Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Little Fella

Little Fella, originally uploaded by efiw.

I walked to the mailbox yesterday because the sun was warm and bright and I wanted a bit of it. Someone else wanted a piece of Mr Sunshine too!
Isn't he the cutest?

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Melissa emailed this week and asked if we could meet for coffee. No agenda, just to chat. :o) We met at the new Daily on Rouse and did just that... talked. Thanks Mel. It was schweeeeet!
Catching Air! I'd appreciate your prayers still for Tof. His landing on his elbows and the ensuing numbness/tingliness of his left hand have not disapated for 2 weeks now.
We had friends over last night for a Mexican Fiesta! After gorging ourselves with enchiladas, spanish rice, frejoles, and Birthday Cake (Nathan and Anthony's), we played games, went sledding, had a snowball fight, and listened to the 3 guitarists hone their skills!
The time went by so fast. No one left until midnight!!
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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Really Clean

I love how the house smells when it is clean! However, it probably isn't the scent most people think of when they think 'clean'. There is no pine, no amonia, no lemony wax smell that greets you when you walk through the door. A little over two years ago all chemical products were purged from our home. What isn't made here, we make sure is safe for the enviorment - and for us. In the end, the house smells just plain clean without competing scents.

Here are some of my favorite home and body cleaners:
Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Magic Soap! Great for hair, clothes, dog... it comes in a vaiety of scents, but this is my long time standby. I also like the lavendar and the tea tree. Another of Bronner's creations, but this one is for hard surfaces. I do dishes with this, clean our floors, kitchen counters, etc... It's not soap, but it does have suds. Amazing stuff ~ SAL Suds. Nature's Gate has come a long way. Their new scents are luscious, but this is one that I repeatedly find myself gravitating toward. Madarine Orange Patchouli. My other fave is Grapefruit Wild Ginger. Natural Antibacterials.

In the dishwasher I use ECOS Wave powder tabs. I tried making my own dishwasher soap, but it just didn't get the dishes as clean or disolve well, so I am doing the next best thing ~ non-toxic, plant-based, free of phosphates, chlorine, petroleum chemicals, 100% biodegradable and the containers are easily recycled.

That's really all that isn't homemade around here. Here's a link to many of the recipes I use for glass, toilet, shower, carpet, & wood.

One wasteful product that I have not been able to get away from are dryer sheets. In the summer, I try to let things dry on a line, but winter and the static are BEARS where I live. Grizzly style - if you know what I mean?! Dryer sheets are toxic, however. Gives new meaning o "killing me softly", eh? Unlike some, I could care less whether any scent is left on the clothes, just keep away the static creep and crackle! The only natural alternative that works is Mrs. Meyer's, I've found. I reuse the sheets several ways. 1st use sheets are saved in a pile on top of my dryer. When there are 2 per load for the remaining loads, I begin putting 2 - 1st use sheets in for a 2nd time to make up the equivalent. After their 2nd run I save them in a container for dust cloths, computer screen wipes, & over the top of a cloth as a 'swiffer' for the hard floors. Mrs. Meyer's are biodegradable.

It's cleaning day here. I can't wait to smell it!

Monday, February 04, 2008

A Rant & a Praise for Grace, Grace, Grace

The worldwide churches' model of youth ministry from the last 50 years or so doesn't flip my flapjacks. (Like that one babe?!) But that isn't simply what this post is about. I hope it is more about the grace of God in the life of this hard headed, freight train of a daughter of His.

I'm not normal. If you have read this blog very long, I'm not sayng anything new. Look back through the archives and you'll see it crop up. (*here, *here, *here, *here are some examples)

Before I married J, God got ahold of me hook, line and sinker. I had been a 'believer' but not a Christian until that point. I began to devour the Word. What spoke most to me were the verses where God revealed how to raise a family, what a Godly wife looked like, and what it meant to be His child in His family (that is pretty much the entire Bible... :o) ). Deuteronomy 6:7 became my mantra. J & I discussed it all. We would homeschool our kids. Raise them without TV and very few if any movies. We would teach them to love God and seek Him and listen to Him. Our kids wouldn't date. We would make sure they were socialized through hospitality in our own home, under our authority. Dreams formed into values and study of Word and resources formed foundations.

We were told we were overprotective, that our kind of kids were needed in the public school arena, that they were going to grow up ignorant and naive ~ Do you get the picture that 20 years ago these were not popular ways of thinking. They still aren't, but as our kids are older and are able to expound their own thoughts and values to others; they have taken on much of the "Burden of Proof". Who they are speaks for the fact that God's ways are perfect.

Every now and then we hear someone else's voice that supports us in our shaping and sharpening of the arrows in our quiver that they might hit the marks God shoots them toward. 16 years ago we got ahold of a tape series by a (then) little known pastor, named Gregg Harris. (He's the dad of Joshua Harris, and Alex & Brett Harris and others who are shaking the world) I walked away with a key phrase from this series; I want my kids to be the missionaries and not the mission field .

We began homeschooling and lapping up everything we could get our hands on that would help us to not just fill them with knowledge, but train them in the way they should go. The Vision Forum began sending us catalogs, and I shamelessly ordered their books and tape series through our local library. We were filled with vision and purpose!

7 years later (that would be 9 years ago for those of you who don't like to do the math!) Monte Swan came into my life. Not literally. Just his book. It gave raising a family beauty as well as purpose.
When the teenage years (5 years ago) began and it was time to decide what to do about youth group, our spirits were in turmoil. We wanted to support our church, our youth pastor, and our youth, but we couldn't reconcile what we were doing with what we had always taught our kids ~ with what our convictions were. So again we began to dig for God's Truth. We didn't want to say "No you can't" simply because our hearts were unsettled, we wanted to bring it back to the Gospel. We knew the Word said clearly - "Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children " (Deut. 4:9) "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads." (Deut. 6:5-8) Simple as that. Was there a model out there? Something and someone we could point to that could back us up when we presented this highly unpopular belief to our circle of friends and family? Stats? Anything? What a joy the internet became. We had the world at our fingertips. :o) cliche' but true. I now have a favorites file entitled "Reimagining Family and Life" where I have bookmarked sites of people and organizations that point us ever onward in this journey being a Christ Centered family.

Again we found a book. Parenting with Kingdom Purpose both reiterrated what we had always held a conviction in and gave us new weapons to fight the battle ahead. We were refreshed in our zeal, steadfast in our purpose.

2 nights ago, J came home and had us all gather in the lvingroom to hear a podcast. This is nothing new, but J was impassioned by this speaker and we could tell the next 20 minutes were going to be important. Family Driven Faith is a new book on the old subject (in our house anyway) of shifting your paradigm of how you think family should be done; not going with the flow, not doing what everyone else is doing, or what is the easiest... but what God ordained from the beginning of time for our families to be. I was in tears by the end. My heart was just so full of the grace of God.
Thank you, Father for the fortiftude you placed in our hearts and continue to refortify. Thank you, for not allowing our shortcomings to derail Your divine purposes.

It isn't over yet.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


I love photos! Thanks to all of you who sent us pictures so that we could see how big your kids have gotten and feel old! :oD
We love you all. It's so good to be in relationship.
Mama's little baby made shortnin' bread. Not just any shortnin' bread but Guerrilla Union of Shrews in Mossflower (Guosim) shortbread! We picked up the Redwall Cookbook at the library and are trying out some of the recipes.
Tofer got to go boarding midweek. A friend from our Bible Study is a snowboard instructor and he came to get Tof so the 2 of them could spend the day on the slopes. He had a great time and learned a lot.
Kathy's memorial is today. This picture was the last time I saw her before she began chemo. (she's the red head, 2nd from the left). It was this event that made her asthma act up. 3 days later it still wasn't going away, and upon going to the dr. they found the Lukeimia. We had just celebrated Danielle's (Tall brunette next to Kathy on the right) adoption of Angelika (from Russia), something Kathy and Danielle had warred in the heavenlies over for several years. Kathy got to see Angelika just before she passed away. I'm excited to celebrate Kathy's life today. She was an amazing women.
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