A Rock and A Fossil

First, if there are still any readers out there, I apologize for the huge lapse in my blogging. This summer has proven to be a busy one. Funny thing is, when I take these blogging breaks I tend to get more followers. Wonder what that means?

Anyway, I am going to try to get back into the swing of blogging now that the kids are back in school.

First, one of my latest walks proved to be a spiritual life lesson of sorts.

Sometimes while going through our day or week, the devil sets up camp (or tries to anyway), lying in wait to strick. (Do you see the big snake lying in wait in the path below?)

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If we are not diligent in our walk with God, listening to His still small voice, being sensitive to His holy spirit we miss the serpent right before us. The devil never loses focus. Due to my bifocals and all of the trip hazards (another post) I have to look down when I walk. Which can make it harder to keep a vigilant eye out for dangers a bit further around me. Thankfully, I didn’t miss this one.

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The snake caused me to take a detour. I didn’t complain..I’d much rather that than risk passing the snake. On my walk, I also found this fossil. It is just like God to show Himself, show the beauty in the midst of life. To me seeing the fossil after the snake was God’s confirmation of His grace and protection.

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Not only is the front of the rock full of His beauty, so is the back.

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You may think I am reading too much into the whole snake rock connection, but not me. To me, this connection was much bigger than a snake and a rock. Many times throughout my life I have wondered where God was in the midst of my problems, knowing He was there, but not seeing Him when He was right there. For me, God was showing me that He is there, right there, in the midst of my life.

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Well Worth the Wait

A little bit ago I officially became a grandmother!

There are SO many things I could write on this subject. So many directions this post could take but I will keep it simple. Or at least try.

Our eldest daughter and her husband tried for almost a year to get pregnant. She had two sisters-in-law get pregnant before her. Then as they all watched their growing bellies together, each of the sisters-in-law gave birth. Each having relatively fast labor and deliveries. After 3 days of being in labor and two hours of pushing…completely natural and drug-free, our Miss Bailey came a day late! Our daughter was so calm and strong through the whole labor and delivery everyone in the room were surprised and one nurse said she should do a video!

IMG_3271Being there and going through this experience, to me, brought my daughter and me even closer. Being on the other side of the birthing experience made me see birth in a deeper way. Women are awesome. We forget so much much of what actually happened during our children’s’ births. I peppered my hubby with questions after seeing what our daughter went through.

IMG_3286Dad did so good and helped our daughter stay calm and strong. So glad to have him by our daughter’s side. His love for his girls is one many pray for.

IMG_3400Our miracles this past Mother’s Day. To truly appreciate a miracle you sometimes have to go through loss and heartache. Without those hard places, none of our kids or granddaughter would be here today.

IMG_3401Grandma and our sweet grandbaby matching on Mother’s Day!

DIY Cleaners

I suspect DIYing and being/going natural is part of my DNA. My parents weren’t hippies per se but have a lot of the “natural, granola, be out in nature” type thinking and way of life associated with hippies. I consider it a blessing of sorts that we didn’t have much growing up, material wise. Many of the things we needed we made. Both of my parents were very resourceful people, still are. If I get lost in the woods I’d want my parents there. If my sink, garden, moving van needs fixing, weeded, organized and/or packed, my parents are the ones to call. My mom baked/made so much from scratch when I was growing up out of necessity and love. So DIYing is in my blood and makes me feel comforted and somewhat successful.

While I have tried my hand at many DIY projects over the years, making my own cleaning products has come up again and again. Each time getting a bit more detailed and successful. Now that I have more time I have delved in once again. This time I expanded to everyday cleaning supplies. I literally got rid of almost all of the store-bought products and made my own. Some of the store-bought cleaners literally left me coughing and were too hard for me to breath.

IMG_3210I don’t quite remember where I found her site but clean mama (I am sure she’s mentioned her name on her blog, but I can’t find it) from cleanmama.net. Anyway, her site and shop was the kick I needed to get going. I ordered some labels…super helpful when making and remaking the solutions. Her style is right up my alley as well. I also ordered spray bottles and a microfiber cloth to start off with.

IMG_3211Most of the items I had already. White vinegar, rubbing alcohol, dish soap. I didn’t have any essential oils. I bought the ones clean mama recommended. (I know I am way behind on the essential oil bandwagon. More on that in a different post.)

IMG_3205Then I FINALLY made Number 2 spray. Why did I wait so long? This really works and smells so good. I triple the recipe. Now our old Glade air freshener sits barely used.

IMG_3214Another clean mama recipe/solution I love is her Nightly Sink Scrub. While I don’t use it daily (as with anything it loses its novelty.)I do use it regularly.  I have used both peppermint and cinnamon essential oils at different mixings. Both smell lovely and refreshing. The kids like when I use it too. They love the smell. Our sink gets nice and shiny as well.

IMG_3212Laundry detergent was my first go at DIY cleaning solutions. I used it consistently for awhile. However, I noticed that after washing our clothes with this detergent about 4-5 times, they weren’t as clean. So, I’d use Tide for a wash or two, then go back to the homemade. The homemade detergent also helped our oldest daughter with a skin condition she had. Due to the lack of time at one point, I just went back to Tide. Now I use the homemade for washing our floor mats, rugs, dog beds, human bedding and the like. Clean mama’s recipe is on the container, but I use a slightly different one. The jury is still out on the dryer balls at this time.

IMG_3213This is a closer look at my detergent. I use a food processor for making it.

IMG_3215This is store bought on a whim. Won’t buy it again as it really doesn’t work.

IMG_3216Now for my favorite cleaning solution. Makes everything sparkle and shine while disinfecting. I may just switch over and clean everything (except our granite counter tops) with it. Simply super easy to make. Just two ingredients! Cut up some lemons, put them in a jar. Fill with white vinegar and cover. Let sit for at least a week. Pour the yellow loveliness into a spray bottle and there you are. Sanitize, clean, disinfect and save money.

IMG_3217No fancy bottle required.

IMG_3218Okay, I am breaking from the whole natural, DIY theme BUT I had to share. We do use disinfecting wipes. It is so easy for the kids to help clean. So easy for a quick wipe up or wipe down. We literally LOVE the smell of these. We recently had two dog incidents where our noses were grateful for these. One, our big dog threw up a bit in the living room. A quick wipe down after the cleanup and the room smelled so fresh. Second, our little dog or maybe the big one, don’t honestly know, peed and peed that stinky, rank pee that smelled up the whole house. It took us hours to find it. Anyway, after clean up, we wiped the floor down and our noses were doing the happy dance because of these wipes.

The General

When we set out on our adoption journey I honestly didn’t want a toddler. To start over. I hated potty training and had ZERO desire to do it again. The car seats, the messes, the sippy cups…the time and energy toddlers take. I am an “older” mom. There are 40 years between me and the General. But God had other plans. And we are thankful He knows better.

Our youngest man cub literally longs to be in charge, to be the boss in almost every situation. Hence the nickname, The General. While it has been challenging, we are leaning on God to teach us how to equip The General for the obvious call to leadership God put in him.

IMG_2814Here he is trying to negotiate bedtime with Dad (a former Marine, mind you). While we got a few good laughs, the General’s strategies didn’t work.

IMG_2957  This pose comes naturally to him, as he is ever ready to defend and protect. (Yes, those are flip flops on his shoulders.)

IMG_2974His independent nature overrides any fear or hesitation most of the time. Sometimes his sense of adventure + independent nature + lack of proper fear can = a nervous momma.

IMG_2812He LOVES Jesus and wants to preach one day. He has it all planned out. The general will stand in the back at church with the “Big Guys” who too feel called to preach and make plans to preach in each other’s churches. “I am just a kid” is not in his DNA. Here when we set up our first nativity scene he kept staring at Jesus and Mary. He had questions but most of all he wanted to make sure Mary and Jesus would be alright out there all night. I am telling you the urge to protect is very strong in him. It is so precious and enduring too. He has stood up to people in defense of others. He is also convicting quick to forgive.

IMG_2972Raising a leader is an honor while at the same time, challenging. Teaching when to lead, when to follow. When to be on top and when to support can be tough for a kindergartner, heck, to be honest, for some adults too.

IMG_2711No one wants to raise a dictatorial tyrant. (Seriously, he came out like this. Not even sure if he has ever seen Hilter, but by golly…) Thankfully, God put a sweet tenderness in the General to balance out his need to be the boss. He is ever ready to give hugs, compliment and encourage. He knows no stranger and EVERYWHERE we go people LOVE him. Out of all six of our kids, he is the most social. If you were to look up social butterfly you’d see his sweet face. Cannot wait to see what God has in store for him.

IMG_2712What are your tips on raising independent leaders?

 

Favorite Prayer Book

If you have spent any time with me personally, on my blog, on Instagram, etc. then you know I LOVE to read. I figure I’d share some of my favorites with you. First up, is one that I have had for years. The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartin. You can see one of her sister books The Power of a Praying Parent underneath.

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As you can see, it is much loved. I try to go through this book at least once a year. Honestly, I can’t tell you if I have since we got the kids. BUT it was so comforting to bring it out and read its well-traced lines and speak its well-fought prayers again.

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In a nutshell, Mrs. Omartin gives us 30 chapters of her life she has fought for in her life and the lives of others through stories that are laced with scripture and ends them very nicely with again, scripture filled prayer on that given topic. The topics include his work, affection, temptations, choices, etc. However, ladies be forewarned, she starts out the book with a convicting first chapter entitled His Wife. For many years I have covered my husband in these prayed and have learned to season my daily prayers with scripture and to actually take my concerns to God sooner than later.

If you are married, I encourage you to get this book. If your husband is a christain, if he isn’t, if he is struggling in any way, if he isn’t, your prayers can make a difference. Heck, I have prayed some of these prayers over myself. To me, this is not your average devotion or prayer book. Stormie’s book has much more meat to chew on than most.

Double Digits

Mr. Bubblewrap turned ten at the end of last year. We kept is simple, no party. Overwhelment is something we try to keep out of his life. So he chose to go out for coffee with Dad and Mom. Coffee and ice cream, coffee ice cream to be exact.IMG_2827

Each year for his birthday dessert, he wants cinnamon rolls. This year I was inspired by Mandy at Biblical Homemaking blog and laid the rolls our in the number 10. He thought it was the coolest.IMG_2828

We liked the idea of the birthday dates with Dad and Mom so much that we are going to do it much more often. Parties for the big birthdays…5, 10 (though not for Mr. Bubblewrap), 13 and maybe 16.

These Two

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When it comes to our man cubs (thank you for the phrase, Ruth from Gracelaced), these two are close. Our oldest and youngest man cubs. Though they are very different in personality they connect so well. Their imagination goes way beyond the others. They push each other and yet are each other’s safe place. Each is a leader, yet both are willing to follow the other. 14 years age difference may seem like a big now but I am excited to see this relationship grow. To see what God has in store for these brothers.

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