Thursday, September 29, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

     One way that Jeff and I save money is by making our own laundry detergent. To some this may sound extreme, but Jeff and I believe that everything we have belongs to God and we are just borrowers of it while we are here on Earth. Therefore, we do our best to be good stewards of what God has blessed us with, and we live by the Dave Ramsey philosophy which is, "Live like no one else, so that later on you can live like no one else." We are very content with living the frugal life and I love money saving ideas. I found this recipe on the Duggar family website and thought I would give it a try. I was very impressed with the results and even more excited because it is very inexpensive. It costs only a little over $7.00 to make a five gallon bucket, which lasts us anywhere between 4-6 months. Another thing I love about making the detergent, is that there is enough borax and super washing soda to make up to about five buckets. The only item you have to purchase each time is the Fels-Naptha bar soap, which is only $0.97 at Wal-Mart. Here is the recipe:

4 cups hot tap water
1 bar Fels-Naptha Soap
1 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax

Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with hot water. Stir continuously over medium-low heat until dissolved.
Fill the 5 gallon bucket 1/2 full of hot tap water. Add the melted soap mixture, washing soda, and borax. Stir well until all is dissolved.
Fill the bucket to the top with more hot tap water.
Stir, cover, and let sit overnight.
Fill a used detergent dispenser 1/2 full with the mixture and 1/2 with hot tap water and shake.
Use about 5/8 cup per load.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Marriage Tip Tuesday

     Today I have decided to talk about conflict and fighting fair. Conflict in marriage is inevitable, but there is a way to overcome it and come out stronger in the end. First, I think it's important to point out that we are called not to let any unwholesome talk come from our mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up. (Ephesians 4:29) I know it's hard when we are in a really heated argument to hold our tongue. But if we are not careful, we end up hurting our spouse and the words can never be taken back. In Proverbs we are told that the tongue has the power of life and death. (Proverbs 18:21) This means that the words that we say to our spouse (or anyone for that matter) can either breathe life into them, or suffocate them. Your spouse makes a comment that offends you, you then lash out at them with another harsh comment, they come back at you, and so on and so on. Before you know it, the disagreement escalates into what Dr. Emmerson Eggerich calls, "The Crazy Cycle."
     Last week we learned that men have air tanks that are labeled respect. When we talk down to them or belittle them (especially in public) it literally sucks the life right out of them. The book of Proverbs also has a lot to say about the negatives of being a quarrelsome wife. Chapter 19:13 tells us, "A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping." Chapter 21:9 says, "Better to live on a corner of the roof than to share a house with a quarrelsome wife." Verse 19 in the same chapter says, "Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife." Chapter 27:15 again teaches that, "A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day." As we can clearly see, God has a lot to say about the attitudes we have towards our husbands. 
     As I stated yesterday, Jeff and I attended Marriage Rocks on Friday night and I wanted to share some of the things my pastor said about conflict. He shared that statistics show, couples who say only 5 negative comments per 100, are ten times less likely to get a divorce. However, couples who say 10 out of 100, are ten times more likely to get a divorce. He also discussed how we should not go to bed angry. The Bible even tells us in Ephesians not to let the sun go down while you are still angry. (Eph. 4:26) He shared a story about a time when he and his wife were in a conflict, and when it was time to go to bed she told him, "Look, we really need to get some sleep. I'm not very happy with you right now, but I still love you, and I still want to be married to you for the rest of my life." He said that simple comment made all the difference and gave him so much reassurance that everything would be okay. He then ended by saying something like, "What if our goal was not to win the conflict, but instead, to try to see our spouses point of view." I think if we had this mind set it would make all the difference in our marriages.
     I realize this is a long post, but I am very passionate about marriage. In today's society marriage is not being taken seriously and that is definitely not what God intended. I will always stand up for the institution of marriage and do my best to help all couples have a thriving marriage. I thought this song was fitting, considering the topic. Have a great night!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Miscellany Monday

     Hello Everyone! I hope you all had a good Monday. I woke up this morning and my first thought was, "Is it Saturday or Sunday?" What a major letdown as I realized it was Monday. I try to have a positive outlook and tell myself, "If it weren't for Monday's we wouldn't have Friday's." After all we should be glad and rejoice in each day the Lord makes. Anyways, here is some miscellany that is going on in my life right now...

1.) Jeff and I had a great date on Friday. Our church has a date night for married couples every three months called Marriage Rocks, and Jeff and I attended the event. The topic was on celebrating each others differences and solving conflict. I will be sharing some of the things we learned tomorrow, for Marriage Tip Tuesday.  Afterwards, he so kindly treated me to my favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte with Soy from Starbucks. So sweet! It's the little things in life that make me happy. :)

2.) We have a very fun weekend planned as we are going to go see the movie Courageous that comes out on Friday. I cannot wait to see it and I think it's going to be an awesome movie, especially for men. The movie is made by the same creators as Fireproof, and the main focus is to encourage men to become strong spiritual leaders in their homes. (See the trailer below.) Also, on Saturday morning I am participating in a walk for the March of Dimes to support my best friend Stacey. Then that night, my aunt is having her yearly Fall Party and I am so excited. The food is wonderful and the quality time that I get to spend with my family is priceless. I will be making pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.

3.) My fall yarn wreath turned out really cute. I was really happy with the result and will definitely be making more. I wish I had pictures to share, but I am having a hard time finding a USB cord for our camera. We are going to make a trip to Best Buy, so hopefully I will find one there. I am also going to attempt to make homemade coasters sometimes this week and will post pictures of them as well. 

That's all the miscellany I have for now. Have a great night!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Worship Song

     We sang this song in church today and I love the truth that it speaks to my soul. We live in a world that fails us in many ways, but remember friends; God's love has not and will never fail us. Have a blessed Sunday!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hello Fall....

We're happy to have you back!

    I absolutely love fall and all the fun things that come with it. I found these pictures on pinterest and wanted to share them with you.

                                                              A fall bucket list! How cute!

                                                           This reminds me of Little House
                                                            on the Prairie. So Pretty!

                                                           I just love a cup of hot apple

                                                        This I had to add because it is
                                                         ridiculously funny! (If you've seen
                                                         the video of Antoine Dodson on
                                                         You Tube you'll know why!)

                                                           Last but not least, I am getting 
                                                           ready to attempt making this 
                                                           adorable fall yarn wreath. I will
                                                           let you know tomorrow how this turns 
                                                           out, and hopefully have pictures
                                                           to share. I've had some difficulties
                                                           with my camera, but I promise 
                                                           pictures are coming!

Hope you all have a great Saturday!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Marriage Tip Tuesday

     Today I have decided to post a link to Dr.Emmerson Eggerichs blog. (See below) He is the author of Love and Respect and hosts marriage conferences all around the U.S. His analogy of air hoses makes perfect sense and I found it to be very helpful. Let's love our spouses well this week and pray that they would see Jesus in us daily.

Love & Respect Reflects: “Ouch! You’re Stepping on My Air Hose!”

Love & Respect Reflects: “Ouch! You’re Stepping on My Air Hose!”

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Worship Song

     I love this song and have been listening to it a lot lately. It can be so easy for us to forget who we are in Him, and I need to be reminded daily that I am His beloved child. As you listen to this song, I hope you remember who you are in Him as well. Have a beautiful and restful Sunday!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Marriage Tip Tuesday

     Today I wanted to talk about practicing agape in your marriage. Agape is a word that comes from the the Greek language which means unconditional love. When I was in Bible college, I took a class that was called family and home management, and I still refer to the notes I took five years later. The class was life changing and I learned so many valuable lessons. As I was looking through my notes I came across this statement, "Agape is doing the loving thing whether I feel like it or not." This is exactly what Christ did for us on the cross. He did not feel like dying for us. He even asked God if there was any other way to save us, that the cup of death would be passed from Him. Thankfully, Jesus was not looking out for his own selfishness and went to the cross for us that day. He was showing us unconditional and unending love. This is the kind of love that we need to be showing to our spouses daily. This means doing the big and little things that your spouse asks of you, even if it is the last thing in the world you want to be doing. It is also important to note that agape does not command reciprocation. It is a commitment that is not dependent on the other persons response. If we are going to truly practice an agape kind of love in our marriages, we have to die to ourselves and throw our own selfish ambitions to the side. If there were a word that means essentially the opposite of love, it would be selfishness. Agape is the incentive that keeps the marriage covenant warm and vibrant. Recurring romance is then the reward. In order to show love to Jeff today, I am choosing to dedicate this song to him. When we first started dating we listened to this song all the time. Jeff, you are more than I could have ever imagined and I am even more in love with you than before. Thank you for being my best friend in the whole world!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9-11

     Hello Friends! Today I wanted to take a minute to remember all of the fallen hero's and the families of 9-11. It was such a tragic day and one that will never be forgotten. My pastor made a really powerful statement today in his sermon when he said, "Satan's goal that day was to bring America to their knees. He just didn't realize the God we prayed to when we were on our knees." The Southeast outlook published an article that was dedicated to remembering 9-11, and in it read some pretty neat statistics. According to the article, because of generous people who gave donations to an organization in New York called the Orchard group, 12 churches have been planted in New York and another 24 in the Northeast corridor. These churches reach about 10,000 people each week and 2,000 have been baptized. The article also stated that before 9-11, only 1% of the people in New York attended evangelical churches. Now, 3% are attending, and the numbers are expected to rise. God in His infinite wisdom, and unfailing love, has and will continue to literally make beautiful things out of the dust. Tonight before you go to sleep, I would ask that you take a moment to be silent before God and remember all of the lives that were taken that day, and pray for comfort and peace for their family members. I also wanted to post this song, and although it doesn't have anything to do with 9-11, it does talk about how God can make beautiful things out of the ashes and dust, so I thought it may be fitting. Have a blessed Sunday.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chili for a Chilly Night

     Since the weather has drastically changed this week, and it feels a little like winter outside, I decided that I would make chili for supper tonight. Yum! Right now my house is filled with the sweet aroma and I can't wait for it to be done. As promised, here is the recipe: 

1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Tomato Soup
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
2 cans (about 15 oz. each) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin


Cook the beef in a 12 in. skillet over medium-heat until well browned.
Stir in the beef, onion, garlic, soup, tomatoes, water, beans, chili powder and cumin in slow cooker.
Cover and  cook on low for 8-9 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. 

     I hope you enjoy this as much as Jeff and I do. After dinner, we are definitely settling in for a cozy movie night. I love lazy nights! 


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Marriage Tip Tuesday


     Hello Everyone! I have decided that each Tuesday will be called, "Marriage Tip Tuesday." I was talking with Jeff, and I told him that I would like to take one day a week to share marriage tips with my readers. I was rambling off ideas of what the title of the post should be, when he said, "What about marriage tip Tuesday?" Such an obvious title; I was just looking into it too much. :) The tips that I share with you are ones that I practice daily in my marriage, and I hope that they will be helpful in your marriage as well.
     I have decided to start with the basic truth that was written in scripture over 2,000 years ago, and comes from the book of Ephesians. "However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." (5:33) Since I am speaking mainly to ladies, I am going to focus on the second half of this verse in regards to respect. Your husband needs to know and feel that they are respected by you. It is life giving to them. This means that they do not want to be talked down to, or fell overpowered by you.
     God intended for us to allow our husbands to be the head of the home and support them in their decisions. (Please note that I am not saying if your husband is involved in anything ungodly such as adultery, pornography, abuse, etc. that you are to support that). However, if you know that you husband is striving to do the best he can and is seeking God's will in the mist of it all, you should also strive to encourage and support him day in and day out. No one wants to feel disrespected and God calls us to respect our husbands.    
     I would think it would be safe to say that besides intimacy, this is what each man desires from his wife. I also believe that the way you handle respect, will determine the strength and happiness of your marriage. In most cases, when a wife respects her husband well, the husband in return will love his wife well. As I was thinking about writing this post, I went through some of my marriage references and thought this quote from Kirk Cameron was fitting,"Never look down on your spouse. Instead keep looking above to the cross." If you have a hard time wrapping your mind around this concept of respecting and submitting to your husband, I would encourage you to go to Jesus and ask for His help in this matter. He is able to help you achieve anything as long as you're willing to ask. Respecting your husband isn't always easy, but I promise it will be worth it! 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Miscellany Monday

     Hello Friends! I hope you all enjoyed this long, labor day weekend. I know I did, and I am very sad to see it go. Today I have decided to link up to Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters.

1.) Today was a very good day. We went to Family Palozza, which is a free event for families that my church hosts each labor day. It's basically like a carnival with games, inflatables, face painting, etc. Jeff, my brother Aaron, and I were in charge of the "trike track" for about two hours. The children were so sweet (although a few were a bit dangerous) and they seemed to really enjoy themselves. Jeff and I were so excited when we saw that cotton candy was only $.50, and funnel cakes were only $1.00. However, by the time we finished volunteering and had lunch, the lines were probably an hour long so we decided that we would skip out on it today.

2.) Is it just me, or is it a bit chilly out today? This morning I was freezing and would have been so thankful for some hot cocoa, or some kind of warm beverage. It was also very windy which did not help. It seems the weather around here is never predictable. Just last week we were having air quality alerts due to the heat, and this week we need jackets to go out. I am very sad to see summer go but I am also excited for fall. (I am going to make croc pot chili one night this week and will post the recipe for you.) I am already feeling a delicious pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. Yum!

3.) They showed this video during the sermon at church yesterday and I wanted to share it with you as well. It is such a touching story, and let me just warn you to grab your kleenex, because it is a tear jerker. After watching the video, my pastor explained that when we give our lives over to Jesus, He gives us his heart and we get a spiritual heart transplant. I am so thankful that when we accept Christ, we become a new creation, and we no longer have to live in our pasts. Please watch this video and be inspired.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"-2 Cor. 5:17" <><

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hello Blog World!

     Let me just begin by saying that I am so excited to have my blog up and running now. It has taken me about three days now to learn the basics of setting up my page. Don't laugh. I have not been gifted when it comes to technology but, what can I say, I am a work in progress. I decided to start this blog as a place to share my testimony, what God has laid on my heart, marriage tips, recipes, and just about a little of everything.

     Since this is my first post I have decided to share a little bit of my testimony with you. I am a child of the King who has been redeemed by grace. I did nothing to deserve what God has done for me or given me, which is why I decided to title my blog immeasurably more. God has been so faithful to do just that. Everyday I am blown away by what God has done for me, and it is by far, immeasurably more than anything I could have ever asked for or imagined. (I am tearing up right now just thinking about how faithful He has been and continues to be to me.)

     For about three years during high school I was in the deepest, darkest pit that I have ever been in. I was heart broken over a boy, and at the young age of 14 I took my first sip of alcohol. Drinking was a momentary escape for me and I drank very heavily for almost three years. During those years I made decisions that I will forever regret, but thankfully, because of God's amazing grace I no longer feel the guilt or pain of those decisions. That is one of the things I love most about God; He is able to make beauty from ashes and he can redeem absolutely ANYTHING.

     I continued to drink all the way up until half of my senior year before God reached down and rescued me from the pit. It was a cold January night and I wanted to go out with my friends.( I was planning on getting drunk that night as well.) My parents said no because it was supposed to snow that night and they didn't want me to be out. Out of anger I went to my room and began to cry. I felt so heartbroken and so empty inside and I just wanted to escape. Out of the middle of nowhere I had this thought (which I now know came from God) that told me to go put in a Third Day CD that my brother had just bought me for Christmas.

     I put the CD in and began to read through some pages in the booklet. I came across a verse in Psalms which I found to be very comforting, so I decided to open up my Bible and read through some of the Psalms. I then came across Psalm 147:3, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." I very vividly remember thinking to myself, "I am so tired of feeling brokenhearted and empty and I want to be healed." I stayed up half the night reading, and asked God to forgive me of my sins and come into my life. It was my AHA moment so to speak. I am always so amazed to know that on the same night I wanted to go out and drink, God choose to save me. I wasn't even looking for Him but He found me.

     On Feb. 13, 2005 I was baptized and my life has never been the same. I met my husband Jeff about a month later and we have been married for a little over 4 years now. He is such an amazing Godly man and I am honored to be on this journey with him. He is my spiritual leader, best friend, and partner. I love and respect him more than words can express.God has given me so much and I am forever grateful to Him.

     I know this was a very long post and I apologize for that. I promise they won't always be this long, I just wanted to share with you what God has done in my life. My hopes for this blog is that you will be encouraged, inspired, and challenged in your relationship with Christ. My greatest desire is for everyone to be transformed by Christ and live in the fullness of His grace and love. Know that He loves you so much today, and always dear friends!

     This is a beautiful song about how God is able to make everything beautiful and new. We had the privilege of having Rebecca St. James lead worship at our church today, and I fell in love with this song. I hope you enjoy it too!