Making do

Homemade Laundry Soap
1 bar Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castille Soap
4 gallons warm water
1/2 c borax flakes
2 Tb vanilla extract

Bring four cups of water to a rolling boil. Grate soap bar using a box grater and add to water with vanilla extract. Stir until dissolved. Pour into 5 gallon bucket with rest of warm water. Add borax flakes. Let stand for 24 hours, then place in buckets or laundry soap containers you have saved. Safe for septic systems and low-sudsing, so works wonderfully as a high-efficiency washer detergent.

In the glint of the suds, I see the miracle of clean water and pure soap all mixed together in a fragrant slurry that will bring me a thousand small pleasures in the weeks to come. It is a savings of about $24, this one batch of soap. $24 more towards bringing a child home, or buying supplies for an orphanage, or sending something to someone hungry. I recently read the story of a missionary that reminded me very much of my early 20's. It is hard, sometimes, to not feel sidetracked by what has happened in the intervening years. Even that phrase - intervening years - reflects my heart, this feeling of what if I missed my calling, what if it was a clinic and orphanage in Honduras, what if I'm not supposed to be resting today in a pleasant farmhouse full of healthy, well-fed children in the country?

He whispers: Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these?" For it is not wise to ask such questions (Ecclesiastes 7:10). There's no going back, except perhaps in the future, with a slew of my own children in tow. As I stir my soap, the questions rise up like foam. Questions upon questions, mostly without answers. I don't know why I'm here, in this culture, in this house, with these children. Except that I am sure God put me here for a purpose. Is that purpose a wonderful group of needy orphans to care for and love within my own borders? A mission field far off that needs my money? A mission field that needs my skills? A nursing school to build in a third-world country?

My own "needs" seem overwhelming: the federal budget cutbacks have meant less funding for school this year - to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. I'm not sure at the moment how I'll make up the difference. This little bit of information put it in perspective: based on annual salary, I am in the top 0.87% of the worlds wealthy.

Here's hoping that means I can afford school for the last 2 semesters!