Five Minute Friday — Good Bye

Around here we write for five minutes flat on Fridays.
We set a timer, throw caution to the winds and try to remember what it was like to just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.
I’ve said a lot of good byes this year. Some of them were with the hope that we would see each other again, some were good byes until eternity and some were painful good byes because choices had to be made.
This past year we said good bye to Kerry’s grandmother Stella over Thanksgiving break. We celebrated her home-going and while the good bye was sad because we will miss her, it was joyous to think of her rejoicing in Heaven.
Little did we know that week while we were visiting is likely when our son Knox died. Within a week of returning home from saying good bye to Grandma, we said good bye to our precious son Knox. That has, for me, been the hardest good bye of my life. There were, and still are, so many unknowns, fears and unanswered questions yet. When I think back to the month or so that followed, the only thing that comes to mind is “numb”. I don’t remember feeling anything but immense sorrow and numb. Kerry’s birthday, Christmas and the New Year were all over shadowed by that good bye and that loss. We still don’t understand it, but we have found peace, we continue to trust our God for the healing only He can provide. And slowly, we come to terms with our good bye said too soon.
I’ve said good bye in a sense to some family involuntarily. They are good byes that are still very raw and painful. I have yet to reconcile it. They are good byes that had to happen because we are all accountable for our choices.
And yet other good byes have been bitter sweet. In quitting my job this semester, I have said good bye to a certain time of my life. I have enjoyed teaching students, I have delighted in seeing them learn and be successful. At the same time though, I am anxious to be home with our boys full time and to teach them, disciple them and be home here. I’m thrilled at the prospect, but I think too I will miss some parts of teaching. Others…I will not.
Good bye can mean so many different things. It can mean a closure to a relationship, but at the same time it can mean so many new opportunities. Good bye closes doors and opens them. It breaks hearts and heals them. It writes stories upon our hearts.
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I’ve been making my own laundry detergent and household cleaners for several years. Here are a couple of recipes that I’ve used.

Laundry Detergent:

1 bar of laundry soap (Fels Naptha, Zote or Ivory). Ivory and Zote are softer and a little easier to find at places like WalMart. I usually use Zote or Fels Naptha. I think Ivory smells too perfumey. Grate the bar. (I use my food processor to speed up the process).
2 cups Washing Soda. This is different than baking soda (although you can use that too). Washing soda comes in yellow box. We find it here at King Soopers (for Kansas folks that would be Dillons).
2 cups Borax.
Mix all together. I usually use 1/4 cup in a load of laundry. This detergent works great in high efficiency washers because it doesn’t suds. You can add several drops of your favorite essential oil for fragrance. When I make a batch I usually triple the recipe and mix it in a 5 gallon bucket (with a lid). I then take out smaller batches for ease of use. The cool thing about this is I can use different oils for fragrance with each “smaller batch”.
Here’s one for a homemade fabric softener that I like to use too.

Fabric Softener

1 cup baking soda
1 1/4 cups warm water
8 cups white vinegar
Essential Oils

  • First mix the vinegar and water together then add the baking soda gradually, stirring the whole time. You will want to make sure to use a large pail to accommodate the fizzing activity from the baking soda and vinegar reaction.
  • Use a funnel to pour this mixture into a washed, gallon sized milk jug (plastic), add 1/3 teaspoon of your favorite essential oil, cap and seal then shake well.
  • To use: Shake each time before use, adding 1/2 to 1 cup at the start of the rinse cycle.

If you don’t want to make the mix, you could easily just use vinegar (which is what I do more often than not). Vinegar also makes a really great hair rinse. 🙂

Scouring Powder:

1 cup baking soda + 1/3 cup table salt + Water
I will often use essential oils in my scouring powder like lemon or orange to help with degreasing.
Salt is also really great for getting blood and other stains out of fabric.

2 hours undone

So I’m just going to brain dump again just a bit…I’ve been pondering lately the junk that people are putting in their brains and how they seem to think it isn’t going to affect their daily lives. Junk in…junk out.
What has really been on my mind lately is the idea of discipleship and family vision.  A vision isn’t just a “plan” for the next 50 years or so of our lives. But a vision for the family is looking into the future and saying “This. This is where I want my kids, grandkids and family to be in 10, 20, 50, 100 or 200 years” And then going about that vision with intentionality. You  must identify the steps or at least the habits that you’re going to take to get there. The morals and values you want to instill, the training and education you will provide and the growth that will take place.
Every family has a vision. Whether it’s put into words or if the family even knows it, the vision is there. Some families go about it intentionally, others figure someone else will do it for them, or they just lack forsight to even see the importance of having a vision. The vision you have for your family has the ability to change your family tree, it has the ability to direct the paths of your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Some families appear to have a handle on this vision. They have a plan, they certainly have an idea of where they’d like their family to be, but unfortunately they don’t take the necessary steps to get there or they grossly underestimate the amount of time it takes to actually cultivate that vision in their family.
I recently read a statistic that 80% of the kids raised in a “Christian” home and church, leave the church by the end of their freshman year in college. Wow. Does that shock any of my Christian friends and parents out there? It should.
I think there are several things that play into this statistic and the reason behind kids leaving the church. One of them is that my generation wants a genuine faith, not just a “because it’s the right thing to do” kind of faith, but a genuine “love you with the love of Christ” kind of faith. (But that’s a different blog post entirely).
Another equally important reason kids are leaving the church, in my opinion, is that their parents and grandparents lacked a family vision. They were lulled into thinking that 2 hours in a church on Sunday morning and maybe an hour or two during the week would “undo” the junk that goes into their kids minds during the week. Now I know this is going to ruffle some feathers, but I really believe it’s true. Church isn’t going to replace parenting, church isn’t going to be able to erase the curse words, immoral behavior, and other trash kids are exposed to during the week. It’s not meant to.
We’ve had a lot of questions about why we homeschool. We view homeschooling not as a way to “shelter” and “control” our kids, but as a way to disciple them. It’s part of our family vision. We don’t expect church to do something that we as parents should be doing. We believe that 40 hours a week in a government school isn’t going to get us to our family vision. It’s putting our kids, our faith and their salvation at risk. I’m not saying that if a family doesn’t homeschool their kids, they’re going to end up as mass murders or that they’re headed straight for the depths of hell (although without the grace of God we all are). But I certainly think it warrants a serious look by believing families. Would you freely trust those who are teaching your kids with your check book or your house? If not, I would pose the question to you then how much more valuable are your children?
Please don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against public education or public educators. We have many great ones in our family and friends. But as believers we feel we are mandated by scripture to disciple our children, and that is difficult to do when they are spending 40 hours a week in a government school.
What concerns me most is not that kids are going to public school, but that their parents aren’t actively discipling them. And that is really the key. It is the job of the parent, not the church, to disciple children. Unfortunately, most parents are unaware, ill equipped, and unaccountable for this task. Do I think the church has a role in discipleship? Absolutely. The church is there to support and hold families accountable, but not to serve as a substitute for the responsibility God has given to parents.
What world view do you hold? What world view do you want your children to hold? What world view are they getting 40 hours a week vs the world view they’re getting in church every Sunday?
I didn’t post this to start a debate or hurt feelings, but to express our views and part of our vision for our family. We want to start the thought process for why you’re doing what you’re doing with your family. What is the vision you hold for your family? How are you going to get there?
A much more exhaustive and in-depth study of family vision, purposeful parenting and discipleship has been written by Dr. Voddie Baucham in Family Driven Faith. It’s a great read and study of Deuteronomy 6.

8 Make-Ahead Breakfast Ideas :: Money Saving Mom®

It’s been a crazy week at our house so I haven’t had much time to write. I wanted to share this site with you though. I came across this site this week and thought these ideas were “doable” at our house for breakfast. I’ve done breakfast burritos before, but I think we’ll try the oatmeal packets and baked oatmeal. Enjoy!!
8 Make-Ahead Breakfast Ideas :: Money Saving Mom®.

New Recipe Monday — Lemon bars

It’s lemon season! My source for fresh lemons has dried up, but I made these anyway with store bought lemons.
2 cups flour
1 cup butter
1/2 powdered sugar
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (I usually use the juice of a couple lemons)
1 tsp lemon rind (I usually use the rind of one lemon grated)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup powdered sugar (for dusting the top)
In mixing bowl, combine flour, butter and powdered sugar. Press into bottom of a greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
While base is baking, beat eggs and combine with sugar, lemon juice and rind. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt. When base is removed from the oven, pour lemon mixture over base and return to the oven. Continue baking for another 25 minutes.
Dust with powdered sugar while still warm.
These are a family favorite that everyone enjoys! They certainly don’t last long around here.


Darkness. Sin. Worldliness. Hate. Anger. Hurt. Grief. Gossip.
They’re all part of life everyday. We’re surrounded by them, we’re affected by them and we’re involved with them. This weekend we remember the death of Jesus (and His resurrection). As I read through the story this last week with the boys, I couldn’t help but imagine the despair His followers felt. The hopelessness and darkness. What always astounds me is that they didn’t remember what Jesus told them. They had a heads up. He told them that He would rise again. But they were so surrounded by darkness and the world around them that they didn’t have hope.
We are like that sometimes. We get so wrapped up in the world around us, in the sin and despair that we forget the promises we have from God. We’re not promised an “easy” life, but we are promised that He will be with us every step of the way. We are promised that He will give us strength to endure the trials we go through. But yet we are like the disciples and Jesus’ followers. We forget.
I think too, this weekend of the sacrifice that Jesus made on my behalf. Apart from the fact that He was put to death a completely innocent man, and I think of not only the physical pain and suffering He endured, but the despair He felt. Because Jesus took on my sin and yours, God turned away from Him and poured out the wrath that you and I deserve on His own son. The worst thing I can imagine is being apart from my God. Being isolated, attacked without defense and left alone. I am so thankful that because of the sacrifice of my Savior Jesus Christ, I am able to have a relationship with God. I don’t have to be alone, I don’t have to be engulfed by the darkness that rules this world. I am promised eternal life in Heaven with God.
The light of Christ gives me hope in this dark world. It is His light that guides me and leads me through the trials. I am so thankful that I have hope because of the sacrifice that was made for me. Jesus died on the cross to pay the price of my sin so that I wouldn’t have to. Isn’t that awesome? I have light in this dark world…I have hope and I have a future.

New Recipe Monday — Wild Rice Salad

I got this recipe from a friend of mine. It is a “raw” salad so it does take some prep time, but it is really good and my children like it. It makes a large amount and can be stored in the refrigerator. I did make some modifications to mine (I noted them at the bottom of this post).

(Makes approximately 3 pounds)
(All amounts are dry measure)
2 cups wild rice, soaked for 2 days, then drained, changing soak water every 12 hours
1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked 12 hours, then drained
1/2 cup almonds, soaked 12 hours, then drained
1/2 cup pine nuts, soaked 4 hours, then drained
2 med. carrots, pulse-chopped small in food processor
1/2 large red pepper, pulse-chopped small in food processor
1/2 large bunch parsley, finely chopped in food processor
4 medium cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup Nama Shoyu [raw soy sauce found in health food stores], or equivalent.
~ Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a large bowl
~ Let marinate for one hour, mixing occasionally, to let flavors blend
~ For variations, substitute other herbs, veggies, nuts, or seeds.
***When I made mine, I used barley (about 1 cup) as well and soaked it for 24 hours (We couldn’t afford the pine nuts they’re like $10).
I used green pepper in addition to the red pepper, but could just use that alone and I used grapeseed oil instead of olive oil.
I also used about 1/4 cup vinegar to give it a little more “bite” as it tasted just a little bland with the soy sauce (and I didn’t use the fancy stuff they have listed here, just the regular store bought stuff).
I think when I make it next time I might add more peppers and maybe a little cilantro.


Five Minute Friday — Gift

I know I’m a bit late with my five minute Friday, but I was busy.
My children. My children are the greatest gift I have been given. I delight in the beings they are. Their quirks. The way that my son Gabe’s eyes light up and twinkle when he smiles. His thoughtfulness, the way his mind is constantly working and creating and building.

My Otto. Words can’t describe my Otto. He is my imagineer. A little absent minded, but always mindful of others and how they feel. Tearful when there aren’t 2 of him and he can’t be home with his little brothers and go with mom on an errand too. The heart-full of love that he is.

Zeke. My very very blond big eyed Zeke. He takes the world in, he is constantly thinking about the world around him. He is finding his voice and what a voice it is! The things that come out of that mouth that was so quiet for so long.

My home birth baby Titus. The strong willed child that he is, finding his personality and his way of doing things. Trying so hard to be “big” like his brothers. He looks so much like his daddy. He is a cuddler, but only in his timing. Insisting on his own things, his own way, his independence.

My children in heaven. My son Knox. The pain I felt when I lost him was more than I thought I could take. I have learned so many things by going through the loss of my son. It was a trial and heartbreak that few know, but it was a gift too. I felt the gift of family, friends and was surrounded by comfort only God could bring.
Yes my children are a gift to me. They teach me more than any book could. I learn more about myself, my husband and my God. They make ordinary moments  into extraordinary bits of awesomeness every day. And without the amazing gift of my husband, I wouldn’t have the gifts I call my children.