Friday, January 27, 2017

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 relaxing to me, when someone else is vacuuming-lol)! and doing laundry, which is my favorite! You could think it strange, unless I have a laundry service and work for hire. 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 needed some pointers before you did the laundry by yourself or you thought this would be an interesting read; in either case, I trust I will keep your attention. I consider doing laundry an art and like any other art or craft, it’s important to have the best supplies before starting your project. You should already have a washer and dryer or access to both. You can’t do laundry quickly and efficiently without a washer and dryer, unless you want to go old school and use a washing board and tub and have a clothesline in your backyard (lol)! Let’s look at the supplies you will need for doing your laundry:
ü  Laundry detergent (powder or liquid) – I recommend liquid; also the new pods are very convenient, since there’s no measuring, which means no mess and they leave the clothes smelling nice (I have preferred scents I like to use for my clothes.) One important note about pods (e.g. Tide): they can stick to each other and will get soft and leak, because of the heat in your laundry area. If they burst, be careful not to allow any liquid to get on your skin or it will cause a chemical burn. Try using detergents that are safer for both your clothing and the environment [e.g. Ecos, Seventh Generation, Honest)
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 in bath towels. The amount of vinegar will depend on size of 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.) Create a natural stain remover by searching online.
ü  Fabric softener (liquid or sheets);
ü  Laundry bar soap (gentle treatment to lift stubborn stains)

Once, 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 according to the directions
ü  Check pockets on all garments for paper, tissue, or other items that should be removed
ü  Turn shirts with applique inside out

Remembering to check all pockets and secret pouches in the garments to be washed is very important and will prevent a lint disaster. My pet peeve is forgetting 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 perfect!
 Once the clothes are sorted, you can get started with washing:
ü   Starting with dark clothes is best especially if you will be using a bleach product on the lighter or white loads of clothes, so it’s best to wash them 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. Just experiment and see what works best for you.
ü  Select water level based on size of load
ü  Add detergent or Pod(s) to the tub first and then clothes
ü  Add liquid softener to dispenser or use dryer sheet
ü  Leave lid open to make sure the water level is sufficient for the size load (or change the level) and then put the lid down to start the cycle.

If you use liquid softener, you might not want to use the dryer sheets. Some people use both for 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. light colors and 3.whites. Non-chlorine beach or laundry color booster is good for light colors and warm or cold water will work just fine for washing. You will discover your own preferences the more you do laundry by what works best and does a better job. 

Always check the label on each garment to see if the manufacturer recommends washing in the machine or by hand and/or air drying for less heat to prevent shrinkage. Please feel free to make any adjustments that are suitable for you. If you end up forgetting to check the pockets of the dark clothes or any other load and end up with lint, because of some 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 the clothing type and the cycle button on your washer. Please refer to reminder below:
ü   COTTON cycle (high) is used for drying: whites, towels, t-shirts, and A-shirts; PERMANENT PRESS cycle (medium) - for permanent press clothing; DELICATE cycle (low) – for more delicate items needing less heat. Today, most dryers should have an AIR cycle, which can used to dry items without heat; this cycle is shorter than other cycles.  
ü  Always evenly fill the dryer with a full load of clothes to prevent overheating or under drying of clothes. Also, the liquid softener and/or dryer sheet should help minimize wrinkles.
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. You can allow clothes that are slightly damp to continue to air dry on a tubular hanger.

After your clothes are dry, it’s time for folding, which is not a favorite chore for some people. To prevent your clothes from getting extra wrinkles, fold them right after they are dry instead of letting them sit in the dryer. The important thing to remember about folding is to keep it simple. While, it's not hard and doesn’t have to be fancy, do try to go for neatness and you will be glad later on. Also, if you have young siblings or nieces or nephews, you can let them help with rolling socks and folding smaller items such as wash clothes. While you’re perfecting your art, you can also teach them and you’ll all have fun!
Determine which items should be hung up right away to prevent wrinkles.

Check the washer and dryer to make sure nothing is left, or any items that are forgotten may get sour and you will have to rewash them. One last thing before you go, please don’t forget to CLEAN THE LINT FILTER after drying cottons as they produce more lint. It’s a good practice to check and clean the filter after you complete your laundry session, so that it will be clean for future use. Remember, lint has been the cause of many house fires.

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

COPYRIGHT 2017 • Creative words • Victoria Sellers

Sunday, January 8, 2017

FORGIVE 70 x 70


What do the numbers in the title above make you think about?  If you said a multiplication problem, you would be correct.  Here’s another question to think about: What do the wordsseventy times seven’ mean to you? This question is intended to make you think but, Bible students and scholars alike should be familiar with this phrase, which is a part of the answer Jesus gave to His disciple Peter, when he asked Jesus about forgiving his brother or sister: At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, "Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?"Jesus replied, "Seven!  Hardly! Try seventy times seven.  (Matthew 18:21_Mess)  Did Jesus mean that we should forgive a brother or sister only 70 X 7 times? That would equal 490 and then our duty to forgive - would be complete, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, we don’t get off that easy and Jesus hardly meant for us to forgive one another only seventy times seven.  Let’s go deeper and look at Jesus’ answer in the King James Version: “Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:22)  What did Jesus mean by the word until? The word until is defined by Webster-Merriam Online Dictionary and the English Thesaurus as: a function word to indicate continuance, awaiting, pending, in anticipation of. 

Until seventy times seven is: a certain number for an uncertain situation.  Christ’s meaning is, that a man should be all the days, and every day of his life, forgiving those that sin against him, as often as they repent and acknowledge their fault; and that no time is to be set for the exercise of the ‘grace’ of forgiveness; but as often as there are objects and occasions, though ever so many and frequent, it should be used; and He illustrates this in the parable of the Unforgiving Servant in the same chapter.”[1]

Why is forgiving others sometimes so difficult?  There are many reasons but, let’s consider these important points: 1. Satan [the devil] knows that when we choose not to forgive others, we are only hurting ourselves and prolonging personal misery.  On the other hand, when we do forgive others, we are actually blessed because, as we acknowledge God as our vindicator, we are able to release the offender to the Lord for judgment, and can be delivered from a bitter heart, which opens the door for God’s peace.  Jesus taught His disciples how to pray using the ‘Model Prayer.’  Through praying this prayer, they were constantly reminded that as they asked God to forgive them of their debts, they too should forgive others, who trespassed against them.  There would be no point in asking God to forgive you if you did not forgive others.  Another important point is: 2. when we don’t forgive others, we are in sin, which separates us from God and results in our fellowship with Him being broken.  Nothing and no one is more important than our fellowship with the Father, yet we sometimes justify our lack of forgiveness toward others because of the severity of the offense.  Voices whisper in our ear: “If I were you, I wouldn’t forgive him or her for what was done to you.  That was too much and I wouldn’t take it if I were you!”  Yet, God in His great love and mercy gave His Only Begotten Son to die for us, when we were yet in our offenses and His enemies. “But if we confess our sins (or offenses – emphasis mine) to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from our wrongs.”  (1 John 1:9 NLT)

In my personal life, I learned that not forgiving others only hurt me and that the offenders had no clue that even after several months or maybe longer, I was still unglued about what had been done to me.  In my ignorance, I was not resisting the devil and allowed him to mess with my mind, which was not stayed on the Lord therefore; I was far from being in ‘perfect peace.’  I was constantly rehearsing the offenses done to me and wanted vindication because, it was sometimes so hard to release those, who had caused me hurt. Finally, I discovered that, although, it was not always easy, it was liberating, when I chose to release to God those, who hurt me. Scripture tells us that God is not (or will not be) mocked and we will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:9), therefore, we can be assured that God will take care of those who have hurt us (and we too will pay for hurting others). One thing I have learned about vindication is that God does not always allow us to see our enemies fall but, if He does, we must not rejoice or God will withhold His wrath. (Proverbs 24:17-18)

Some final thoughts to remember about forgiveness:

  • As long as we live, we should await and anticipate forgiving and being forgiven by others. “If we do not forgive others, our faith will not work and everything that comes from God-- comes by faith.” To receive freely from God, we must freely give to others. (Mark 11:26);
  • Don’t give place to the devil by holding grudges. Give way to God, be quick to forgive and do not let the sun go down on your anger. (Ephesians 4:26-27)  Forgiveness leads to healing; and last but not least:
Let’s practice forgiving others as well as ourselves, when we fail.
  As we do so, we can learn to love ourselves in healthier ways, let go of hurtful memories and painful events, while we anticipate a brighter future. By consistently applying ‘seventy times seven’ to our own lives, it becomes easier to acknowledge our personal frailties and seek God for His grace, mercy and wisdom to replace the guilt and self-hatred of a painful past with 'sincere forgiveness.'

[1]  John Gills Exhibition of the Bible, Matthew 18:21.