Books · Christian Living

Red Ink in my Home

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Photo by Senjuti Kund

I finished up writing my “Oh bother!” post in the morning and scheduled it to be published. Then that very night, in my frustration, I had to chuckle, or sigh — or both — and remind myself I was in an “Oh bother!” moment.

Red Ink. In my washing machine.

And the culprit, the pen, was laying inside the rubber seal. Ugh. Even as I write this, the sinking feeling of wondering if my clothes were all ruined.

I have good news, though. Keep reading to find out what it could possibly be.

I wondered if I should share this with you. Is this outside the scope of this blog? But the more I thought about it, the more convinced I am that it is certainly an aspect of being a blessing to others. As I grew in my housekeeping and young mothering skills, I often wished for someone to share with me. Not just in the spiritual aspects, but in the very practical aspects.

In the Red Ink failures.

*Sigh*

Workers at Home

Older women, likewise are to be reverent in behavior….They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be…working at home…that the word of God may not be reviled.

Titus 2:3-5

One of the ways that we can be a blessing to others — one of the biggest ways — is by taking care of our home and family.

[The virtuous woman] looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Proverbs 31:27

We are called to be workers at home. Now, I am not saying that we must be tied to the home and can never have a job. At the same time, God never says, “Oh, you have an outside job? Then you are exempt from taking care of the home”. We all must work in the home. Homemaking is the job that we will always be tasked with. Young or old, rich or poor, we all take care of our home.

And can we just stop for a moment to reflect on the fact that being a caretaker of our home means we have a home! Our chores are a way that we are being good stewards of the good gift God has given us. When my son went to Bolivia a couple months ago, he brought back pictures of tiny little houses and the Mama’s who took care of them. The entire house was the size of my dining room. 10’x10′, maybe? Whether living in a tiny room or a large house, our God-given task is to care for our home.

A Beautiful Example of Love for the Home

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There is a scene in the first book of the series, The Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Chandler Warner, that I love. In the book, the four children have become orphans and have heard that they have a mean Grandfather whom they have never met and who hates children. So, to protect their family, the children (Henry — age 14, Jessie — 12, Violet — 10, and Benny — 5) decide to escape in the night and find a home of their own. (In the end, they meet their Grandfather and discover he is a kind, loving man).

They find an abandoned boxcar on a track that has been dismantled and make their home. Henry takes responsibility for finding odd jobs to earn some money. While he’s gone, the girls & Benny discover a dump where they find some beat-up, but functioning dishes, which they are able to wash with soap, boil, and begin using.

Suddenly  Violet cried, “Oh, I know where to put them. Come and see what I found in the car last night.”

Both girls looked in at the door.

“Look on the door on the other side of the car,” said Violet.

All Jessie saw were two pieces of wood nailed to the closed door of the car. But she knew at once what was in Violet’s mind. She ran to get the board they had carried from the dump and laid it carefully across the two pieces of wood. It made a fine shelf for the dishes.

“There!” said Jessie.

The children could hardly wait to put the shining dishes on the shelf….When they were on the shelf, Violet picked some white and yellow flowers and put them in a cup full of water in the middle of he shelf.

“There!” said Jessie, stepping back to look at it.

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I love this scene because it shows the heart of love for home — even a very simple home. And that’s what I want for all of us!

It is good to be workers in our home. Why? So the Word of God may not be reviled.

The very Bible itself is at stake. When we fail to obey God’s command to care for our home, that opens up an opportunity for the enemy and the world to revile God’s Word.

So, I will talk about my Red Ink incident on the blog, because telling you about my mistake in the home — and how I rectified it — is a way that I can encourage you to be a blessing in your own home. And when we care for our home, we bless the Lord, our families, and display for the world the goodness of the Scriptures.

Failures and Victories

Back at the washing machine, my thoughts are racing. My body is not. This was the end of a very long day. My adrenal fatigue had set it again. I was absolutely exhausted. All I wanted to do was climb in bed. Yet, I had a load of jeans in the wash and decided I’d better throw them in the dryer real quick before cleaning up the dinner dishes and heading to bed.

Now I found myself staring into the washer and seeing dirty water sitting in the seal. Only it is really dirty. And, there is a red ink pen laying in the seal. Dread starts to set in. I had darker jeans, but I also had my brand new pair of light grey jeans in there. I was afraid the whole load would be ruined.

Sure enough, my grey jeans had red all over them. Blotchy red, too. Uneven. Ugh!

At that moment, I remembered my blog post I had finished that morning. This was an “Oh bother!” moment if ever there was one! Lord, help me to respond correctly. What I share, I must practice!

Half the load were towels and they were actually fine. The black jeans were fine. There were three things that had some red. A dark purple pair of the girl’s shorts — a small spot. I worked on it with my bottle of Shout! I had a paper towel on the inside and one on the outside of the spot. I sprayed and blotted, sprayed and blotted. That one spot came out pretty well, but it took probably 10 minutes. Don’t forget — I am physically exhausted. This is not fun!

Then I start on the blue jeans. I think the pen came from that pocket. There was ink on the pocket and down the leg of that pair. Because it was blue jeans, the ink didn’t show up as bad — but it still showed up pink. Again, I blotted and sprayed for 10 minutes. It was better, but not great. I was hoping that washing it might get the rest out — but I was doubtful.

(And let me just say, it doesn’t matter who left the pen in — I failed to check pockets. I even thought, as I threw the jeans in, “I should check the pockets”. Lesson learned!)

Stephen told me that I shouldn’t spend time on the hopeless gray pants. He even told me I could just get another pair of jeans. I figured that’s what I would have to do. But first, I looked online for some tips. I tried one and…IT WORKED!!!!!

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao

I soaked my jeans in milk overnight — actually about 24 hours — and when I poured the milk back into the sink later, it was tinted red!

On my grey jeans I did nothing but set them in about 1/3 of a gallon of milk. If it didn’t work, it would be an added cost. But if it did work, I would save a lot of money on not buying a new pair of jeans. And it worked without a lick of effort! I went back and soaked the other pairs in some milk, too, Then threw it all in the wash once again.

If I hadn’t told you my secret, you’d never know I had red ink all over my grey jeans.

So, if you ever forget to check your pockets and get red ink on your grey jeans, set them in milk overnight. It does wonders!

What homemaking fail did you experience — and what lesson can you share to save others from the same mistake?

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