What's Most Important

(This is a personal story which I was hesitant to share, but I’m sharing with the hope it may help you see what’s most important when it comes to your relationship with your husband, children and whoever else in your life who doesn’t always fit into your plans.)
After months of spending a lot of time focusing on our special needs daughter and about to start focusing on potty training our two year old aswell, I felt like I needed a bit of help catching up with the deep cleaning. The list was getting long. I thought it all through before mentioning it to my husband. Instead of asking someone I knew, I wanted to pay a cleaner to do the work. I had in my mind exactly what I wanted, then I asked my husband.
He thought about it for a minute and looked at the calendar. He asked what kind of jobs I wanted done. Then he said, “I have two days off over New Year. I can do it for you!”
I am ashamed to admit my first reaction was annoyance and frustration. I thought, “You are just as busy as me. I already need your help with the basics! This is not what I had in mind. This is not what I planned. Forget that I asked.”
But of course I couldn’t tell him that. How could I turn his offer down?
Thankfully as I thought about it some more, the light came on and in an instance I got a major attitude adjustment.
I remembered that acts of service is one of my husband’s most important love languages. For him to make the offer was showing love. I realized that he was offering to give up his two days off to do woman’s work—my work. How kind is that?
Suddenly the deep cleaning didn’t matter anymore and I didn’t care if it ever got done. What mattered was that I had a very caring and unselfish husband!
I then realized that there have been other instances like this in the past where I have continued being annoyed instead of realizing the kindness and thought behind the suggestions that didn’t fit in with my plans. I felt very ashamed but thankful that this time I realized what was truly important.
And guess what? Over New Year he cleaned, organized and decluttered my pantry from top to bottom as well as other kitchen cupboards and drawers! So now I have a clean and orderly kitchen and I appreciate my husband much more!
I can be so blinded sometimes by my own selfishness and self-centeredness to what is really important. What about you?


Money Saving Tips

Here a few money saving tips that I find helpful. I do not stick to them--sometimes sanity and convenience are far more important! But in general, these have helped me.

Stay out of shops.
Thankfully having 4 little children means I don't go shopping much. When I go into shops I see many things I want, and I don't always have the self control to not buy them.

Buy second hand.
If I have the time, I can save a lot by buying second hand clothes etc. rather than brand new. Things don't have to be brand new to be nice.

Use specials only when they benefit you.
Specials are good, if it's something you need that's on special. But I find that specials often trick you into buying far more than you need or planned to buy. Twice lately when I've brought something, I've been given $5 vouchers for those same shops. If I buy something else there before the expiry date, I'll get $5 off. But as I don't need anything else from those shops for a while, I wouldn't really be saving money, I'd be spending it!! It's so easy to get sucked into all the business tricks and feel like we're saving money by spending it!

Be thankful for what you have.
If we aren't thankful for what we have now, we won't be content with more.

Online shopping.
For me, buying online helps me to spend less. When I buy online, I buy from a list. When I go into a shop, I see so many things and I find it very hard to stick to my list. Even if the food is a little more expensive buying online, I tend to be more self controlled. I can also see how much it will come to before I pay. So I can think twice and easily remove things if I am spending too much.

Stay Simple.
Meals, birthday parties, birthday presents, Christmas etc. don't have to be fancy and expensive to be nice and special.

Be Creative.
My one year old's dress broke. I was about to throw it away, when I tried removing the straps. Because of the stretchy style of the dress, without straps it makes a nice skirt for my five year old! If I didn't tell people, no one would know it used to be a dress for a one year old!
I also turned a pair of jeans into a skirt for my four year old. I turned two little pairs of shorts into hand bags for my girls!
Sometimes you can turn something you are about to throw away into something you can use.

Use leftovers when possible.
Left over mashed potato makes nice potato fritters. Leftover meat can go well in wraps, pasta bakes, soups or pies. And so on.

Stay home.
Because I stay home alot, I don't use much petrol or buy many convenience foods. With four little ones its actually easier to stay home than go out! But it has its benefits. Just as long as I go out often enough to stay sane and not get cabin fever!

Like I said, I don't stick to all these. But they are helpful when I need them!


Prep and Praise Your Children

Another tip I find helpful with my children is to prep them. Before I take them into a shop I remind them how I want them to behave. If I am taking them to someone's house, I remind them to remember their manners and be friendly. I tell them what I want them to do and how I want them to act. As some of my children are very shy and sometimes appear very rude, I tell them to answer when someone speaks to them.
One time this idea of prepping worked so well I was amazed! I was taking my children to the midwife. Usually when it was time to leave, I would have to pick up their toys. So this time I said, "When I tell you it's time to leave, I want you to say 'Yes, mummy' and then quickly tidy up."
When it was time to leave and I told my children that, they both chorused "Yes, Mummy" in a loud voice and tidied up in a few seconds. My midwife and the midwifery student with her was astonished. So was I! And all it took was a bit of prepping.
The idea is to teach them what to do beforehand, rather than just growling them when they don't behave the way you want. To teach them in non-conflict times.
And then I give them lots of praise when they behave well. It's so important to catch their good behaviour and praise them for it.


Encouragement for Today

A few pages from my little book of encouragement that always goes with me to hospital, and is read and added to a lot at home! Hope they're an encouragement to you today.



Patience Pays Off
I waited patiently for the LORD: and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
Psalm 40:1

Do you find it difficult to be patient? I feel as though I am doing a degree in patience at the moment and I am realizing just how impatient I am!
I have these words on my fridge at the moment to keep me focused. After tube feeding our special needs baby for over a year, we have finally been able to take her tube out and feed her completely orally. It took a lot of patience and perseverence to get there. It felt like she would NEVER get there.
Now we don't have to tube feed, but feeding takes about half the day! She doesn't drink well. I feel like she will NEVER get better and quicker. But I have to remember that Patience does pay off. Sometimes we have to just accept something that can't change, but often patience, perseverance, prayer and lot of work go a long way!
This time last year we spent 'FOREVER' in hospital with our baby. It felt like she would NEVER be well enough to go home! But the time came. Patience paid off.
Then we had to wait for heart surgery.
Then she got sick after surgery and another long hospital stay. It felt like we would be there FOREVER! But we were'nt! :)
Then when we got home, I started working with her every day to practice sitting up. It felt like she would NEVER get it! It took a few months but she got there.
You don't need a disability to try your patience though. We all have our own trials and tests of patience.
I like the way these verses in James are paraphrased in the Living Bible.
 Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.
Patience Pays Off


Honor His Wishes

Give weight to what your husband thinks is important.
Make those things a priority that matter most to him.
Don't make him ask twice.

I have these words up in my kitchen at the moment which I got from a magazine. This is the main marriage advice I remember my Mum telling me.
I thought I had this down pat until last night I realized I still have a long way to go.
My husband commented on something I was wearing. He didn't like it for modesty reasons. Straight away I argued back as I had the last two times he mentioned it. Then I caught myself. Ouch!  Later on I asked my husband if he really didn't like it.(It pays to check as sometimes he is just teasing!:) ). Thismorning I put those clothes, along with some more clothes I knew he didn't like, into my opp shop bag.
I have a few less clothes now, but I have joy knowing I have honored his wishes. A happy marriage is far more important than a few clothes.
Another thing has been screen time for the children. Many times he has commented on how he doesn't like how much screen time (watching videos) I let them have. Instead of honoring his wishes, for a long time I just made excuses. Ouch again! This week we have gone 4 days so far with no screen time. And again I have joy knowing I am honoring my man!
What is important to your husband?
Are you honoring his wishes?
You will be blessed if you do!