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A Life At Home



A Place to Encourage Women as They Discover the Blessings of a Life at Home



Updated: 2018-03-06T02:00:44.902-06:00

 



The End Of Me

2013-05-01T13:44:36.878-05:00

I am a person who likes to fix everything and everyone. Lots of us are like that. As soon as one problem comes up I am coming up with different scenarios to fix it.I have had, in the past, a plan A, B, C… Of course, God has always been my plan A, BUT if He didn’t come through I always had my other plans in place so I could go to if I needed. I did not rest until it was all settled.There really hasn’t been many times in my life that I couldn’t fix what was brokenand make it right again.I was super woman…super mom…placed on this pedestal for all to be amazed at.On the outside at least.But I was so broken on the inside and I didn’t even know it. I thought I was fixing myself.That is until God brought me to a place where He humbled me. He brought me to a place so broken where I depended on Him for every beat of my heart. No matter how much I wanted to, I couldn’t will my heart to beat. This was something I just could not fix. I had to depend on Him for my life.I remember telling God,when my heartbeat was 28 and I could literally feel my life leaving my body; that I couldn’t fix myself this time. That He would have to come through for me. There was no plan B or C, but I knew He could heal me if it was His will. You know what He said to me? All I heard was one word,“Finally!”In the Bible it says:We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And He did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us.2 Corinthians 1:8-10I had come to the end of myself.It is that place where you know God has to intervene.There is nothing that you can do.You cannot rely on yourself, you have to rely on God.He brings us to that place of total dependence and brokenness and that’s when He takes those broken pieces of our lives and redeems them,to make them something good. It’s when He can come in and change us and then we can go outand share what God has done in us.God cannot multiply until something is broken!He shows up right at that moment of the impossible.Where we can’t fix it, where we can’t change ourselves,where we can’t clean up the mess we’ve made and makes it all right. This is so He gets the glory. So we realize that it is God who did it, and not anyone else. That place where we aren’t working so hard, striving, begging to make things right in our life. Where we aren’t wrestling every day to change ourselves. It’s when we surrender and say, “God, I can’t do this. I can’t change myself.I can’t make this happen, but you can. I don’t know where I’m going, but you do!”In my circumstance I needed God to save my mortal body and my inner self. For you, maybe it’s something you’ve wanted to change but just haven’t been able to overcome. Maybe it’s a promise God has spoken to you that hasn’t come to pass yet.You are trying to figure out how to make it happen.Maybe you’re trying to figure out what’s the next step to take in your life?The Bible says:Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4The Hebrew meaning for delight actually means to be dependent on God and to derive one’s pleasure from Him.It is at that point, when we depend on God, that He gives us the desires of our heart.The desire to change, to let it go and let God do it.Our desire is Him, and it’s what He gives us.It is He who does the changing. It is He who brings those things in our lives that He has promised.It is He who guides us and gives us direction.So, I encourage you today, to come to the end of yourself.-Teresa[...]



Who's The Boss?

2013-04-01T16:33:37.813-05:00

Who’s The Boss?Matthew 26:36-46 paints for us a picture of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane just hours before his arrest, which led to His death on the cross.This is a beautiful story of how Jesus’ love for us and His submission to the will of His Father led to salvation for all mankind. In verse 39 it says that Jesus prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Thank God he submitted to God’s will. It is so easy for us to think of Jesus as our savior, but He is much more than that. Yes, He came to save us, but He is also our Lord! That means He is our master or our supreme authority. Can we say to Him, “I want your will to be done, not mine?”Every day we are in a battle. We will never win if we don’t submit to our Lord. If you’re anything like me, you do a pretty good job of making a mess of things when you depend on yourself. God wants us to entrust our lives to Him. To submit ourselves to God we have to have faith and trust Him that He is good and has our best interest at heart. He is sovereign; that means He has everything under control. He knows all and sees all. He is not a hands off God who leaves us on our own. Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares for you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.1 Peter 5:7-9He cares for you, that’s why He wants you to submit to His authority. Not because He wants to make you miserable. Not because He is a tyrant. It’s because when you let things go and give them to God he can take them and make them good. He can redeem them. He can change you and bless you beyond all you can imagine. I'd like to end by saying this, “Understanding authority is a great display of faith.” To submit to authority requires faith in that person. Do you trust Him enough to give up the control you've held onto? Do you trust him to take care of you? To guide your footsteps?Remember this, He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:29-31[...]



Lord, send me...

2013-01-15T17:20:45.033-06:00

  I remember as a little girl, somewhere about seven or eight, waking up in the middle of the night. Instead of waking up my parents I turned on the TV. They didn't have all night cartoons back then so I just watched what was on. It was a program about children in different areas of the world who were sick and literally starving to death. I remember just crying and crying until I fell asleep on the couch. I had never seen anything like that before. The next morning I talked to my parents about what I had seen. They tried their best to explain what is difficult for even an adult, but it just haunted me. It was at that point that I decided that I was going to be a doctor in one of those places I had seen and help those children.Once I gave my heart to the Lord I just knew that I would be a missionary in some remote village. God actually told me that He had called me to missions. I began preparing. In high school I took all the courses I would need that would help me in college to become a doctor or a nurse. I got married, but I still went to college and became an RN. My heart was for foreign missions. I never had another plan or goal, but God did.It’s funny how we have our lives so planned out, but God has something completely different for us. Fast forward to today. I have been married almost 20 years and have 8 wonderful children. I never did go to that remote village. In fact, until last month I had never even been on a plane. There is something that God showed me though. It was in one of those times where I thought I would never be used by Him. I was just taking care of children and my home.He showed me that I am a missionary. My mission field has been in my home, my church, and my community. I have been discipling my children and serving where I can.We are all called to missions. Some of us will go across the world and others will stay here, but we all do our part. Nothing is more important than doing what God has called you to at this time. Being a momma and discipling my children is no less important than traveling to that village to save those children. Even in learning to be content in what God has called me to be, I have never lost the hope that one day He would let me go. That He would send me. I am happy to say, that last month I was able to go. I traveled with a group of women to Romania to minister at a women's conference. It is a dream that was almost forgotten, but God didn't forget. It is a dream I tucked away in a little corner of my private thoughts never really thinking that it would be possible now that I am a mother of many. I can just see the smile on His face when He was preparing this trip for me.Be content where God has you, but know that God has placed those dreams in you. I know that I am whole heartily praying that He will allow me to go back one day very soon! - Teresa[...]



God's Loving Provision

2012-11-07T11:47:30.678-06:00

I was having a conversation with my neighbor on the topic of how my husband and I make ends meet. She couldn't understand how we could raise such a large family on one income with the economy like it is. She was having a hard time just feeding herself so she just didn't think it was possible.I'm actually used to questions like these because we do have such a large family, so my first thought in how to answer her question was a step by step, detailed list of how we do things now, and how we always prepare for tight times. As I opened my mouth to tell her some of those things, God reminded me of the many times Hehas provided for us.Like the time I had been praying to be able to quit my job. We couldn't afford to live on just Scott's income so I prayed and prayed. Right before I was due to go back to my job after maternity leave, Scott was offered a 50% raise. Needless to say, I went in and gave my notice.Another time, a few years later Scott's company had massive layoffs. God had prepared us that entire year for what we knew would be his last there. We didn't even know about the upcoming cuts, but God did!I could keep going because time and time again God has provided for us. Yes, even through a layoff with seven children at home, God provided.As I am rattling off my standard answers to my neighbor, that still small voice reminds me of how we have to trust Him first. Scriptures start coming to my mind:"Don't love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.Hebrews 13:5"Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you."Deuteronomy 31:8 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for todayMatthew 6:25-34While God wants us to be good stewards and prepare for the seasons ahead, He also wants us to know that it is He who really provides for us. It is Him who should get all the glory. Yes, we prepare, but it is Him who is Jehovah Jireh.That day I was able to give a testimony to my neighbor of the faithfulness of God in how He had taken care of us. I know that in the years many trials have come our way. God has been faithful every single time. Whether it is from Scott getting extra work, people bringing over clothes, or God teaching me how to be frugal, we have always had enough.So, while we plan and while we learn to be better stewards of the money God has entrusted to us, let us not forget of God's provision. He tells us to trust Him and not worry, but to seek Him first. He demonstrates His love for us time and time again by taking care of us no matter what comes our way.What are some ways you’ve seen the hand of God’s provision in your life? Let’s share of God’s goodness today because I know there are some that could use the encouragement while they are s[...]



Suffering and God's Grace through it all

2012-10-24T09:53:30.192-05:00

 I am reading Ann Voskamp's book, "One Thousand Gifts" with the ladies of my church. You can read our blog here. I was in charge of writing on chapter 5 of the book. It was so good I thought I should share it here. To be honest, this was a hard chapter. Reading on grace, suffering in the world, and God’s goodness in all of it reminded me of how I’d struggled with this very thing for so long. I surely don’t have all the answers, but I'd like to discuss a little of what I've learned along the way. As I write this, my mind goes directly to a story in the book of the author's son, Levi, breaking his finger in a fan accident. He needed surgery but would recover. It could have been so much worse, but as her mom said, that by“God’s grace”, it wasn’t. At the same time as Levi’s accident there is a Mennonite family that loses their 13 year old son in a farming accident.I have my own story, as a nurse, when I worked in the NICU. Amanda had triplets that were 24 weeks. They tried for ten years to have babies. I am working fervently to save her little boy. She had already lost her only girl earlier in the week, so I prayed and worked for hours only to have him die too. Before she goes to hold him for the last time she throws herself on me and cries out to God in anguish, “God, please, can’t I just have one baby?! Please don’t take them all!” I look at her one surviving son and pray the same thing myself. At that moment I feel my own baby kicking in my womb. She would be our fourth baby.What is God’s grace? Was it God’s grace that Levi was fine and that even though I ended up with 16 weeks of bed-rest, I had a healthy baby girl? What then of that Mennonite family and Amanda, who had just lost two out of three of her children? Was God’s grace not on them as well? Is God’s grace only the good that happens in our lives? What are the other moments then?Curses?Many times people struggle to make sense out of things like this. Many become angry and bitter. As Christians it is tricky because we know God loves us and we love Him, but still the questions are there. “Why, God, can’t everybody be healed? Why is there so much pain? Why, God, why?”What if our perspective is wrong? Ann says perspective is how we see things with our eyes. On our own, how we see things are very dim. We are in darkness, actually.The Word of God is a lens that puts our perspective right. Without God’s Word as a lens, the world warps. We have to always turn to God and His word to see things how God does. “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!” Matthew 6:22-23Listen to the words of Job, “…should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” Job 2:10While everyone can easily ask for and accept the good, can we accept the bad as Job did? While no one is eager to suffer, we as Christians have the promise that, “God works all things together for the good of those who love Him…” Romans 8:28 God uses those dark moments of pain to birth something new. Just as we labor in pain and suffering during childbirth to bring forth a new life. Can we trust God, that He loves us so much that he labors with us to birth grief into greater grace? Ann calls this processugly-beautiful. That which is perceived as ugly transfigures into beautiful. The dark can give birth to life; suffering can deliver grace. The God of the Mount of Transfiguration cannot cease His work of transfiguring moments- making all that is dark, evil, and empty into that which is all light, grace, and full. Amanda did take that last baby home. His name was Jonathon which means “God has given” or “Gift of God”. How fitting as God took her pain [...]



Battle Scars

2012-10-12T18:07:24.619-05:00

 Another extra thump in my chest, again, and again. Pins and needles shoot through my body and I start to feel dizzy. Fear paralyzes me as I crumple to the ground.“Not more of them, God! Why can’t you just take them away? I hate this, this feeling that my heart could just stop beating at any moment! I just want to move on and forget what happened to me.” I yell at God, alone in my bathroom that morning.I say this as my thoughts travel once again to that day. My body so swollen that I am almost unrecognizable. My one week old baby lying next to me asleep. My husband sitting next to my hospital bed, his face ashen, his eyes filled with the fear he would never express in words, as we watch the monitor. My heart rate is slowly dropping 35………………32………………….28.I know I am close to death. I can feel it. I can feel the life slowly draining from my body. I try, but I cannot will my heart to beat. I have no choice, with each long pause between beats, to depend on God. To trust Him that He will keep my heart beating. To trust that He will take care of my family should it stop. It is at that moment of remembering, yet again, that God speaks to me. “Those palpitations are battle scars. You have done battle and were wounded, but you are healed. What’s left are just the scars and they will fade over time. The scars you bear help you remember where you have been, what I have done and brought you through.”You see, I was looking at my palpitations the wrong way. I thought they were a curse, but they were a blessing. My doctor had even told me they were benign, that my heart was just sensitive from the insult to it. They were evidence that I was alive and healed. I am a nurse so God will often show me spiritual truths using our physical bodies as an example. This is a little of what He showed me about wounds. The physical healing of a wound is a process. It heals from the inside out and forms a scab. Once that scab falls off it leaves a scar. It is a process that takes time. Spiritually and emotionally our healing is a process too, a process that truthfully, many of us don’t want to walk through, but God wants us to walk through it with Him. We have all done battle. For some of us it is a physical battle, for others it is inside where no one can see, but God can. He wants us to turn to Him, broken, but completely dependent on Him. Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28He wants us to learn to trust Him as He walks with us, as He heals our wounds. It is all a part of the process. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you. Psalm 9:10Last night, at our  church's women event, Night Of Pink, as we were honoring those who had battled breast cancer, my mind once again went back to my own scars and what God had shown me. Once the wound has healed and all that’s left is the scar, the skin where the scar is, is sensitive to the touch but eventually becomes stronger than before. Stronger, but never the same. Spiritually I was walking defeated, paralyzed with fear and anxiety, but all along God had set me free. I just had the scar. The scar that I thought brought me down and kept me in that wounded place, but really brought me power. Power to live fully, knowing that death did not claim me. Thankful for God’s mercy and faithfulness!You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. Psalm 30:11 I’ll end by sharing a piece of a song by Point of Grace.“Heal the wound, but leave the scarA reminder of how merciful you areI am broken, torn apart, Take the pieces of my heart andHeal the wound but leave the scar” -Teresa[...]



He Withholds No Good Thing

2012-10-01T09:55:21.931-05:00

For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.Psalm 84:11The Lord is our sun-He is our light and comfort in a dark world. He will guide us and lead us in the direction that we should go.The Lord directs the steps of the Godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.Psalm 37:23And our shield-He is our protector. He guards and defends us. He will be our shelter when we need. I once read that God's protection is like a screen. Anything that gets to us has to go through that screen. Much like a windshield protects us if a rock hits it. That windshield blocks that rock from hitting us and instead takes the hit for us.How comforting to know that God takes the hard hits and anything that gets to me has had to go through Him first.He gives us grace-Grace is the unmerited favor of God. Through His love for us, when we accept Him as our Lord, we have become justified in His eyes. Grace is also the empowerment we receive from God to live out our lives as Christians, to do what He has called us to do. No matter what it is.And glory-To give us glory means that God gives us honor and distinction. He boasts on us. When we think of glory usually we think about giving glory to God. Here it says He gives it to us. How humbling to know that the God of the universe gives me honor and distinction.He withholds no good thing-How many times have we felt that God withholds from us? That He keeps good things from us to punish us? Satan started this lie long ago in the Garden of Eden. He deceived Eve into thinking that God was withholding knowledge from her, even though He was trying to protect her. He still does the same thing today by trying to make us believe that God holds back His blessings and good gifts from us. We may not always understand what God is doing or why He is doing it, but know that He is doing good in us and for us. Like this picture says below, It brings me great comfort to know that God leads me and protects me as I go through life. It humbles me to know that He has given me favor and honor. That He withholds NO good thing from me.God doesn't promise these things to everyone though. The last part of this scripture says that God gives these things to those who do what is right. Righteousness is synonymous with holiness.As we live holy lives we can stand confidently on these promises of God.I wrote this post over at our women's ministry blog. http://www.joliblog.org/ I am writing over there again today on Battle Scars. Stop by and read it if you can. [...]



Kindness, it does the body good

2012-04-30T09:45:11.077-05:00

I found this tucked away in my notes and I thought I'd share it. It has long been well known that showing kindness to others promotes a healthy sense of well being. It just makes you feel good. The Bible tells us over and over to show kindness and love to one another. Here are just two scriptures that come to my mind.12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.~Colossians 3:1232 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.~Ephesians 4:32As I was searching the internet I found this little jem that caught my eye. It was a small paragraph summarizing the physical benefits of kindness in our bodies. Being that I have a medical background it makes me happy and I am amazed everytime I see how following God's ways are not only good for us spiritually; but mentally and physically also. This is what I read: "The positive effect of kindness on the immune system and on the increased production of serotonin in the brain has been proven in research studies. Serotonin is a naturally occurring substance in the body that makes us feel more comfortable, peaceful, and even blissful. In fact, the role of most anti-depressants is to stimulate the production of serotonin chemically, helping to ease depression. Research has shown that a simple act of kindness directed toward another improves the functioning of the immune system and stimulates the production of serotonin in both the recipient of the kindness and the person extending the kindness. Even more amazing is that persons observing the act of kindness have similar beneficial results. Imagine this! Kindness extended, received, or observed beneficially impacts the physical health and feelings of everyone involved!" I challenge you today to be kind to others. Help someone. Not only will the world be a better place because of it, but it will make you a healthier person; spiritually, mentally, and physically.[...]



Love Your Life

2012-04-26T08:51:23.724-05:00

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I love this. Y'all, we were created for a purpose. It's not just to muddle through life the best we can. Love the life you have, love the people in your life. Live life to its fullest! Take time to savor it.

That's all for today, folks.



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So I Don't Forget

2012-04-10T10:34:42.615-05:00


I have so much to write about the many things God has been showing me. I want to get it all written down before I start to forget. Don't we do that? God shows us something amazing and we end up forgetting. How many times do I wish I could remember everything He has shown me. I know sometimes something will remind me of a truth I was shown in the past, but as a whole I forget most of the things. Really, I was only encouraged in that moment instead of being able to read back and have my faith built up again and again.

At my family BBQ this weekend my brother-in-law and I were talking about this very thing. He had a little book that he started keeping to jott things down that he needed to do. What really struck me is that the cover said "Field Journal."

A field journal, in case you didn't know, is a diary of sorts that scientists write down and even sketch their observations in the field. It is for accurate record keeping. When I was researching field journals, one place said that used over the years and you will be able to see patterns in nature. That got me thinking. I wonder if we did that in our own lives if we would be able to see patterns too. If we accurately recorded everything God has shown us if we would be able to see a pattern of who God is, His very nature. If we would see a pattern of feeling and seeing God all around us, speaking to us in the good times and especially the hard times. If we would see the pattern of God gently leading us down the paths of our life.

I have kept a journal of sorts for many years, but it has really been for noting my feelings as I walk through something. I now carry a small "field journal" with me to capture even the smallest details God shows me. Including my feelings as I think about Him and His creation. I stand in awe of God and who He is.

Already I can see how much of an impact it is making and who knows where it may lead. I might have a small inkling though. Try it and see if it doesn't encourage you!

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A Different Direction

2012-04-09T14:24:02.200-05:00

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I haven't sat down to blog for a long time now. It's really not for a lack of trying. I have sat down so many times and attempted to write again, but I just couldn't. I have often wondered why. In the end, I just had to assume that blogging wasn't for the season I was in. I was to be busy with my family and home.

I finally feel a small ok with blogging again, but not in the same way I was. So, if you would please bear with me as my blog takes a 180 and goes in a completely different direction? I still love saving money and I still have dreams of owning a ton of land out in the middle of nowhere. I am still that person but I'd just like to use this little blog to write out some of the things God has shown me and where He is leading me. This will be my online journal of the journey I am on. God only knows what that will lead me to write! If you know me well, you know this should be fun.

A little P.S. Please do not feel like you can't drop me an email with a question. I still get them and I love to answer when I can!


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Make your own laundry detergent in less than 10 minutes

2010-02-28T09:50:59.069-06:00

I originally posted this in 2008, but thought that I would revisit this little gem since it is time for me to make more detergent. This is a tutorial on how to make the powdered version of laundry soap. I hope to be able to put up pictures of how to make the liquid kind later on today. I prefer the liquid since it lasts longer in this house, but I will whip up a small batch of powdered if I'm in a pinch. No more running to the store just to pick up detergent so I can conquer Mt. Laundry.This is another one of those things that I would have never thought I could do until I saw it on a website I visited. It looked really easy and inexpensive. If it's easy and cheap and works well, then I'm all for it.I have seen a few laundry detergent tutorials out there, but none for the powdered version. My girls are the one who really wanted to do this tutorial. This was their first time making detergent. They were 14 and 12 at the time. So, as you can see, it is so simple that even a child could do it.To start with you'll need 3 ingredients:Borax - 1 cupWashing Soda - 1 cupA laundry soap bar--->Fels Naptha or Zote - 1 cupMany people have said that they have had a hard time finding the washing soda or the Fels Naptha. The easiest way to find Fels Naptha is to go to this website. Under brand you click on laundry care and under item click on Fels Naptha. Then you can type in your zip code. It will tell you all of the stores around you that carry it. To find the washing soda call this number. 1-800-524-1328. It is a recording that will give you a list of stores that carry washing soda in your area. What to do:1. Measure out 1 cup of Borax and put into a bowl2. Measure out 1 cup of washing soda and put into a bowl3. Grate 1 cup of the soap bar. Add to bowl with Borax and washing soda. I am using Zote this time. I usually use Fels Naptha, but found this at my Super Target and thought I would try it.4. Mix well5. Put in storage container---> In this case we are using an old cool whip container6. Use 1 Tbsp per load.That's it. It's as easy as that. It only cost me pennies per load. A very frugal alternative to store bought detergent. It works well too. If I have a really dirty load I will up the amount I use by a small amount. I know that people use Oxyclean also. Have you made your own laundry detergent? What did you think?Pictures of making this version later!Liquid Detergent:Washing soda 1/2 cupBorax 1/2 cupBar of laundry soap 1/2 bar (Fels Naptha or Zote)Bucket4 cups of hot water in large bowlDirections:Grate soap and put in a large saucepan. Add 6 cups water and heat until soap melts. About 15-20 minutes. Add washing soda and borax. Stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour the 4 cups of really hot water into your bucket. Add soap mixture and stir. Next, add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let soap sit for 24 hours before using so that it gels. Use 1/2 cup per load. If you are using a front loader use less than this. Now, sometimes I add just a tad more soda and borax than the recipe calls for. In the summer is when I do this more as the children get dirtier. I put mine in a 2 gallon bucket with a lid. It fits on my shelf better. One more thing. As the detergent is gelling overnight, we take a hand immersion blender or my husband takes his drill with a paint stirrer attachment and will mix it up a few times. I find it just holds together better. Now, it will separate sometimes, but just mix it up before you use it![...]



Tomorrow is the day

2010-02-26T21:10:26.167-06:00

We are so excited because by tomorrow afternoon we will have 42 fresh chickens in my freezer. It's hard work, but there is nothing better than fresh, homegrown chicken!

We will take a break for a few weeks and then start one more small batch once the weather warms up just a bit so that they can eat lots of green grass and bugs. What's even better is that this batch is not for us. We are giving others the chance to experience just what we've been enjoying for awhile now.


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Planning, seed starting, and working in the garden

2010-02-28T08:55:07.113-06:00

Our vegetable garden area after sitting all winter. Notice the green onions coming up in one of my herbs pot that I had growing until just last month. We will be expanding on the other side of the compost bin. For the past few weeks we have debated whether we wanted to get our garden up and running again. It was not because it is too much work or that we don't have the time. It's just that we plan on selling our house sometime next year, so we thought that maybe we ought to spread the dirt through the yard and let the grass grow back.We decided to go ahead and plant through the summer, but not in the fall. Down here, you can almost have a year round garden. After all was said and done, we made the decision to actually plant more. That means we need to put in another bed. We started using the Lasagna Gardening method last year and it was wonderful. Our garden produced so much in such a small space. We're hoping that it will be just as bountiful, if not more, this year. Our thought is to preserve and freeze as much as we possibly can in case we cannot put another garden in next year. The price of vegetables are skyrocketing and are so low in quality when compared with what we grow. For that reason alone we knew we could not skip this year.So, last week we got to planning and starting our seeds. Then, this weekend, in one of the outside beds, we put onions, spinach, lettuce, radishes, and a few carrots just for fun. It is a little on the late side for spinach here, but we have had an unseasonably cold winter for so far south. We are actually forecasted to get snow again tomorrow night! Even if it warms up quickly, I should still get enough to freeze a few bags.The first two years we had our garden we would go down to the local garden center and buy our plants. We now use as many seeds as we can in our garden. It cost as much to buy one tomato plant as it does for a seed packet. One seed packet is more than enough for our family for the year. Being the frugal person I am, I now start as many plants from seed as I can. There are other reasons, besides saving money, that I like to start with seeds. Like being able to buy organic, heirloom seeds that are GMO free, but that's another post for another day.We still have so much to learn, but every year we take away something. I encourage everyone I can to at least plant a small garden. Anyone can do it. What a great way to involve the children and do something together as a family. How rewarding it is to sit down together and eat the food that you all grew.I've have a few people around here ask me to share what we've learned on how to start a garden using the lasagna method and start seeds. When we put that bed in next week we hope to snap lots of pictures and maybe do a picture tutorial. Have a blessed day![...]



Baking Day (part 2)

2010-02-18T14:55:09.595-06:00

After a quick cleanup of the morning mess and a nice lunch we got back to work making our sweeter items. Mainly things that didn't need time to rise. I didn't get nearly the amount of pictures in the afternoon because my photographer wanted to cook instead, but here are a few we managed to get.

We made a double batch of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, a double batch of apple cinnamon muffins, a loaf of banana bread (that was part of Faith's 4-H project book), packed 10 cups of homemade chicken broth that I had simmering all night in the crock pot, cooked up some ground beef and packaged it, fed my sourdough starter, started another 2 jars of buttermilk, and finally started a batch of crock pot yogurt.

Here are the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. My daughters made them for the first time, (usually I do it). They were great!

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Here I am feeding my sourdough starter. It is 6 months old now and is really healthy.

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Finally, the finished result. We did not get a picture of the apple cinnamon muffins in here because they were still in the oven and the beef which was browning at the time. Also missing are the 2 jars of buttermilk, which were put away in the cabinet to do their thing overnight.

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One final picture of most of what we did.

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Baking day (part 1)

2010-02-18T08:55:59.455-06:00

Well, baking day was a success! We are some tired gals I tell ya. We took lots of pictures, but they will have to wait till tomorrow because we are going to put our feet up and have a big glass of sweet tea.Here are the promised pictures of what we did in the morning before lunch. We made 2 loaves of honey wheat bread, one loaf of sourdough bread, a double batch of waffles and a triple batch of pancakes.I first started making by making 2 loaves of honey wheat bread.I do it all by hand. For a long time i've wanted a Bosch mixer, but God showed me something. Every time I knead my bread I am either praying or singing worship songs. It is just one of the ways I take moments to spend with the Lord in my day. So now I love kneading my bread by hand. It is very calming and satisfying to me.My daughter loves this picture that she took of me adding more flour while kneading.The final product, after kneading and ready to rise.After the first rise.Here is me kneading my sourdough bread. It is a quick rise white sourdough. I don't usually do a white sourdough, but we wanted something like a hearty french bread to eat with our stew. It was delicious!As you can see, it's not a true white since my starter is made with wheat and spelt flour.Isn't it pretty when it's risen?Second rise done and ready to be put into the oven. We didn't get pictures of the final breads until the shot of all that we did.Here are two of my lovely helpers that are making the whole wheat buttermilk pancakes. That is my own cultured buttermilk that I make.Starting the whole wheat buttermilk waffles.Part two will come this afternoon. It's time for our school day to begin. Hope you enjoy a glimpse into our kitchen.[...]



Weekly Menu:

2010-02-28T08:51:45.768-06:00

Weekly Menu Plan:

Back in the day when I used to blog pretty regularly I participated in Menu Planning Monday. I have actually had quite a few people over the last year or so ask if I would ever put my menus with the cost up again. So, here is my menu that was right at $95.00. (Lisa, if you see this, this is for you!)

Breakfast:
Monday:
Waffles and fruit
Tuesday: Baked oatmeal
Wednesday: Muffins and sausage
Thursday: Eggs and biscuits or Baked french toast made with homemade whole wheat sourdough
Friday: Pancakes and fruit
Saturday: Eggs, hash browns, and a meat
Sunday: Country ham and gravy over biscuits

Lunch:
Monday:
Homemade piggies in a blanket and a veggie
Tuesday: Sandwiches and a veggie
Wednesday: Homemade macaroni and cheese, carrots sticks and sliced apples
Thursday: sandwiches and fruit
Friday: Baked sweet potatoes and broccoli cheese soup
Sat and Sun: We either eat leftovers, or a salad, or sandwiches

Snacks:
Monday:
Banana bread
Tuesday: Fruit
Wednesday: Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins
Thursday: Veggie and cheese tray
Friday: Tortilla wraps---> Filled with peanut butter, banana, and/or honey

Monday:
Crockpot chicken
Carrots, celery, onions
Sweet potato casserole
Garlic bread

Tuesday:
Beef stew
Homemade sourdough bread

Wednesday:
3-cheese baked spaghetti
Salad
Garlic bread

Thursday:
Chicken and stuffing
Corn
Salad
Pumpkin rolls

Friday:
Homemade pepperoni and cheese pizza
Homemade bread sticks

Saturday:
Tatertot casserole
Green Beans
Salad

Sunday:
Baked ham
Mashed potatoes
Broccoli and cheese sauce
Dinner rolls

Tomorrow we are having a baking day. The schools are out for Mardi Gras, so I figured the kids could have a day off too. Hopefully we'll get lots of pictures up. My oldest is begging to put her new camera to good use.

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My Take on the Movie: Food, Inc. (part 1)

2010-02-14T18:25:32.320-06:00

There has been quite a bit of talk about the movie: Food, Inc. lately. Even in some of the most unlikely circles that I run in. Since our family is on a quest to live a more agrarian life in the near future, a few have assumed that we have been influenced, at least in part, by what we saw on this movie. I will just say it now, Food, Inc. did nothing to bring about the changes we are making in our life. It did, however, make my stomach turn to think about eating fast food burgers ever again.While I think that the movie did a good job on some points, I disagree with most of the movie's views. I will start with the good aspects I saw, hence the part 1 of this post. Part 2 will be my thoughts on why I disagreed with the movie. I'm sure to ruffle some feathers.If anybody takes anything away from this film, my hope is that they were able to see just where their food comes from and realize that it is not a healthy model. I will not deny any of the cruel and filthy conditions that those animals shown in the movie had to endure so that we can eat. Most people are so disconnected from just how they get that nice juicy steak, or their trimmed boneless, skinless, chicken breast that it has promoted a lack of responsibility on their part. "Just get it to me nice and packaged up, but do NOT tell me how you do it." Is many people's thought. So, it was nice for the average "Joe" to get a small glimpse into the large corporation mass food industry.I also thought the movie did a good job of showing just how some people think about how healthy food can be more expensive. The scene where they showed the family going through a drive thru because it was going to be cheaper than a healthy meal on the table was sad. Yes, an all organic diet can be more expensive than cheap, fast food. You can still eat healthier without going all organic though. While ideal, you have to provide the best food possible within your means.I am a frugal zealot for sure. I do not spend a fortune on food for my family. Right now, my current food and household items budget is $400 a month for my family of 9. I still provide healthy food for my family. While I may not have picked up that head of fresh broccoli, I would have had two bags of frozen broccoli florets in my cart for the same price, if I was out of frozen broccoli from our own small, city, backyard garden. It is my hope that people saw how taking away the responsibility of providing our own food for our family has dumbed down some. Not all, but some. I also hope that it can bring about an awareness that can cause better choices when people buy the food that they are going to feed their families.One last positive I saw in the movie, was meeting with Joel Salatin and seeing a piece of his farm. We are fans of his methods in this house. I really don't want to get into why I believe what I do about Joel Salatin and Polyface Farms right now, because I have that reserved for another post. I know some do not agree with his practices, but I believe them to be some of the most God honoring, humane, and environmentally responsible i've seen.I really don't want to sum anything up here until I explain why I do not agree with the movie. So, until part 2....[...]



2 Comments

2010-02-11T20:28:02.681-06:00

HEAVEN'S NURSERY

In Heaven there must surely be
A special place, a nursery
Where 'little spirits' not fully grown
Go to live in their Heavenly home.

The angels must attend with love
Tiny spirits on wings of doves,
The choir of angels must sing lullabies
Maybe quieten their tiny cries.

The Father must come by each day
To cuddle and play in a special way
These tiny spirits left earth too soon
Little ones called Home from the womb.

These sparks of life did not perish
But came to the Father's love to cherish,
To grow and be taught in His own arms
Safely away from all earthly harm.

The comforter was sent to earth at once
To the parents who lost their little one
Their hearts so ache, their arms feel empty
The question 'why' seems so tempting.

Then all at once in the midst of tears
There comes a peace that stills the fears
The parents share the Father's own need
To hold their tiny spirit being.

They relinquish their own desperate hold
And release their baby to the Father's fold,
Then comes an angel to whisper the truth
Of a nursery in Heaven bearing rich fruit

Of tiny spirits chosen to worship the Father
A place that couldn't be filled by another,
Called to be spared from the struggles of earth,
Chosen to be one of Heaven's births.

So Father, whisper words of love from me
To our unborn 'life' in your nursery.

(From Above Rubies website)

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Self Sufficiency

2010-02-11T02:35:00.275-06:00

With the worries about the economy there has been alot of talk about stocking up, cutting expenses, and becoming more self sufficient. Becoming more self sufficient has been a subject that has always held an interest for me. It's a horrible feeling to be so dependent on outside sources for survival.With a 9-5 job, a large mortgage, and two car payments you are at the mercy of the ups and down of the economy. I remember that horrible feeling of worrying about how we would survive without a stable income. We have had a desire to become as self sufficient as we possibly could for quite some time now. For a long time it was just a dream. This last year has opened up a few doors to bring us closer to our goal. Even with Scott's layoff and self-employment we have been brought so much closer to realizing that dream. I suppose God wanted to get that great paying job out of the way to bring us to where we are at now. God has blessed our business and our life tremendously through self employment so now it is just time to take the next step. If it is God's will, we will be on our own small acreage, debt free, sometime next year! It is just another step we are taking on the path God is leading us.That means that right now we are in the research and planning phase. While we have been studying for years, it's time to take it up a notch. I am reading a great book, by Joel Salatin, called You Can Farm. What a great read so far. We have been busy trying to learn as much as possibly can before we buy. We have made some local connections with people in the agriculture industry that are showing us the basics.We plan on learning more about raising pastured poultry, pork, and beef. We are learning more about gardening and on how to build up nutrient dense soil. So much of our soil is depleted of most vital nutrients it needs. We will also how to make our own dairy products. We by no means plan on operating a large farm, but instead, we hope to practice alternative farming. There is so much to soak in before then.We are also doing a few small remodeling projects to spruce up our place before we have to put it on the market. Another thing that we had to do was to give up our egg layers until we move. We needed to take the coop down to let the grass regrow. For some reason, we believe that most potential buyers wouldn't see a chicken coop in the city as an amenity. It was really hard to see them go. We sure do miss our eggs. The store bought ones just aren't the same. We will still be doing one more batch of meat chickens though. We have had so much interest in our birds that we are doing a small batch to sell.This is one our family's vision. It is exciting to be able to include our whole family as we travel down this road. To learn together as a family, all 9 of us working side by side. Building our future together while building lasting memories.I know I have neglected my blog for some time now, but I plan to write more about what we learn this year as we travel down this road. I hope to continue blogging in some form of what I used to. I have had so many ask me to start back up. I can't make any guarantees that it will be updated regularly, but i'll try. [...]



Living By Faith

2009-06-27T12:25:25.919-05:00

I've had a few emails lately asking how we're doing so I thought I would update everyone through my blog. I know that I have entirely ignored my blog for quite some time. It's just one of those seasons in my life where I just don't have the time for it.

Truth be told, we have been better than ok. It just amazes me to watch God work. Never once since Scott's layoff have we wanted. Our life has only been bettered. Even in this economy, business is booming and we constantly have a waiting list for work. I can only give God the glory for it.

Making the transition to self-employed does require a learning curve, but living by faith has been the best thing that has happened for our family. So there you have it, we're quite alright.

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Will paint for food and other happenings

2008-12-15T14:46:05.472-06:00

Ok seriously, i'm trying to be funny with the title of this post. But truthfully, as of last week God blessed us with the oportunity for Scott to paint full time now. So you see, he will paint for food. Well technically he will paint for money, but money buys food, right? Hence the title of the post.

This is something he has wanted to do for a few years now, but it has been too hard to take that leap of faith when you have a great job with a good paycheck. Especially when you have a family. Sometimes though, God likes to shake things up a bit. I like to think of us as baby birds who need to be pushed out of the nest in order to take flight. God chose to give us that push in the form of being part of a 10% company wide cut.

Neither one of us are upset about it, maybe just a little nervous on and off. Having 7 children to care for does that to you every now and then, even before you lose the security of a steady paycheck. We are actually thrilled to see what God does now.

The other happenings is some more good news. I'm actually feeling much better now. It took awhile to recover from the surgery and infection but that's ok. Sometimes we need to learn to lean on and trust in God more. Most of the time I feel so strong and capable, but I was quickly reminded of just how weak I could be. This is one passage of scripture that I have turned to recently.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

May you all have a blessed Christmas.



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I'm ok

2008-11-12T14:26:25.660-06:00

Alot of people have been emailing me asking me how I am doing. Well, i'm ok. I know that most of you know what has been going on but there are a few who don't who have asked.

For those of you who didn't know, I had an emergency appendectomy almost 2 weeks ago now. My appendix actually ruptured so I had to stay for a few days in the hospital. I am feeling better now, although my healing seems to be taking forever. This lady is not used to having to slow down. This week I am slowly trying to get back some form of our routine.

Thanks to everyone for all you have done and your prayers. Keep them coming since I started to run a low-grade fever lastnight. I am praying that there is no more infection.

One day life may be normal again and i'll return to blogging, but for now it's not so.

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The blessings of teens

2008-10-08T10:10:04.670-05:00

I just want to take a little time to give some props to my two oldest daughters.They are such blessings to me. Not just because they help around the house, because truth be told, with one of them I have get a cattle prod after her to get her to help at times. It is the relationship that we have that is a blessing. It is watching them blossoming into the young ladies that they are now that is a blessing. It is the honor that they bring to our family that is the blessing.

Many times over the years i'd get nervous thinking about parenting during the teenage years. I didn't exactly have the best relationship with my own parents as a teen. They still claim that I am the one that gave them gray hairs. Now I wasn't THAT bad, but it was rough for quite a few years.

With our own children, we have always been told that we have great kids in one sentence, just to be warned in the next that one day they'd be teenagers. Of course every teenager rebels and gives their parents trouble, right? At least it seems that many people think this way.

Scott and I have stayed up many a night talking about this, praying for our children and the wisdom to do what was right in raising them. We wanted it to be different in our family, (what family doesn't)? Not that we don't ever expect them to make a mistake. We just want to maintain a strong enough relationship to guide them through these years that lead to adulthood.

Although we are not all the way through the teen years and we still have many teens left to raise, I just wanted to say that I am really enjoying these years. All the years of training and teaching are really starting to show through.

One of the greatest moments was when I heard one of them repeating something that i'd taught them years ago to the little ones. I immediately thought, "Thankyou, Jesus. They actually were listening!" I am blessed indeed.

I just wanted to share a picture of my family. It is from Mother's day. I am hugely pregnant with Anna still in this picture, but it is all of us.

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Coupon Class

2008-09-30T08:00:00.588-05:00

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I just wanted to say thanks to all of you who attended the coupon class last week. I really enjoyed it.

If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask. I know it's overwhelming to hear it all at once and then go home by yourself and try to apply everything that was taught. Remember to start small and add more as you get the hang of it all. It's definately a learning curve.

For those of you who weren't able to make it or just need a refresher I plan on getting as much of it as possible on my blog. I'd like to do it in a couple of podcasts, if I could. It may take me a few weeks, but I aim to start on it this week. Until then, you can always check out my series that i've written on How I feed my family for $300 a month. It's a very condensed version of the class.

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