Friday, February 29, 2008


"She looketh well to the ways of her household..." Prov.31:27

What does your family do to bring its members closer together? What do you do? Do you make an effort to reach out and let your family members know that you love them?
What does your family do for good wholesome fun?
Welcome to Family Fridays!

Last night, as I was eating supper, I kept wondering to myself "what are you going to post for 'Family Fridays' tomorrow? What does this family do?" I mean, I know we make an effort to become a close-knit family, and we love to have fun together, but when I really sit down to think about what we do specifically, my mind draws a blank. Sort of like when your mother asks you to cook supper, and you can't think of a thing to make, despite the fact that you've cooked hundreds of meals. (Well, okay, maybe not hundreds...)

My answer was handed to me right after supper. ...Or, rather, sung to me. One of my brothers spontaneously started singing a southern gospel song as we were getting up to leave the table. The song calls for several different voices, to sing high and low parts. My older sister joined in right away, making us all laugh when she tried to lower her voice to match our brother's.

Mom and Dad had already left the kitchen, but the six of us children were still there, and we automatically started singing and laughing. Before long, one brother had gone to fetch his guitar, and we were giving ourselves a mini concert, right there in the kitchen. I don't know if something was in the food we had just eaten, but we were all extremely happy and full of laughter. Something happens when all six of us start singing together.
I have tried before to explain it in writing, but singing with my family simply defies my descriptive powers. We are almost always singing something about our Lord, which binds us together even closer. It may be a lighthearted praise hymn, but when I meet my siblings' eyes as we sing, I see deep feeling inside them.

We aren't the most talented family in the world. Several of my siblings play many instruments very well, but none of us are outstanding.

But that really doesn't matter. We're playing for our own enjoyment, for each other, and for our Lord.

Singing - real singing - today is rare. I guess, what with radios, TV, computers, phones, and so many other noise-making machines, folks don't realize what's missing. But when I read Psalms, I see so MANY commands to "praise Him!" with our voice. And Ephesians says it very strongly:

Verse 18: " filled with the Spirit; (then a list follows, describing what a spirit-filled person is like. What's first on the list?) speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord..."

So, in short, one way my family has a ton of fun, and obeys scripture, is by singing together.

What do you do? Share it with us!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Young Keeper-At-Home

Today I am going to finally show one of my sewing projects. This is an apron that I made my younger sister for Christmas. I couldn't find any pattern that I liked (beside, I'm so stingy that I hate to buy patterns when I don't need to), so I created my own. Sadly, I didn't use paper or make notes - just cut a little here and there and measured and cut some more - so if I ever want to make this again I'll have to start from scratch.

Anyway, you can see that I incorporated Bible verses from Proverbs 31 into the apron, which is my favorite part. My sister and I had a great talk while I was taking these pictures, about women being keepers at home, and what that means.

Here is detail of the right pocket. This embroidery took me much longer than I thought it would. I had to rush to finish it in time for Christmas! Sis and I had a good discussion on what "bread of idleness" is.

I've included this picture #1 because I like the way the straps crisscross in the back (I took this concept from an apron I've made for myself - I even shrank the adult pattern to get some help in drafting this part of the apron.), and #2 because I love my sister's smile here!

A close-up of the front.

The left pocket.

Well, there you go. This project was a lot of fun, and I was pleased with the way it turned out. If I had to do it again, I would use wider bias tape, and more of it around the edges, to save on the hemming....and I would actually put the pattern on paper!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Today my thoughts keep drifting to the many times handiwork is mentioned in Proverbs 31. This woman is so ambitious!

She spins wool and flax, then sells it, so she can buy a field, to plant a vineyard (vs. 13&16). She sells her linen that she weaves, belts, and maybe other merchandise, to the merchants (vs.24). She sews beautiful clothes for her family (vs.21). She sews her own clothes (vs. 22).

The thing I keep thinking about the most is how she uses her skill in a business-type way. She must be good at sewing and weaving to be selling her products! It does say in verse 18 that her merchandise is good.

When I graduated from high school, I had just finished my first quilt, and it had been love at first stitch. I knew I wanted to make dozens and dozens of quilts. At the time I graduated, my plan was to start a quilt shop of sorts - selling quilts from my home.

But after starting my next quilt, I ran into a problem: I couldn't sell it! I couldn't even put it up for sale. I couldn't bring myself to think about selling something that I had poured so much of my time and thoughts into.

For a time I was devastated. All my plans for being an entrepreneur seemed to have fallen apart! But God used my mother to make a beautiful, wise suggestion:

"Why not teach sewing?"

So now I have the privilege and fun of watching others be thrilled by making their own quilts. I see them have the same love and pride in their work as I have in mine. I can't believe I once wanted to sell quilts rather than teach quilting!

God has a plan for each woman, and no two plans are alike. I am slowly learning that.

You know something else that strikes me about all these handiwork verses in Prov.31? The virtuous woman does all of these things for her home. She isn't interested in becoming some big, important business manager that sits in an office 8 hours a day, and whose house is more like a hotel and restaurant than a home. She must get some fun out of using the skills that God has given her, but her motive isn't herself. She's not out on her own. It's all about her family, and it's all about the God who gave her that family.

Doin' Things

It's a few hours after lunch on a Monday morning. Today I've cleaned our kitchen, done two loads of dishes, washed all my dirty clothes, cleaned the toilet, and even done a little reading.

Our house is at its worst on Monday mornings. Housework tends to pile up over the weekend, but on Mondays we simply must get things rolling again. And, for the past several years, I have been given Monday mornings as my major housecleaning day. We all take turns with the housework and, while everyone has minor chores to do every day, on Mondays I am in charge of the major housework area: the kitchen. Yes, I asked for this. :) I figure if I can handle our house when it's messiest, I can handle it any time.

There are so many womanly skills that I need major work on, but I think I can say without boasting that I have kitchen-cleaning down to a science. Here's what I do to conquer a messy kitchen on a Monday morning (you'll notice that I don't include things like mopping, cleaning the refrigerator, or organizing the cupboards - those are weekend jobs):

#1- I roll up my sleeves and pray for enthusiasm. It took me a long time to learn that dishes won't wash themselves if I just sit and stare at them with glazed eyes. I put on an apron to get me in a cleaning mood. If I'm feeling really lazy and depressed, I sing something "bouncy" and full of praise to the Lord.

#2-I take care of trash first. Nothing makes a kitchen look messy like trash sitting around. I throw away the wrappers that didn't quite make it to the trash, the paper cups someone forgot to throw away, and the napkins that fell on the floor. I also take care of all dirty towels, dishcloths, and potholders. They go into a small basket that sits on the floor of our kitchen, and gets emptied regularly.

#3- I collect all the dirty dishes and stack them on the table. It always surprises me how many different places dishes can hide, but I dig them out, rinse them, and stack them neatly on the table according to what will be washed first. I always like to see what I'm up against in the beginning, rather than thinking that I've cleaned everything, and then discovering that I left two pans sitting on the stove.

#4 - We don't have a dishwasher (well, my Dad says we have 8 living washers), so I run a little soapy water and begin scrubbing. I wash the "shallow" things first, like cups and silverware, and rinse directly into the wash side of the sink - that way, I don't waste my rinse water, and the wash water stays hot. The more I rinse, the deeper the wash water gets, so I can clean the bigger dishes.

#5- After I wash the dishes, I wipe down the table and counter tops, and the stove, if needed.

#6 - A quick but thorough sweep of the floor and

....I'm done!Whew! I love to see a clean kitchen. Too bad lunch is always so soon.....

Monday, February 25, 2008


This past Saturday I tried something in the kitchen that I had never done before: making two different batches of bread at the same time. Both recipes are family favorites, and both were requested for this week, so I figured I would save time and make them at the same time.

Here's what the table looked like when I started:

And here's my Mom's wonderful mixer taking the work out of bread-making (I love this machine - it used to take me 40 minutes to knead 2 loaves of bread by hand; this lady can do 1 loaf in 10 minutes!):

I made the "raisin loaf," which my brothers call "bagel bread" really look like bagels, but decided not to go through the work of making them real bagels. (For those who have never made bagels, that basically means I didn't boil them before I baked them.):

....And, the finished projects:

The bread turned out a little dark, but sliced and tasted great. I love the way the "bagels" looked, but they tasted a little sour. I must have let them rise a little too long. Apparently they weren't TOO bad, though, because they disappeared at breakfast!

Saturday, February 23, 2008


If I quoted a verse, could you fill in the blank? "...For ______ is better than rubies;"

When I came across this verse in Proverbs this morning, my first thought was "Hey, Proverbs 31! A virtuous woman's worth is far above rubies!"

But that's not what the verse says: "For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it." (Prov.8:11)

Wisdom is tied to being virtuous. As Proverb says, get understanding, get wisdom, because wisdom is the principal thing.

Benefits of knowing how to garden

" She considereth a field and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard." Prov. 31:16

What does gardening have to do with virtuous womanhood? Well, it's one of the skills mentioned in Proverbs 31. But does a woman have to have a green thumb to be godly? Of course not. Before we begin to talk about the benefits of gardening, let's be sure we understand that God isn't going to ask a woman how many plants she's grown before He'll let her into Heaven.

What is significant about Prov. 31's reference to gardening is the character involved in this skill. To plant a garden big enough to feed her family, a woman must be a hard worker, plan ahead, have some know-how....and this particular verse seems to hint that the virtuous woman knows how to make wise business decisions, and invest in projects.

So if you only own a tiny square of land, or simply have no desire to garden, you needn't feel as if you are a peg below the woman who can cultivate acres of land and put up hundreds of jars of produce. Character is most important. But if God has called you to pursue this enjoyable skill, then rejoice!

~ Growing food for your family is frugal; home-raised is usually cheaper than store-bought.
~ Gardening is healthy; lots of exercise and sunshine.
~ Being with plants is relaxing, and allows us to see a little more of God's character as Creator.

If you like the idea of growing things, but have always been timid about trying, let me encourage you to try something small this year. It doesn't have to be a 50'x50' plot - try one tomato plant on your patio.

Join me next "Growin' Garden" day for practical ideas and tips for starting seedlings indoors.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Pizza, Anyone?

"She looketh well to the ways of her household..." Prov.31:27
What does your family do to bring its members closer together? What do you do? Do you make an effort to reach out and let your family members know that you love them?
What does your family do for good wholesome fun?

Welcome to Family Fridays!

Okay, today's topic is un-original, because I know of dozens of families who do this together: pizza night. But every family does it differently.

My family has had "Pizza Night" on Fridays for as long as I can remember. Every pizza is homemade - "Daddy's Secret Recipe." The sweet smell of warm sauce, the tang of spicy pepperoni, the oilly scent of me, any of these smells = family, fun, and memories.

I have been helping Dad make pizza since I was old enough to put peperoni on the dough instead of dropping it on the kitchen floor. Recently I have been taking turns with Dad - some weeks he makes it, other weeks I make it. I recently calculated that I've made 128 pizzas in the past four months! (Don't worry - our pizza is healthier and cheaper than store-bought pizza.)

On a side note - have you ever had three or four people around one table, all trying to put pizza toppings on pizza at the same time? Ah, memories!
Pizza alone wouldn't make a pizza night. We also always include an activity. Often our choice is a movie - wholesome, family-friendly, and God-honoring, of course. Other times Friday is "Game Night" - we eat, and then spend the rest of the evening challenging each other to board games. This is fun because it's one of the few times all eight of us actually take time out "just to have fun."

And, of course, like other weeknights, the evening isn't complete without family devotions. Then it's off to bed so we can wake up on Saturday ready to work hard!

So what does your family do to pull closer together in a world that is increasingly trying to drive families apart? Make an effort! It's worth it.


Hello, and welcome to Fruit of Her Hands!

You have come to a blog that is dedicated to honoring and glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ. I am His servant, and love to write about Him.

I also enjoy serving Him in my everyday life. God has given me a family to love and become a vital part of. I have two godly parents and five terrific siblings. People ask me all the time what I am doing with my life. Because I am a young woman who stays at home with her family, they assume I do nothing but lay on the couch and read novels, I suppose. The abundant life that God has called me to is so very different! My days are filled with labors of love....and occasional high adventure. (Can't have a boring life with eight exciting people around me!)

If you also have a heart for your family and are trying to develop skills that will help you build your home, my prayer is that you will find encouragement here.

Come visit me here at Fruit of Her Hands on a regular basis! A very hearty welcome to all of you!