All Natural Wool Dryer Balls and Essential Oils

I love dryer sheets, but I love wool dryer balls more. Scents are so important to me in this little farmhouse, but non-toxic items are even more important. So when I can replace a toxin and chemical filled product in my house with an all natural one, I do it.

I’m most nostalgic during the fall and winter seasons. Holidays are so important to me, and some years it’s hard to find a balance between carrying out old traditions, and creating new ones of our own. Recently, though, I’ve been trying to find nostalgia in scents. The wood stove starts this for me every single year. The smell of cedar wood burning, or just the essence of smoke rolling down to the ground.

Sometimes it’s not the woodstove. The woodstove nostalgia carries over into sugar cookies, or pies, or turkey or ham — or those scented pine cones everyone loves.

In the spring months, it’s tulips in the farmhouse kitchen or the smell of fresh water in a river bed. Light and airy scents keep us joyful and the sun shines bright and beautiful. I love those smells and just want to take them everywhere with me all year long.

I love scents, period. Candles, wax burners, detergent, dryer sheets. But I found that I was using dryer sheets more often than not. And as many of us know, dryer sheets emit strong harmful chemicals into the air, and essentially, right up your family’s nostrils as they put their clothes on. While you might smell delightful, you might not feel so delightful. Studies have been done that show high amounts of chemicals being released, and some have even speculated that they can be linked to Alzheimers, neurological disorders, and even cancer.

In an effort to reduce our carbon foot print, and to created a healthier living environment, I recently discovered wool dryer balls. And let me tell you, I am absolutely in love with them.

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“Trust” in the New Year || and a 2017 recap

I had one of the most interesting years of my life in 2017. The year was full of every kind of craziness—success, excitement, frustration, fear, anxiety, joy, grief, and love. It was a whirlwind of emotions all wrapped tightly into a package, then dropped into my lap at the end of the year so that I can finally unwrap it and, in return, wrap my head around it all.

I expect 2018 to be equally as crazy, but maybe in different ways.
Each and every year I choose a word that I feel God is allowing to stir around inside of me. My 2017 word was “shift”, and my goodness, did my life shift in 2017, in big and major ways.
Here’s how…

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Homestead Homemaking Series

Homemaking isn’t something I often found joy in. In fact, you could say that I have lost my joy in homemaking. But there is greatness and beauty within it. On my journey to re-learning old skills and rekindling the joy of raising a family and loving my husband, I want to take you along for the journey.
There are so many women who are struggling with joyful homemaking, because they find it oppressive. I am often faced with the question, “why am I the only one who has to clean up after everyone?” and that’s something I used to ask myself as well.

In this series, we take a look at biblical homemaking, and it may just blow your mind.
Watch the first video in the series here (or below). And then follow through each week with us. You can even join our private Facebook group to help you along the way and for deeper discussions.

10 Differences Between the Proverbs 31 Woman and the Modern Day Wife

As Christian wives, we so often become overwhelmed with the thought of becoming the wisdom of what was Solomon’s standard — the Proverbs 31 woman. Many wives will say it’s impossible — it’s just a guideline. Other wives will say that it’s not impossible, and that many women are just lazy and don’t wish to do what they are supposed to in their role as the Proverbs 31 woman. The good news is that neither one of them are correct, and neither one of them are incorrect either.

As a modern day wife, we have challenges that weren’t necessarily always presented to the Proverbs wife. Sometimes, the very things that were created to “help” us get our jobs done are the very things that prevent us from doing them. Don’t beat yourself up too much about it, we all have different lives and lifestyles — some of us work and some of us stay at home with our kids. But ultimately, the role of a wife is still the same, no matter what your job inside or outside of the home is.
With that said, there are many differences between the Proverbs wife and the modern wife, and I think after you see them, you’ll understand a bit more.
10 Differences Between the Proverbs 31 Woman and the Modern Day Wife:
1. The Proverbs Woman (PW) had servants. 
Don’t stop there, though. We have servants too. They are called the washer, dryer, dishwasher, vacuum….shall I go on? Unfortunately, those amenities sometimes cause us to take things for granted. We now have the option to let things “sit around” until it’s convenient for us to tend to them. This eventually means that we are piling over with laundry and haven’t unloaded the dish washer for 3 days. The very things that were created to make our lives easier sometimes make our lives more complicated. Convenience is not always best. The PW knew she had to tend to her chores first, otherwise, it would take ten times longer.
2. The PW most likely had a dirt or concrete floor, unless she was royalty. 
Which means she didn’t have the extra stress of keeping things completely immaculate. It was impossible to keep her house spotless with dirt constantly flying around from little feet running through the home. She kept it as clean as possible, though. And that is what we are asked to do.
3. The PW had less clutter. 

She had what she needed, and used what she had. She did not have 3 different closets to push storage bins into. She did not have to sort through 15 loads of laundry each week, because they didn’t have a place to store 25 different outfits in their closet. They wore their clothes until they were dirty enough to be washed, while still keeping their bodies clean. It doesn’t mean they stank or were unclean. But they used their work clothes to work in and their home clothes for home. They rotated.

The children did not have huge toy boxes full of toys. The PW didn’t have kitchen cabinets full of useless utensils and a 15 piece china set. There were not gum wrappers strung about the house or a refrigerator to clean. The PW had a small space to work with, therefore, she absolutely couldn’t have clutter. Therefore, she had more time on her hands when it came to organizing.

4. The PW awoke before her family and went to bed after her family. 
Her time management skills were amazing, but I imagine she wasn’t up by 4am. Most men in the PW’s time didn’t go to work until it was sunny enough to see. They arose with the sun and slept with the sun on work days. This allowed her time to awake earlier, but not three hours before sunlight. Now days, some of our husbands are up and out of the house by 6 a.m., and that means if we want a hot breakfast on the table for them, we must be up and going by 4:30 a.m. Talk about a long day!
The PW not only awoke early, but she prepared breakfast for her family and her servants. She was not waited on hand and foot, like so many believe. Please keep in mind, however, that their meals were not as elaborate as our meals…which brings me to my next difference….
5. The PW cooked differently than we do now. 
Everything was natural. Meat was a treat and not served with every single meal. If you’re a meat eater, you might find this challenging to understand. But the bulk of their meals were things that they had grown themselves (rice, beans, veggies, eggs, milk, bread) or animals that they had raised themselves. Since there weren’t any freezers or refrigerators, they had to cure their meat or go without until they were ready for slaughter and could share with family. She certainly had her moments when she went all out, I’m sure. But it was not something that was expected of her.
6. The PW worked and supported her family after all of her chores were done. 
Yes, she worked — inside and outside of the home. With that said, she ensured that all of her home chores and that her children and husband were tended to before going out and working. She bought a vineyard and hired servants (or, employees) to tend to it. She most likely visited it a couple of times a week. She would work in the market or buy fine linen there to make clothing. She worked with her hands in the garden, and with nimble fingers she wove rugs and canvases. Life was about serving and supporting her family — not just about her and what she felt entitled to. Unfortunately so many women now think that staying home just means you clean the house and raise your kids. And that is so true — that is a huge job in and of itself. But never ever look down on wives who choose to work from home or who cannot afford to stay at home. Sometimes working outside of the home is the only way that they can tend to their children and husbands first.
7. The PW poured her life and the love of God into others. 
She didn’t just do her chores, get some work done, and then kick her feet up and call it a week. No way. She actively poured her heart into other people — tending to her friends or family that were sick. Taking them a nice warm meal or babysitting for that new mother. I imagine a close knit community of fellow believers who helped each other when in need. I want that again….
8. The PW didn’t have to worry about exercising
because the reality is that she was on her feet all day long. She didn’t care about a thigh gap or how flat her stomach was. Her priorities were God, family, servanthood, and everything else fell into place. While she may not have been worried about exercising, she certainly made herself beautiful, depending on her means and where she lived. Women would adorn themselves in necklaces and paint when they were at events or a special occasion. They would use oils to make themselves smell lovely, and often painted makeup on their faces, hands and arms with mineral pastes.
9. The PW wasn’t distracted by social media and cell phones. 
It is so easy for women to post all day long about their lives. We love our lives, most of the time. But often we forget that most people could care less about what we had for lunch or did at the gym. And many times we end up creating an idol of ourselves in our own minds without ever realizing it. I can see the PW now, “just made rice and beans #LikeaBoss”….or “isn’t my eye paint for King Solomon’s shindig just gorgeous? #I’mSoFancy”
We have so many distractions today that the PW didn’t have back then. She didn’t have a choice. Her only options were to live life to its fullest. She knew her job and she did it. That’s not to say she didn’t have off days or unorganized days. She certainly did — she’s a woman, after all. But she did not have nearly the amount of distractions or comparisons that women today have. We constantly compare our lives and wife duties to other wives’ lives and duties. Each and everyone of us have such different lives. Stop comparing yourself — whether for the good or for the worse.
10. The PW completely relied on God. 
You might ask me why this is a “difference”. I understand that not every modern wife doesn’t completely rely on God, but just stay with me for a moment.

There are so many factors listed above, and there are so many more I could list. We realistically must remember that the PW lived in a different era than we did. Her life was much more simple and direct. That is no excuse to not strive for that standard, however. We chose the lives we have, therefore we must own up to them.

Not only did she have a simple life, but she lived in a time where people had been (or would be) directly connected to Jesus Christ (once we get to the New Testament women). Christ was fresh and walking around, not a 2,000 year old historical man on a timeline. It was easier for her to understand God when she could hear stories that happened to real people in her life — miracles of healing, visions, prophecies that came to pass, and serving a God that was alive and well. She could rely on Him more because He was an intricate part of daily life for her and her family. He was tangible. They would pray and they would believe what they would pray, because they had seen first hand the power of God.

Too often we get comfortable in our Christian religion, when it’s not even a religion at all. Western Christianity is nothing like what our missionary friends and Christians living in other countries have. Many of them still see these miracles every single day. Not only that, but Christianity is a relationship with Christ every single day — not just when it is convenient. No, you don’t have to sit down and read your Bible everyday. And no, you don’t have to act holier than thou — but having a one on one relationship with Him is imperative. And it was imperative for the PW as well. She relied so much on prayer, fasting and being down on her knees in worship to help get her through her days. Without the distractions that the Modern Wife faces today, the PW had time to do these things. She had time to rely on Christ, because she didn’t have to check her facebook notifications or call her mom up on the phone and talk for 2 hours each day. Her life was her own, and when she couldn’t rely on a friend or mom to be just a phone call away, she vented to God.
The PW completely relied on God because she wouldn’t have it any other way — she made that choice, because it was one of the most important things in her life. Life was easier through prayer and a relationship with Him. We still have that choice today.
Here’s a challenge for you. 
Delete social media apps off of your cell phone/ipad for one week. Make a commitment not to log on for one full week, and see what a difference it makes in your life and priorities. If you find yourself getting angry or annoyed easily because you don’t have immediate access to social media or the internet, there is a real issue in your heart. You really need to take a step back and re-prioritize your life. However, you can push through it, and eventually you will start filling up that time with more important things. You might even be amazed by how quickly you can get your chores done in a day!
If social media isn’t an issue for you (most of the time it is but we aren’t willing to face it — yes, I’m talking to you), then that’s great! However, there may be something else in your life that is taking up your time and being a distraction. This week, try to simplify. Throw out or donate things that you don’t need. Start simplifying your closet space — do you really need all of those outfits? Commit to rearranging your kitchen so that it is simplified and uncluttered. The only way to cook meals efficiently is by having a clean kitchen. Try cooking simple meals from scratch and leaving out a meat one night. You’d be amazed at how many yummy things there are out there that don’t require a meat — and hearty, too!
All in all, remember that your life is much different than the Proverbs 31 Woman’s life. Society is much different now as well. But don’t ever use it as an excuse not to strive to be that standard — however, don’t beat yourself up over it either. Some of us are good at everything — some of us are only good at a few things. Ultimately, it is our responsibility to own up to the life we’ve chosen to live — whether we’re in an immaculate high-rise apartment or a small dusty cabin in the woods.

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