Homemaker Portrait | Teri Hall
Season 3: Episode 4
Teri Hall has been building a peaceful place for family and friends to land for 40 years. She takes joy in keeping a sense of order and calm in her home so that the people who come through the door--whether it's her husband, her kids, or a weary friend--will find a place of peace and rest.
Teri has also benefited from the peace and rest that home can provide. Three years ago, she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer requiring very specialized, delicate surgery involving her facial nerves. She and her husband had to travel 3 hours from home for several weeks for her surgery and subsequent treatments. The strain of being away from home was trying, but made her landing there on the weekends to rest and regain some strength all that much sweeter.
Throughout her homemaking journey, Teri has learned her to hold her plans loosely, to stop striving for what she wants or thinks she needs, and to "learn to love what must be done."
Hear all of Teri's story of home in Episode 4, Season 3. Click the link below to listen now.
Full Episode Transcript
Mom, I can't find my ballet slippers. Honey, have you seen my keys? I am so late. Where's the diaper bag? If you don't get those shoes on in the next five seconds, I am going to lose my mind.
Sound familiar? Then you don't want to miss today's episode of The Art of home. Hello, homemakers. And welcome to the art of home podcast where we are exploring how homemakers cultivate a place to belong. I'm your host Allison Weeks. I'm a wife. I am a mom to four grown kids and I've been a homemaker for over 29 years. Now if you're a regular listener, welcome back. We are so thankful for you and if you've just found us, we are so glad you're here. The Art of home is here to provide encouragement and inspiration for you to practice homemaking as an art with confidence, skill, joy and creativity. We want to elevate the work of the home in the eyes of the homemaker and of the culture. We believe that homemaking practice as an art exchange is drudgery for dignity, and brings beauty and great value to the ordinary tasks of life. In today's homemaker portrait, we are talking to Teri Hall, who has been keeping home for 40 years. Teri explains how she sees the home as a launching pad and a landing pad, and how the discipline of establishing order through her making can help facilitate peaceful, happy daily launches and landings in the home. she's learned not to hold on too tightly to her plans because they're probably going to change and be challenged by the unexpected and well just by life in general. We talked about her early years and the exhaustion of caring for a new baby and a home at the same time. We talk about how she learned how to read her audience when showing hospitality. And Teri graciously shared with us about her recent cancer diagnosis and how it affected her homemaking journey. Through it all she has learned to cease striving for what she wants or thinks she needs and to be comfortable in her own journey. learning to love the things that must be done. So whether you are canning some applesauce or commuting to work, we know you will enjoy Teri's story of home.
I am here with my friend Teri Hall. And Teri, before we go back to the beginning of your homemaker story, why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are today.
who I am today? Well, my husband, Bill and I have been we just celebrated 40 years of marriage in we have three grown children who are all married. And we have five grandchildren. And I currently am working full time at my local church as the administration lead and my husband is semi retired from a lifelong career of high school football and teaching so which was became a part of my life to you know, being his, his, his mate so so we're just in a season of say, you know, a season of just grandchildren and looking forward to full retirement in the years ahead so
so I bet you guys miss the Friday Night Lights experience. Do you still occasionally go hang out and watch a game?
At the beginning we did, I had the hardest time with his retirement then he did of course, because Friday nights, they were part of my life. And I was a bleacher mom and raise my kids in the bleachers and and it was who we were and I love being a part of that it was an environment that I love. I love watching my husband coach. And just the the impact he had on kids and just being a part of all that excitement. So when that season came, I was I i grieved over it. And just even saying, Man, this is such beautiful weather. I feel like it should be at a football game. And so it was the season that it was not easy. We did go back we have gone to a few games, but it's different. Yeah. When it's when it's not your husband, your team. You know I enjoy it, but it's a little bit different
But you have exciting things ahead. Alright, let's go back to the beginning. When did you first become a homemaker?
So I was a very young mom or wife I should say not mom. I married at the age of 20. My husband and I were highschool sweethearts. We went to different colleges and his we hadn't intended on marrying at 20. But he was 21. I was 20. My husband was playing college football. His dad had been killed in a car accident going home that weekend after a game. And so it just kind of sped things up for us. He was the youngest of six and a lot, a lot of age difference between him and his siblings. They were all married, had families. So we decided we were ready to start our family. And I, like I said, we were both in college, I transferred to where he was and, and we got married after my junior year. And so I started life as a homemaker at 20. And, and I absolutely loved it. So yeah, yeah, we lived in a little, little single wide mobile home. But yes, we made it our home. And I very much enjoyed being married and having my own home. So that's interesting.
We have a lot in common in that because I was married really young, too. And we lived in a single wide mobile home. While we were finishing up school,
yeah, yeah, that's what we did for that short season. And it was real special just to make it our own.
Well, when you went into homemaking at the young age of 20, did you have any skills?
I was blessed to have some skills. My mom would teach us how to cook. And plus I just had an interest in it. And so I loved recipes. So I would often get her permission to..."Mom, can I try this recipe?" Can I cook tonight, you know, and make unique things like homemade ravioli, or something that wasn't typical of the, of what we normally ate, just wanting to try new things. And so that was something I always had an interest in. And my husband, he loved to eat homemade cooking. So of course that, you know, definitely inspired me to keep wanting to do better and be skilled at that.
Which skill Did you have a learning curve for when you started homemaking, what was especially challenging for you as a homemaker, when you first started out?
For me, I would say time management. We I didn't juggle we were both college students I was working part time. Plus, I, you worked really hard at my, at my subject level, and spent a lot of time studying, preparing, you know, for any exams I'd be having. And time management was like, we'd be tired, I'd cook dinner, but I wouldn't clean up right away. And then it would sit. And then we'd we had kind of a funny thing I'd be studying my husband was like studying what studying and he's like honey to bed. He just did tell me "to bed Fred." And just as it rhymes. So then I kind of got the nickname with him, Fred, but as being college students, but I'm like, Oh my gosh, no, I can't go to bed. Look, it's 10 o'clock, and I still have dirty dishes. And I need to clean those up. So I had to learn time management and not letting things sit. You know, you'd eat and then you'd kind of put it aside and go do something else. And then they come back and Oh, there it is. Yeah, I didn't do that.
Right. I think that's a big challenge for people. So you did work and went to school when you were first married. Did you ever work outside the home after that period?
I did, I was blessed with a great career right before having children. I was the Director of Student Financial Aid at university Mary harden Baylor and love that it was a caught that college environment being a part of that scene was a lot of fun. And just helping students do that. But it was a very demanding job and had a very hard season, just like my husband's football seasons. Summers were my heaviest time of getting everybody's financial aid packages ready for fall registration. So when I became pregnant, I just wasn't a life that I longed for for myself, I knew myself well that I wouldn't be able to juggle it all. So I stepped out of that role and became a full time mom. And so that season was short and the full time mom was a much longer season. There were times that I would take on some part time jobs and roles that I could do either from my home and during that season, and I continue doing doing that until our youngest was in high school in through her high school years I can I did some part time things but full time Not until my kids were out of the home so
right okay, well let's talk a little bit about balance and scheduling and things you said that was a learning curve for you in the beginning So at what point did you feel like you sort of had mastered that and what were some of the things that you did as a homemaker to balance all the things and make sure you got done what needed to get done?
So growing you know with the growing family um, what I because that was being distracted is something that would often happen for me and not staying on task and focus and I had a T shirt back in the day that it said Oh, forget housework, I'm busy being creative. And so I'm like yes, that's me. So little things like that. But I found I found a book or my mom introduced a book to me called the sentimental messy and that was me because I would look at things like oh I can see a possibility in this I could use this to make this or I could you know craft something with this or I might need this someday. And or it's special to me that was grandma's or and so I threw her tools of you know, I learned how to start calling out and increase in carving time and things that I've learned along the way that I still use is I try to keep like a three week menu plan to where we tend to rotate a lot of what we eat and so that it's not weekly, but we do it for three weeks and so I tried to have at least 21 meals you know, kind of in my pocket to where I can easily get those have those ingredients on hand and so I learned that from that book, and that kind of stuck with me and has stayed with me. Other things I learned along the way even though I wasn't working outside the home but just caring for kids all day and in sometimes I even had other people's children in my home that I cared for it was learning to prep for the evening mail early in the day start getting things done because I'm a morning person in my energy really starts to lag in the afternoons and by the time your husband walks in the door and there's no stuff I'm working and things and then it's bedtime and then I don't have the energy to be them nice mommy a bedtime. So because I'm tired so I learned from another mom that lived in our neighborhood. Now I didn't master it like her but when her her children got off the bus she fed them their supper. They were always hungry right after school. And then so she kind of flipped things. A lot of people would do a snack-that's how I was raised- you'd have a snack when you got home and then supper would come later. But she would have dinner ready for them and then she would clean up and then if they wanted a snack they could do that before bedtime, have a snack. But wow her kitchen was immaculate her home was immaculate and you know I just thought because her kids were always at my house when I was fixing dinner and I'm like, "Don't you need to go home" and they'd g, "Oh no, we already ate. We ate as soon as we got off the bus." And I'm like oh, and so I kind of learned her secret.
Well so did she and her husband eat at the same time as the kids or did they? I'm trying to figure out how that works logistically
exactly and you know what i don't i don't think so because I thought of that later this week. I was thinking about remembering that memory and I'm like when did he eat? so I think she must have set a plate aside for him and when he came in. because I don't think he came home that early you know like at four o'clock so but for her she found that was her strength she'd have it done, her kitchen was clean and the evening was free. You know to the kitchen was behind her.
So did you ever try that?
I didn't. I couldn't do that because we all sat down together as a family. So what I did was I started doing everything I could ahead of time . I did it early so that once he did come in the door we ate pretty quickly. Now during football season he would come in late so a plate was always saved for him. We didn't, we couldn't wait till eight or nine o'clock at night. But yeah, I found that I was a better person. If I just prepped early and didn't leave so much for myself right at the time when we're all hangry and it's meal time and it's not getting done quick enough
That is such good advice. I don't do this often anymore because we're just the two of us now but whenever I would have the foresight and the wisdom to do a crock pot meal and start it in the morning, my future self always thanked my past self for having the energy and the wherewithal to do that because by the time six o'clock rolled around, I was tired and it was just so nice to already have that done. So that's really good advice.
Yes, just do what you can early it pays in dividends in the end.
Absolutely. Well, how about expectations and homemaking? We go into homemaking thinking it's going to look a certain way and be a certain way and then sometimes it is but sometimes it's not and we might be surprised by what it actually ends up looking like. How was that for you?
I think for me um, just interruptions you know. And so what we used to say, "life happens" and things come up that you think you have your day planned and it doesn't happen that way. So once again trying to just redirect myself time management wise. Those were I didn't expect that are just being a homemaker and then big time repairs come and then the funds are and you're like what and so maybe your washer quits working and all of a sudden you're having to find the local laundromat and loading up your your kids and heading out the door with tubs of laundry so those kind of interruptions for me we kind of picture something being a certain way and then you don't realize Yeah, life happens and it doesn't always turn out that way. So don't hold on to your your plans too tightly because it's probably going to change.
Exactly, exactly. Well did you face any special challenges as a homemaker and how did you learn to manage those challenges?
I didn't really have hard challenges I think for me were not when I had my first child I was like shocked at how exhausting that can be in to where I had a sweet friend she was had been a co worker there at the college where you know where I had been employed and she came over to see me to see the new baby and I I'm sure she saw the the baskets of laundry or just things that were sitting around and and I had to learn she just quietly just said you know you can just you know she was giving me little tips because to me caring for a home and caring for a baby all of a sudden felt very overwhelming. Yeah and and so I had to learn how to incorporate my kids into my home and to bring them alongside me instead of waiting for nap time. Yeah and then Okay, so what if they don't take a long nap? Yeah, and it's 30 minutes later they're up in there crying and that all that stuff you had planned in that two hour time span did not get done so I had to learn this is not working so I need to just incorporate them into my day and bring them alongside me and and that's what was a challenge for me early on to learn and just to to continue to do that but that once I got that realization you know, then that came became easier, right? So right,
I had a listener ask if we could ask this question, wanting to understand how did you how did you manage your spiritual growth and your walk in the midst of like you said just the exhaustion of caring for children and caring for a home How did you make keep your spiritual growth a priority in your life and make time for that?
Well, so I usually tried to do it in the morning, and it wasn't every morning, and often I would get up and I'm like, Okay, I'm the first one because I like being the first one up while it's quiet. And and so I I would have my spot where I'd sit and then a child would wake up, mommy. Oh, oh, Honey, what are you doing up already and in so and just even though they were kind of groggy, I just kind of tuck them next to my side. I have to be honest, was I a little irritated? Yes I was because my focus right then with with you know, separated from what I was doing and in just having to realize okay this is not going to last as long as I thought it was going to today but I know him I knew in my heart It was good for her to see that mommy sitting here and she's looking at her Bible and she's reading and even though I didn't spend a lot of time doing that once you know my little child arrived to sit with me I knew that was a lesson in itself.
Yeah, just that's a great answer. Well, let's talk a little bit about hospitality. We want to cultivate an atmosphere of belonging and welcome to the people who visit and the people who live in your home so how did you cultivate that sense of belonging for your family members when they were here when you were all living here
So I like I always feel like order brings peace and I kind of see the home being like a launching pad and a landing pad. And if as they depart out the door you know how if it's a good launch, you can say all the things you wanted to say "bye, I love you," that kind of thing. Instead of "where's my keys" and bla bla and "I can't find this and that" and you know, and then it's all frazzled and everybody's frazzled. Guilty! I've been there. And just trying to establish a sense of order you know where things are because I know in the moment of when we're trying to leave the house if I didn't put my keys where I'm supposed to and then there's this frantic looking for them, Order brings peace, so it's nothing to be afraid of it really does help and so I try to provide that for my family for those in my home. And then when they come home just try to have the home picked up as much as possible when your husband walks in the door. Granted that it wasn't always that way. But I tried to and I think the thing that helped me even with my own family is there was a season of time that I did before-school care and after-school after school care for some friends. And the fact that someone was going to have to come to my door and pick up their kids okay was a motivator that hey let's get this picked up because I didn't want that mom to think that what it looked like five minutes ago with toys everywhere and so that was always a motivator for me and just would keep me keeping that picked up each morning that when they those children arrived My home is picked up possibly from the night before or maybe I got up earlier that morning and picked it up before they arrived just so that when that those children walked in the door there was order and peace and stuff wasn't just everywhere.
Yeah, I love that. How you've described this as a launching pad and a landing pad and there's value in having the the order and the peace on both ends. That's a really great way of looking at it and like you Yes, I am also motivated by having people over to keep things tidy and neat and it's part of it is probably some pride in their you know, I don't want them to think I'm a slob. But also I want them to feel comfortable when they walk in my house not like they've walked into a tornado, you know, peace and order do help people feel more comfortable in a space. So that's a really great description of that. Thank you. What about hospitality to other people, were there any particular things that you did or like to do to show hospitality to others when they come here?
So I've, I've learned some things along the way. It used to be that I would set out my nicest dishes, and I loved to have a beautiful tablescape with all the layers. And I learned along the way that not everybody that comes in your home is comfortable with that. And, so I mean just a story. I my daughter had a childhood friend that our girls would get together and play but we were totally different moms. This mom had her home was all the living room was turned into a wonderful child's play area and which my kids absolutely loved. Yet you came into my home of course you had the traditional couch and stuff so I I invited her over because normally the kids her daughter's just came over to play and we just met through the local school and our community is how we had met with with each other but I invited her in for hot cocoa with the cute little pedestal mugs and all of that and just on a cute little tray sitting on the coffee table and I instantly could tell she's not comfortable with this. Oh Why did I do this? Because all this show and yeah, it was for show and in many ways I wanted a nice presentation you know. And even though and I wanted her to feel special, it was not comfortable. So I've had to learn over the years to learn my audience not everybody is comfortable with that. And so out come the paper plates you know just more casual hospitality. Now for holidays I still do the dishes and in the finer things my my kids they will humor me and but we have that but they know because they know mom loves to decorate a table and have it looks pretty and I'll try to do that a week or two prior to like Thanksgiving and have the table already really set with it just being Bill and I we don't sit at the dining room table except for when we have company. But one little neat story that we had we during our coaching years we of course we moved around, but in one of our stays we were living in the Rio Grande Valley and this house that we rented actually had a maid's quarters Now we could not afford make. But we rented out this one little bedroom efficiency apartment that was off the kitchen to an exchange teacher. I didn't know that existed, but he was from Germany. And he was a delightful man. And so we just fell in love with him. And he walked everywhere. And often sometimes I would take him to the grocery store to get his groceries but we he had was only going to be there for a year. And his he had met and married a woman from the San Antonio area and they had two children. So somehow he had to work this out where he he would go home every weekend in San Antonio. Well, one of those times when he was on, I guess a holiday break. You know the Christmas holidays. Our travels took us to San Antonio as well. We weren't living in in that area then. And we want I wanted to look him up meet his family. And because he had become a part of our family. And so we arrived they were so delighted they lived in a modest apartment. And they were so delighted. delighted to have us there. We entered their home. And it was very simple. I think maybe one couch and they had a sit on the couch. And she brought out of a plate with saltine crackers and some lemonade. That's all she had. And I'm like, I feel so blessed right now just like royalty because she is sharing her home with me. And something as simple as lemonade and saltine crackers was I've never forgotten it was beautiful. So you don't have to have a lot of fine things you don't have to have tea cakes and all you know you just because I was guilty of that I was guilty of always wanting to make an impression. And and so just her simple hospitality and the warm that just filled that room left left, you know a memory etched on my heart forever. So
that was a really that's a really beautiful story. And I love the way you pointed out that we need to know our audience, when when we show hospitality, knowing that that woman who came over was not comfortable with the lovely little set that you brought out with all the cute things and that's I would have been the same way I would have done the same thing. Because I value that it's important to me I love to have these beautiful things and I was drooling over your transferware collection before we started recording. We have a lot of the same tastes. And that is what we feel comfortable with. But a big part of hospitality is we're really wanting the other person to feel comfortable and so that is such good advice to really know the person that you're asking to come into your space and do what makes them feel welcome, and what they're comfortable with. Really great. Thank you for sharing that.
We'll get back to Teri's story in just a few minutes. Right now it's time for historical homemaker hints. This is the part of the podcast where we highlight some of the helpful and not so helpful hints doled out to homemakers throughout history. Today's hints come from practical suggestions for mother and housewife. By Marion Mills Miller, published in 1910. Marion was into bento box lunches before it was even cool. The luncheon put up for school children may consist chiefly of sandwiches, preferably several small ones of different kinds, rather than one or two large ones. biscuit sandwiches are generally more palatable to a child than plain bread ones. Besides those made of cold meat, there should be at least one cheese, or one salad and nut sandwich and one jelly sandwich. A hard boiled egg. Preferably one that has been cooked for some time and water kept under the boiling point will vary this diet. Of course fruit such as an apple and orange or banana forms the best dessert. Occasionally cake, gingerbread sweet biscuit or a piece of milk chocolate may be put in the basket for a pleasant surprise. For many of us, it's time to put the garden to bed for the winter. Well, Miss Mills has some advice for drying herbs. The right way in drying herbs for your kitchen, and possible medicinal use is to gather them as soon as they begin to open their flowers and lay them on some netting and a dry shed or room where the air will get at them on all sides. Be sure they're dry and not moist when you cut or pick them and free them from dirt and decayed leaves. After they have entirely dried out put them in paper bags upon which you have written the name of the herb and the date of tying them up. Hang them where the air is dry and there is no chance of their moldings. And finally, do you have an abundance of pears? Marion makes the following suggestion for keeping the pears fresh longer. Lay the pears on a shelf in a dry cool place. Set them stems up and so far apart that they do not touch one another. Allow the air to move freely in the room in which they live. layers of paper or straw make a soft bed but the less the pair touches the shelf or resting place the better for its keeping. So I checked on this one for you. And while Marion's advice is still use to store pears, long term and cold rooms or sellers, you do need to be sure you're storing a winter variety that's meant for long term storage. Also pears seem to be pretty finicky about temperature and humidity levels. So be sure to keep a close eye on that. But if you're not into babysitting your pears all winter, they are great for canning either whole sliced or made into pear butter. Enjoy. Well that's it for today's historical homemaker hints. As always, please remember this segment is for entertainment purposes only. And I leave it to you the listener to determine the safety and soundness of this advice. Now back to Teri's story.
All right, let's talk a little bit about homemaking seasons. So how would you say your role as a homemaker has changed over time?
Well, now that we're empty nesters, but when I wasn't working full time, like I am now it it almost I mean surprisingly, it almost seemed like managing my home was a little easier. And because I'm working full time, and I don't have all the kids around, but I'm not I'm older and I don't have the energy like I used to. So even then in it seasons, I've had to find tools to help me. And the time management thing is saying focus is still always there. A tool that I tapped into probably in the early 2000s was of late it was a program called fly lady.
I forgot the name of the lady who who started that. That fly stands for finally loving yourself. And she just had in at the time back then it was like emails that would come reminding you to do this and just steps and and I bought some of her tools and things like that. That is now she has an app and I still pull that out sometimes if I just need something to kind of motivate me. Yeah, and stay on task. And she has like a weekly home blessing hour. And there are six things that you do for 10 minutes. And it is amazing what you can get done in 10 minutes. Yeah. And so those little games I have to kind of play with myself. To help keep me focused yeah and so things that I learned as a homemaker being at home with my kids still carry on have carried on over into this season of my life too.
Yeah. So I know the fly lady is very popular with a lot of people so yeah, in
some of her stuff is dated like one of her things. clean out your magazine rack and I'm like who has magazines? So you can edit them, delete them make it your own, and but it does help a lot.
Yeah. Well, what was a hard transition for you as a homemaker? What was a season from one season to another? You know, for some it's the empty nest for some it's bringing home that first baby you did allude to that that was challenging bring a new first baby home. Was there anything else that sticks out to you as a difficult transition?
No, I don't think even in during an empty nest. I like leftovers. So hey, now have more. No problem. Yeah, exactly. And my husband thankfully doesn't mind leftovers. Maybe after the third time eating the same thing. Okay, that's his limit. But I'm kind of boring. I could probably eat the same thing every day. If, you know, if it's making my life easier. I'm happy, right? So, um, but I would say though, just having having the having children in my home, and then all of a sudden not, you know, having the energy that I used to have, yeah, and the freedom. And so yeah, yeah, but I can't think of another season where it was like an interruption. And I had to really learn, I don't buy the same way, you know, back when the kids were home, I would buy in bulk at your, you know, your big box stores. I don't do that anymore. I just buy pretty much what I need, because it will go bad. You know, three or five pounds of carrots is not gonna Yes, that's a great buy. But it's not a great buy, if you have to throw them away actually went bad. I Exactly. So I've had to learn, I've had to adjust my buying down. And so and not worry so much about the per unit per can savings on this. Yeah. Or, you know, things like that. So,
are there ways that you're still challenging yourself to grow and your homemaking?
I think for now, I'm really embracing this, this YouTube university we have out there. And in using it as a motivator to maybe if it's fixing something in my home, or just decluttering and reorganizing, during COVID, you know, I was blessed to still be able to work. And so but a lot of people, you know, either they lost their jobs and had that season. And they would be doing all these wonderful things, these projects that they had taken on, and I'm like, man, I want to do that. And so I, I did get to do a few things of reorganizing. And that brought a lot of satisfaction, not only just having the organization, but I like beauty and simplicity. And in so to bring that element into some of that organization was fun. And just to make it my own, that this has been kind of a fun season. You know, I have certain people that I follow,
What's your favorite YouTube channel or one or two of them that you like?
Unknown Speaker 38:48
so I like Clutter Bug, she's got her show, Cass, on Hulu. I like the minimal mom. And those are two that I follow probably the most. I'm not a minimalist. I mean, it's something maybe I'd like to strive to work towards--minimalizing--but right now my goal is mainly just to declutter and make my life a little simpler, you know, in organization.
That's really that's fun. So how are you intentionally passing on your knowledge to younger women who are coming behind you?
You know, we live in an age where there's so much information out there, right? That even that you can almost feel like well what new thing Do I have to share because there's so much out there and that I I have to be honest, I'm a little bit hesitant sometimes you feel like Well, I don't know if I have any nuggets. So Usually I wait till I'm asked and then I'll say well this is what I did and it helped me but I can sometimes feel a little bit intimidated by all that that's out there that I feel like well they probably heard that from someone already. So I don't need to be the one to tell them and but mainly just some of the things that I shared you know, just allow yourself time to start early in the day, you know, don't let it build and pile up on you because you'll suffer and then those around you'll suffer if you're if you're frustrated. So yeah,
that's good advice. So I know that you went through a season fairly recently with cancer. And I just want to give you an opportunity to talk about that a little bit and how that affected your homemaking life and what sort of challenges did that present to you and how did you overcome them
Unknown Speaker 40:59
so it's been about three years now that I found out I had cancer and because it was a rare cancer, my ENT, the doctor I was seeing in San Antonio, had highly recommended that I'd go to MD Anderson in Houston which is over three hours away and so we wanted to do that because the the surgery itself was going to be a very delicate surgery involving my facial nerves. And I ended up having three surgeons with different levels of expertise performed my surgery that day. We felt very comfortable with the MD Anderson experience I mean it was a long ways from home so we opted to go ahead and do the that my radiation treatments there which was a six week period okay. And so it required thankfully they were with me because it's hard to be away from home that was a hard decision to make but you know, you kind of feel like well, these doctors even with the radiation oncologist they all work in tandem with my surgeons and so you know, we just felt maybe that would be the best route Yeah, but in that I missed home I love home so they worked it out to where my last session on Friday would be like early in the morning like 715 and then we would be free to go home and then the my first session on it on a Monday would be in the later afternoon. And so the longer amount of time I was at home was very it was very special for me. And then it allowed my husband because he has flexibility with what he does right now in this season of his life you know to be able to take care of those things but allow me to be home now I did find that your energy wanes you know with radiation I did overall well, but you start to see I'm not the same person you know, and it has taken time I'm still not the same person. I have to be careful that even on a weekend, I don't have too many even if it's family commitments, or social commitments. I can't I can't accept them all because I have to have that that day of rest or just of not having to be going and I mean to the point Allison I had one of those little iRobot vacuums that never got.. it died during my cancer because we were gone so much. Did you know that if you leave it on the charger for so long, it can kill it?So that in my season I killed my vaccuum because we I didn't even think about when I'd come home to even tell it to go go vacuum Yeah, and so I just was not fully present and but I guess the beauty of that is I didn't have to come home to a lot I didn't have family to really be caring for. I could just spend that time in resting so it was a different season for me and I've learned even energy level like just not being able to pick up heavier things changed for me. And I'm getting some of that back which is wonderful, but I did have to pace myself differently with cancer? So that definitely was the season were homemaking for me did make a change.
Yeah. Was that something that sort of was motivating to you now because you said you're interested in doing more decluttering maybe getting rid of some things and just simplifying was that sort of the catalyst for that you think?
It is. And you know, there's been times that my husband said you know, why don't you just hire someone to come in and I'm too prideful for them to see my areas where I hide and I have clutter that I don't deal with because they feel overwhelming and and I know all the answers I know I need to just start and it helps and so but yes, I'm thankful for those people that I had mentioned earlier that I follow that have motivated me to to get started and to do that well so
well, all we can do is just start
right that's right, that's right. And all those minutes do count. Yeah, they really make a difference so I do
well, thanks for sharing your story about that. Well, we're going to talk about homemaking tasks in the form of some rapid fire quick answer questions here okay. You can do a quick yes or no answer or give me a quick answer or you could tell me a story if you would like either way alright, so a homemaking task that you love
it kind of odd but I actually love washing dishes I've loved the feeling of my hands in the warm water now I like to wash him with my scene full of more modern not where you just have it in your being I like to have them in there. It I just love the way it feels. I like the way it feels on my hands and and I have my system you know so dishes is not a problem for me so that's something that I love and I like to make sure they're dried and put away because I don't like things set out and then getting spots on them from the hard water so
oh yeah we do. What's your favorite dish soap to use or your favorite scent?
Unknown Speaker 47:17
Well I don't have a favorite scent that I love it. I usually use Dawn. I do mainly because that's my husband's favorite. I do love the Myers you know I do love their products and so scents are kind of hard for me right now and they can trigger like headaches and things for me. So I have to pretty much go mild on on since that are out there so I'm not able to actually explore that market and get some fun scents because a lot of time it can trigger a headache for me
All right one task that you hate
the tasks that I hate. Um we have concrete floors and so when you the stain concrete and so when you do your floors, not you have to do on twice back in the day when you just vacuumed and it was once and done. Now it's you vacuum and then you mop. And so that has been that's not really my favorite having to do it double.
I know, I know they're beautiful floors, though. All right, how about a task that you grew to love.
I would say laundry when I set off to I was the oldest child in my family and my mom was very intentional to make sure I knew how to store clothes properly and I would be doing my own laundry as I was off at college and and it's something that I've actually grew to love and I'm kind of let's see anal about it. My family would tell you I'm very conscientious about colors and separating. And one little tip I've learned along the way is don't overload your washing machine and dryer. Yeah, because give it room especially in the dryer, it needs room to breathe and move otherwise you're just everything's all going to be wrinkled when it comes out and I hate wrinkles. So laundry. I I've grown to love laundry. And and, and the fact when you do divide it up into smaller loads, yes. Hey, when it comes time to take it out of dryer, it's not a huge amount and then you you'll do it right because it won't take you forever because I would get overwhelmed with that too. I know a lot of people struggle with laundry and it's sitting in baskets. And you just go and grab your clean shirt out of the basket. I hang up, I have to hang up because I everything has to be hung otherwise I'm turning it again and getting those wrinkles out. Because I don't want to use I don't want to have darn yeah and and another tip I've learned with laundry is a steamer. My girls turned me on to getting a handheld steamer that is so huge so the ironing board hardly ever comes out anymore
Do you like your steamer? I've thought about getting one and I haven't I haven't ever looked into what well how do you know which one to get or whatever
I do like it and thankfully I have you know grown daughters who have them and they've kind of helped me pick out one and I've enjoyed it so
did you hang the clothing item like on a hook or something and then you and then you just go to town with the steamer?
Yes. Okay. And most of the things that I wash don't have need a steamer but there are a few things that you'll get that you know if it's a linen, something linen or things like that. Is it
is it as effective as ironing. Pretty close. Yes. Okay. That's a good tip. Yeah, thanks. Well, how about your worst homemaking fail?
You know, when I looked at these questions, Allison I could not I told my husband what was my worst homemaking and I couldn't think of one thing I think when for me failing was just allowing my emotions to take over because I didn't really handle the events of the day. Well yeah, if I if I've lost my temper with my kids are my husband. Yeah, that would that's a fail for me. Yeah. So So pinpointing it to one moment of no unfortunately there were been many moments, you know, that I would learn along the way. So
that's good. Good answer. Good answer. Well, how about a memorable homemaking achievement?
So a homemaking achievement that I did remember and because I chose to be a stay at home mom and we we were living off of a football teacher football coach's salary which wasn't a lot but I was determined to make it happen I grew up in a family where my mom was at home and we didn't have a lot either and it was really through that experience that I learned a lot you know even as a teenager I learned how to make my own clothes and so so we had a season you know, at the time I think we only had two kids I was pregnant probably with with our youngest and I Something must have come up some one of those major home repairs or something Something came up that because my husband only got paid once a month and that took those funds that that we needed these funds and it left us with $50 for two weeks oh wow for gas or groceries anything goodness and I'm like Lord Okay, we can do this I can do this so I we made it in two weeks time we we didn't have to borrow I never borrowed money from my parents ever never add we never asked for help and we made it and that was a huge for me a personal accomplishment but I will have to tell you there's something kind of fun about that and it's not a season that you want to live in all the time but we've been there my husband and I we were eating out recently said remember how this used to be such a hard time for us eating out and looking at everything very closely on the menu and he said we don't have to do that and I'm like I know it's very freeing but you don't ever forget where you've been that's when you know you can do it and that's what I told him because if something ever happened I know we can do that and it it happened I brought up that memory you know we we made it on $50 for two weeks How did you get paid How did
you do that? Can you remember some of the things you did to sort of make it through that time period Yeah,
so you of course you take your calculator now you have it on your phone to the store with you but you and you learn to look in your pantry and see what's there might be surprised at what you can actually make that you've already got in your pantry Yeah, and use what you have and you don't have to go out and buy always because sometimes and now with the tools of the internet I mean you can put in your ingredients and it'll give you a recipe yeah you know and so it's pretty cool but using what we had and then just finding low costs things to fix. breakfast first dinner is is cheaper cheap eggs you know? Are chalupas using beans and cannery fried beans, you know in corn tortillas and things like that. I mean you find you can find Low Cost menus and in basically it was just making it happen but like I said sometimes even when those kind of interruptions come and you know you've got your backs up against the wall I'm like okay, I'm gonna make we're going to do this yeah, we're gonna make it happen
and that is a great accomplish very good achievement. Well let's hear your top three homemaking tips
Okay, top three I think I gave one about the laundry. Yeah, don't don't overfill your laundry never fail I have for many reasons because your clothes, they come out nicer. So your work is really less and then and and the loads less so
yeah, and it's less energy. It's like, especially with the dryer. It doesn't have to work so hard. Yes, cram it full clothes, it's gonna have to go that much longer to get those clothes dry so
right, so it goes faster. Another homemaking tip. Um, one thing I learned along the way making a pot of rice a lot of people are afraid of rice because it sticks Yeah, there is a tip that when you're cooking your rice and you check it and it's done but you notice it on the bottom it's all stuck to the pan. It doesn't have to stay stuck to the pan the only thing you have to do is put the lid on it. Put the lid put a lid on it walk away for about five to 10 minutes probably closer to 10 minutes and when you take that lid off all that rice that was on the bottom has loosened up something about the steam that pressure loosens all that up and it works every time and you're not discouraged like man I love rice but it always has this like an inch layer on the bottom that just sticks in it will totally loosen up from the pan so so you're
done cooking the rice you take it off the heat, set it off on a trivet or something and put the lid on and let it steam there for five minutes or so per 10 minutes. Okay, yeah, good tip.
Yeah, and you don't even have to set it on a trivet you can just have on your stove and put the lid on and walk away make sure yeah make sure make sure the heat is off
yes got it because the steam the heat in there will help release it from the pan. Good to know Yeah, and that has been a game changer for me over the years yeah. And not so discouraging. Let's see a third tip I would say probably where I said earlier just start early Do what you can early because you never know what the day is going to bring in just those few minutes of time that you took earlier in the day will be you'll be so glad you did. Absolutely yeah like you said your future self thinks your past self right. I love that Exactly.
Okay, those are great tips. Thank you. Okay, so we're going to end our time reflecting on the art of home okay. How do you see homemaking as an art?
Unknown Speaker 58:07
hmm I like you know now I'm guilty of I'm not my mom was one of those that would and I admire that she would change a room around change the way it was set up when we were younger I would see her doing that and I'm thinking on it so cool I love how you move the couch over here you know did that and I've known people who would have do that I'm kind of once it's there it stays there and and so but I do love creating a palette of art and pleasing things that have kind of that may change his Id like to have you know fresh flowers when I can I do have my go to vases that I use it just kind of live there. And I tend to buy the cheaper ones that last for two weeks. You know the those that are have a long life in your vase and so not having to replenish so often. And basically just creating a palette of a beauty but simplicity of learning to be simple. Learning to be simple. And and I like that.
Yeah. Well how can we find beauty in homemaking, when a lot of what we do is not really beautiful and it can be mundane and you know it can be monotonous work or sort of ugly work. Where can we find beauty in that?
Well, one thing because I'm guilty of comparing myself to people and feeling like I don't measure up and And there's even to the point like, and I'm, I'm a fan of all those shows, you know, fixer upper shows Yes, and, and on like, Wow, that's so cool. And then you look around at your space and like, Wow, my house is so dated. And people wouldn't totally want to come in and redo everything that I've done. I'm so obsolete and but I'm not changing. It's who I am in this is reflection of who I am. So and I'm comfortable with that. And but I've had to kind of shut those voices off and realize I'm not going to be that person or pleased that I don't know, demographic or whatever. I just need to be comfortable with what makes me feel happy in my home. And in as far as the mundane things that we find that are boring. I have I recently read a book by Jay and Katherine Wolf called Suffer Strong. And for me, when I saw it, my one of my daughters recommended it to me. But of course, when you look at the woman on there, Katherine, she's paralyzed, and her face looks like mine. And my face is paralyzed from my cancer on the right side. So of course, I was drawn to that. But I've been drawn to their ministry, they have a ministry called Hope Heals. But in their book, Jay, he was writing a chapter where he shared a quote, and I loved it. And it's just called see striving for what you want. But learn to love. Wait, what must be done, learn to love what must be done. So just like through those seasons of homemaking, right, you can learn to love washing dishes or learn to love laundry, and he talks about a segment on laundry in that chapter because his life changed drastically. And he is now doing the laundry for for his family and his boys and in just how he looks at each piece when he's handling it carefully and just in it with different eyes, because he can find it as a drudgery. Yeah, and we all can write because it repeats every single day, you know, the dishes are always there, or you know, weekly things. So I love that I embrace that that cease striving for what you want. And for all of us what we want could be something totally different. We know what it is that maybe our hearts longed for. But learn to love what must be done and in to find beauty and joy in that. And I think it's just learning to find contentment in Where are you planted. So
that's really great advice. Really good. Well, what word of advice would you give to a young homemaker who might be listening today?
What I often hear and I see with young homemakers is they kind of want what we have is seasoned homemakers. But they don't realize that it took us a long time to get there. Yeah. And in some of it can be material things that they they want that nice home. But you and I talked about that in the beginning, we both lived in a single wide trailer early in our marriage, we were young, we are expatiate, our expectations weren't set too high. And, and so I would say don't set your expectation so high that you can't even live there, you know that you're both striving so hard to have a habit, habit all that you can't really enjoy it. And so because you look at those around you, and maybe older, they didn't have it either when they were starting out at all, and probably even whole lot less than you. And so be content with what you have and learn that in time. You enjoy that season that you're in, in in time those things those other things will come. They will come but don't. Don't get in a hurry trying to, to, you know, have the American Dream set before you right within your first two years of marriage.