Our fictional friend, Marcia, begins a new job today, and she is overjoyed. Her last job was stifling. She worked 15-hour days in a dark office for no thanks. Her boss regularly ridiculed her efforts, and her coworkers loudly berated her. She quit the horrid job last week, shaking the dust off her feet and not looking back.
Every Saturday I share three simple things that brought me happiness during the week. These posts may grow or change as time passes. Please feel free to share your own simple joys in the comments section!
1. Ice cream cake
My birthday cake was the rich combination of Reese’s Klondike Bars and Breyers chocolate ice cream.
Fridays are my free days, and the best things in life are free. On Fridays, I am always free from class, and I am usually free from work. Pure relaxation.
A couple of weeks ago, I woke up and enjoyed a short, free run through the quaint village of Old Salem. When I got back to school, I emptied out the storage closet on my hall and set any unclaimed furniture in the hallway with a sign that said “free.” After lunch (which I consider free because I ate in the cafeteria), I took advantage of my free gym membership (special “thank you” to my college for providing that!) and swam at the nearby YWCA.
Once I was back in my room, I needed some post-swim fuel. In my mini-fridge, I had frozen strawberries which were technically free because they were left over from an RA event. I also had a single-serve pack of chocolate protein powder (a free gift with a purchase of Quest bars) in my closet/pantry. Some simple mixing and microwaving made a perfect (almost free) snack.
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Proats
1/3 cup oatmeal
1 scoop (or one packet) chocolate protein powder
1/4 cup frozen strawberries + more for topping
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup milk or an additional 1/2 cup water (I used cashew milk because it’s what was on sale at Aldi that week)
Combine oatmeal and protein powder in a large microwaveable bowl.
While stirring, add water and milk.
Mix in 1/4 cup strawberries.
Microwave on high 1 minute. The oats should have a thick, fudgy texture.
At first, the gray home had looked beautiful. The promise of provision was enticing, and security sounded blissful.
Little did she know that the painted curls were actually iron bars. The provisions were ignoble. The “security” allowed for no freedom. Rather than the expected comfort of home, she felt trapped in the cage.
Then the door was open. She didn’t think; she just acted. She flew out the gap, not looking back.
Free. At last, free.
Imagine being a bird in a cage. The walls are pretty, but you can only fly so far. Your needs are met, but you have no real choices. You are safe, but you do not have the joys of exploration. Given the opportunity, birds will fly straight out of their cages.
We, too, were once trapped. Sin, with its enchanting promises had enticed and ensnared us. We were slaves to the sin master. But Christ paid the purchase price when He died on the cross, and He bought us back. Now the gate is open, and we can be free.
Just like a bird, we should not choose to remain en-caged–we now have a new world to explore! We have choices! We have freedom!
Christ did not set us free so that we could stay just as we have always been.
Grace is often defined with the following acronym: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Because of Jesus’ unjust death on the cross, we can enjoy the unmerited benefits of God’s favor. If this is an appropriate definition, and I would contend that it is, then grace’s application can also be written as an acrostic:
God’s Redemption Allows Continuous Emancipation.
We were once slaves to our selfish desires. Basically, we had no option other than serving our master, sin. However, God bought us back from the sin master. In doing so, He granted us the right to unending liberty. The price for our redemption was steep–the life of His Son. But our gain was even greater–eternal freedom.
And so, at Christ’s expense, we have continuous emancipation.
We can be FREE…
from our minds.
from our shame.
from our guilt.
from our pride.
from the chains we have fashioned.
from the prison cells we form.
from the standards we imagine.
from our mental civil wars.
from interpersonal affliction.
from constant inner strife.
from utter, bitter darkness.
TO bright, eternal life.
And once we have that abundant life, we never have to return to bondage.
Grace is continually liberating!
If, therefore, the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.
Since I no longer work at the daycare, I have no need for a “Salem Kids” sweatshirt. However, this sweatshirt became my favorite thing to wear last winter. It was extremely comfy and casual–I just could not give it up! Rather than throwing a perfectly good shirt in the trash, I decided to refashion this refashion.
I chose an old sleep shirt that had already been cut apart for various other projects, and removed the pocket from the front.
Next, I used a seam ripper to remove the work logo from my sweatshirt.
I pinned the pocket onto the sweatshirt, and used a straight stitch to secure it.
Voila! My sweatshirt is ready for many more frigid days.
Remember when I posted this free refash from a cut sample shirt? Well, that wasn’t the only damaged piece I found for free that day. I also snagged a beige, polka-dot, button-down top. Even without the rip, this shirt did not have much going for it. First of all, it was 100% genuine polyester (yuck!). Add the fact that it was two sizes too big and had a weird panel-thing, and I almost decided to forgo the freebie…but I am too frugal to leave behind cute polka-dots. And it’s a good thing I acquired this shirt–it became two awesome pieces!
For the first piece, I started by cutting off the sleeves and the offensive panel. All I wanted to do was make this into a sleeveless top. Simple as pie!
Then, I pinned the armholes to be sewn, ran it through the sewing machine, and–oh, wait–it’s still two sizes too big…forgot about that 🙂 . I simply took in a few inches on each side and I was good to go. It paired nicely with a black, beige, and yellow polka-dot skirt that was also free (I love hand-me downs) and a pair of free sandals ( I love Christmas presents!). The only item in today’s outfit that I actually purchased is the belt–a $1 Goodwill find.
The second project almost did not happen. I was about to throw away the sleeve remnants when I thought to myself, “There’s got to be a use for these.” Then it occurred to me…
My Bible is falling apart. The entire map section is on an excursion, and Genesis 1-3 is planning a revolt. In short, I needed something that could keep my Bible unified. I had been looking at Bible cases online, but I had not found one that met my criteria: unique, colorful, cheap. As I searched through scrap fabric to compliment the discarded sleeves, this project came to mind.
DIY Bible Cover:
Stretchy book cover
Sleeve cuffs (or ribbon and velcro/buttons)
Needle, thread, pins, scissors, etc.
If you are using a sleeve, rip the seam to remove the cuff from the sleeve. Re-seam the cuff into a single strip.
Cut the cuff in half and sew a seam on the two new edges.
Pull the book cover onto your Bible.
Leaving the cuff buttoned, pin it to book cover on both the back and the front (Be careful to not pin through your Bible!)
Unbutton the cuff, and remove the book cover.
Carefully (so as to not sew through both layers of the book cover), sew the cuff along its seams to attach it to the book cover. Repeat of back side.
Replace the book cover on your Bible.
And there you have it! I know that those directions are kind of confusing, so feel free to ask any questions!