The Attack on the Family

I think I have mentioned before, but our Life Group through church (like a small group, but we “do life” together…get it?) went through the series The Family ProjectIt was a really great series about God’s design for the family.

That series really got me thinking about a lot of things. One of which is my family. Of course, I think of my family all the time, but it really opened my eyes to just how precious the family unit is and how careful and detailed God was in designing the family. Of all Creation, He set apart time to make man in His image and laid out the details of how He did it and with what care He used.

Genesis 2:7 – “then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”

Genesis does not give an account like that of any other of God’s creations. And then there is the detail on how He created woman…

Genesis 2:21-22 – “So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.”

He does not take that kind of time when creating anything else in Genesis. Obviously, God has great love and care for his creations, man and woman. Genesis 2 goes on to explain His design for man and woman by way of family…

“The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:23-24

They become ONE. They are a team. We are created in God’s image. God took great care in creating us. And wouldn’t you know it, Satan jumped right on that and found a way to try and mess it up.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden ‘?” Genesis 3:1

Of course, we know that even with that huge mistake and the ruining of the perfect garden, God created a way of redemption and life went on. Satan did not conquer – he may have won that battle, but we know he doesn’t win the war. ;)

But back to my thoughts on family – Satan is still out to screw up that most delicate creation….the family. He is out to ruin marriages, relationships between parents and children, brothers and sisters. He wants to destroy it all because the family is a true reflection of the Trinity and since we bear God’s image…he most certainly wants it tarnished!

So in all the learning I’ve been doing through our Life Group series, through reading on my own, and just from being so much more aware of Satan at work here in my own home, I wanted to encourage whoever might read this.

Even if you feel like you’ve lost the daily battle to Satan within your family….he doesn’t get to win the war! Those that have read Revelation see the final chapter of Earth’s history. Satan loses, for good.

I struggled with some serious pride two weeks ago with my husband. It was MY pride I am referring to, not his. :) I wanted to be right, regardless of how wrong I felt. And I ruined a whole evening because I just wouldn’t get off my little ledge of pride. Letting my husband be right felt like I was losing, and for some stupid reason I would not lose. (I wasn’t losing, really; I was just going to have to admit I was wrong…and I clearly was wrong!) I didn’t sleep well that night, and I finally apologized the following day. I recognized that pointless argument as Satan working his way into our home and ruining an opportunity for us to reflect Christ in our marriage. I allowed him a foothold to build a wall, even if temporary – still a wall, between Arthur and myself. Time that could have been spent growing closer to each other, I allowed it to be wasted. A small victory for Satan.

Being more aware of how Satan works on a family, I am seeing more often I can step back and look at a situation and see it for what it really is. My children don’t hate me. I haven’t ruined them. My husband loves me. I am a good mom. BUT, he sneaks (sometimes not even sneaking, he often bursts through the front door!) in and distorts the reality to make it seem like the kids are awful or that I am no good or that my husband doesn’t really love me. AND IT IS SO WRONG! When I stop and consider the situation, I can restore the relationship being attacked before it gets too crazy.

I am so thankful to be learning so much through church, Life Group, on my own, and in talks with Arthur at night. And then being able to apply it each day to strengthen my family, to guide my children, to grow closer to my husband, and to grow closer to the Lord.

It is obvious Satan is at work on the family – just take a look at society. BUT, we don’t have to give him a foothold in our own families.

We can trust God’s Word and have hope in the fact that the Lord will win the final battle!

“but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Revelation 20:9b-10

I Don’t Wear Deodorant

Yes, you read that correctly. I do not wear deodorant.

Now, I am not one of those weird patchouli-scented, hairy-legged, bra-less hippies. :) I just found a way to be more natural in my personal care routine, and I am loving it! (I should also mention…I have not worn perfume in a long time either. My husband has environmental allergies, and several of my kids had eczema as babies. I had read to avoid perfumes for allergies and eczema, so I had stopped using it regularly several years ago, saving it for weddings or dinners or whatever. So, my only “scent” the past few years has been my deodorant.)

In August, I switched to an herbal deodorant, to avoid all forms of aluminum in my deodorant. (In case you hadn’t heard of the controversy surrounding aluminum, just search “aluminum in deodorant” and you will get every opinion out there on whether or not it is safe to use on the skin. I am not for or against aluminum, I am just always looking for ways to use natural products or those with very minimal ingredients.) I had read about our pits needing to detox when switching from a typical aluminum-containing deodorant to one that is without. Boy did I experience the detox! My pits smelled pretty strongly like body odor for about a full week. It was gross, I’ll admit it. After about a week, I really smelled so much better! I actually found I had no scent, other than the essential oils that were used in the herbal deodorant.

Then I was thinking about how to avoid the $5 herbal deodorant cost and still avoid the cheap, long ingredient list deodorants. And I read somewhere about a woman who makes her own deodorant sticks. I didn’t have the energy to purchase the deodorant containers and melt all the ingredients (and by “all” I mean like 4 ingredients! Haha! I am lazy.) and then let it sit to harden. I wanted something quick! So, I used the homemade whipped coconut lotion I had and applied that as my deodorant one day. I was already using that lotion for my body, so I didn’t have any extra work to make it. Score!!

Result: I smelled like lavender for most of the day! And not once did I get a hint of B.O. It was really nice. :) Although, that first day or two I wasn’t doing anything to produce sweat, so I figured I should test it out a little longer to see how well my body used it while I sweat. I tested it out while cleaning my bathtub, and I was very impressed. Of course, I did still sweat while cleaning, but I hadn’t used an antiperspirant in a long time so this was nothing new. BUT, what I noticed was that I didn’t stink. The sweat didn’t really smell like anything except coconut oil. And, I also noticed I did not have any issues with razor burn or rash after shaving my armpits. The coconut oil seemed to help with that as well! Bonus!

That was three months ago, and I am still just using the lavender coconut oil lotion as my deodorant. It still works great, and I have noticed that I only really have a stinky smell for two reasons:

  1. When it is “that time of the month”, which I totally understand because of all the changes our bodies are going through in a week. So, I just reapply the lotion throughout the day so my pits stay fresh smelling.
  2. When I stray from eating well. I have noticed on a few occasions, after eating processed foods more often than we normally do, that I kinda stink when I sweat. So, it is more encouragement to keep eating well…and NOT stink. :)

I whip up the coconut lavender lotion and it makes about 6-8 ounces. I only use a small dab of it in each pit, so the lotion lasts me a LONG time. I just made up my second batch on Saturday….my first batch has lasted since September! It is definitely more cost-effective to go this route then pay $5 for the herbal deodorant that lasts a few weeks.

And, of course, the best thing is that I am using just two ingredients and not a bunch of things I don’t know about and don’t feel like researching to see if anyone knows of their safety. I don’t like to be all conspiracy theory-ish but really, we can’t trust anyone these days. The committees that oversee safety of foods, drugs, healthcare, beauty products, and pretty much everything else are all people from the big corporations or they are PAID by the people from the big corporations. Rather than debate about what is safe and not safe, I’ll just stick to my coconut oil and lavender essential oil and avoid all the questionable ingredients.

If you’re interested in joining my NO-DEO revolution, here is the recipe for the whipped coconut lotion:

1/2 to 1 cup coconut oil

Lavender essential oil (or whatever oil you prefer to be scented as and is safe to use on the skin – please note, I have not used any other oils for this recipe, so I cannot confirm which are safe for the armpit area except for lavender.)

Whip it constantly for about 7 minutes until it is shiny and smooth and fluffy. :) Add 3-5 drops of lavender essential oil and stir it in well. Store in a glass container and use within 5 months.

It also makes a wonderful gift to give away, as it can be used as a body lotion too! If you are acne-prone, I would avoid using it on areas that tend to break out (for me, I cannot use it on my face, chest or back), as coconut oil CAN be a pore-blocker for those of us that struggle with acne. :/

Anyone else deo-free?! What are using to keep your pits fresh?? :) Please feel free to share!


Menu Plan: November 1-7

Another busy week here with school and church activities. I planned out some yummy frugal meals that include minimal processed items. The processed things will be tortillas, pasta and peanut butter. And of course our weekly meal of Aldi’s Take & Bake pizzas! :) I found a lot of great frugal whole food recipes online, so I will be trying out several this week. Breakfasts are pretty simple, sticking mostly to eggs and oatmeal with one day of homemade cinnamon rolls tossed in! And since the weather is forecasted to be much warmer than the usual November weather, I haven’t moved to doing many soups yet. I will be using the crockpot several times, though, which is always enjoyable. Ha!


Eggs, toast x 2

Oatmeal, fruit x 2

Breakfast burritos, fruit

Cinnamon Rolls, fruit

PB toast or oatmeal, fruit


Leftovers x 2

PB & J x 2

Grilled cheese

Mashed Potato Cakes

Banana Muffins, veggies and homemade ranch, pretzels


Crockpot Lasagna, homemade breadsticks

Poor Man’s Chicken Noodle Soup (crockpot on Halloween – it was so good! and a nice warm meal after a very chilly time trick-or-treating!!), homemade biscuits

Chili (crockpot) over potatoes, Steamed broccoli, grapes

Chicken and Rice, Salad, apple slices

Pizza, fruit

Lentil Soup (crockpot), homemade bread

Sloppy Joes on homemade buns, salad, pretzels

Other Items to Make/Bake:

Halloween Sugar Cookies (because we need more sugar on Halloween)

Leftover Oatmeal Muffins

Homemade Bread (at least 2 loaves for the week)



Being Used…In a Good Way

It has been almost two weeks since I posted. And I am very happy with that. I needed to do some work on my heart and in my home. My last post made me super sad about how my priorities were so off. I knew my daily routine wasn’t pleasing to the Lord, and I was happy to take time away from a lot of things to work on that.

Just like God always does, He sent me two reminders that being honest is helpful…for myself and others. I had a night in with a friend of mine, after that last post, who shared with me she was struggling lately too. It was so nice to open up with her and share our struggles! We were able to vent and find joy….over the same things. It was a great reminder that I am not the only mom in the world that is grouchy or is not consistent with her Bible time. And while that doesn’t mean I will just rest easy that I’m not alone and go no further with changing, it was an encouragement to make the changes God was putting on my heart because I want to be able to go back and share with her about our changes and overcoming those former struggles with the Lord’s help!

The second reminder came from my sweet, sweet sister. She is my role model, to be honest. She has the most gentle and meek spirit ALL THE TIME. Sure, she gets upset with her kids; however, she isn’t screaming at them. She is so calm and loving with them – honestly, it puts me to shame! But, she texted me and shared that she, too, was struggling with having consistent Bible time. Like the awesome woman she is, she suggested we text each day and share what we read for devotions and something we’re thankful for. She made a good point – not being thankful really feeds the grouchiness! This reminder from the Lord was that I can talk/type all I want about changes, but I need to get my behind in gear and do something about it! And now, I have my sister to keep me accountable. No, she is not yelling at me on the days I miss Bible time. She is just a sweet encouragement to keep going. I love her so much (and probably WAY more than I ever show her and more than she even realizes).

And wouldn’t you know it….as soon as I open my eyes to where I need to be spiritually, God brings more into my life to confirm it. Our small group’s lesson last week was about the Enemy attacking our homes. They touched briefly on the obvious, the Devil. BUT, they also went on to speak extensively on how WE ARE OUR OWN WORST ENEMY IN OUR HOMES! Well, ain’t that the truth!! I was again encouraged to work on my heart in order to have a healthy, godly home. How can I point my children to Christ if I am not reflecting Him at all?!

This past Sunday and Monday, too, was more encouragement that I am where I need to be – at home with my kids, educating them in a Biblical way. Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis came and held several different meetings, sharing how the church and families need to really be grounded in the Bible, so we can train our children to follow the Lord and His Word. The world just wants to flush out the godly teaching with all the crap out there – evolution, premarital sex, gay marriage, abortion, etc. We parents need to know what we believe and why….so we can share it with our children and give them a good defense when the world attacks (and I don’t know if you’ve noticed lately…it’s attacking. And it will just get worse). We need to

“…revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…”

(I Peter 3:15 NIV)

I know my thoughts were not in any great order above. Just wanted to share where I am at. I have set my eyes on Jesus, and I want to surround myself with constant Biblical teachings in order to learn as much as I possibly can about how the Bible says to “give an answer” for the hope I have. :)

I have also started listening to different messages from pastors across the country. Our Pastor’s sermons are on podcast, but I am up to date with any I might have missed the past few months. So, I have moved on to watching/listening to YouTube videos of Matt Chandler, Tim Keller, and more of Ken Ham. All three of those men really get into the Scripture and explain the background of the passages, the origin of different words used, and how to then appropriately apply it to our daily lives.

Another resource I am trying to absorb info from is a book my husband bought for his Old Testament class. It is called Grasping God’s Wordand it is a serious book. There is so much information packed into each page…I may be reading it forever. It explains how to read a passage of Scripture and then how to apply it.

Of course, the best resource is the actual Bible, and I am using all the tools I mentioned above to really dig into Genesis right now. I was reading through the end of the book for a devotional app, but I think I want to just start all over at Genesis 1, now that I have so much more knowledge about reading and absorbing it. (And I am secretly hoping that for Christmas my husband and I can just get each other the ESV Bibles we have been eyeing lately! He wants a huge ESV study Bible. I want a similar, smaller version of his. I mentioned it as an idea to him…really hoping he goes with it. HAHA!)

So, I just want to encourage all of you believers to really get into your Bible reading. Not just the daily chapter you’re assigned to read, but find a good study Bible and dig in! I feel like I have a duty to just be on fire for the Lord. All the “on fire” folks they keep showing on TV end up being the WORSE example of Christianity. There needs to be so many more regular folks, like me, just doing what God is asking me to – love my husband and children, teach my children Biblical truths, live out what I believe, and SHARE more with people (the sharing is my least productive area…ugh. really need to work on it)! One of the ladies in our small group mentioned that she has been feeling the Lord pushing her to share her faith with those that she sits with in her oncologist’s office whenever she has her appointments. She finally worked up the courage to just ask a lady “is there something I can pray about for you?” and the woman said she was so thankful that she asked her that. I mean, if my friend can speak up in the oncology waiting room (after dealing with cancer for the past few years), I can certainly speak up everywhere I go.

All we have to do is be willing to be used! God will do the rest. But, it usually turns out that I am not really willing. I will type and type and type about how ready I am to get out and speak about the Lord, but then as soon as the opportunity arises I let antsy kids or my hunger (seriously…I get hangry, people) or whatever else stop me from saying anything. And then I’m like “oh, next time I will do it.” I am not guaranteed a next time for anything – a breath, a kiss, a hug, a smile from my kids, an opportunity to share Jesus with a friend or stranger. We have to take each moment that we can to do something for Christ!

So….WHO’S WITH ME?!?!?! :)

(And Mindy, I am expecting you to hold me accountable on this, as well! Love you!)

Being Honest

I have been super grouchy lately.

In case you were not aware….I like to have control…of everything. Food, homeschool, housework, activities, my children, my marriage (yikes!)….everything. When I feel like I am losing control over something, I get grouchy. And grouchy might be too nice a word. I get mean.

I yell at the kids. I nag at my husband. I grumble as I clean. I rush through school stuff. I complain about making dinner. I cancel appointments and hide myself away from playdates.

It is bad.

I have always said I like to be organized and on time and on a schedule/routine. I lesson planned weeks in advance, planned meals, schedule cleaning around the house, signed up for lots of church activities, etc.

This morning in the shower, I finally stopped and admitted to myself: I am not in control. Kind of a silly admission because I have known for a while that I am not as neat and tidy and organized as I like to say I am.

On the surface I look real neat. Kids are dressed, house is picked up (for the most part), we are usually on time for things. Looks great. But, behind my fake smile (yep, totally fake smile when we go out. I secretly dislike rowdy kids and chaos and things not going as planned; I look go-with-the-flow, but I am anything but!) I am on edge. My skin actually gives it away, if I had thought about it. I have acne on my face…still. As a 33-year-old mom of five, I have acne. And it isn’t the time-of-the-month kind. It is the “I worry and stress over every little thing” kind. And I have known that for a long time, too.

The atmosphere here during school time has been tense. Because I am grouchy, I say a lot of mean things – things I instantly regret, volume I wish I had turned down, tones that are just disgusting. The kids, in turn, display the same bad attitudes with each other (and with me), and then I circle back around and yell at them for yelling at each other! And I try to stick a band-aid over it by saying a quick prayer. I pray for God to calm us all down, but I don’t really put any effort into stopping myself before I do it. I don’t really start my day right with prayer and Bible reading, but I expect God to just fix it and fix me – without me having to do any work, really.

I am short-tempered, angry, selfish, lazy, and it has gotten old. Facebook sucks time away from me. I stare at my phone WAY too much during the day. I tell my kids to “hold on” so I can finish looking through my FB newsfeed. Who does that?!

There is no joy here anymore. It is just a feeling of getting through the day, so I can enjoy the evening after the kids are in bed. Honestly. I am not in the mood to sit and “do school” with the kids, and I have resorted to a lot of independent work time. I brush it off as not wanting to force anything on the kids, but really it is just me being lazy.

I stress out over Lily’s eczema, but, really, she isn’t on her deathbed. She, most days, doesn’t even talk about it or seem bothered with it. But, here I am “I gotta fix it!” Money is tight, and I am over here worrying about how to bring in more money. I don’t really consider that it may not be that we need more money but maybe that we need to lessen how much stuff we have/do, but I probably should consider that. Instead, I am searching for ways to make money and ignoring the precious treasures I already have!

I have not planned out school lessons in weeks. I need to get back to that. I have not scheduled cleaning days for the house, and I have slacked on keeping the girls going with their chore cards. Need to get back to that, too.

Not that feeling in control of those things is what I need.

Getting out of this lazy, self-centered funk is what I need! Obviously, starting my day with the Lord would be a good place to start!! My daily devotion time has been pretty rare lately, unfortunately. I keep saying “oh I will do it during nap time” but then I manage to plop my butt down with my lunch and watch tv, justifying it by telling myself I need a break. What I really need is to read God’s Word and really dig into it.

So, just being honest today. I have nothing together over here.  I know some changes need to be made in my “routine” and, more importantly, in my heart to get back on track.

It is ok to not be totally organized or neat or have things planned out. I think the more kids you have the harder it becomes (although you could also say the more necessary it becomes!), and even though I tell myself I am not one of those homeschooling moms – unorganized, scatterbrained, disheveled – I think I am that mom quite a bit more than I care to admit. :) And it is ok. God can still use me; it’s being the type of mom that doesn’t seek God first that I should be more afraid of becoming. Being THAT type of mom is harder to admit, but I know I have been that kind lately. And that is what I want to change.

“Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.”

I Chronicles 16:11 NASB

Day 18 – Ending Eczema

Well, I do not think the issue is gluten. Lily had pizza over the weekend, and her eczema did not seem bothered by it one bit. After focusing on avoiding gluten for over 2 weeks, the eczema did not react at all to it.

I am kind of lost on where to go. I received encouragement from a neighbor, who is a nurse, to seek out a pediatric dermatologist for some more options. (She also gave me a mixture of essential oils and jojoba oil to use on her skin during the day. I just put it on her; hoping it works! Combo of tea tree, lavender, and frankincense with the jojoba oil. It smells great. And she suggested getting an over-the-counter anti-itch cream, which I plan to look into on grocery day this week.) When she goes for her checkup, I will see about a referral to a dermatologist.

We started using the steroid cream again. Just once a day, at night, to try to help it heal while she sleeps. She still uses shea butter during the day. And she still wakes up at night, which adds to the night scratching. I showed her how to fake scratch the areas – leaving her fingers flat on the area while rubbing. Kind of feels like you are scratching but without using her nails and doesn’t break the skin. I know it isn’t the best idea because it still rubs and irritates the delicate skin, but when she is in tears I struggle to tell her to “suck it up”. :(

So, we are at a stand-still for now. Going to keep eating well – lots of fresh, raw foods; everything homemade; avoid artificial sugars, dyes, and food-like ingredients. I will keep updating, as we see new things or find out more info from the doctor or dermatologist.

Day 10 – Ending Eczema

We have been actively working to get rid of the eczema for a full 10 days! To my knowledge, Lily has only had one slip-up with eating gluten….when she popped an animal cracker in her mouth, while filling a little baggie for her brother.

The eczema patches have gotten worse then better then worse. I don’t know if we are on the right path or not, but I know 10 days isn’t enough time to make a decision. So we’ll press on, gluten-free. :) I am borrowing a couple of cookbooks from a friend, and my mom found a gluten-free baking recipe book, so we have plenty of ideas!

Her legs have been extremely itchy in the middle of the night, and she still wakes up to scratch and then confess to me about scratching them. :( Poor girl just needs a good night’s sleep!

We are coating them with shea butter at least twice a day (more if she is wearing jeans all day…she itches without realizing THROUGH the jeans, which always makes the skin crack or super irritated). Today we started rubbing the fresh aloe, from our plant, on the areas. Tonight, I will start applying the Vitamin E oil again.

I have updated pictures, but they aren’t very encouraging. They are saved in my phone for now, but when I have more time I will post them. It is a little discouraging to see them worse, BUT everything online says it will get worse before it gets better. Just hard to see that reality right now. I caved and applied the plain hydrocortisone cream (over-the-counter) when she is on the verge of tears. Hoping to move away from that in the future.

The steroid withdrawal has become more confirmed to me. A ton of medical sites (like, the ones posted by hospitals or doctors or medical schools) discredit the “steroid withdrawal” claim. They say the side effects from potent steroid creams (like what Lily was using) are only if applied incorrectly. The directions from our doctor were to apply twice a day when the area is inflamed. But, the creams aren’t supposed to be used long-term.

So, riddle me this: if we use the cream twice a day, then we stop when it seems to be getting better. THEN it gets ridiculously crazy worse and we go back on the cream and do it over again… do we NOT use it long-term? And how do they explain the getting worse when we stop the steroid?? There is only one more potency level above the cream we were using…..I can only imagine how bad the withdrawal would be if she were coming off one of those.

I don’t understand the logic behind all the creams OR the ignoring of steroid withdrawal. The insanely huge number of people claiming it online can’t ALL be wrong…can they?! And I am adding Lily’s name to the list. Because NOT using the steroid cream is like seriously sending her body into a crazy withdrawal. And the eczema is much worse.

Yes, we are flushing out her system with diet changes. BUT, her skin is craving the steroid. And it looks angry. Sounds silly, but it does. And she is embarrassed. She doesn’t like to talk about it. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell her don’t worry about it or try not to scratch or whatever….she is worried about infection or people seeing it or having to talk about it or scratching in her sleep.

I am thankful for doctors and the knowledge the medical community has to help us with our health. But, I do feel like they have failed my daughter with treating her skin. Diet changes haven’t been discussed. Psychological effects of the eczema aren’t discussed. Hormonal changes from the eczema withdrawal aren’t discussed (and let me tell you, angry outbursts immediately followed by sobbing are NOT normal).

So, I am praying for a happier post in the next week. :) And maybe I’ll post the pictures to show the changes.

Tonight is chicken piccata (a change from the chicken chili I had planned) with mashed potatoes. Gotta go mash my taters!