My Top 9 Posts of 2015

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of my most viewed posts of the year.  Some of these I wrote as God impressed them on my heart and some of them were just spur of the moment, some I put a lot of time and thought into and some that I didn't think anyone would read. It's always so interesting to me to see what resonates with you. If you didn't get to read any of these I hope you will take a gander and see what you have missed. If you follow me on instagram make sure to hop on over and see my top pictures for the year also!

TL 1. To the Mom Who Doesn't Have It All Together

With over a thousand views, this post definitely seemed to have struck a chord with so many moms. Unfortunately, so many of us compare ourselves with each other. This just isn't right. None of us has it all together. If we think we do or others do we are badly mistaken. Jesus is the only perfect one.  I share how God wants us to compare ourselves to him alone.

TM 2. 5 Things I Have Learned Living In A 2 Bedroom House With 5 Children

Boy have I learned a lot living in our little home with all our kids. Sometimes I feel like the old woman who lived in a shoe and had so many children she didn't know what to do;) I guess I am not alone. God has stretched me and blessed me in so many ways that I would have never expected. I am so thankful for all that God has taught me and opened up my eyes to, but I have to admit I am ready to upgrade whenever God is ready;) But for now he is helping me to be content right where I am. If you are feeling discontent in your home I hope you will read this post and be encouraged!

TR 3. How Blogging Has Helped Me To Be Content At Home

I never would have imagined a couple years ago that I would be blogging, but here I am. Though it can often be a distraction from my home and family it has also been such a blessing. I love that I can have a creative outlet right from home. I often put pressure on myself to do more than I can but as I am learning to seek God first he is helping me put blogging and everything else in it's rightful place in my life.

ML 4. The Ultimate Summer Reading List for Boys

If your boys are anything like mine, it can be hard to get them excited about reading. I feel like jumping up and down for joy when I see them nestled with a good book. This list of course can be for anytime of year but we try to get a lot of reading in during summer break. I was so happy to find a lot of great books that my boys have taken an interest in reading and share them with you.

MC 5. Our Homeschool Room

I am so thankful that we were able to use our enclosed porch as our school room. I don't know what we would do without it. I somehow managed to get it clean and organized long enough to take some pictures.

MR 6. Making time for What Really Matters

As a busy mom it can often be hard for me in the midst of caring for my family to stop and just play with my kids; giving them my full attention. I am always thinking of all that I have to do. Looking my children in the eyes, listening to them when they are talking to me and choosing to stop what I am doing for a few moments is so much more important than keeping a perfect home. I don't always do the right thing but I am learning and trying by God's grace.

BL 7. Getting Started in Bible Journaling

Journaling has been a great way for me to write down what God is speaking to me through his word and for me to speak to him. I love looking back and remembering all that God has done in my life and the prayers he has answered. I know that journaling has truly helped me in my walk with the Lord. I share a few ways to get started if you have never tried.

BC 8. Give me Jesus Journal Giveaway

I have been so blessed by Life Lived Beautifully's ministry and was so excited when Gretchen agreed to give me one of their journals to giveaway. In this post I also share how journaling has blessed me and how it keeps me focused on God's word.

BR 9. Getting Ready for Christmas

I love getting ready for Christmas and simply share in this post all that we did in preparation and how I try not to stress over it but be truly mindful of what the season is all about.

Hope you enjoyed this little look back on faithful with the little's most popular posts. I am excited to see what God is going to do in the coming year with this little space. I pray that this blog continues to be a place of encouragement and inspiration for you and I to be faithful with all that God has given us... no matter how big or little!

What was your favorite post of the year from faithful with the little? 

What topics would you like to see more of?

Do you have a  most viewed post on your blog? I'd love to check it out!

Linking up here!

Making your home a haven

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Parrot Uncle. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Home. It's where we do life with our loved ones. It's where we can find shelter not only from the literal elements, but the storms of life. It's where we lay our heads to rest and recharge for the new day. It's where we gather to eat and refuel. It's where we can be ourselves and forget for a while about the pressures of work and the world.

As a stay at home mom and homeschooler, it's where I spend most of my time. There are many times when I am anxious to get out of the house. But for the most part I have come to love being home. A huge factor in me coming to love being a homebody is from making it more than just a house, but a haven. I have found that making it as comfortable and aesthetically pleasing to the eyes as possible plays a huge role in my love of being home.

The more I invest myself in organizing, decorating and keeping our home clean, the more I want to be here. Though my husband might not notice every new picture I hang, lamp I have bought or closet I've organized; when he comes home he appreciates the combination of all that I have done and feels the difference. 

When I choose to make the most with what I have; in this case my home, I tend to want to be here more and take pride in it. I confess this is not always an easy task; especially with my 5 children who leave a trail of disaster in their wake, but I am doing the best I can!

I am excited to be partnering with Parrot Uncle an online home lighting store, in helping you to find the perfect lighting fixtures to give your home not only light but ambiance. I am in love with all their creative lighting pendants and lamps and think they would be the perfect addition; whatever your style and budget in turning your home into a haven of comfort and light.

Here are some of my favs: (click on picture to go directly to site and see prices)

Some ways that I am trying to make my home a haven are:

-Continually cleaning and organizing aka. not letting things pile up until I am overwhelmed.
-Delegating chores to my children.
-Buying new items for our home that suit my design style and updating old items.
-Decorating with new pictures and  finding new combinations for decor and art.
-Making all those great ideas that I have pinned on pinterest and being resourceful with what I have.
-Using lighting that is natural and low, not harsh or too bright-like these ceiling pendantsTiffany style pendant lighting, and wooden pendant lights from Parrot Uncle.
-Lighting candles, refreshing pillows and replacing household accessories as they wear out.

If you want to make your home more than just a house this coming new year, consider what you can do to make it a haven; a safe and comfortable place for you and your family to do life.

What are some ways that you are sprucing up your home for the new year?

 How are  you making your home a haven?

Check out Parrot Uncle's website and let me know your favorite lamp or pendant!

Linking up here!

Christmas blues and looking forward to the new year

Monday, December 28, 2015

So Christmas is over and I have to admit I am kind of sad. I love getting ready for Christmas, listening to Christmas music, Christmas movie binge watching, making gifts and treats and gathering with friends and family. Though most years I am ready to get rid of all the Christmas paraphernalia; I have refused this year to get rid of the Christmas tree till after New Years. It's just so pretty.

I think the biggest reason I am sad is because I need something new to look forward to. I am feeling a bit restless. I go through this every year. I know mostly that I need to hide myself in Jesus until I am lost in him. I need to make it my goal to seek him first. To seek his approval, his fellowship, and his wisdom over man's. I have some goals for the new year which I hope to share with you soon but most of all I want to make it my goal to please him and be found in him.

My family and I had such a nice Christmas. We are so blessed. I am so thankful for all that he has given me and all that he has done in my life bringing me to the place I am now. Looking back at my life, I really have to pinch myself to make sure it's real. I know that God still has so much in store and I am excited to see how it's all going to unfold in the coming year.

I am so thankful for everyone one of you that takes the time to read my random blog posts on my life, faith, diys and ramblings. I so appreciate every one of your sweet comments and feedback. Really, it makes me giddy when I see I have a comment;)

My hope and prayer is that somehow God would encourage and inspire you through this little space and that we would become friends. Please let me know if there is anything in particular you would like to know more about me and my family and tell me about you and your family!

How was your Christmas? Did you let pressure and stress get to you or did you just enjoy the season? 
Are you looking forward to the new year or dreading it?? 

Hoping you had a merry Christmas and will have a happy and blessed new year!!!

With much love,
The Harris Family

Window Shopping at Anthropologie

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Eve!!! The Turkey is brining, the kids are playing with the one present they were allowed to open today, I am trying to get the house clean and the laundry is calling my name but I thought I would share some holiday eye candy with you. Of course I know you and I have nothing better to do;)

Last week I was able to get away and spend a morning with my sister Tamara. I can't remember the last time we were able to hang out together; husband and child free. It was so nice!  She got married and moved 30 minutes away last year. Even though it's not that far away, it can be hard to make it over to her or vice versa because of our schedules. I already had all my Christmas shopping done but I had been wanting to go to Anthropologie. You know... just to look. My sister works at a new mall and I was beyond thrilled to hear that they had an Anthropologie. After breakfast, stopping by H&M and a few other stores we made it to Anthro. I was not disappointed. I could have happily planted myself in a chair there and just looked at all the prettiness. So while we are all getting ready to feast tomorrow, here is a feast for your eyes!

I wasn't planning on buying anything, because let's face it Anthropologie's prices are on the high end, but Tamara and I bought each other coffee cups and I found a candle that I could afford.  It is filling my house with an amazing fragrance right now! I hope you have all your Christmas shopping done and are preparing to gather with family and friends and celebrate the birth of our King and Savior!

Merry Christmas!!!

Are you obsessed with Anthro as much as me??

Do you allow your kids to open one present on Christmas Eve or do you wait till Christmas?

Are you all ready for Christmas or do you have a million things to still do?

Our Christmas Feast

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas music is playing in the background, good smells are filling my house as I am getting a head start on our Christmas dinner, Luke is sleeping and the kids are making messes wherever they go, but it's okay because it's only 3 more days till Christmas!!! Are you feeling the excitement?! Are you still running around trying to get Christmas presents or are you enjoying this festive time!? No matter how old I get, I still think I will be excited about Christmas. Giving gifts is one of my love languages and I just love seeing my children and loved ones open their gifts. I really have to hold myself back. I love how excited my children get and how they ask me each day, "How many more days till Christmas?!"

We are trying to fight off some sniffles and sore throats these days but since I can't  join in on some of the events we had planned this week I am taking advantage of our quarantine and making as many dishes as possible before Christmas. This dinner is my gift and labor of love for my family. Because you just have to have good homecooked food on Christmas.

I thought I would drop in and share with you what I am making if you are scratching your head still, wondering what you are going to make for Christmas. If you are visiting friends and family and only need to bring a side or you are hosting the whole gang I hope my menu will give you some inspiration.


Gingerbread Latte- day of

Sausage Kale Strata- Make day before

Overnight Cinnamon rolls- make day before

Warm Cheese and Glazed Pecan Dip - make 2-3 days before Christmas

Main Course

Balsamic Onion Pot Roast (with Venison) Make 2 days before Christmas

Herb Roasted Turkey- Make day before and on Christmas

Gravy- Melt 2Tbs. butter, add 3-4 Tbs. flour, add turkey/roast drippings. Add beef/ turkey broth till smooth and creamy. Salt and Pepper to taste.- Make on Christmas
Sweet Potato Souffle - Make 2-3 days before

Garlic Mashed Potatoes Make day before Christmas

Brussel Sprouts Make day of

 Cranberry, Apple Sausage Stuffing- 2 days before

Crescent Rolls ( From Package)- day of

Cranberry Pie( recipe coming)- 2 days before

Honey Pumpkin Pie- 2 days before

Peppermint Bark - week before

I have made these recipes numerous times over the years so be assured that they are tried and true recipes that will leave your tummy satisfied and your taste buds happy. I have shared when I make each dish. I like to spread the cooking out during the week so I am not overwhelmed on Christmas. And really, who wants to be cooking all Christmas day? Not me!

I have actually been on strike from cooking lately to prepare for all the cooking I am going to be doing this week. Thankfully I have all my food shopping done. I hope you do too because it's crazy out there people. I do not want to step foot in another store for a long time. Since I have spread all my cooking out through the week I know it will be a lot easier on me. What I usually forget is that not only do I have to make all the food but there is all the cleaning up to do. Somehow making even one dish can cause piles of dishes to need cleaning. So I am cleaning as I am going and finding I am enjoying the cooking way more than I would if there was a mess everywhere.

My mom is of course bringing a dish to share and friends that are coming are also so I know we will have plenty of food. I would much rather have too much than too little. And I am really looking forward to having leftovers for at least a few days. Seeing as my family devours food very quickly I am not sure how long they will last us.

Hope this menu inspires you to get in the kitchen and give your family the gift of full and happy tummies!

linking up here!

Christmas doesn't have to be stressful

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas shopping this time of year for many can be very stressful. The crowds, the low bank account, the never ending list. But it doesn't have to be. Christmas isn't about spending above your income to get everyone an amazing gift. It shouldn't be about stressing yourself out to fight the crowds and traffic searching for the perfect gift. Life isn't about getting everything you want, when you want it. I didn't always get what I wanted as a child and I am so thankful for that. When I did get something I really wanted, it was monumental for me. It meant so much because I wasn't expecting to get it. My family didn't have a lot of money. So when I received a gift that I had wished for I was ecstatic. I didn't take it for granted.

Sometimes I think my kids are spoiled because they have so much more than I did as a child. We can afford to get them what they want for Christmas this year. Compared to most we aren't spending a lot this year on gifts but we are truly blessed to be able to give our children nice gifts. We aren't getting them the latest expensive technology and our children don't have their own phones, video games or ipads but they have a lot.

Everywhere I go lately everyone seems stressed and hurried. It shouldn't be this way. We shouldn't have to strain and force ourselves to find calm and joy in this season. Where did this pressure come from to do and buy everything at Christmas? Why is it the norm to be worn to a frazzle this time of year? Shouldn't we be buying and making gifts for our friends and loved ones because we want to? Not out of pressure to perform and make everyone happy? Not expecting anything in return? The truth is we don't have to. Just because someone buys us a more expensive present, doesn't mean we have to go out of our way and spend more than we can afford to get them an equal gift. We don't have to attend every event or take part in all the Christmas traditions.

I can imagine that the first Christmas was very stressful. Traveling a long distance while pregnant, being in labor and having nowhere to give birth,  and giving birth in a smelly stable(cave) with animals...sounds very stressful indeed!

Who would have imagined that the celebration of our Savior's birth would turn into what it is today?! There are so many things I love about all our Christmas traditions. Lights, giving gifts, making cookies and sweets, Christmas trees, Christmas songs, Gingerbread houses, lots of good food, getting together with family and friends. However our traditions came about, I really enjoy them. As each year passes I have put less pressure on myself to do everything for Christmas. I have thoroughly enjoyed making gifts and sweets, wrapping presents and doing a little(mostly online) shopping. I am thankful to say that all my shopping is done. I do still have to make Christmas dinner but I am hoping to spread the cooking out this week. I haven't been able to get together with all my friends and do everything I would have liked but I am okay with that. I am tempted to think that I didn't get my family and friends enough gifts but I am not giving in to those thoughts.

As you go about the rest of this week, I pray that you stop and think before you put unneeded pressure on yourself, your children, your husband, your bank account. Enjoy being with your family.

Give the gift of being present with your family instead of giving them more presents.

Remember that Jesus gave up everything he had at the Father's right hand to give us his life. He who was God became and man...a helpless babe. Not so we could see who could out do each other in the gift giving department, but so that we might accept his free gift of life and be filled with his joy and peace in the midst of a joy and peace deprived world. All around us people are starving for what we have. They are devoid of love, peace and truth. Instead of joining the masses, let's be set apart and make them wonder why we aren't giving in to the lies and pressures of the world.

Let's enjoy all our traditions this Christmas; not centering our life around them but the one who came to give his life for us all!

Does Christmas stress you out?

Do you enjoy all the traditions? 

Do you have all your shopping done, or are you a procrastinator?

Linking up here!

Letting go of the perfect Christmas (from the archives)

Monday, December 21, 2015

This year I am thankful that I have been prepared and haven't stressed out about making Christmas perfect or getting everyone the perfect gifts but for those of you who are feeling the pressure or putting it on yourselves I've been there. This post from last year is for you.

So for some reason I didn't think Christmas was for two weeks yet...then I looked at the calendar and it's next week! Hit the panic button!

I thought I was doing pretty good. I have most of  my Christmas presents bought, made and wrapped.(phew!) But there are still a lot of things I want to make and do. I don't have to but I want to. I genuinely love making and giving's one of ways I show love but there is another part of me that has other intentions.
There is no one putting pressure on me telling me I have to have everything perfect for Christmas but there is a little voice inside me whispering prideful, self-centered lies.

They sound something like this:

"If you don't make all handmade gifts for your friends and family they won't think you are an amazing superwoman."

"If you don't make and buy your kids the coolest presents they won't think you are the best mom in the world."

"If you don't go above and beyond what is expected of a mother of five you will just be average."

"If you don't make homemade cookies and ornaments and blog about it all, your kids won't have any good memories."

But here is what Jesus tells me:

"You don't have to prove anything to anyone. I accept you, love you...despite your failures and despite your accomplishments."

"I came to earth as a helpless baby to show you that you also are helpless without me."

"I delight when you realize your weaknesses and look to me to give you strength."

"I am glorified when you show your children why you celebrate my birth; by giving to them and others even when you receive nothing back and when you feel like you don't have anything left to give."

Choosing to hear his voice instead of my own is so freeing. It gives me joy and hope in the midst of my daily chaos. It helps me to let go of the idea of a "perfect" Christmas. The birth of Jesus was anything but perfect. The only thing that was perfect about it was Jesus!

So even though I truly love all the Christmas traditions and look forward to keeping some this season(and blogging about them), I am going to try to stop stressing out when everything doesn't go perfectly.

When the house doesn't look like a Christmas post card because my kids decided to bring ALL the dirt from our yard into our house!

When the hours in the day just won't fit all the baking and crafting I want to do because it takes me ALL... DAY... LONG to do the laundry and put it away.

When I can't get ANYTHING done without the baby hanging on my legs or on my hip because well,  he IS the baby.

When I am trying to make lasting memories with my children by listening to Christmas music and making a gingerbread house but a fight breaks out because one of the kids didn't get to put the candy decorations where they wanted and now crying and whining is clashing with the Christmas music and ruining the mood.

Does this sound like your house also? Well it's perfectly normal!

As I write this my busy, needy 1 year old is finally asleep in my arms. Quiet and content... for a little while at least, reminding me of how on Christmas I am sure Mary was just thankful and relieved to have finally given birth to her baby... the Savior of the world.  Wrapped tightly in his blankets to keep him asleep, Mary must have held him close and then heaved a sigh of relief as she lay him in the manger; cherishing the quiet and peace after a long eventful day!

Cherish this season, make memories, enjoy making or buying gifts, bake and eat lots of cookies, listen to Christmas music... but don't let your quest for the perfect Christmas steal your joy. If you are like me( perfectly imperfect) you will stress yourself and your family out trying to attain it; because it just isn't possible when you are made of flesh and bone.

Jesus, the only perfect one exchanged his heavenly glory for our earthly shame. He is acquainted with our weaknesses and knows our sorrows. He knows our struggles and joys. He knows all that we expect of ourselves and our families. He knows that those expectations will not all be met because he is the only one who can meet our needs and exceed our expectations!

He is the greatest gift we could ever receive or give!

So as we go about our day just trying to keep our family alive and house somewhat clean plus checking off our to do list before Christmas, let's remember why we are doing what we are doing. Letting go of any pressure we have unnecessarily put upon ourselves and enjoy having a imperfect Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our perfect Savior!

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Philippians 2:5-8

Honey-mint Lip Balm

Friday, December 18, 2015

I am going to let you guys in on a little secret. The best lip balm ever only has 4 ingredients! Sometimes less really is more and simpler is better. Especially when you use the best ingredients.

I have told you before, but just in case you didn't know my husband is a beekeeper and we have over 30 hives! We sell raw local honey and this awesome lip balm along with a few other natural body products that I hope to share with you soon.
Along with harvesting the most delicious honey you have ever tasted, we also harvest a ton of beeswax. My mission has been to make this beeswax into practical products for our bodies and home. I have shared with you how to make your own amazing beeswax candles and soap made with beeswax and now I am going to let you in how to make some amazing lip balm. It really is "the bomb"!
If I had to choose my favorite body product it would have to be this lip balm. I have come to find that I really can't go out of the house with some makeup on, ( This age thing is getting to me) I rarely ever wear lipstick, but  I can not leave the house though without my lip balm. I keep it in my pocket, my purse, my car and if I am without it I am pretty miserable. You know that feeling when your lips are all chapped? It's just the worst.
Not only does this lip balm soothe your parched and cracked lips but it nourishes them and keeps them from peeling and cracking further. The fragrance from the peppermint is amazing and gives your lips a cooling sensation. Along with the healing, antibacterial and moisturizing powers of honey you are getting the best treatment for your lips possible! As you can see, I can't say enough about this stuff. It's that good!

Here is what you will need:
recipe adapted from soulemama
makes about 25 tubes

*10Tbs.(5oz) Extra virgin organic coconut oil- where to buy
*4 Tbs. (2oz)Beeswax- where to buy I use our own beeswax.
*2Tbs (1oz) honey- where to buy  I of course use our own raw honey. If you are local check us out!
*30 drops peppermint oil-where to buy- I buy from our local bulk herb store

Lip Balm tubes- where to buy
Pyrex measuring cup- for pouring
Lip Balm filling tray - where to buy

How to make:
Fill a pot with water and find a heat proof bowl that fits on top to make a double boiler. Bring water to a simmer and melt coconut oil, and beeswax. Once melted add honey. Make sure to mix as well as possible because the honey has a tendency to stay at the bottom when pouring and end up at the bottom when you pour. Remove from heat and add peppermint oil. Pour ingredients into pyrex cup and pour into tubes. I use a lip balm filling tray because I make so many and it helps to prevent wasting any of the lip balm.  Have everything ready when getting ready to pour because it will harden quickly. Let cool and enjoy!

I usually double the recipe and make enough to sell and give as Christmas presents. If you are looking for a quick gift to make that you and friends and family are sure to love, try these out!! They will revolutionize your lips!;)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you click on a link and purchase an item, I receive a small commission. Thanks for supporting this little blog!

Linking up here!

When God takes instead of gives- My miscarriage story

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

This is not the post I was planning on writing, but God has a way of taking our plans and writing a different, even better story for us. I had hoped to share with you the news that my husband and I were joyfully expecting our 6th baby. We had told our children and a few family and  close friends. We were so excited to go for an ultrasound to see the new little person inside my womb. A few days before my 13th week I started spotting. I tried not to panic. I comforted myself with thoughts that maybe I had done too much that day. But as the next day came and I was still spotting, I knew all too well that I was most likely miscarrying, although I was hoping against hope that there was some other explanation.

Miscarriage is not something new to me. I want to go back 11 years and share with you of my first pregnancy and first miscarriage. This might get a little long but I feel I need to share the whole story before I share about my recent miscarriage.

My husband and I had been married 4 months. We were super excited to start our family and were so happy to find out I was pregnant. Before I had gotten pregnant we were planning on going to Russia on a missions trip. My midwife gave me the go ahead and we continued with our plans. We had a great time ministering to the sweet Russian people through worship and the sharing of the word. One 12 year old boy in particular stole our heart and followed us around everywhere. We were so thrilled when he asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins and he decided to live his life for him. He didn't seem to have anyone else and clung to my husband and his new found faith.

A few days before we were to come back to the states I started spotting. Since it was so minimal I wasn't that concerned until I talked to the other women on our trip. As we flew back home I continued to bleed more. Josh and I still hadn't wrapped our heads around the gravity of the situation. As soon as we got off the plane and into our car, I started cramping. We finally made it home. Not too long after arriving, the cramps got worse and I was having very strong painful contractions.

It's one thing to go through labor pains and at the end be handed a beautiful, velvety soft new baby; it's quite another thing to be in labor and be empty handed. As I miscarried, Job's words came to me.

"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

It's easy to bless God's name and rejoice in him when life is going well, it's a whole different story to bless his name when you are going through difficult trials, when you are in pain, when life is not going how you expected...when life is being taken away from you.

We went to the hospital and I had to painfully hear that yes, I had lost the baby. As we made our way to our car. My husband and I both broke down, sobbing into each other's arms as our dreams of  having a baby were shattered. My husband never cries. I am the emotional one, but in that moment we shed our tears together. On our way home my husband got a revelation of what God did for us in sending us his son. We would have never freely gave up our child, yet God gave up his to save us. We thought of the sweet Russian boy who we would see in heaven some day and rejoiced that God had used us to share with him the love of Jesus.

We were so thankful that we would see our baby again and that it didn't have to experience all the pain and sorrow in this life. It would go straight into Jesus' arms, but we would have never made that decision ourselves.

The next week was very hard. We went through waves of shock and sorrow as the reality of not having our longed for baby hit us. Yet through it all, God picked us up and carried us in his arms. We felt his comfort all around us.Sweet friends and family came and brought us meals and we received many cards from people I didn't even know; sharing that they also had gone through this same loss. God gave us these verses that we held onto as we grieved.

"You have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again." Psalm 71:20-21

"When anxiety was great within me your consolations brought me joy." Psalm 94:19

Although I never would have chosen to go through having a miscarriage; I know that God used it in such a powerful way in our lives. My husband and I's marriage grew so much stronger. We grew closer to each other and closer to God. We were able to empathise with others who had gone through miscarriage as well. We were able to experience the supernatural comfort and grace of God as he gently carried us through this hard time.

Not too long after miscarrying I was standing in church during the worship service. They were singing the song "Blessed be the name of the Lord."( by Matt Redman) It had just come out. I can't tell you how hard it was for me to sing those verses.

Blessed be the name of the Lord
On the road marked with suffering
Though there is pain in offering
Blessed be your name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say 
Lord, blessed be your name

As I chose to not only sing those words but mean them, tears streamed from my eyes. These weren't just words I was singing; this is what it meant to be a follower of Christ. God was doing a supernatural work in me. He was giving me the grace and strength to truly mean what I was singing. He was allowing me to declare that he was and is good, that he takes our ashes and makes them beautiful, that he works all things together for good, that he gives us joy in the midst of sorrow, that only he could bring life out of death.

Of course, right after losing our baby the only thing I could think about was having another one. We were so blessed to become pregnant again 2 months later! We were thrilled beyond compare to welcome our 1st born son Israel Christian into the world 9 months later. Since then we have been extremely blessed to have 4 more  beautiful children after Israel: Judah, Ellie, Simeon and Luke.( I also had a very early miscarriage before my third baby)

When I first became pregnant, miscarriage never entered my mind. You never think it will happen to you. But in this sinful, fallen world we live in; hard things happen... to all of us. I have since come to meet so many women like myself who have experienced miscarriage. It is very common. No matter how careful and healthy you are during pregnancy; it can still happen. I believe it's God's way of taking care of a baby that just wasn't forming right.

No matter how many children you have at the time of miscarriage it is still so hard. Each baby lost is a little life that is a part of your husband and yourself; apart of your family. Not only is it emotionally difficult, but physically painful as well. Whether you actually see your baby or not, it's life still has impact on you and is so precious. God had a purpose for it even if it didn't get to see the light of day.

Back to the present: As my husband and I looked at the screen of the lifeless teeny tiny baby inside me; tears streamed from my eyes once again. No heartbeat. I had been feeling super well for the past couple of weeks and didn't seem to be forming that familiar big bump that I usually had by now. I had been worried, but chose not to obsess about it. Now I knew why. Now came the waiting. It was just horrible realizing that I had a baby in me that was no longer alive and that inevitably it was going to come out.

God was so gracious to me during this time and of course my 5 crazies helped keep me preoccupied. I eventually miscarried about a week after I had first started spotting. Since the baby had died around 6/7 weeks the miscarriage was not as painful as my first one. My family and close friends have been lifting me up and prayer and let me tell you, I have literally felt their prayers. So thankful for the body of Christ during these times.

It really is unexplainable that I can experience such peace and even joy during such a hard circumstance. God is so faithful to come alongside of us and reveal himself to us in ways we never imagined. He draws us ever closer to we cling to him for hope and life. It's so hard to imagine how we could ever get through difficult times but when we actually go through them God's grace is so abundant. He has prepared us without us even realizing it. He allows us to mourn and grieve without losing hope.

So here I am again... recovering from loss. I have to say that having 5 healthy children all around me has helped tremendously in lifting my spirits. It's hard not to laugh and smile when there is so much joy and laughter surrounding me. They have been so sweet and have been praying that the next baby we have will be healthy. Simeon said the other day with such excitement, "We are gonna see our baby in heaven!" and Ellie reminded me that, " At least you have us!"Yes! I am so blessed that sometimes I just can't contain it.

One thing that this miscarriage has made me more aware of is that there are so many people going through hard things, whether we know about it or not. You might even follow my blog or my instagram account and think that my life looks great. Truly I do have such a great life, but there are things that all of us are going through that we can't always share with the whole world.

It's not easy for me to share this story with you. It's very personal, but I know that there are others of you out there who maybe have lost a baby or are going through a difficult time. I want you to know that you are not alone and that God is able to bring you through it. Cling to him. Ask your believing friends and family to pray. Don't keep your pain and hurt to yourself.  Allow the body of Christ to minister to you. God wants to take all that you have gone through and draw you closer to him. He wants to take your plans and make them even better than you could have imagined. He wants to use your story. He wants to teach you to bless his name...even when he takes away. 

I am so thankful as a believer in Christ to look forward to the day when I will be reunited with my loved ones in heaven and those little babes that my husband and I never got to meet. What an amazing reunion that will be!

Have you experienced a miscarriage? What's your story?

If you know someone who has just gone through a miscarriage don't be afraid to reach out and just tell them you are sorry and offer to pray for them.

Linking up here!

Homemade Rosemary and Tea Tree Oil Soap

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I started making my own soap last year and have been hooked ever since. 

After doing some experimenting I have figured out the perfect recipe. I looked into making the real deal soap from lye but it just looks too complicated for my simple mind. I found though that you can make great natural soap without all the work as long as you have a good organic soap base. The base I use has the same component as lye- sodium hydroxide(a saponifying agent). So you are really getting all the same good stuff without all the work.

Sounds good to me! 

Also goats milk contains alpha-hydroxy which helps remove dead skin cells.It is also high in Vitamin A which is necessary to repair damaged skin tissue. Goats milk is also a great moisturizer and brings relief to eczema and psoriasis sufferers. 

Need I say more!?(source)

I made these soaps for Christmas presents this year and am really happy with how they turned out. Adding the beeswax really helps to keep them firm so they don't turn into mush once you start using them, because nobody wants mushy soap. The fragrance that you get from the Rosemary and Tea tree oil is so soothing and therapeutic; not to mention great for your skin. 

Tea Tree oil is one of the most effective home remedies for acne, so you know I had to add it for that reason also. At 34 I still break out like a teenager. You would think as you get older I would have to start worrying about wrinkles, not acne. Now I have to take measure against both. But I can say that since I have been using this soap I can really see an improvement! The Rosemary oil has properties in it that help hydrate and tone skin and is also a great astringent.

I don't like soaps that are so heavily perfumed that they make you gag when you smell them. The amount of rosemary and tea tree oil is just enough to make you want to inhale it but not enough to overwhelm you.

 I use it every morning to wash my face. I ran out of soap last week and it just wasn't the same using the stuff from the store, so I am just going to have to keep making it.

Here's what you will need:

*1 lb. of Organic Goats milk soap base- Where to buy
*1 oz of Beeswax- where to buy
*A few sprigs of Rosemary- Grind leaves till fine in a coffee grinder till it makes about 1tsp- we have some growing in our yard but you could get some at the grocery store or your local nursery
*2Tbs. honey- we of course use our own raw honey;)
*2Tbs. Almond oil- Where to buy
*1Tbs. Vitamin E oil-Where to buy
*15 drops of Rosemary oil- where to buy
*15 drops of Tea Tree oil- where to buy
*a few drops of lavender oil if desired
*Pyrex 2 cup measuring cup- where to buy
*Soap mold- where to buy
*Kitchen scale- optional- where to buy

*All these items can be bought on Amazon

makes 4 big bars 4oz. or 8 small 1 1/2 oz.

Fill a pot with water and place a heat proof bowl on top that fits to make a double boiler. Keep on low. Should be simmering not boiling. Cut up soap base and place in bowl. Add beeswax. Mix until melted. Add Almond  and Vitamin E oil and Rosemary. Remove from heat and add essential oils. Transfer to Pyrex measuring cup and pour into molds. Then keep on a flat surface until it hardens or place in freezer for quicker results. I usually make it in batches and make enough to last for at least a couple of months.

Not only are these great practical gifts to give but they are so easy to make. All you need is a little time to melt the ingredients and let them harden. I bought  little clear bags to package them in and my husband helped me make labels for them. I have also been selling them along with our local raw honey in our little honey business- Harris Honey I have also used paper bags to cut out and use to wrap around the soap.

If you are looking for a last minute gift to make that looks like you put a lot of time into it, give these homemade soaps a try! Your family and friends will love them and so will you!

Have you ever made homemade soap before?

Do you usually buy or make gifts for your family and friends?

Linking up here!

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Every time you click on a link and purchase an item, I receive a small commission. Thanks so much for your support!

" Try these other great DIY's! 

Our Trip to Virginia

Saturday, December 12, 2015

This year we traveled all the way up to the mountains of Virginia  to have Thanksgiving with our extended family. The farthest we have ever gone with all the kids, is to North Georgia. It  was a big venture for us. Surprisingly the kids all did really well considering the distance we traveled. I shared about how I got ready for the trip here if you are planning to travel for Christmas and could use some tips on surviving with children.

The last part of the trip was of course the hardest. Everyone kept asking every five minutes when we would be there, we all had to go the bathroom and there was no where to go and the winding roads were causing our stomachs to do somersaults. But the view out our windows was breathtaking.  I just loved looking at all the mountains, farms and old houses.

I was so afraid that we were all going to freeze to death going from our 80* degree Florida weather to the bitter cold of 20*. Amazingly enough we all acclimated very well thanks to lots of layers, generous cups of hot chocolate and a great wood stove.

The kids were in their glory running around the mountains like wild hillbilly children; BB gun in hand, hollering and playing to their hearts content, traipsing through the creeks searching for crawfish and building forts. Josh was having the best vacation of his life; hunting every day and stumbling upon a big 12 point buck which is now hanging in his office after having taxidermied it himself.

 I was savoring each day, cooking big breakfasts making lots of aforesaid hot chocolate and big pots of heart warming soups. Since we were literally on top of a mountain, I loved hiking up to the top and looking out over the mountains at the scenic view. It was so refreshing just being able to take a walk and not sweat. The cold weather was really a treat for us Floridians. Though I am not sure we would want to live in it for long periods of time.
We celebrated Simeon's 4th birthday while we were up there. He was very excited to have cranberry pie and a few dinosaurs to party with.

West Virginia was only a couple of miles away so we took a little trip to Seneca Rock with the rest of our family. If I had known what a long hike it was going to be I probably would have chickened out. I love hiking but throw 5 kids into the mix and it's a recipe for crazy. I am really amazed that we all made it up and down the mountain in one piece. It was slow going at times as we struggled to gather up the stragglers and just make it to the top. I don't think we'll be doing that again; at least till the kids are older, but at least we can say we did it!

We had a grand ol' Thanksgiving feast with all our family that put us all to sleep very early that night. I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.( though it might be a tie with Christmas) Good food, family, friends, no worrying about gifts. What could be better? So much to be thankful for!

Everytime we go on vacation I struggle with it living up to my expectations. This trip was no different. I know God is doing a work in my heart and showing me that no experience how ever great will truly fulfill me...only he can. Even though I was ready to go back home, I still didn't want our vacation to end; especially the gorgeous weather. I am continually learning to be thankful for all that God has given me and realize that I don't deserve any of it. For some reason God continues to pour out his grace upon me and give me more than I could have ever hoped for or imagined. I am so thankful for his grace on this sinful soul.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving as well and were made even more aware at how much we all have to be thankful for everyday!

What's your favorite holiday?

Did you go away for Thanksgiving?

Are you staying home for Christmas or going away?

Linking up here!
CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan