My Pits

It’s been a slow slide. It started with making more food from scratch.

Then I tried to make handsoap from scratch. (It was the consistency of snot, by the way.)

Then I switched my facial cleanser to olive and castor oil. (LOVE IT.)

face wash

I learned to make homemade bread.

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I made some homemade dishwasher detergent. (FAIL.)

And some laundry detergent. (Success.)

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I started milling my own flour.

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And now.

This latest thing really makes me feel like I’m descending (or maybe ascending?) into hippie-dom.

I made homemade deoderant. For my pits. And I like it.

You can find the recipe here. The only change I made was to substitute peppermint extract for the lime oil. Because it’s what I had.

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Coconut oil, corn starch, baking soda, and essential oil (er, extract).

Super easy to make. And at the end of the day, my underarms still smelled sweet like coconut.

That’s better than Degree ever did!

Now it’s your turn! What natural / whole food / homemade thing should I try next? What have you tried – failures and/or successes?

“I Like Giving” Giveaway Winners!

Howdy ho, friends!

Thanks to those of you who entered the giveaway for the new book I Like Giving by Brad Formsma.

The WINNERS have been chosen!

You can expect to receive one of these beautiful books…
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…if your name is…

Michelle Caskey
Chrissy Boerman
Aleks Slocum

(All winners have been contacted…so if your name is above, go check your email!)

I hope you’re all inspired to become more generous people!

Insta-Update

I’ll admit it: since Luke got me an iPhone for Christmas in 2012, it’s been hard to blog.

It’s so much easier to take a picture and post it on Instagram with a teeny little caption.

But, alas, some of you don’t do the whole Instagram thing. So I’m going to bring Instagram to the blog! :-)

Caleb has been playing baseball with a different league this year, and it is LIGHT YEARS better than the YMCA last year in terms of learning how to really play the game. His coach is phenomenal. Caleb has learned SO MUCH. I have learned SO MUCH!

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The best baseball decision I made this year was to buy him orange socks. Now I can locate him instantly when he’s on the field, without having to bring a pair of binoculars.

Besides baseball, a new adventure in the Rumley house is milling our own wheat. I bought a Nutrimill from a Craigslist ad, and my dear friend bought a 50lb bag of wheat berries for me from an Amish store in Fremont. And then I panicked.

What was I getting myself into?

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But once I finally got my grain stored correctly (so as to avoid bugs hatching in it), and saw enough pictures of my friend’s fresh baked creations from her own milled flour, and read an awesome book about it…I finally got up the nerve to try it.

Mmmm.

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This stuff is REALLY nutritious, and tasty, too. I don’t think I can go back to store-bought flour.

Next up: Easter.

There we are in our little matching outfits. Yes, I’m one of those moms. What can I say? I love to sew.

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The kids have been cracking me up lately.

Jaden’s artwork is out of control. Here he is with a self-portrait.
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Caleb is very physical. He’s constantly moving. Here he was working on his sculpted abs during school one day.
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Ava is a physical touch kind of girl. She loves her snuggles. She also loves wrestling with her siblings. And apparently holding her little brother up by his knees.
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It scares me a little bit (or maybe more than a little bit) how grown up and beautiful Gracie girl looks these days.
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In other news, my dad (the kids’ Papa) hit a milestone birthday this year. I can’t tell you what number it starts with, but it ends in 0. We bought him a birthday card that said, “Happy 30th!” but my sister’s card said “Happy 25th!” So I guess we can’t even agree on which fake number to use. :-)

Here is Papa with the glasses Jaden picked out for him for his birthday present.

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We’ve been loving the beautiful weather lately as well. Luke bought me some beautiful lilies for Mother’s Day, so we planted those recently.

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Thanks to a tip from my awesome sister-in-law, we used some free coffee grounds from Starbucks to enrich the soil.
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Speaking of the sister-in-law, I’m thankful that God blessed her with an adorable son that we can call our nephew! Aren’t his cheeks amazing?!
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Last, I’ll end with a selfie. Do you think selfies are vain? I’m personally not a huge fan, but sometimes when my hair is actually cooperating with me for once, I can’t help but take a picture. I’m not thinking, “Wow, I’m the hottest person ever.” I’m just thinking, “I’d better capture this hair on camera to keep me going the other 99% of the time when it’s not behaving.” Just so you know.
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There ya have it, folks. For smartphone users, you can find me on Instagram.

When Mother’s Day Is Detrimental

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This holiday has been celebrated in the US for a little more than a century (since 1908), and I know mothers around the nation really appreciate being applauded and recognized for countless hours of selfless care for their families.

We all know motherhood is hard. It’s never-ending. Even when the kiddos go to bed, I’m still on duty, my senses just alert enough all night to hear a child’s cry. I suppose that even when my littles are grown and live in different houses with families of their own, I will still spend my nights with my mother-heart a little bit alert. I want to live my life in prayer for these kids.

Motherhood is sanctifying. My sin is glaringly obvious when I see that same sin in my children. Encouraging them to get rid of sin starts with my own commitment to denying sin. (Which is, of course, only successful through the work of the Holy Spirit.) I often think that it’s an awfully good thing that God blessed us with babies so quickly after our marriage, because I hate to think how stubborn and selfish I’d be if I hadn’t started this sanctifying process so young. God had His work cut out for him, to really get ahold of my me-centered heart. (And as you’ll see below, that me-centeredness still creeps up more often than I’d like!)

Motherhood is also SO rewarding. After birthing these gigantic children, I had the reward of nursing them for almost a year (6 months for J). I have the reward of snuggles, hugs, tickles, and laughs. I put the work in as a homeschool mom, and get the reward of seeing the “lightbulb moments,” like when they start reading fluently or suddenly understand a concept we’ve been discussing. I get the reward of seeing the Scripture they’ve memorized be applied in real life. I have had the greatest reward: watching all four of our kids recognize their need for a Savior, and asking Jesus to be Lord of their lives.

These are the things that are recognized on Mother’s Day. I think it’s a healthy thing for dads and kids to try to understand the mothers in their lives. It’s good to treat them like a queen for the day, and thank them for all they do.

But while I love the rewards and accolades, I really pour my heart into parenting so that God might be glorified.

One of our favorite verses is 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

I had to remind myself of that whenever I looked at Facebook or Instagram yesterday. There was picture upon picture upon status upon status of people praising their mothers and doing sweet things for them. And that ugly thing called envy reared its head. Jealousy – it’s not a pretty sight.

I was looking for human reward instead of God’s glory.

My sweet family bought me lunch, and sat around the table talking about “what they love about mommy,” and we planted my “gift” a week or so ago (5 beautiful red lilies).

Why wasn’t I content with all of that sweetness, knowing that my family appreciates me?

Why did I feel as if my day wasn’t enough because I didn’t receive {insert any Facebook status here}?

Sin. That’s all, friends. When I was supposed to be celebrating the gift of motherhood, I was internally acting like a selfish, spoiled brat. That’s just lovely, isn’t it?

Mother’s Day (or any day) becomes detrimental when I start comparing my experience to yours. You know the old saying, “Comparison kills contentment?” TRUE. STATEMENT.

The highlight of my day yesterday was a family bike ride to a park, a walk in the woods, and playing “Sprinkler Baseball” in the front yard. It was relaxing and fun and stressful and hilarious.

Maybe you read a book in your hammock or went out to coffee by yourself or played roller derby. Whatever your day looked like, if God was glorified, it was a successful Mother’s Day. It doesn’t matter what anyone else received. The day you experienced was a gift in itself.

Book Review: Lost & Found by Sarah Jakes

Jakes
Bishop TD Jakes is the pastor of a mega-church in Texas, comprised of 30,000 people in multiple campuses. I’ll be honest; I’ve heard his name before but am really not familiar with his ministry.

So when I chose to review this book, it was because I love to hear testimony of God’s redeeming grace in others’ lives. It was NOT because I’m a superfan of the Jakes family. I really didn’t know anything about them before I read this book.

Sarah Jakes is the daughter of this well-known pastor. Once the church boomed during her childhood, she grew up in the “fishbowl” known as a pastor’s family. She was under the spotlight.

I have to say that it was brave of her to write this book, chronicling her many, many poor decisions. It would be hard to admit (let alone let the entire world read) your stupid mistakes.

But can I just stop right there and say it was one of the most depressing Christian books I’ve ever read?

Here’s a very quick synopsis:
She was pregnant at age 13, gave birth to a little boy at 14, finished high school early at age 16, went on to college. Met a boy at college who was not good for her, but she wouldn’t let that relationship go even though it was obviously unhealthy (he was unfaithful from the beginning)…Ended up living with him. He became a pro football player after college. They married. They had kids. He was unfaithful. A lot. She apparently cussed him out, a lot (though no cussing was present in the book). They got divorced. The end.

See what I mean? The subtitle of the book is “Finding HOPE in the Detours of Life.” But the only “hope” she seems to present is divorce.

At the very end of the book, she divorces him, and is now living for the Lord, working at her parents’ church. Because she couldn’t make godly decisions while married to her husband?

I’m not going to pretend that I know what it’s like to live with an unfaithful spouse. Thankfully, Luke is a loyal, faithful man. And for that I am SO THANKFUL.

But I want to put this out there…God IS BIG ENOUGH to redeem even the greatest of disasters. I’m not saying it would be easy, or that separation wouldn’t be necessary, but I believe God IS POWERFUL ENOUGH to work through even the toughest of marital problems.

Our God is a God of reconciliation and redemption. Those things are beautiful. And they are not present in this memoir.

I’m a HUGE advocate of the sanctity of marriage, in a culture where the “vows” people take are just words they say until they decide not to believe them anymore.

On the contrary, I took vows before God, family, and friends…and I intend to keep those promises until death separates Luke and me.

And I think that’s why, after I turned the last page on this book, I was so very sad for Sarah Jakes. Because while she did challenge the world to be transparent about their struggles, she never did challenge the world to be HOLY in the midst of their struggles. And that, dear friends, is a waste of a book.

Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of review. All opinions are mine, and I was not compensated monetarily for the review.

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