress by bathing with lavender. Lavender aromatherapy can help you relax and regroup. Use your bath to get the aromatherapy benefits of lavender while enjoying the natural muscle relaxers in Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate). Magnesium sulfate has also been proven to reduce your blood pressure and adrenalin levels.

When you have a few moments, make some lavender

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Homemade Ginger Beer

Ginger beer is a light, refreshing ale that you can easily make at home. Brewed with yeast, it is a unique beverage that will become a summer tradition at your house. It's great to make with the kids, and there's something magical about waiting for it to be "done" and ready to drink. Create a memory for your children this season by making ginger beer.

Ginger beer recipes are plentiful on the

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Free Herb Catalogs

Below is a listing of free herb catalogs; some are snail mail and some are PDF files. Happy Shopping! Click on the name to go to their request pages.


Mountain Valley Growers

Mountain Rose Herbs

Nichols Garden Nursery (PDF Download)


Prairieland Herbs (PDF Download)

Medicinal Herb Plants

Sand Mountain Herbs (online only)

Mush Herb Nursery (Download only)

Using Herbs for Breast Enlargement

I am asked this question frequently, and there is no easy answer. Although I do recommend herbs to relieve the symptoms of menopause, my feeling about using bulk herbs for this purpose is pretty negative. The idea of increasing breast size without surgery is, I'm sure, attractive, but realistically, the impact herbs can have on developing your breasts without having serious side effects is

Show & Tell: Whatever is on My Mind...

This may be the most random and lengthy "Show and Tell" in Making Home history, but I'm trying to do a brain dump and clear out my bookmarks. So, you all are the beneficiaries of my desire to downsize my bookmark folders. :)

Conservative Talk Radio, Journalists and "Conservative Leaders"
Clearly, these guys didn't predict anywhere close to what has happened. Giuliani and Thompson were supposed to be slugging it out right about now. And both are near the bottom of every poll and primary. The most interesting campaigns are those that have come out of nowhere: Huckabee- no one saw him coming; McCain- remember all the articles in the summer and fall about him flying solo to events because he was out of campaign funds?; and Paul- the "fringe" candidate who has raised tons of cash. Though there's still no clear winner (the next two weeks will be interesting, though), one thing is clear: the media got it wrong. And the conservative media is still waging war against all the guys that the Republican voters actually like. Here are some articles you may want to check out, if this is interesting to you.


  • Should young women take time to prepare for marriage?
  • The Bayly brothers offer sage advice for fathers with adult daughters:
    Yes we are to protect... It's our God-given duty. But protection begins at birth, not puberty. Training begins before our daughters can speak, not when they're giving their hearts to a man.

    ...Yes, we have a duty to counsel--and ultimately to give her hand in marriage. But if we suddenly stand and act as men only at the point of romance, when our daughters' hearts are being claimed by others, it's too little too late. The cows are already in the pasture, there's no sense rushing to close the gate.

  • Congrats to my friend, Renee, on the adoption of her two sons from Ghana! I'll share two posts with you that have touched my heart as they've brought these boys into their family: FIRSTS- all the things her new sons are experiencing for the first time; and SIMPLE ADJUSTMENTS- some other insights into adjusting to one another in adoption.
  • Congrats to my friend, EmmyJ, on her continuing weight loss! Check out this post with all her "goals" and her progress so far... it's inspiring!


And then, a little humor-- well, this is funny to me, anyway:

Amy writes, "Why I Write in Generalizations".

[Personal note: I am constantly amazed (and I'll admit, sometimes irritated) at people who come onto my blog and then make it their mission to comment about posts that don't apply to them... and harangue me for not making every post all-inclusive to everyone who might read it. Sometimes I want to say, "if you're against everything that has to do with being a biblical Christian woman, then why are you reading my blog?" Or simply, "I don't have time to list all the possible exceptions to every biblical ideal/principle in every post that I write." Amy handled it much better than me. ] :)

Blessings to you all and HAPPY READING!!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ecclesiastes 5:19-20

A friend sent this to me, and I wanted to share it with you... these verses have big implications for us as children of God, as women, as wives, and as moms. Hope it will encourage you as it does me!

"To enjoy your work and to accept your lot in life-- that is indeed a gift from God. The person who does that will not need to look back with sorrow to his past, for God gives him joy." ~Ecclesiastes 5:19-20, Living Bible

Four Thieves Vinegar

In my explorations of the history and uses of lavender, I came across some interesting information about Four Thieves Vinegar. I'd heard of it before, but didn't know what it meant:

The Legend of Four Thieves Vinegar

One version goes that in the 1630's, when the plague was raging in France, the town of Toulouse was beset with looters. Four looters were apprehended, but rather than punish them

Make Your Own Herbs de Provence

Herbs de Provence is a robust mixture of herbs made popular in the southeastern region of France. It is often used in the preparation of grilled meats, fish and vegetable stews, and is usually added before or during cooking.

Changes in Herbs de Provence Over Time

The ingredient ratios have altered over the years, and ingredients like tarragon, chervil and fennel have been added to some

Hops - More than Just an Ingredient in Beer

The history of hops can be traced back to first century (A.D.) Rome, where it was used as a vegetable and as a decorative plant. Several hundred years later it had spread throughout Europe and was in widespread use in brewing.

Healthful Benefits of Hops

The xanthohumol in hops is showing promise in preliminary trials in inhibiting the growth of breast, ovarian, prostate, and colon

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Herbs and Foods that Can be Toxic To Your Pets

For many of us, our pets are members of the family, and there are unpublicized hazards that can impact their health.Household Dangers to Your PetYou may not know it, but using high heat with your non-stick pans can be toxic to your birds, that aspirin and aspirin-like pain relievers can kill your cat, and onions can be toxic to your dog.Chocolate and raisins can also be harmful to your dog, and

Lavender in Literature (Quotes about Lavender)

Lavender has a long literary past. With a fine fragrance, medicinal and culinary value, and a history of favor at court, lavender waxes poetic in these memorable quotes and passages:

Lavender and Culpeper
(The Complete Herbal, 1652)

Being an inhabitant almost in every garden, it is so well known, that it needs no description.

Lavender and John Gerard
(Herball, 1597)

The floures of

Saturday, January 19, 2008

You Are In The Presence Of Royalty

Hey everyone! Check out my new title! I saw this on one of my new favs White Cottage Memoirs.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Imperial Majesty Shelley the Elegant of Fritterton on the Marshes
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

You too can become a "royal". Just click on the link and follow the instructions. Before you know it we'll all be sticking our pinky out at tea!

Ta Ta!

Shelley The Elegant

Lavender History and Lore

If you are a lover of lavender, then its associations with luck from the early St. John's Day festivals, and its reputation as an anti-plague herb, are tidbits you'll enjoy with your morning coffee.

Books like "The Book of Herb Lore" by Lady Rosalind Northcote, with its historical and literary references, add another dimension to the herb-keeping hobby. Lavender is one herb with a rich and

Friday, January 18, 2008

Keep Lavender Indoors

Lavender makes an attractive and useful indoor plant. When kept in a sunny window, it brings its unique fresh fragrance to your living space. A lavender plant requires little care, preferring to dry out between waterings, although it needs good air circulation, so don't crowd it with other houseplants.The Best Lavender to Pick as a Houseplant French lavender (Lavendula dententa) adapts well to

Propagating Lavender

Lavender can be propagated from cuttings, seed, or division.

Propagating Lavender from Cuttings

Lavender is easy to grow from cuttings in spring or fall. Take young stems with a heel attached and dip them in rooting compound. Plant the stem cuttings in sandy soil in a sunny spot that's sheltered from the wind. Lavender is also easy to propagate indoors if you have a sunny window.


Understand the Different Types of Lavender

English Lavender

Lavender is enormously popular, but not all lavender is created equal. Using different varieties of lavender will yield different results, and knowing the right lavender for your garden or intended use will help your project be more successful. Lavender flowers can be large or small, and lightly shaded or vivid, depending on the variety you choose. There are even

Something to Ask Ourselves...

As I was out of town over the last couple of weeks, I was challenged by something that I want to pass along to you.

As women, in this increasingly competitive, success-driven, comparative world, we are often tempted to measure ourselves by what we DO. Whether single or married, with or without kids, in a career or not, or in whatever hobbies we choose, we often measure the relative success or failure of a day, week, or even year by what we have DONE, and what we have accomplished. Even among stay-at-home-moms, there are often "levels" of success that we may feel compelled to live up to.

A few examples:
  • "I got three loads of laundry done today while chasing after my toddler! Well done, mama!"
  • "I finished the report that the boss needs for next week."
  • "I made it through a whole week cooking for my family without falling back on fast food."
  • "I exercised 3 days this week."
  • "I beautifully scrapbooked my child's first eightteen months of life."
  • "I read through the Bible this year."
  • and on and on and on...
We can sometimes tend to measure how well our days, weeks, or years go (and by extension, judge ourselves) by what we do.

But here's the thing that challenged me, that I hope will challenge you as well:

Instead of asking ourselves, "what am I going to DO today?",
we should be asking, "who am I going to
BE today?"

And set our goals accordingly!

For example:
  • I'm going to be a respectful and happy wife to my husband.
  • I'm going to be a woman who meditates on the Word of God daily.
  • I'm going to be a responsive and affectionate mother for my child(ren).
  • I'm going to be a diligent student.
  • I'm going to be a woman who offers grace instead of judgment to the people around me.
  • I'm going to work efficiently (as unto the Lord) on what needs to be done at work/home today.
  • I'm going to be a woman of prayer, lifting up concerns throughout the day to God.
  • and on and on and on.

Does this shift in thinking help you as much as it helps me? I hope so! It helps me to think of the kind of character I want to have (which will then translate into the actions I choose), rather than focusing on the actions themselves. And of course, none of it is possible on our own. We can't "muster up" a gracious spirit or a responsive attitude, at least not consistently. But we CAN be any and all of these things when we are prayerfully submitted to God as women.

Let me know what you think, and if this new question/way to evaluate ourselves is helpful for you.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon

Lately I have found out just how small the world I live in is. This post isn't really about Kevin Bacon, but I couldn't resist using this phenomenom as a tongue in cheek comparison to my new friend Theresa Cano. Now if you aren't familiar with The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon just google that expression and you'll get my point. Anyway~~I have come to know Theresa Cano through the world of blogging and hers is my favorite because she is like a world class reporter on the subject of junkin'. Not to mention that she's just a downright nice person.

Well after emails and commenting on each others blogs, I find out she knows Theresa Smith of Cottage Gardens in Kentucky. If you will remember, Theresa's fab house was recently featured in Country Living and I had kept the article before I even knew either of them. So, this past weekend on my way home from the mart in Atlanta I dropped in on my pal Deb Orrick at Exit 109 Antiques in Vienna Ga. and find out she knows Theresa and Craig Smith from Scott Antique Market in Atlanta and also French Vanilla~~wonderful dealers who do the Marburger Farms show at Round Top. I feel positive that Theresa Cano knows the French Vanilla dealers as she always shows us great pics when they are at a show there. So you can see how all this got me thinking about Kevin Bacon... Maybe we didn't quite make six degrees but you have to admit it is a small world afterall. Hmmmm.......



Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Weary Traveler

This past weekend, Mr. Sweet Pea and I travelled to Atlanta to turbo through what we could at the Atlantasmart market for retailers. Why do I say turbo? Because while most buyers spend the better part of a week there, we had two short days to power through! If you've ever been, you can appreciate what a challenge it is. Floor after floor of product, and honestly a whole lot of it looks alike and most of it doesn't belong in my shop. But I was in need of some new vendors and so off we went. I did find, I am happy to report, several new lines that I have ordered and am eagerly anticipating their arrival. So all you loyal Sweet Pea customers (you know who you are) and those who haven't been in for awhile~~get ready for some fab new stuff!

I also had the pleasure of joining a dinner for shop owners organized by Debbie Dusenberry of the infamous Curious Sofa at a charming little restaurant called the Pleasant Peasant. It was invaluable to meet and network with other shop owner's from all over the country, and hats off to Debbie for putting it together. Many of us read each others blogs also and it was nice to put a face with a name. Great fun!

Lastly, I hope you have noticed that my blog has been given a wonderfully charming face-lift! I have been checking out so many other blogs that are so fantastically designed, and being techno~challenged as I am I needed some help to make mine equally as fun. So, I contacted the very talented Sara Duckett at Sadie Olive to work her magic on my blog. She does web design as well and that may be next on the horizon for me. She is really easy to work with and as you can see she's way talented!! Thanks Sara!

Until next time, stay well and keep living the creative life!


Monday, January 14, 2008

Remove Mineral Deposits and Sterilize Your Plant Pots

When I can't work in the garden, most of the houseplants are dormant, and the new season's seed catalogs haven't arrived yet, I turn to cleaning.

One of my regular winter chores is to remove scale and mineral deposits from my plant pots and trays. I used to live with the chalky waterline that marked most of my pots, but now I use vinegar to clean them before spring.

Clean Mineral Deposits

January 14 - 24, 2007Happy Gardening!Garden Gnome©2007

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Healthful Benefits of Cranberries

You may not be growing them in your garden, and they may technically be a fruit, but cranberries are proving to be very beneficial to your health.I didn't design this blog to discuss current medical research, but time to time some things just jump out at me. I figure, like me, you enjoy understanding the uses of your herbs better. I think this leads naturally to an interest in the uses and

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Growing Lavender

Lavender is one of the most easily distinguished, popular, and restful of fragrances. It is attractive to both men and women, and is the main fragrance in a wide range of beauty and home products.

Lavender Planting Tips

Lavender likes a well drained, sunny spot, and can tolerate dry conditions. It prefers sandy soil to which lime has been added, and will grow from 18" to three feet. New

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Log Under Interesting Gadgets - The Neti Pot

If you are one of the few people who hasn't heard of the neti pot (also referred to as the salt lamp or nose bidet), it is an ingenious Indian device used to irrigate nasal passages. A "do it yourself" appliance, the neti pot can give you relief from cold or allergy discomfort without drugs.

The neti pot has a pour spout and handle, and is a little larger than a tea cup. It's a great solution

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Considering Marriage? Can You Respect Him?

Ephesians 5 contains one of the most oft-referenced sections on marriage in the Bible. Verse 33 in particular is a verse that we wives in particular need to pay better attention to:
"Let each one of you love his wife as himself,
and let the wife see that she respects her husband."

We in our culture, particularly as women, are fed an incomplete picture of marriage: that it is all about love. We want to be "in love"... we want to feel "madly, deeply" in love. And we, frankly, have a wrong picture and idea of what true love really is. But that's a subject for another day.

But when a young woman is considering marrying a young man, she (most typically) wants to be "swept off her feet" and feel butterflies in her stomach. This is what our culture has geared us to desire-- the feelings-- the swoon-- the weak knees. But there's a much more important issue that ought to be considered:

Can you respect him? DO you respect him?

When we focus solely on love, we too often miss this more important biblical command... that we, as wives, are to respect our husbands. [We are to show love one to another, but husbands are the ones with the specific command to love their wives, while the wives' command is to respect her husband.]

Shaunti Feldhahn's book, "For Women Only", shed some great light on this subject-- essentially, proving that the greatest need men feel (and the greatest lack most men are feeling) is that they are not respected by their wives. When a husband feels disrespected by the one person in life whose opinion (at least at one time) mattered most to him, it becomes increasingly difficult for him to feel successful in other areas of life (work, ministry, friendships, parenting, etc.).

Oftentimes, what will end up happening is that if there is an area where a man feels more respected (perhaps at work, perhaps with a particular person, perhaps in a certain role), he begins to invest more in that place, person, or role because there is the reward of respect from that investment of his time. This is how affairs often start. This is how workaholics are fueled. This is how a dad spends more time coaching others on a team than actual time spent one-on-one with his own child (because he perhaps receives respect and feels rewarded by the "position" of coach).

When men don't feel respected, particularly by their wives, all sorts of problems arise. And God knew this. Which is why He wrote it into His plan for marriage... instructing wives to respect their husbands.

It can be tough. Particularly if you married an unbeliever. Perhaps you married a Christian, but he has backslidden. Perhaps you married someone who has radically changed since your early days of dating. Maybe your husband has made poor financial decisions or career moves. Regardless, our responsibility, as wives, is to "respect".

Think of at least one way that you can begin showing greater respect for your husband. Have you ever written him a letter telling him how much you respect him and a few (or many) reasons why? Perhaps you could spend 1 minute each day this week hugging him and telling him something in particular that you respect him for. (It can be as simple as, "I respect you for getting up each morning and going to work to provide for us", or as detailed and involved as you want it to be.) You may remember that one of my New Year's goals is to begin more intentionally giving verbal respect to Doug-- encouraging him and praising him for the man that he is- not only to him, but to others. We all can (and should) find ways to show greater respect to our husbands, particularly in this culture which tells us to seek- rather than to give- respect. Our husbands need and greatly desire our respect.

There's nothing wrong with feelings. They are fine and good, and do help to knit our hearts together. But more urgently, you need to ask yourself, as a Christian woman, "CAN I RESPECT THIS MAN?" If there is a man you are dating, engaged to, or considering marrying, or if there's a man that you've been eying, before you make the commitment, and before you let things go farther, ask: "will I be able to respect him?"

Consider some of these things:
- Can I respect the work that he does?
-Can I respect the relationship he has with God?
- Will I respect him as the spiritual leader of our home?

- Can I give him verbal respect in the presence of others?
- Can I respect his leadership on moral issues
(how to raise any children God may give, how many children to have, what kind of church to attend, etc.)?
- Will I respect him in social situations and his interactions with others (with my family, with his family, at get-togethers, etc.)?
- Can I respect his personality style (i.e., Will I resent it when he's not the first one in line for a promotion? Will I resent it if he IS the first one in line for a promotion? Will his sense of humor grate on me and make me resent him? Will I be frustrated by his seriousness?)?
- Can I respect his financial position and continue respecting him if it changes for the worse?
- Can I respect him in sickness and in health
(his or mine)? For richer or for poorer? For better or for worse? For the rest of my life?

- Am I really aware that by marrying this man, in order to obey God, I am choosing to respect this man for the rest of our lives?

Tough questions. But they are much better asked on the front end than on the back end. I'll admit, I didn't think in terms of "respect" when I got married. I thought in terms of love, communication, compatibility, and friendship. I DID think in terms of mutual respect, but I confess that I was more concerned about making sure that I was receiving "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" than making sure from my heart that I could give it. (Incidentally, though sung by the soulful Aretha Franklin, that song, "R-E-S-P-E-C-T", was written by a man--which certainly enforces the idea of how critical respect is to men.)

If you are married, I would encourage you to consider these things- and make a change or two in how you may interact with your husband. If you aren't yet married, I would urge you to consider these things as you look at potential spouses, and as you frame the issue of marriage in your mind.

Can We do it All?

I just received my first seed catalog in the mail and watched a useful cable how-to on composting. My original plan for the day included writing notes about both these topics, as well as making a batch of scented bath salts. Well, I made the bath salts, but the rest is going to have to wait for another time.When? you ask. I don't know. Tomorrow maybe.So, to the question of the day: Can we do

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Garlic as a Pest Deterrent

I have a garlic update since I blogged about keeping rue and garlic together near your roses.Japanese Beetle DeterrentI've mentioned that you can grow garlic and rue with roses to keep pests like the Japanese beetle away. In a past garlic post, I admitted that I've never gotten a harvest of large bulbs from my garlic, probably because I plant them in spring. Spring garlic plantings won't develop

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Propagate Aloe Vera

I get lots of requests for information on propagating Aloe Vera, so here is my take on the subject.Watch For Aloe Vera Plant PupsAs a succulent, Aloe is easy to keep and grow. It requires well-drained, loose, sandy soil that is low in nutrients. It needs room, lots of it, because it's a fast grower during the summer months. From a central whorl, it sends up small shoots or "pups". Your plant has

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Natural Hangover Remedies

If you're feeling a little the worse for wear after your New Year's Eve celebration, try taking some honey. Naturally high in fructose, honey will help your body metabolize any residual alcohol. Staying hydrated by drinking lots of water will help too.Other herbs that will help you deal with the day after headache and sour stomach are: ginko seeds, ginseng, cherry birch bark, mint, and

Happy New Year

Happy Gardening!Garden Gnome©2006-2008

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