Friday, June 27, 2014

Recycled Milk Jug Project

We've all heard it before - reduce, reuse, recycle! I'm here to beg you, for the love of all things sustainable, reuse your milk jugs! 

We go through milk jugs like crazy with a growing toddler. Recently I've been hoarding them for homemade laundry detergent storage, but they're good for so many more projects as well. After pouring through Pins and articles on gardening, homesteading, and sustainability... during the late hours that I sit up with insomnia that even the best essential oils can't cure... I came across this list of really good ideas on how to reuse plastic milk jugs. 

My most favorite, and the one that was easiest for me to achieve, was this plastic sack holder. You see, I also have a ton of plastic sacks. How un-green of me. I know. I really should invest in a bunch of cloth sacks. But in the meantime, I will redeem myself by reusing those plastic sacks too. I line my bathroom trashcans with them (who doesn't?), use them as wetbags when we go swimming at someone else's house, and even give them to my mom to use at her church's food pantry (The Witt House in Paragould, AR). 

Embarrassingly enough, a few months ago I started cleaning out my pantry and found 2 full sized garbage bags full of plastic sacks that I had good intentions for but never followed through with. Some were thrown in the recycle bin at Walmart, some went to The Witt House, and I started my hoarding over when I went to the store later in the week. 

This Milk Jug container will surely help me minimize my hoarding. 

This is really quite simple, but I wanted to make sure you understood how I got so many plastic sacks in the jug. If you just start stuffing them in, all wadded up, you will get about 10 in there before calling it quits. However, if you... 

Flatten each sack out, fold it length-wise (hot dog fold) twice, and stack all of the sacks on top of each other, you can roll them up and fit more than 33 sacks! That's all I attempted to stuff in there today. I would guess you could fit as many as 45-50. 

Then, as the very first picture showed, the sacks will be pulled out of what was formerly the milk jug spout. I started with the outermost sack and fed it through the spout before nestling the rolled bundle into the jug. After you use the one that's protruding, you might have to carefully select the next one in line to pull out. They unfortunately don't come out like baby wipes. If you know how to roll them that way (I've seen tutorials) be my guest, but that takes too long for my desire. 

My next suggestion would be to punch holes in the former bottom of the container (now the open top) and feed a sturdy string through the holes. Loop the string through the wire shelving of your pantry for fantastic, easy, storage. Or, stick a push pin through one of the sides and mount it to the wall or inside of a cabinet. You be the judge of what works best!


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Letting Go Of Baggage

I know I'm blowing up the blog-o-sphere lately, but I have so much to share. So much to get off my heart.

When you can't sleep at night, you have a couple of choices. At night, we are more vulnerable. Why this is, I still don't know, but Satan feeds upon this time in order to make us victim to his lies. Tonight, I spent a few fleeting seconds seeing flashes of his lies and made a conscious effort to take my thoughts captive. What happened after that has caused me to still be awake nearly 3 hours later.

Earlier when I was in the Word, I saw a few different passages in the Psalms that hymns have been written about. The hymns directly quote passages of scripture, which is always so comforting to me because once I've read the Word, I can bring those songs to mind and more easily take the Word with me wherever I go. Ever since I was a little girl, the thing that has kept me sane in the dead of night when I wake up from a terrible dream is to sing hymns that I grew up with. I still do it. I still sing those same songs. It might not be out loud, but my heart is singing with all its mite.

Seeing those lyrical verses made me remember the place where I learned those songs - my first church. If you've been with me for a while, you might recall one of my first blog posts where I told you I hold grudges. That's been one of my shortcomings for...ever. In the past 5-7 years, it's been especially bad for me in the area of this church. For many reasons, that I won't get into completely, I developed a total distaste for the church and to be honest, some of the people. I allowed this to eat at me for so long.

Tonight as I was in bed, not sleeping, I suddenly started thinking about that church, and I felt like I really and truly...finally...was going to give up the bitterness and baggage I had been carrying around since about age 13-15. It was such an enormous amount of weight lifted off of my shoulders. I'm surprised I didn't fall into a weeping puddle of tears, like I'm usually accustomed to. Instead, I did what I do best - grabbed my pen and journal and poured it all out to the Lord.

I realized that more recently, I had been blaming that church for the fact that I didn't care about my faith at all by age 18. How trivial of me, because it's clearly Satan's fault. I found myself writing furiously, and admittedly, cursing Satan for the things he had robbed me of. I was so, so angry, but simply wrote, "Lord, take these human emotions from me and give me peace. Satan doesn't deserve grace...but I long for peace." I was robbed of not only my happiness, as I carried around years of baggage, but through the wedge Satan placed in my heart against the only church I had ever known, I fell prey to countless other opportunities for his destruction. I was robbed of my purity and many joys of my youth. I had some terrible friends that I know Satan placed in my path to completely destroy my life. I didn't cherish my single years for what they were worth. Hell, I barely had any 'single years.' Sure, I was taught what was right, but I honestly don't feel like I was prepared at all to handle spiritual warfare. Satan can take someone raised by well-intention-ed, good example, involved parents and make her question her very being. I'm a passionate person, prone to attitude and rage. Over those moments of realization, it was so hard not to literally scream to the Lord in frustration - Why did You let this happen!? Where was Your intercession!? Why did I suffer? My selfish, hurting soul longs for someone to blame. Not God, though. Never God. And still, why are angry tears the hardest ones to wipe away?

Just this past Easter when my parents came to our new church, they witnessed me worshipping and they cried. My mom embraced me and tearfully praised God for what she had just seen, saying, "It's so good to worship with you. For the longest time, I thought I'd never get to do that. I thought we had lost you." I told her that my faith was never really real until I found God at age 18 --  I went from a wild, emotionally destroyed, agnostic, apathetic young adult, desperately searching for my a struggling tiny baby Christian who realized that all the Sunday school knowledge my parents had padded me with meant little to nothing when it came to a deep, passionate, bare your soul love for our Creator.

The point of saying this is that it took so many intense transitions for me to get to this point. I'm finally here, letting go of my hurt.

I respect what my first church did for me. I appreciate and still desire the standards it placed on my heart. When looking for a current church, I still want one that baptizes by full submersion of consenting believers, I cherish a church which emphasizes Bible teaching in Sunday school, and I will run to any offerings for home church. I really miss Communion every Sunday and 3 services a week.

If I'm being honest, lately I've been called to the traditional in a lot of aspects. Passionate worship still has my heart of hearts, but I've asked God to lead me where my husband is more fulfilled and where my child[ren] are most led to the cross. This doesn't mean I'm leaving Fellowship, but it might mean leaving a little bit of me in order to gain a lot of Jesus.

I'm not the same person now that I was even 6 months ago. I'm sure I'm not done changing, being convicted, or looking back in amazement. I've recently been doing a lot of research on Biblical child rearing. More than a dozen a few times during this research, I've found myself wondering how different life would have been for me if I had adhered to God's plan for us from the start. It can kill you to let these thoughts anchor in your mind. Don't let it happen. Thank Him for His abundant grace and move on knowing that you are a new creation.

If you have baggage that you have been harboring for a while now, please open your heart to God on the issue and ask Him to place you in the center of His will. Feel free to share it with me as well and I will pray over you.

Edit: I'm sharing this extremely raw piece because I feel like some of my more recent posts have been a little distant from the emotion. It was always my intention to let you know that you are not the only one struggling.