Easy, Homemade Laundry Detergent…That actually Works!!!

Today I am going to share with you the homemade laundry detergent I use. This stuff is great at getting heavily soiled clothing clean. My husband works outside. He gets muddy, covered in wood chips and sometimes gets chainsaw oil over himself. To say the least, his clothes are rather hard to keep clean. Yet, I have found that this detergent does a good job at getting his clothes looking decent again.

Now, it is not a miracle worker. My husband clothes still look like a burly mountain man wears them everyday but I have found that this detergent works just as good if not better as store bought detergent. I do feel it helps keep our clothes a little softer. (I believe that is due to no soap build-up. I’ve read that soap build-up can occur from store bought detergent.)

The reason I started making laundry detergent was because I began cloth diapering when my first son was born. And if you don’t know, cloth diapers need special detergent so as to not ruin the diaper and cause build up in the fabric. (Build up is a bad no-no cause it causes diaper rashes.) And to add, these special cloth diaper detergents can be expensive. I went through a couple laundry detergents, liquid and powder, and found that this was my favorite.

Reasons Why I Recommend this Detergent:

  1. It is simple and fast to put together: Unlike liquid detergents that require a bit of time to whip up, I just measure out the ingredients, dump into a bucket or container, mix and then I am done. Easy and fast.
  2. It did not irritate my sons sensitive skin: My second son had major skin issues due to allergy’s. Not to mention just not so great of skin. (Passed on by me, I am afraid. Sorry for the not so great genes, Luke!) A lot of detergents made him break out. Perfumes in soap made his stomach get eczema bumps. Not a good thing. But this stuff never irritated  his skin. Woohoo!!! Points for mama!!
  3. It gets the job done: Some detergents just don’t get clothes clean. I don’t know if any one else has dealt with that but I want detergent that works if I am going to spend money on it. But I also dont want to spend a fortune on good detergent. *see reason 5.*
  4. It doesn’t have a scent: Perhaps you like your clothes smelling like laundry detergent but my husband and I do not. We just want our clothes clean and odorless.
  5. It is cost efficient: I have not calculated the cost as of yet for how much it is per gallon. (I will do so and give update.) But it is cheaper than store bought brands that get the job done and done well.

Now, I am going to give credit where credit is due. I did not make up this recipe. I found it on Pinterest about five years back. Unfortunately, I can not find the link to which site I originally found it on. I must have pinned it to the wrong board on accident. Oops!!! So in an effort to right that wrong I am going to link you to a site that I found it on when I began searching for it again. Click here for link. I recommend going to this lady’s site because she gives you the recipe for a large and small batch as well as other information that is most helpful. (Her recipe is specifically geared towards cloth diapers. She calls for ‘baby’ oxi-clean but I use the regular kind for day to day laundry.)

I hope that some of you are brave enough to try this detergent out for yourself. If you do, I hope you will not be disappointed. Let me know if you do end up giving it a go and how it turned out for you.

God bless and thanks for stopping by,

~Shiree

*The cloth diaper company I used was Clothdiaper.com.  I highly recommend them. I say that not to make a sell but because I was really happy with the products I received from them. I hope it would be helpful to someone else. 🙂

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Bible Study Template- Christmas Gift

A Christmas Gift to You

No new post today but wanted to send out a quick…

Hello!!! 

Since Christmas was yesterday and the week has been filled with fun, laughter, joy and crazy-not much time to sit down and write an awesome article. Yet, we hope everyone’s Christmas was merry and bright.

For all our subscribers out there I wanted to let you know that I put together a bible study template that I thought you might all enjoy. Hopefully it can be useful to you in your quiet time with God. We made this as a Christmas gift for you as a thank you to all those who are keeping up with our posts and supporting Momentary Calm. Without you all, we have no reason to write. Thank you. 

If you haven’t subscribed, click here, and you can get access to our Free Stuff. Within the Freebies library will be the new bible study template. May it be a blessing to you.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!! 

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

Merry Christmas everyone! For me personally, this is the most wonderful time of year! I absolutely love the Holiday season and everything that comes with it. Whether it’s good food, beautiful lights, the smell of pines trees, the story of Jesus or the excitement of gifts under a tree, I’m all about this time of year! Sign me up! Count me in!

There are many things in this world that I simply love – and two of them are Christmas and dessert. Let’s be honest, Christmas time can also be a stressful time, but the beauty of the season is that it isn’t about us but rather the reason for the season. So let me just say, thank you, Jesus, for desserts!Pumpkin Chocolate Swirled Cheesecake

I have many favorite desserts for the Christmas season but this Pumpkin Chocolate Swirled Cheesecake is probably in my top 5! I wouldn’t necessarily go as far as saying this is the easiest dessert I’ve ever made, but I also wouldn’t call it the hardest.

Personally, cheesecake is my Achilles heel. There have been more instances where I have messed up making cheesecake than I care to admit, but it’s possibly my favorite dessert! Most of the time the reason for these mess-ups is that I put too much water in the water bath. Seriously… I just did it again over Thanksgiving. Little note of advice – take it easy on the water bath.

Anywho, I thought I would share how I make this cheesecake in case anyone wants to give it a go this Christmas weekend! This cheesecake is not only beautiful but I love that the pumpkin flavor isn’t overpowering. The chocolate swirl combined with pumpkin makes every bite amazing and topped with whipped cream, this soft and delicious cheesecake will blow your socks off!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


TIP #1 – take your time! The main reason I have made “oopsies” while making cheesecake is that I rush it and don’t read the directions slowly and thoroughly! Try to allow at least an hour to prepare the cheesecake so you aren’t rushed and avoid making mistakes.

TIP #2 – I would definitely recommend having all your ingredients out before you start – this will help make the process go more smoothly so you won’t be scrambling!

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirled Cheesecake recipe

pumpkin chocolate swirled cheesecake recipe directions

To begin, place your oven rack in center of oven and heat to 350 degrees.

In a food processor,  you are going to chop your graham crackers until finely ground and then mix in the sugar. Then add the melted butter and pulse until combined and cookie mixture is evenly moistened.pumpkin chocolate swirled cheesecake crust

Pour your cookie/butter mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and using a flat-bottomed, straight-sided glass, press and smooth the bottom and nudge the crumbs halfway up the sides (you can use your fingers too). BAKE until firm – about 8-10 minutes and let cool.

Don’t mind my terrible artistry!

Once the pan is cool, wrap the bottom and sides with overlapping squares of heavy duty aluminum and place in a large baking pan (I use a roasting pan). NOTE – I will put multiple overlapping layers – anywhere from 5-6 layers as I tend to always get water from the water bath leaking through.

Leave the oven on and move your oven rack to the bottom third of the oven.

In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute – try not to overmix. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add the eggs, egg yolk and ¼ C. of the heavy cream. Mix until well combined and set aside.pumpkin chocolate swirled cheesecakepumpkin chocolate swirled cheesecake batter

Heat the remaining 1/3 C. heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil; remove from heat and add the chocolate. Whisk until smooth and mix in 1 C. of the pumpkin batter.

Pour the remaining pumpkin batter into the prepared crust. Drop 2 tablespoon dollops of the chocolate batter over the pumpkin batter. It doesn’t have to look perfect as you will be swirling it. Using a wooden skewer, continuously write capital cursive L’s throughout the batter. Be careful not to scrape the bottom.pumpkin chocolate swirled cheesecake recipe

Pour 1 inch of boiling water into the baking pan. NOTE – I only put enough water to reach just below the first layer of foil so water doesn’t pour into the layers of foil.Pumpkin Chocolate Swirled Cheesecake

Bake until only the center of the cake jiggles when nudged – about 1 hour 25 minutes. If the cheesecake starts to crack this is typically an indicator that it is being overcooked. Turn the heat off but leave the cake in the oven with the door open for another 45 minutes.

Remove from the water bath and foil and run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of the cake. Cool completely on a rack. Cover the pan with plastic wrap (without letting it touch the cake) and chill for at least 8 hours and up to 24.

When you are ready to serve the cheesecake, remove the springform pan. Run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust and carefully slide the cheesecake onto a flat plate. Serve with whipped cream and ENJOY!

Did you give it a try?? Let me know what you think!

 

*Check out our Recipe Book for more yummy recipes!*

 

 

Living with Anxiety: Having a Thankful Heart

I have a tendency to be discontent. I know the devil does this to me on purpose as he sees the weaknesses of my heart and plays upon them with a vengeance. Add this weakness to the silent, whirling pool of anxiety swallowing my brain and you have a giant monster of emotion called Cay-Cay. That’s me…. In case you didn’t know.

God continues to shine truth into my life through these times. Sometimes the truth is uncomfortable and a truth I don’t necessarily wish to think about, but I’m so thankful for God’s grace in these areas. Without it, I really don’t think I would be able to move forward.

There are times where we may stop and think, “if only we have more money we wouldn’t have to worry anymore” or “if only we didn’t have school debt then we would be okay” or “if I had this or that then I would be more content.” These are lies from the devil and I have learned and continue to learn this the hard way. I see something I want and convince myself I need it – and then afterward I realize I am still not filled with peace but rather with more guilt over spending money we didn’t need to.

A discontent heart treated with the wrong solution preceded by guilt that feeds our anxiety.

This has been my problem and struggle.

It’s so easy to think that the grass may be greener on the other side and I tend to think that if only I had something or other it would be better. We forget that God is the only one who can truly fill us completely. He is the only one who can give us peace and a heart of contentment.

It’s a comfort to me knowing that God is for us. He knows exactly what we need and He will continue to take care of us even when we run to worldly things rather than to Him! Why do I need to worry and suffer anxiety when HE has overcome the world?

As I live with anxiety, I have come to find that if I take the time to PRAY and ask the Lord for a thankful heart, surviving the day without guilt is a little easier.

When I take the time to stop and look around and list all the things I DO have – I am less likely to become prey to the devil’s tricks and lies which lead me to dwell on the things I don’t have.

When you feel anxiety creeping up on you or contentment escaping your heart, take the time to go to your knees before God. Pray and ask the Lord to take your heart and mind captive. Ask him to remind you of what’s most important. Ask Him to show you the blessings He has already bestowed upon you. Ask him for a fresh outlook on life so you can see just how much you already have.

Take the time to look around your house and to see every little thing as the gift it is. Are you sitting on a couch? Praise the Lord! For some people don’t even have a home. If you have a warm coat, you are blessed. If you have fresh water, you are blessed.

Whatever it may be, down to the smallest thing, remember how good you have it. For you could just as easily not have it at all.

“What you have in Christ is greater than anything you don’t have in life…… Anchor your heart to the character of God. Your boat with rock. Moods will come and go. Situations will fluctuate. But will you be left adrift on the Atlantic of despair? No, for you have found a contentment that endures the storm. No more “if only.” It is the petri dish in which anxiety thrives. Replace your “if only” with “already.” Look what you already have. Treat each anxious thought with a grateful one, and prepare yourself for a new day of joy.”    -Max Lucado, ‘Anxious for Nothing’

Find a notebook or piece of paper. Take the time to write down the things you are thankful for. Write down the things you DO have. Focus more on what you do have and less on what you don’t. Let God be the salve for your anxious thoughts and let Him be the contentment of your heart. Thank the Lord for he is good!

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”     -Matthew 11:28-30

The Loss of a Mother – Part 3

This post is part of a 3 fold series we have written on remembering the loss of our mother and how that has affected our own mothering. You can read Shiree’s post HERE and Raquel’s post HERE


My story is a bit different. I have no endearing or heart-warming story of remembered words or moments. I, unfortunately, have no story, either good or bad, that I can exactly recall about my mother.

In daydreams, I can pretend I remember everything – the sound of her voice or the smell of her skin. I can imagine the warmth of her hug and the feeling of being loved unconditionally. I can almost imagine the way her voice would sound if she would say to me “you are beautiful and I love you!” I can read her old journals and with the curve of every letter, I can imagine her writing words to me. I can imagine her smile when she sees me and what it would feel like to call her and say the words, “Hi Mom!”

It’s a strange sensation to feel like you know someone so well and yet you can’t remember anything about them.

mom and daughter loss of a mother losing a mother
Caylen & Sara

My heart aches for a life with a loving mother. But I am filled with hope to know that because of God’s love and grace, one day I will see her again.

The Loss of  a Mother

I was approaching 5 years old when she passed away and the only memories I can tangibly remember are of her death. I can remember visiting her in the hospital as well as the car ride the night that she died and the feeling of being in a numbing haze of loss and confusion. I can remember feeling troubled seeing her at the viewing and wishing she was smiling. Her mouth was such a grim line that did not suit her and it was strange not seeing her smile. I can vividly recall the iciness of her cheek as I touched it and said goodbye.

Thank you, Jesus! For this is not how she remained. I now know that she is whole, healthy, happy and complete. And surely she is always smiling, for how could she not be when forever with God?


As I hear stories, look at pictures and read her old journals, I can feel every part of who she was etched into my very bones. For not having her around for very long, I feel I am very much like her. And I strive to be MORE like her in many ways.the loss of a mother losing a mother bath time memories

My father tells me stories of her laughter and fiery temper. Friends tell me of her eagerness to serve and love others. Strangers tell me about her beauty, her big heart and her love for the Lord.

I am encouraged and filled with joy – for what I love most when I learn of my mother is that she was not perfect. That even though she would sometimes lose her temper, even when she was self-conscious about her body, wishing she could lose more weight, even when she was overwhelmed and anxious – she truly believed the Lord loved her and had great plans for her life – and she LIVED her life with this knowledge at the forefront.

She is remembered as loving, kind, and with a heart for Jesus. Even in the chaos of her busy life, she took the time to love her family with purpose and to minister to those around her.

This is the kind of mother I want to be.

My mother’s memory weaves its way in and out of every facet of my life. And as I grow in motherhood myself, I look at Lillian and I can imagine what my own mother’s heart felt when she looked at us.

With the loss of my mom and the memory of her – I know how I want to raise my own children. Not necessarily in perfection but in perfect love with the hand of God before me, behind me and on me.

I know how I want to raise my own children. Not necessarily in perfection but in perfect love with the hand of God before me, behind me and on me.

I want to love Lillian and mother her the way I always wanted to be mothered. Everything I was not able to experience with my own mom, the way I dream of what life with her would have been like – that is how I wish to raise Lillian – With love, with purpose, and with intention.

A Life of Intention

Raquel spoke in her post of being intentional in her mothering. She totally stole my thunder :p but she spoke of being intentional so well.

the loss of a mother losing a mom
Caylen & Sara

I want to mother with enthusiasm. I want to paint my daughter’s toes, throw a ball with my son, hold my children and encourage them with God’s word. I want to go shopping with Lillian and play with her. I want to love fiercely, to say I’m sorry and to forgive easily. I don’t want to be perfect. I want my children to see that perfection can only be glimpsed through the hand of God in your life.

I do not know what God has in our future. I do not know how long I will be on this earth. I do not know how much time I will have with my kids.

But I do know that with whatever time I have been given – I will hold my babies a little longer, I will write them letters, and I will tell them how much I love them. I will wake up each day and pray for God to fill our day to the brim with his joy and blessings. I will always strive to be a mom of intention that uses each moment, each word, and each action with purpose. I will put down whatever I’m doing and listen to their concerns. I will sit and give them undivided attention.

Will I fail? YES – constantly and far more often than I would like to admit.

But by the grace of God – my children will know that they are loved BEYOND BELIEF by an imperfect mother and a completely PERFECT God.

 

I would like to pay tribute to a few women in my life who have played a huge roll in filling the void of Mother with their own love and devotion.

Angie Steffen – there are hardly words to express the love I have for you and the special place you hold in my heart. You have been like a mother to me for practically my whole life. Whether it was curling my hair, having sleepovers, or spoiling me with amazing yummies and shopping trips – you filled my heart with a touch that only a mother could. You loved me through my weird and annoying stages and STILL love me to this day! You showed me how a mother should love her children – in faith and love. I love you

Aunt Juanita – there is no one like you. You have loved and protected me my whole life with a fierce and open heart. You have always been willing to support and help and encourage – even though we live miles apart. Hugging you gives me an idea of what hugging my mom would be like. Warm, loving and without pause. And when you play with my hair, my heart is full, for your very fingers are filled with the same love that flowed through my mother. I love you

Grandma Mollie – there is no doubt that so much of what made mom beautiful was a little bit of you. Being a mother myself I can imagine what your heart endured losing your little girl. And yet you went on without fail, loving and caring for us. I will always remember your voice singing “Little Indian Maid.” I will always remember waking up on Saturday mornings to peek outside and see you watering your flowers in your wonderful hats. I will always remember your love for kit-kat bars and how easily you laughed. Praise the Lord, for you and Mom are now together again in the very presence of God. I love you

Terry Ervin – perhaps you don’t know what an impact you made in my life personally. I remember well how you always loved on me. I warmly remember you doing my hair and filling out small empty spaces in my baby book that mom couldn’t fill out herself. You hold a special place in this little girls heart and I am so grateful that you took the time to love me. Thank you

Tammy Pauley – you have given and continue to give me the example of what a beautiful mother is. You give me a taste of what it must be like to be loved so freely by a mom. You spoil and love me without cause or hesitation. I take note of your love and heart for Christ and the way you allow the Lord to use you to love others. I wish to be a mother like you. Quick to love, quick to forgive and an all-encompassing fierce love. Thank you. I love you

Marla Mast – I am so grateful that the Lord placed you in my life. You love and love without hesitation or hope for something in return. You pray and love with all your heart and I am so happy to know that my mother-in-law is willing and able to love me wherever needed. Thank you

*There are many many women who have played huge roles in my life – whether big or small. Thank you for loving a wildly strange and wild-spirited girl who desperately wanted to be loved.

loss of a mother losing a mom
Keziah & Sara
the loss of a mother losing a mother
Sara, Caylen & Keziah

 

6 Daily Priorities for the Overwhelmed Mom

6 daily priorities

If you are anything like me, life can quickly get chaotic and priorities can easily get skewed. Some days I can’t seem to wrap my head around all the things that we as Godly wives and mothers are called to do and be on a daily basis. From the vital tasks to the smallest little thing that needs doing,  I can get overwhelmed with anxiety about all of it. Therefore I decide to do absolutely none of it and instead do something completely different and pretend I’m not ignoring what truly needs to be done while feeling guilty and STILL anxious – because it’s NOT GETTING DONE. Yes… I know it’s a problem.

TIME TO REFOCUS

Today has been one of those days that I really need to just pause for a moment, pray, and refocus my thoughts on the priorities. Not necessarily the specific priorities down to “clean toilet” or “fold laundry” but rather, the absolute TOP PRIORITIES for my life as the Lord intended – as a child of God, loving wife, and happy Mom. There are many times we can lose sight of what is TRULY important. When this happens we aren’t always the best mom or wife, we tend to be grumpy and usually focus only on the negative. THIS IS NOT HOW I WANT TO BE!

 There are so many tasks on our “to do list” we can forget to take care of the priorities – either we say, “I’ll do my devotions later” and we never do. Or, “I’ll work out tomorrow” and we never do.  Or, “My kiddo can entertain themselves, I’m just going to browse Facebook for a few minutes.” Obviously browsing Facebook isn’t bad, and skipping a workout here and there is okay and missing Jesus time once in a while doesn’t mean you lose your salvation – but often times we can neglect the things, and people, that really matter because our days are just TOO BUSY.

 So today, let’s lay our day before the Lord’s feet and ask Him to remind us about the daily priorities we should focus on!

 Every one of us will have different daily priorities as the Lord lays each upon our hearts. Write them down. And when things start to feel overwhelming, focus on your list and take care of your priorities so you can more gracefully and with a joyful spirit accomplish the other tasks set up for your day!

Our priorities help center our minds and prepare our hearts. And this week, I want to remember every morning that THESE are the most important things for me to get done. I’m not saying that you have to accomplish every one of your daily priorities, and ONLY THEN can you take care of everything else that needs doing. I often won’t get one on one time with Kyle until later in the evening! Rather, use your own priorities list as a centering tool and a reminder to focus on the positive and important – it doesn’t matter WHEN you talk with the Lord, but that you DID talk with Him. It doesn’t matter if you have quality time with your husband at 11 o’clock at night – what’s important is that you made the time.

6 DAILY PRIORITIES

This list is what I personally feel I need to make priorities – yours may look similar or maybe completely different. It’s all good!

1.       DEVOTIONS – whether you wake up early and talk with God or you wait until nap time, spending time with the Lord can make or break your day. There are days I definitely don’t feel like sacrificing “my time” to sit with the Lord (ironic right, considering the Lord is the one who gave me the time in the first place :P) but on the days I take the time to talk with God,  I tend to feel more content and joyful and my overall outlook on life is typically more positive.bible verses come and talk with me lord i am coming It’s okay if you only have a couple minutes here and a couple minutes there. Pray continually and take advantage of any spare minute you may have. Welcome the Spirit into your day and allow the Lord to work through you and in every part of your day.

2.       QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR HUSBAND – take the time to love your husband. Whether you talk about your day, play a game, watch a movie or simply just enjoy each other’s company. Whether you have 10 minutes or 4 hours. Spend time with your man. Quality over quantity. This is important for both of you and keeping a happy marriage!

3.       QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR KIDS – some days it’s so easy to just let Lillian entertain herself and leave her to her own devices while I try to tackle more tasks for the day. I have to remind myself how fleeting this time is. Lillian is only a child for a little while, and the time I invest in her life TRULY MATTERS. The dishes can wait. I can do the online shopping later. I can focus on my work later.  Unplug, and focus your undivided attention on your little ones for a little while. This is time well spent and you won’t look back and regret it later. Love your babies <3

4.       WORKOUT – for me personally this is something I try to make a priority. So often I find myself complaining about the way I look and groaning with unhappiness about myself. 1 corinthians 6:19-20I take this part of my heart to the Lord and say “Help Me, Lord!” and He reminds me that I actually have to DO something about it. Unfortunately, He isn’t going to give me a rocking body overnight… dang it! But I know that He will motivate and encourage me to get to a happy, and healthy, place physically. Sometimes this means a brisk 10-minute walk, or sometimes just 10 minutes of squats, crunches, and planks. Whatever time you’ve been given, use it. Doing even a little something is better than doing nothing.

5.       SPIFF UP THE HOUSE – yes, I know this shouldn’t be THAT big of a priority. But for me personally, when my house is in a somewhat tidy condition my anxiety is less intense and I feel more motivated throughout the day. It makes me feel more confident and I like for Kyle to come home and feel comfortable. Something as simple as a clean kitchen and empty sink with no dishes can completely change your mindset and mood.

6.       5 MINUTES “ME” TIME – at least five minutes! This is a lot easier said than done for many mamas – I know! But sometimes having just a little bit of time each day to do something that YOU want to do can truly lighten your spirit and encourage you to keep going. It’s easy to forget about yourself, especially when you have children and haven’t taken a shower in 4 days (don’t judge bro) I personally love a few minutes in the morning with a nice hot cup of coffee and a chance to just browse around on the internet. For some reason this helps start my day more positively – I get a few minutes to relax and wake up and it gives me a little time to do what I want to do. Without a little “me time” it’s easy to get irritable and swallowed by discontent. Try to snag a couple minutes for yourself! Even if it’s just throwing a brush through your hair and wisping a little mascara on!


It’s easy to get swallowed whole by our busy days and to-do lists! My goal this week is to refocus my attention on the things that are most important – not to allow myself to be choked by anxiety or allow the devil to heighten my feelings of being overwhelmed! I pray the Lord does the same for you and that every day, and in every moment, we know his presence and allow Him to guide and mold us into women of God.

What are some of your daily priorities?

MINTED Online Invitations

kids invitations online invitations minted

(This post contains affiliate links – we receive a small commission through affiliated links with the Minted Affiliate Program, with no extra cost to you. For additional information, see our Privacy Policy)

I recently tried out Minted online invitations as I planned Lillian’s birthday party. As silly as it may sound, I know the Lord sent me this site because I had spent HOURS looking for the perfect online invitation set up. He sent me Minted when I was just about to go insane and lose it! Ha! but seriously…

As I sat down and began planning Lillian’s ONE-year birthday party, a number of ideas flew through my head at once and I very nearly became overwhelmed! I decided that first and foremost I needed a beautiful and easy way to send invitations – and I wasn’t about to spend a fortune on 1-year-old party invitations that I  knew would just get thrown in the trash! I began scouring Pinterest for Evite invitations and as I found many decent options, I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted… online invites shouldn’t be this complicated, right? Wrong! There were invites for free but you had ads all over, you could purchase an e-vite but the price increased as your guest list increased, you could pay a monthly fee or an annual fee. But what I really needed was clean, cut, classic, beautiful, no ads, and cheap. After a hours browsing pages all over the internet, I finally came upon MINTED online invitations.

Let’s get this out in the open right now. I’m in love. I’m in love with stationary and thick cardstock that smells gloriously of trees. I’m in love with foil stamped and classic beauty! So basically I’m in love with Minted.

Minted just came out with NEW digital online invitations and they are stunning!Minted online invitations evite invitations They offer online wedding invitations as well, which is crazy cool. And the beautiful thing is that, right now, they are offering all online invitations for FREE until December 31st! Seriously, if you are planning holiday parties or a birthday party, or any other party for that matter this is the way to go! Lillian’s Birthday invitation turned out so beautiful and the E-vite design is gorgeous. With their digital invitations, Minted also offers simple guest management so you can easily keep track of your guest list. They offer coordinating print products AND it’s optimized for mobile devices! The ultimate WIN!

 

I am so happy and excited about these invitations I had to share in case I have other friends looking for beautiful and affordable online invitations! If you are looking for beautiful online invitations, head over and check out MINTED online invitations – they also have gorgeous Holiday cards, Save-the-Dates, personalized gift ideas and more!

 minted more join today holiday cards minted holiday gifts 5 card designs free

Surviving Miscarriage

Surviving Miscarriage

Finding Hope through Pain

   There are certain chapters of life that seem to define and refine our character more swiftly than others. Unfortunately, many of those chapters are uncomfortable and painful. We are left feeling significantly more exhausted rather than refined. This was definitely the case for me when it came to the “chapter” in my life I have so unfortunately labeled “surviving miscarriage.” A chapter labeled so because it was painful, and I don’t particularly enjoy reflecting on. But since my miscarriage,

no pit so deep God's love is deeper still surviving miscarriagemany have come to me seeking help and encouragement as they struggle down the same road. And it is for these people that I reflect on my own story.

 If you are reading this now, having recently suffered a miscarriage yourself, and you are looking for anything or anyone that can tell you something to help dull that relentless aching in your chest, my prayer for you is that the Lord will wrap his arms around you and use these words as a comfort – if only for a few moments. Don’t give up Sweet Mama.

Surviving Miscarriage

I remember when I saw those two pink lines. In a split second, my whole world shifted. A new label had been stamped upon my heart as my identity as “MOM” was born. For as long as I could remember, I had dreamed of being a mother. I was never a career driven woman. Instead, the Lord had instilled the desire to be a wife and mother deep into every part of my being. And with those two little pink lines, I felt him handing me my dreams. In that tiny little studio apartment bathroom, my whole life changed.

In the following weeks, I basically floated on clouds. Anticipating and dreaming about life as “mommy.” Oh, I could just imagine the smell of his skin and the feel of his body in my arms. But as my pregnancy progressed, my cramping progressed as well. I tried to calm myself and remember that God was in control. ‘My mother had never had a miscarriage; none of my sisters had a miscarriage. I was being anxious for nothing.’ But in the back of my mind, these worries gnawed at my mind and filled me with dread.

It was a Saturday morning when I sat down on the toilet and noticed the little spot of blood. I frantically spent the day scouring the internet, calling my midwife, talking to Kyle, talking to my sister – hoping something would put me at ease. ‘A little bit of spotting early on in pregnancy can be normal and expected,’ I told myself. ‘I could only keep an eye on it and pray that it was nothing.’

surviving miscarriage when I rise psalm
Psalm 139:18

Sunday morning came heavy and stressful. The amount of anxiety I felt made my chest feel as if someone was suffocating me. The bleeding was consistent and as I sat in the back of the church, I knew what was coming. And yet I still couldn’t accept it – the bleeding would go away, and tomorrow would be back to normal. My sweet Kyle suffered with me and I so vividly remember watching him at church – bible open but not really listening. His eyes closed as I know he silently prayed for the Lord to intervene. We spent Sunday afternoon in tears, internally trying to come to terms with what was to come.

            I started having contractions around 9 on Sunday night. I sat in the bathroom and felt every one of those contractions like the swift painful blows they were. Nobody ever explained to me just how bad it would hurt – physically and emotionally. Through it all, Kyle stood by my side and held me until it was over.

In that tiny little studio apartment bathroom, my whole life changed.

Sleep evaded us for the rest of the night as we laid on the couch in silence. Our Christmas lights twinkled but there was no joy in the soft glow they tossed around the room.no greater agony miscarriage maya angelou

We buried that sweet babe of ours in a little box that once held thank you cards. On that bitter cold Monday in December, Kyle dug a hole in the frozen ground. And as we buried our little baby, I buried pieces of my heart – with all the hopes and dreams it held.

The weeks that followed were hard. I spent much of my time in an incoherent haze, putting together puzzles and attempting to stay busy, simply avoiding the truth. But let me tell you something, it was in those moments that God spoke to my heart.

I didn’t necessarily feel close to Him, as the ache in my chest clouded everything, but I knew that He was near.

Looking back now I can’t quite peg the exact time I began to “feel better.” It seemed like ages until I felt even remotely normal again. But now I recognize everything the Lord did for me during that time. The encouragement and hope I so desperately needed, He poured out in different ways. HE gave me the strength to keep going. The array of emotions I felt were many. Through each question, each doubt, each worry and every tear, God gave me what I needed. Sometimes it was with a verse or a song. Other times with a letter from a friend or a random text message –  and even through a lonely flower in a department store. The Lord knew what I needed, even if I felt like I was stumbling along the way.

If you are suffering this pain right now, I hope and pray you allow the Lord to speak to your heart right now.

  • This is not your fault. Miscarriage is more common than you would believe (not that it makes it any easier of course) but don’t beat yourself with guilt. I repeat – THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. That donut you ate didn’t cause the miscarriage, the jog you went on didn’t do it, your stress didn’t cause it, you and your husband having sex didn’t cause it and that small glass of wine you drank before you realized you were pregnant didn’t cause it. Miscarriage happens and the cause is almost never because of something the mother did. Nothing you did caused your miscarriage and there’s nothing you could have done. This is not your fault. Don’t beat yourself up. You weren’t a bad mother!
  • God loves you. He loves your baby. Even now God is watching over your baby. It’s a comfort for me personally to imagine Jesus holding and loving on my sweet babe.
    the first sight when he opened his eyes was Jesus surviving miscarriage
    the first sight

    There are certain times in life that make it hard to understand why God would allow something to hurt us. But the pain of this world was not God’s original intention. Genesis speaks of God creating the world and saying it is “supremely GOOD.” Without pain and suffering! This is not the way He wanted things to be. But the beauty of God’s promise to His children is that he vows to make all things new. The pain we endure in this world will pass away and God will restore what has been taken. (Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:5) When the Lord comes back he will give back what was lost. Don’t forget that God sees the whole picture – this is hard to keep in mind and dwell on when you are in pain. But like a large tapestry the Lord is sewing, you are a couple stitches – important and with purpose, yet small in the scheme of things. And yet, together each stitch plays a role. We do not see the purpose as the stitch is sewn but our designer sees and knows. And He does not make mistakes. The Lord will fill you with joy you long for – even after a miscarriage – he will make things new. Although hard times come – he will “make all things work together for good for those who love him.” Romans 8:28

    Rest in the knowledge that Jesus himself is watching over your baby.

  • It will stop hurting and it will get better. One day, it will stop hurting and be less overwhelming. I promise that one day, joy WILL come in the morning! Give your pain and heart to God. Tell Him of your pain, your anger, and your hurt! Matthew 7:7 says “seek and you will find.” Only God can give you the answers and peace you desire. He alone understands your heart and suffering– for He himself gave his own son to die for us. Take up your cross with him. He will give you the strength and the courage. Every day you will heal a tiny bit more. As time goes on your wound will be more bearable. Now, sweet mama, this is important – when it doesn’t hurt as bad and you start to laugh and enjoy life again, do not be ashamed or feel guilty as though feeling happy again is a disgrace to your baby’s memory. Rest in the knowledge that Jesus himself is watching over your baby. jesus holding your baby from miscarriageYour sweet babe has been spared from the troubles of this world and is forever in eternity with the Lord – I promise he is happy and content as ever! Give that baby to Jesus, hold his memory close to your heart, but know that it is okay to be happy again. One day you will see your sweet babe in heaven. All will be made new.
  • Do not be ashamed of your pain. There is absolutely nothing wrong with mourning your lost baby. Do not let others make you feel stupid for missing something you never truly had. Because that baby WAS REAL. As real as if he was right in front of you! Trust me, mama, I know!
    a child that never comes surviving miscarriage
    miscarriage david platt

    From the moment you knew that baby was growing inside of you, you had begun to dream of a life with him. What his face would look like, the smell of his skin, the feel of his toes on your lips and his hand around your finger. You could almost imagine how it would feel to hear him call you “mommy.” You put all your heart and hopes and dreams into that baby. You could feel your body and heart changing and making room. I know you lost part of yourself, Mama. It’s okay to be upset. No, you didn’t carry to full term and then lose the baby. No, you didn’t experience life with that child to only lose it later, etc, etc. I know these are not the things you want to hear people say – yet say these things they will. I promise they aren’t intentionally trying to rub salt in an open wound. Sweet Mama, these comments do not mean your pain is not as genuine. Perhaps one day you will see the mercy in these truths, but for now, just pray and let it be. Take the time you need to mourn. Pray and pray some more. And then pick up the broken pieces and put them in the hands of Jesus. Let him put you back together again.

  • You may have moments of jealous anger. There may be times that you see other women with newborns and women “about to pop” from full-term pregnancies and you will feel jealous and upset. “Why do they have their baby and I lost mine.” Then after you think these things, you will be filled with deep regret. Of course, we do not wish this pain on anyone else and we would never wish to trade places. It’s okay Momma! You are working through the agony you feel in your heart. Place that anger and pain and guilt at Jesus’ feet. He will wrap you in His arms and cover you with his wings. (Psalm 91:4)

 Pick up the broken pieces and put them in the hands of Jesus. Let him put you back together again.

  • The Lord knows what you want. Psalm 37:4 says He knows the desires of our hearts. Mama, God KNOWS what you long for in your heart. Whether it’s a baby or something else! Live your life for the lord and he will bless you – perhaps not in the way you think He will, but He knows what we need before we ask. Perhaps He has plans to give you a baby through natural means, or maybe he plans to use you through adoption – blessing a sweet soul who is praying for parents just as you are praying for a baby. Perhaps He is leading you towards IVF, surrogacy or something else entirely. Whatever it may be, lay your heart before the Lord and pray for the Lord’s direction. Ask what he would have for you and where He wishes to lead you.
  • The Lord will use you. After my miscarriage, a friend of mine sent me a text of encouragement and told me that one day the Lord would use this experience and pain in my life and use it for His good. He would ask me to love and minister to others who have experienced the same thing. At that time, I didn’t ponder much on this comment as I was my heart was overwhelmed. But it’s amazing how much truth was in that statement. Since we lost our little one, the number of people the Lord has brought to me in pain and looking for strength has been crazy. The Lord uses each one of us in kind, and I know that one day the Lord will use you to minister to others as well. Encourage others you know suffering as you have. Be an empathetic ear and tell them how the Lord has delivered you! Allow God to use you even when it may be hard.
  • Don’t be afraid to try again. After my miscarriage, I was actually more eager to try for a baby than I was in the first place! I wanted to know that I could get pregnant again and that I could make it stick. Yet thinking about being pregnant again was seriously terrifying. It’s so easy to let fear control our lives. Don’t let it! Lay your fears at Jesus’ feet and PRAY. There really is no other way. Yes, a miscarriage could happen again. Yes, maybe some other knowledge will come to the surface that causes more roadblocks on the way to motherhood. At this point I had to ask myself, do I TRULY believe that God is who He says he is? If it came down to the fact that I couldn’t have a baby myself, (one of my biggest “what if’s”) would I still believe and trust that God IS God and that He can (and will) make good out of dust? (Linda Dillow talks about this in her book excerpt “Trusting God with my What ifs and Whys” – I recommend reading it!) When you can answer that question with an honest yes… then what do we have to fear? In my biggest worries and with my biggest fears at my doorstep, will I lean on the Lord and know that He knows best? As he leads you, towards having another baby or something else, I promise you will not regret going forward on the path He has set out for you.

misccariage encouragement surviving miscarriage he is still good
He is still Good – Daniel 3:18

Many questions and fears will plague our hearts after we lose a baby, and these reminders are good to keep in your pocket, but if you are surviving miscarriage now, I realize that at this point it’s difficult to remember anything except bad memories. For now, I would say, just pray. Pray about everything and pray constantly. The Lord will fight this battle for you. Keep holding on Mama, God is not done with you yet! It will get better and maybe one day in the coming future, you will be holding your rainbow baby – thanking Jesus for the rainbow after the storm.

 

 

VERSES FOR SURVIVING MISCARRIAGE

“I will never leave you or abandon you.”   Hebrews 13:5

“He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge.”   Psalm 91:4

“God has more in store for you than you can even imagine.”    Ephesians 3:20

“She holds onto hope for He is forever faithful.”    1 Corinthians 1:9

“I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name.”    Isaiah 49:16

“Seek and you will find.”    Matthew 7:7

“And when I wake up, you are still with me.”    Psalm 139:18

“Be still and know that I am God.”    Psalm 46:10

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”   Proverbs 3:5-6

“Call to me and I will answer.”   Jeremiah 33:3

“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.”    Psalm 126:5-6

 

Pregnancy after Miscarriage

When I became pregnant with Lillian, fear became one of my nearly constant companions. These were the verses I kept in my heart and head the whole time. I hope they encourage you if you find yourself in a similar situation.