Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Laundry, a Chore or a Joy: Tips for Beginners

As long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed doing certain chores like washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, ironing, vacuuming (the sound is soothing to me, when someone else is vacuuming-lol!) and doing laundry, which is my favorite! Why do I enjoy this task, you might ask? Well, for one, I have mastered doing laundry well and work hard to make sure that I wash everything with care.

Perhaps, you are reading this article because you need some first time pointers before you attempt to do laundry if this is not your regular chore or perhaps, you thought this would be an interesting read. Whatever your reason for reading this post, I trust I will keep your attention. My ability to do laundry well is a skill that has been mastered over time. I watched both my mother and grandmother do laundry, as a youth and learned from them. My mother was a laundromat person during my teen years while, my grandmother washed at home with a machine and clothesline; she eventually got a dryer. She was very efficient and did things to perfection! I even remember her dry cleaning knit suits in the dryer and that was over 30+ years ago. Using the best products is important, because you want to achieve the best results. Hopefully, have a washer and dryer or access to those applicances. You can’t do laundry quickly and efficiently without one, unless you want to go old school and use a washing board and tub (lol)! Let’s look at the supplies you will need for doing your laundry:

ü  Laundry detergent (powder or liquid) – I recommend liquid (Try Woolite for fine washables and knits); also the new Pods very convenient; there’s no measuring, which means no mess and they will leave your clothes smelling nice. I have products I use because of the way they make my clothes smell. and I am sure you will have you own. Here's a  free tip: I have found that adding ½ to 1 cup of vinegar (apple cider or distilled) to your wash will both soften clothes and aid in eliminating odors. The amount of vinegar will depend on size of your load; try ½ cup for smaller loads and 1 cup for larger ones.  

ü  Bleach  (Clorox, Purex, non-Chlorine)

ü  Stain remover (e.g. Spray n Wash, etc.)

ü  Fabric softener (liquid or sheets);

ü  Laundry bar soap (gentle treatment to lift  stubborn stains)

Once, you make sure you’ve got the supplies listed above, it’s time for the part most people don’t like: SORTING clothes. This is really not that difficult; because you can always follow the manufacturer’s directions on the detergent container or you can use the suggestions provided below: 

ü  Sort soiled clothes by color and water temperature

ü  Treat any stains or spots before washing

ü  Check pockets on all garments for paper, tissue, or other items that should be removed

ü  Turn shirts with appliqué inside out
Remembering to check all pockets and secret pouches in the pieces to be washed is very important and will prevent a lint disaster. My pet peeve is forgetting (once in a blue moon) to check the pockets, when sorting the dark clothes. Don’t be surprised if you forget a couple of times; and be encouraged, because practice does make proficient!
 Once the clothes are sorted, you can get started with washing:
ü   Starting with dark clothes is best; you can wash anything (whites or lightly colored items) that requires bleach or whitener LAST. Use COLD water for dark clothes to prevent colors from bleeding (seeping) on the others. Actually, using cold water for all your wash will work (and  could reduce your gas bill). Just experiment and see what works best for you.

ü  Select water level based on size of load

ü  Add detergent or Pod to the tub first and then clothes

ü  Add softener to dispenser

ü  Leave lid open to make sure the water level is sufficient for the size load (or change the level) and then let lid down to start cycle. 

If you use liquid softener, you might choose not want to use the dryer sheets. Some people use both and I too prefer extra softening and lasting fragrance. If you want to use a dryer sheet, have it ready to add to the dryer as well as the next batch of clothes for the washer. You should wash your clothes in the following order: 1. dark clothes, 2. lighter colors and 3.whites. Non-chlorine beach or laundry color booster is good for light colors and should work with warm or cold water. You will discover your own preferences the more you do laundry as well as the products that give the best results..

Always check the label on each garment to see what the manufacturer recommends for both washing and drying and make any adjustments that are suitable. If you end up forgetting to check the pockets of the dark clothes or any other load and end up with lint, because of an overlooked tissue, you can remedy that with the dryer. As those items dry, the pieces of tissue will end up on the lint filter and your clothes should be lint-free. 

You can determine the temperature you need to use by clothing type and the cycle button on your washer. Please refer to reminder below: 

ü   COTTON cycle (high) is used for drying: whites, towels, socks, t-shirts, and A-shirts; PERMANENT PRESS/normal cycle (medium-high) - for permanent press clothing; KNIT cycle (medium): knits or items requiring more heat than delicate;  DELICATE cycle (low) – for fine washables, lingerie, and items needing less heat. Today, most dryers have an AIR cycle, which can used to dry items without heat; I find the air dry cycle is shorter than the heated cycles.  

ü  Always fill the dryer evenly with a medium to full load of clothes (don't try to cram extra clothes in dryer; just save for next load) to prevent overheating or under drying of clothes. Add a dryer if you prefer.

ü  Remove permanent press and delicate items as soon as they are dry. It’s best to check the clothes before the cycle ends to take out clothes that are dry, to prevent over drying, shrinkage or permanent wrinkles (occurs with too much heat for clothing type). You can allow clothes that are slightly damp to continue to air dry on a tubular hanger. 

After your clothes are dry, determine which items should be hung up right away and be prepared to fold everything else. Folding clothes is not always something people look forward to, but it is necessary. To prevent your clothes from getting extra wrinkles, fold them right after they are dry instead of letting them sit in the dryer. When it comes to folding, the important thing to remember is to KEEP IT SIMPLE! It's not hard and doesn’t have to be fancy, but DO try to go for neatness and you will be glad later on. Also, if you have young siblings, nieces or nephews, you can let them help with rolling socks and folding smaller items such as wash clothes and hand towels. You can teach them tricks, while you’re perfecting your skill and you will all have fun!

Check the washer to make sure you didn't leave anything. Clothes can sour, when forgotten in the machine wet and will need to be washed again. One last thing before you go, please don’t forget to CLEAN THE LINT FILTER after drying cottons as they produce more lint  Actually, it’s a good practice to check and clean the filter each time you complete your laundry session, so that it will be clean for future use.

Thank you for your time and attention and may your laundry days be happy ones!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Creating with Our Words

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth . . . ‘then God said, let us make people in our image, to be like ourselves. . .’” So God created people in His own image; God patterned them after himself; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:1-27 NLT)  God created the heavens, the earth and people with His Words and each time God spoke a thought; He created things that were full of life.  Everything He created was good. Have you ever thought about what you’re creating when you speak?  The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” (Proverbs 18:21 NLT)
The tongue, though a small member, can create some BIG problems in our lives and also in the lives of others.  Scripture tells us that the tongue is a fire (James 3:6) so, the words we speak with our tongues will either contribute to verbal combustion or they can be used to control or contain that fire and lessen or prevent damage.  Wisdom will show itself in our speech, but if we speak unwisely, we will be responsible for the destructive results of our words and reap the consequences.

One problem that can affect us all at times is poor communication: ‘hearing others but not really listening’ as well as attacking others with our words. You might even know some church people, who either talk too much or say hurtful things rather than using their words to bring healing, comfort and life [to others as well as themselves].  It is important that we learn how to speak in a way that both glorifies God and blesses those whom we speak about. God spoke us into existence, but the wrong words spoken from our mouths or someone else’s could result in curses instead of blessings!

I thought it would be interesting to look at some biblical saints and examine how they used words and what they created:

Eve, “the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20) was the first woman created by God and taken from Adam’s side—‘a place of protection.’  Uniquely created, she never knew what it was like not to be married.” Residing in the Garden of Eden, Eve had excellent health, wanted for nothing material, was loved by her husband Adam, and most importantly, had communion with Almighty God.  God had warned both Adam and Eve about one particular tree in the Garden: The tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  One day Eve was visited by Satan, who appeared in the form of a serpent and whet her desire to become all-knowing “as God,” thus tempting her to doubt and disobey God’s Word. When Satan questioned what God had told her about eating the fruit of the garden, Eve answered: Of course we may eat it," "It's only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God says we must not eat it or even touch it or we will die." (Genesis 3:2-3 NLT) God’s warning prohibited only the eating of the fruit.  With further coaxing by the serpent, she ate [of] then shared the forbidden fruit with Adam and afterwards, both she and Adam found themselves separated from God and—expelled from the Garden. The motto here is: Obey only God’s Word and be thankful for what you have.

Rebekah the daughter of Bethuel, was the wife of Isaac and the mother of twin boys—Esau, both a skillful hunter and man of the open country and Jacob, a quiet man, who liked to stay at home.  From the beginning, Rebekah showed partiality to Jacob and Isaac favored Esau, who sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew. (Genesis 25:32 NIV)  Rebekah overheard her husband ask Esau to go hunt for game and prepare a savory meal before pronouncing his final blessing upon Esau. She then told Jacob and sought his help with her plan to ensure that he received his father’s blessing instead of Esau and said: “Go out to the flocks and bring me two fine young goats. I'll prepare your father's favorite dish from them. Take the food to your father; then he can eat it and bless you instead of Esau before he dies." Jacob was apprehensive about trying to fool his father and did not want to receive a curse instead of the coveted blessing.  His mother said: "Let the curse fall on me, dear son;” Just do what I tell you. . ."  (Genesis 27:9-11) The mouths of fools are their ruin. (Proverbs 18:7 NLT)

Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior.  Gilead was his father and his mother was a harlot.  When he and his brothers were grown up, Jephthah was driven away by Gilead‘s wife and denied any inheritance in their family, because he was the son of another woman [the harlot].  Sometime later, the elders of Gilead called Jepthah to be their commander, when the Ammonites made war on Israel.  They had previously hated Jephthah and drove him from his father’s house.  But, in their troubles, they turned to him and wanted him to be their leader.  Before going to battle, Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: "If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the LORD the first thing coming out of my house to greet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering."  (Judges 11:31 NLT) Unfortunately, when Jephthah returned to his home, his only daughter came out to meet him. He tore his clothes and felt miserable and wretched because, he had made a vow to the Lord that could not be broken. (Considering reading the entire account of Jephthah in Judges 11:1-40)

Mary was a young virgin, who lived in the city of Galilee. She was visited in the sixth month by the angel Gabriel, who greeted her with a salutation and blessing and told her that she was blessed among women.  He told her that she had found favor with God and was chosen to conceive and bring forth a son, who was to be called Jesus.  After pondering all of the things told to her by the angel, Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38 KJV) Although, Mary did not understand how the things she heard would come to pass in her life, she embraced the knowledge that nothing was impossible for God and accepted His will for our her life. (Luke 1:28-38)

Woman with the issue of blood: While going to the house of a ruler, whose daughter had died, Jesus and His disciples were followed by a woman, who had suffered 12 years with an issue of blood. A victim of her culture, she was considered unclean and isolated from society.  She was broke from paying doctors, still had her condition and was desperate. Considering her plight, she realized that, her only hope was Jesus: “For she said within herself, if I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.” (Matthew 9:21- KJV).  Suddenly, she reached and touched the hem of His garment. Even in distress and illness, this woman spoke words of faith in her heart, believed that she would be healed, and Jesus honored her faith. (Hebrews 11:6) Our faith pleases God.

We can see from these saints that WORDS HAVE POWER TO CREATE and when used without wisdom, they can cause us or others injury.  Let’s remembers that “A good person produces good deeds from a good heart . . .;” also making daily confessions [deposits] of God’s Word in our hearts will increase our faith and enable us to speak in faith--words that create life and good things (Romans 10:17; Proverbs 18:4; Luke 6:45 NLT).

Resources:          The Holy Spirit; Holy Bible
                                “Women in the Bible: Examples to Live By” Sylvia Charles