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Perhaps because there was a legitimate reason for the disarray, I was able to bring the camera to my one un-squinted eye and capture the chaos (and even chaos that didn’t have an excuse)…  Inspired by the occasionally-read Holy Experience blog, I wanted to look at the ugly around our house and, as Ann says “[examine] the weave, the texture, the shadows” noticing “it too is beautiful.”

It turned out to be a really fun project.  And I started to wonder if I didn’t want more than a point-and-shoot after all.

(Hubby?……..  I changed my mind.  I can do sewing and photography, right?  Insert sheepish smile with big, innocent puppy eyes.)


Our “pantry” for all to see, in all its visually-busy glory overlooking the living room…

blessings from our Father, that – even in our financial “student-status” straights – our pantry has overflow



Christmas decorations, still waiting on the sidelines to be put on the tree, even yet…

on the tree or off, Swedish decorations – sacrificially bought by Hubby – remind me of homeand husand’s love



Wrinkled sheets, straight out of the linen closet (which were perhaps not folded immediately after being dried)…

how inviting – smells fresh and feels rumpled AND crisp



Stacks of books, covering every available surface in our living room…

a row of bookshelves that went to grace another home!

~

These “ugly” scenes from around my house have their own shimmer of beauty.  It took a closer look to find it.  But I liked looking for it.

Anyone else?  Where have you seen lovely in the unlovely?

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Have you heard about the Canning Revolution that’s blazing across America?  Well, this past Saturday, I joined it, along with Natasha (of Living Learning Loving).

I’d seen so much on canning all over the Blogosphere.  It seemed everyone was into it, up on it, down with it, and all over it.  ….and I so wasn’t.  It looked so COMPLICATED!  Wire contraptions, jars, tons of produce from your garden.  I had none of it.  So I simply appreciated others’ pictures and the domesticity of it all.

No more!  I’ve now been indoctrinated into the World of Canning.  And it was a BLAST!

Produce not from our garden-but still yummy

Crushing the strawberries

We started by crushing up four cups worth of strawberries.  Followed by seven cups of sugar.  Well, we didn’t crush that, we just backed the truck up and dumped it in.

SEVEN cups of sugar

You can’t skimp on the sugar; it’s what helps the jam congeal. Then we added a packet of Liquid Pectin.

Pectin

On one blog, I read the dry stuff is easier to work with, but we followed the directions included with the packet and had no trouble at all.

Bringing to a boil

We then brought our concoction to a rolling violent boil – one that does not dissipate when you stir the contents.  Then we had a short conversation about our violent strawberries.  (I think that’s what Hubby wants to name his next metal band: The Violent Strawberries.  How hardcore is that?)

Filling the jars

After skimming the foam off the top (and putting it in a bowl and eating it on the side), we started filling jars.  We had read (and heard) from various sources that the wire contraption submerged in boiling water is not a necessary evil in canning.  Hurrah!  In order to keep our jars hot and sanitized, we ran them in the dishwasher on hot and took out one at a time.  Easy peasy!

Measuring

We measured with this handy-dandy canning tool to make sure we filled them to within 1/8″ from the top, cleaned the threads, and cranked on the lids.

Tightening the lid

Our first jar of jam!

Our first jar

We flipped it upside down (it helps with the sealing process, I think because it keeps the lid hot for longer), wrapped it in a towel (also slows the cooling that facilitates a better seal), and finished filling our other jars.

Start sealing

Then we made a better-than-a-Mexican-restaurant quesadilla dinner.  Then we baked a couple loaves of cardamom bread (to accompany our jam!).  A very productive and delightful Saturday!  I think in the end, we both felt quite triumphantly domestic.

And we both knew there was no going back.  We were both solidly in love with the Art of Canning.

It is such a blessing to be able to “keep house.”

This statement has become such a stark reality to me as of recent.  There are many theological reasons to prove this to my mind, such as the fact that I cannot lay claim to our little apartment myself–it is the Lord’s; He has blessed us beyond imagination with a place for hubby and I to begin our marriage.  We will always remember this apartment as our first home.  He has blessed us with furnishings to make the place comfortable, and He has even so much as given me an inclination and ability to decorate to make it homey…  He has given me all these blessings, and it is my privilege that He allows me to be the one to care for and keep this house.

There’s also the consideration that He is a God of order, and it is both my joy and my duty to reflect Him in the order that is displayed in my home.

Et cetera…  Yes, yes – my mind is convinced, but what about my heart?  My actions?  In all earnestness, my heart does not always find delight in the nuances of housework (does anyone?).  But most recently, after being forbidden (by hubby) because of restrictions (due to my back) from doing almost all the housework, for the few moments I am able to do something little (reorganize a set of drawers, file or purge papers and junk), I have found so much joy in it.

While hubby and I pray for my regained health when I may resume more regular housework duties, I do praise Him for the little He has granted that I’m able to do.  (The question is: will I remember this when I have young children “under foot” and an entire house to keep?  Good question…)

When it comes to housekeeping, do you have a firmly set routine or do you just do what needs to be done?  Do you have Monday Washing and Tuesday Ironing or do you tackle things as needed?  I’m wondering this because I was just thinking about a website I came across several years ago (that I vowed to remember when I had my own home–and I did remember it–haHA, take that, Forgetfulness!).

This website–FlyLady–instructs you with a very regular schedule of doing housework, as well as little tips to conquer the beast of clutter (or, I believe, she says CHAOS: Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome).  Has anyone heard of or tried FlyLady’s routine?  It looks interesting, doable, encouraging…except for the part where you have to shine your sink every night.  Ugh!  It’s the first baby step; that, and a pair of shoes.  That is to say, you don’t shine your shoes.  You put them on; you wear them: typical shoe-function.

It’s a very organized and structured plan (I love structure!), so I may try the little baby steps.  Hm, we’ll see on that front.

Now that we have that established, this post wouldn’t be complete without a picture of one supa’fly Rabbi.

Rabbi:  “My wife made me this.  I just wanted a cool vest.”

*crickets chirping*

Rabbi:  “…depending on your definition of cool.”

He is the one man that could pull off that look.  And he does it smashingly, don’t you think?

As promised to many in Minnesota, here are some pictures of our little “marriage home” here in California.  The quality on these pictures are awful because I didn’t take them with a camera (I know, who am I, and what have I done with me?!); they’re from my camera phone.

Pictured here is our kitchen table, complete with an assortment of “contemporary church” chairs.  Note the pew Bible in the back of the red one.

Through the window in the wall is the front entry.

Upon entering through said front entry, the first thing you’d see is our library.  We don’t leave any question in your mind that you’ve just entered a seminary student’s home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the other side of our library, you’ll find the living room.  Most of our  big pieces of furniture, we received from the receptionist at The Master’s College.  What a blessing to get those sets (a newly married couple with matching furnishings?  When does that happen?)!  Not pictured in this post, we also got our matching bedroom set as well.  She even threw in the refrigerator for free!  Praise the Lord!

 

 

This is a close up of our coffee table.  And the lamp in the background?  Yes, the one with shade askew (in my defense, I believe it’s actually warped…not just sitting there cock-eyed).  It came from Pastor John MacArthur’s office.  It’s been touched.  Insert reverent choral vocals here.  Please note: I’m definitely kidding.  Everyone knows you insert moving string instrumentals.

 

 

And we’re back to the kitchen.  I had to include one of my favorite little spots.  It’s my coffee and tea bar.  The first big drawer holds many wonderous teas, coffee grounds, and accessories.

My first stop in the morning.

Thus concludes Part One of the House Tour.  Look forward to coming House Tour posts including pictures of our infamous “Pe(e)king Duck,” the different flags hanging around our house, and the afore mentioned matching bedroom set, among others!