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Friday, February 12, 2016

Essential Oils

Essential Oils have been the rage for several years now. While the "hippies" have been using them for decades, the rise in popularity really started when the multi-level marketing companies Young Living and doTerra oils were founded. All of a sudden my Facebook feed was filled with sales pitches and advertisements but guess what...those oils are expensive!! Multi-level marketing always is - because the company is selling the oils and paying the marketers as well.

You can get pure essential oils at a reasonable price. I googled and researched and finally settled upon Plant Therapy oils, which are high quality oils at a great price (this is not a paid endorsement for them!). 
I'm learning my way with oils and will share along the way with ways that I'm finding them useful. The oil I am most familiar with is Tea Tree oil. It's a great disinfectant so can be used in most household cleaners. It's also great for teenage skin or anyone who has troublesome blemishes. My new favorite recipe is Natural Toilet Bowl cleaner. 
 
All you need is:
1/2 c. baking soda
1/4 c. distilled white vinegar
10 drops of Tea Tree Oil

I pour the baking soda in the toilet bowl, add the drops of the oil, then pour the vinegar in. I shut the lid as it fizzes and cleans and about 10 minutes later go back to scrub and swish the bowl and flush. It leaves a sparkly bowl which is disinfected. 

If you have a lot of lime build up in your bowl you will need to deeply scrub the first time around, or even use a pumice stone. But after getting it sparkling the above recipe will take care of your toilet bowl if you use it on a weekly basis! 

Hope Unfolding

I get it, Momma. I totally get it. Every day you wake up and try your very best. You love, give, and pour out your life for the ones who call you Momma. But no matter how much you offer, there are still days you feel as though you come up short. You worry, Am I loving these babies enough? Is this ever going to get easier? Why does it seem like I am the only one who cannot balance it all?

 Sometimes, we just need hope (and maybe a long uninterrupted nap). We need someone to help tune our hearts to the voice of the Father and to remind us that He has not forgotten about us. Hope Unfolding by Becky Thompson

This book is a breath of fresh air when it comes to mothering books in the publishing world. Never once did I feel chastised or told how to parent. As a matter of fact, Thompson makes it clear, over and over again, that YOU are doing the best you can and that the best is always good enough. 

Thompson doesn't tell you how to change your life. Or let you know that if you do things her way it will be the right way. She meets you where you are and basically reiterates what you already know - being a momma is hard but leaning on God makes this whole parenting thing a bit more clear and so totally worth it. 

This book was like chatting with a friend over a cup of tea about marriage, motherhood, messes, and more. It left me feeling uplifted and with hope that this life is the one that was mapped out for me by God. 

This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

40 Days of Decrease

40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Chole "invites readers to walk with Jesus through the holy decrease of less and loss that led Him cross-ward and beyond. Each day offers a meaningful consideration of Jesus’ journey through reading and reflection and then issues a challenging daily fast. Instead of social media, chocolate, and designer coffee, 40 Days of Decrease calls communities to a Lenten fasting of apathy, injustice, resentment, hypocrisy, and more for the love of God."

Like the advent season leading up to Christmas, Lent is the season leading up to Easter. A quick Google search explains that 
"Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means "spring." The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others."

While we often sacrifice something we enjoy for those 40 days in solidarity with Jesus sacrifice for us (it's often sweets, caffeine, etc.) I love the idea that Chole brings to us in this book on giving up more - and focusing on different fasts each day. Topics such as regrets, sorrow, stinginess (for example, day 13 which deals with stinginess asks us to seek an opportunity to be irrationally lavish toward someone who cannot possibly return the favor). 

Each day "features a devotional based upon Jesus' life, guidance for reflection, suggested daily fasts, an inspiring quote for prayerful meditation, an optional and somewhat academic sidebar chronicling the historical development, practices, and images of Lent, and a suggested Scripture reading with journaling space."

While the season of Lent is often only celebrated by Catholics and Protestants, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to take some special time each day starting on Ash Wednesday (this coming Wednesday!) until Easter to grow closer to God and learn to be more like Him as we decrease our wishes and lean upon His.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. 
 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Crockpot Lava Cake

I saw this recipe last week and had to try it as it looked so easy and delicious! Cake in the crockpot?! What could be better?
I really wish instead of snapping a photo I had taken a short video clip. This picture looks just "blah" but in reality that liquidy goo was bubbling and hissing and making all kinds of sounds (hence the name, Lava cake). Joe and Amy actually stood there watching it for some time before I did the serving. 
The lighting was bad in our kitchen at 8pm and this really should have been served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but look at that moist cake with runny sauce. Yummy!!
  • 1 package devil's food cake mix (regular size)
  • 1-2/3 cups water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups cold 2% milk
  • 1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
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  •  
  • In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, eggs and oil; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Transfer to a greased 4-qt. slow cooker.
  • In another bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Spoon over cake batter; sprinkle with chocolate chips. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or until a toothpick inserted in cake portion comes out with moist crumbs. Serve warm. Yield: 12 servings. 
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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Apologies

It's such a fine line to walk when writing a blog...between stating my opinion and coming across as a know it all. Or between writing about what I do and it coming across as the only way to do something. 

I've slowed on the blogging recently because of two things. One, I'm participating less online. While I've always known, it's become more apparent recently, how vicious the online world can be. With the Presidential race upon us and candidates all over the news  there have been so many more "I'm right, you're wrong" mentality posts on Facebook. I've seen sides of people I truly wish I had never caught a glimpse of. I've backed away from that world. 

Two: I was cleaning up some old posts and comments from this blog (like, years old) and saw some of my own statements that I cringed at. I'm not sure how I came across to you long time readers. I hope not as a know-it-all and more as just sharing my own life. But if I ever did come across as someone with a superiority complex, I apologize. I see that in some of my past posts. I wince at some of my blanket statements from years past. I could say that it's age that has matured me, but I know it's more having been to hell and back. I've changed because my life has changed and my soul (I meant sole but typed soul and will leave it...as that really IS what is at stake here) purpose is to be a better person.

I hope to continue on blogging as a small window into my life for you. If I write about homeschooling, or natural birthing, or being a penny pincher, or anything else that I do or I believe, it will never be to say that you should live that way or believe that way. It's just a peek into someone's life, which is why we all love to read blogs afterall.      


 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Identity Thief

Identity Thief by Robby Dawkins sounded like an adventerous read:
 "Since the Garden of Eden, our true identities have been hacked--stolen and reprogrammed by Satan.

We were made for great things . . . but we live as though we're powerless. We were made in the image of a limitless God . . . but we walk through our daily lives as though we're inadequate.

God has an amazing plan for us. And the enemy is short-circuiting it.

When we don't recognize who we really are, we limit God. But when we grasp the truth of who we are in Christ, we can walk with authority into the realm of power reserved for each of God's children. We can heal the sick, cast out demons and deliver the captives.

We can see miracles and make a lasting impact for the Kingdom."


I picked it up tonight, ready to delve into it. I flipped through it first and it fell open to page 91, where I read:

"Have You Experienced Power Like This?

    My son Judah was in a burger restaurant not long ago when he encountered another boy about his age with a broken leg."

To shorten this story, Judah asked the boy what happened, the boy answered that he broke a few days before, and Judah asked if it hurt and the boy answered it did.

"Well," Judah said, "if you let me pray for you right now, Jesus will completely heal your leg. He wants to show you how much He loves you and wants a relationship with you. So, can I pray for you?"
  
"Hey, everybody," Judah shouted, getting the attention of everyone in the restaurant. "You wanna see someone get healed? Come over here. A miracle is about to take place!"

Basically the author, Dawkins, is saying that his son was stepping out in faith. He was building an atmosphere of faith. 

This one page, that I read before reading any others, made me decide to not read the book at all. It may be a hasty decision, I may be missing out on a book filled with wisdom and truth. Instead, by this one page, I feel that Dawkins is one of those people who believes that God will do what you ask Him to do. You know, not HIS will...but instead your own will.

I do believe in miracles. I do believe in praying. I do believe that God is stronger than satan. But I do not believe that WE have the power to heal the sick. I don't believe that WE can tell God what he should do. Reading just that one page made me realize I didn't want to read any more of this book.

This book was given to me by Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest review.   
 

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