Our fork in the road has reached a solution and a very clear path! My advice and answer to everything is, "Run, Baby, Run!!" Just get yourself a one-way plane ticket and disappear! Haha. While this humor may not amuse some.... I have had a lot of fun telling everyone that's what I'm gonna do. Anyway, our new path is a little complicated so I can share as soon as we can smooth out all the details and tie it in a bow. It's really not a big change persay in our life, just a switch of focus and an opportunity that we couldn't turn down. Can't go viral with it yet due to the chain of communication we have to go down. If you are really dying to know you can call me though!
Until then, I have one last homemade post, pics of Davids new room coming soon, and some great organizational things I have found for super cheap!

Okay, last homemade post! If you really like the whole soap idea.... you can also have fun with bar soaps instead of just the liquid body wash. Glycerin can be melted down, you can add whatever you want to it or do color layers, and then pour it into a mold and it will re-harden. Most people grind up oatmeal or add some lavender to it. You can also add a few drops of oil and you have beautiful, handmade soaps! If you Google Image "homemade soaps" tons of pictures will come up! Micheals also sells a goat milk soap base and you can use that instead of the glycerin. If you missed the past few posts, make sure you check out how to make all of your own cleaners below!
Aren't these soaps pretty?


Household Cleaners

Here are the cleaners I swear by! They are saving our family tons and more than that, they are chemical free! Not only are they pennies on the dollar to make, it's fun to get your kids involved with making the cleaners. You also don't have to worry about any chemicals since everything below is all natural!
Make sure water is really hot when mixing to get everything dissolved!
Also, just an FYI I learned while researching this, do not EVER mix vinegar and bleach. I do not use bleach any more, but together they make a toxic chorine gas. Just wanted to throw that out there if anyone was feeling real creative =)
All Purpose Cleaner (Kitchen, Bathrooms, Floors, ect.)
Cleans awesome, no streaking, love this.
6 T vinegar
1 T borax
1 T dish soap (*To make window cleaner, use same recipe & omit dish soap)
2 C hot water
1 drop lemon oil (to mask the vinegar smell, if you can deal with it, you dont have to use this)
Its sold at Micheals and you can buy any scent you want.
Pour all liquids in spray bottle, then add powder. Shake to mix well.
White Vinegar from Publix. around $2 or $3 dollars
Here is what the all purpose looks like, it will be tinted whatever color your dishsoap is!
Dish Soap and Body Wash- yes it cleans so well to do the dishes, but all natural and moisturizing for skin. You'll be hooked after you shower with it!
One thing to note: it is more liquidy than store bought. It will thicken a little when water cools.
Its all safe, organic, and natural... so it cleans dishes... and you!
1/4 c grated soap (Ivory or Dove) ...less than half a bar of soap)
1 T vinegar
2 C hot water
1/4 c melted glycerin ... half the bar cut up and microwave for 20 seconds
* Glycerin sold at Publix for 99 cents on the soap isle!
Grate soap and mix with hot water.Shake until dissolves. Pour in glycerin and add vinegar. It will be very liquidy, but as it cools will thicken! Here is a picture of the process...
Jewelry Cleaner
1 T salt
1 T baking soda
1 T vinegar
1 C hot water
1 sprinkle of borax
mix, shake it up. And amazing jewelry cleaner!
Furniture Polish
100% pure Lemon Oil Polish- only place I've found this is Ace Hardware for 7.99 However, this bottle will last you until you die. A drop goes a mile. And its not an oily oil... its just amazing. It makes your furniture look like its been waxed and oiled. Seriously amazing and a great smell. Its yellow liquid in a clear bottle.
*This is also the product that will make hard water (white drops) on your shower "disappear". Nothing will ever remove hard water stains b/c they are etched into the glass, but lemon oil will absorb it for 1 to 2 weeks and make glass clear. So great!
Air Fresheners
Fill a bottle half way of vinegar and the other half water
At first you will smell vinegar, but it absorbs odors and after about 10 minutes, your house will smell cleaner and fresher.
After I do this, I either simmer in a pan, or you can use a tart burner:
Orange Peels
a few sprinkles of cinnamon
It makes your house smell amazing! Always go for natural scents from fresh flowers or fruit rinds. It is a more natural way of freshening your home! (That and my husband gets headaches from Yankee Candle =)
Happy Home Day!


Having Outlets

Our situation will be solved by Monday, so I will have the story then. Please continue to pray that God would shine light on His path. I feel as though we have had a few breakthroughs and lots of outside wisdom. I've been under a lot of stress recently, so I've decided to start some projects and not think about my situation!
Haha, great advice from the future counselor, but it's really helped to just focus on something else and do something fun. I have been organizing like crazy and have some awesome and cheap ways to organize. My friend told me today I could write a book on organization after losing 1,000 square feet of house! ha!

I also just completey re-hauled Davids room. He had huge furniture in there that was perfect in his old room, but did not fly in Nellie Mae. I will post pics and my deals.
Lastly, my newest and best project has been making homemade cleaners!
Please don't write me off that I am crazy. I'm not having 12 babies, homeschooling, and growing all our own food. Sorry if those are your plans. But, I do clean houses on the side and I've realized 2 things. Cleaners are kinda expensive. And they have some really harsh chemicals in them.

I have tested all mine to the max, and let me tell you that not only do they clean JUST as good, they are 100% natural and organic.

The first one I want to share is homemade laundry detergent. It is obviously free of dyes and chemicals and I use it on all our clothes, even the small childrens. Doesnt irritate skin.
Let me tell you how cheap it is first.

A box of Borax is $2 at Publix.
A box of washing soda is $3 at Publix.
Fels Naptha soap is 99 cents.
The lady that did the demonstration on it has had both boxes of cleaners for 1 whole year and has a family of 4. Whoa. You do the math!
The soap is the only thing you have to buy every time you make it. So far, one recipe seems to last 2 months. Isn't that crazy?!! That's $5 per year and 99 cents every couple months:
Here is how!
1/2 c of Borax
1/2 c washing soda
1 bar of Fels Naptha soap
*Publix keeps all 3 of these items next to eachother on the laundry isle. Near the stain remover section.
Anyway, you put the powders into a blender or food processor, chop the soap up into ice cubes and then put it on top of the power. Blend until it is completely smooth and looks like detergent. (It is white and khaki colored).
Get this. You only need 1 Tablespoon per load, 2 Tablespoons if its very soiled. I do 2 b/c my babies are messy!
I hope you try it, it will save your family TONS of money! I do lots of laundry! That's why I tried it out b/c it was worth the risk of seeing if it worked and i LOVE it! it also smells great! My sister learned it at a MOPS meeting and we've been doing it. So don't think Im super.
I have more awesome things and I will post soon.


A Fork in The Road

Thank you for all the messages, notes, and phone calls about the miscarriage. I know it is not really a PC thing to talk about, but many women suffer and many women suffer in silence. This is one of the areas of my life I chose to write about because I feel it reaches many women. And we are doing just fine. As heartless as it may sound, I am used to miscarriages and the recovery, used to change and transition, and feel like it has made me bounce back quicker. I also have hope that as God always has, he will expand and grow our family in His timing, not mine. It's a lesson he has taught me several times so I will be faithful and praise Him in this storm.

During all of this mess, we've had another fork in the road come up and I am asking for your prayers.
We have 2 paths right now and are praying for God to direct us and show us the right one. It does not have to do with babies or anything like that and I will be able to expound later.

A decision has to be made whether we chose the path we are currently on or we take the fork. Either way we have to decide. We feel like we have little clarity right now and are waiting for God to show up and make our choice very clear. It's a positive thing and a blessing we feel either way. We just want God's best, we don't want to settle, and after everything we've been through.... we aren't going to take the easier path. The hard road has been hard, but worth it.
I know I've griped about how hard our life has been the past year, but I'd like to point out the blessings God has poured out b/c of it:

He sold our house at $200,000 in 13 days. The house value dropped and is currently at $170,000. Praise the Lord. ( I know for us, not the buyers....)
He provided Tim a new career and a fully funded scholarship to get his degree in it
Tim has never been happier and feel as though this is his life long industry
We were able to renovate a house from bare bones.
Our house only costs half of what it's worth is b/c of the renovations
We learned and did things we didn't know how to do.
We have no debt through this process and will pay off our house in 5 years.
We have 2 healthy children and I feel like my loss has shown me my career for later in life
I am living my dream of being a stay at home mother
He has also blessed my little house cleaning business with 5 families I adore

I have to remind myself of our long term progress and know that God is taking us somewhere. I have to remind myself of these blessings and His faithfulness during trials and decision making times.
So there, there was optimistic Jen. Please pray as God has clearly put this fork in our road we would do the right thing and know. Know and have no doubts. These are the verses I am claiming:
I love the KJV on this one.
Jeremiah 33:3
Call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things that thou knowest not.

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans of a man's heart, but it is the Lords purpose that prevails

And my sweet mother in law gave me this verse b/c I feel as though we have lost fortunes along the way of this whole process...
Psalms 126:4-6
Restore to us our fortunes O Lord, like streams in the desert.
Those who sow in tears will reap songs of joy.
He who goes out weeping and carrying seeds to sow, will return with songs of joy carrying sheaves with him
Please pray for us.


Our Story of Loss Part 2 and 3

I am 29 and I have had 4 pregnancies and 1/2 a dozen babies. Only 2 of them so far God has chosen to give us on Earth, so I think I might need a babysitter in heaven.
David was a normal, healthy pregnancy. I assumed everyone just got pregnant right away and had a perfectly, healthy, full term pregnancy.

When David was 9 months old, we experienced our first miscarriage and you can read about that one here.

We quickly became pregnant with Mackenzie after my twin miscarriage #1. We soon discovered Mackenzie had a fraternal twin that was not going to make it. Thus, I began miscarriage #2 while I was still pregnant with Mackenzie. Also, commonly called the Vanishing Twin miscarriage. I was bummed my body seemed to not be able to carry twins.

Due to life circumstances (our house selling, Tim losing his job, Tim going back to school and starting his HVAC career, us renovating a house, and trying to keep our marriage strong and our kid's lives normal) we delayed having another baby until now.

One might ask, why the heck don't you just be done?!! We have both always wanted 3 kids. Both of us. I refuse to not have a baby out of fear. Fear is not from the Lord. If I lived in fear, I would have not made many choices in my life. We fight to not live in fear.

Understanding that, we found out on Christmas we were pregnant, unplanned. We had not started trying yet. The month I had strep throat, it messed my cycle up and we ended up pregnant. Those high temps and antibiotics will getcha every time.

Anyway, after getting over the shock, a bad feeling just set in. Call it mother's intuition, but I knew something wasn't right. Thus, we did not tell anyone over the holiday. I went to the doctor and after bloodwork, they told me everything was fine. We went through New Years and our Open House, but I still had a bad feeling and had not leaked our news out. I woke up January 3 and knew something was wrong. I called the doctor and they had me come in immediately.

At my 7 week ultrasound I found out I was having a miscarriage. Miscarriage # 3. The medical name for this one was a blighted ovum. You get pregnant and a sac for the baby starts growing, but the baby never forms, or stops quickly after forming. The body recognizes it is not going to be healthy and rejects it.

So, after finding out we were surprise pregnant and then miscarrying, my body kind of took a roller coaster ride, and then to make it worse I turned 29. just kidding. but, boo.

Anyways, I'm "back to normal" or whatever that means and we will prayerfully make another attempt in the future. My doctors say I am totally healthy. They only worry when you have a repetitive miscarriage occurring with the same reasons. Mine are all different, I am the statistic.
Doctors say I obviously get pregnant very easy and one other good thing, my body can pick the healthy babies to carry to term. Good news I guess??

Again, if you haven't read my below post, God has pushed me to the point of truly living as a sacrifice for Him, a testimony of his gifts and a testimony of loss. The good and bad, the pretty and the ugly, the easy and the hard. These miscarriages are part of what has shown me what God wants me to do with my life, and for that I am thankful.

We've had a lot of hard. But, a sermon that has spoke to me, pushes me on because of this.

Jesus said,

Follow Me.

That's it. Follow Him. And along the way, all we want to do is backseat drive Jesus and say, "Where are we going?" "When are we going to get there?" "How much longer until we get there?" "Why don't we go this way?" "You are going too slow" or "You are going too fast."

You get the point.

That is me. I am all of those.

But, I am following Jesus and trying to help others along the way. He has a plan. He has a purpose. He knows where He is going. And He wants us to Follow Him.

Please pray for Tim and I. In the past 2 weeks, we've had life throw a lot more on our plate that I am still trying to digest and can't talk about yet. Some days I feel that I'm at the end of my rope...Thanks to all my fam and friends and blog support buddies out there!

What do you want to be?

I think this blog post might shed some light on who I really am. It's taken me several years to really articulate what drives me, where my passion is, and how God has designed me.

I think I often come across as "too open". I can make people uncomfortable very quickly with things that I like to talk about. Marriage, intimacy, fertility, loss, and family issues are topics that I could sit and discuss for hours. I have to consciously make efforts to not ask people very personal questions...

Those topics make people feel awkward, uncomfortable, embarrassed, or just silent. Many people don't want to talk about any of those things and are bewildered at why on earth I take extreme interest in them.

Honestly, I think for a few reasons. One, it's just who I am. I feel like I am wired emotionally to hash through issues most people want to bury. Two, I think it's because I have been through a lot myself and feel relevent and emphathetic to people who are going through these things. And three, I've prayed for a while God would help me discover my passion to pursue later when my babies start school so I can work!

A licensed Christian counselor with a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Counseling. That is what I would like my title to be one day. It will take me 2 years and 1 year of practice to achieve my goal.
When and how I don't know, but I feel like it is who I am. If you know me, a light bulb may turn on for you and think..... that's why Jennifer is so wierd! Ha! But, in all seriousness, I hope it clicks for you how it did for me. I love to open the can, take it all out, talk about it, bring truth to it, and call it what it is.

It began for me in college. I loved being an RA and hearing and talking to every woman that lived on my hall about issues. I also loved doing Bible studies with them. I got my Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice because I thought law school might be a good avenue and at the time was focused on juvenile justice. Thus, my internship at the Department of Juvenile Justice. I was fascinated by all of the family issues and marriage problems I encountered then. That's where this desire started and grew.

When Tim and I went on staff full time with a college ministry for 2 years, that's why I really put it all together. Being on the Christian side of these issues was a whole different ball game. I found not only was I in the middle of people's life issues, I got to see Christ change hearts, minds, and lives.

Anyway, I'm not venturing out tomorrow for my degree, but feel a peace that God has a plan for my life now and later.... my ministry will always be #1 for my kids, but I was not put on this Earth to be just a mom, but a follower of God. I'm praying as I sort through all of this, God would continue to give me wisdom and opportunities to help others.

I hope even now my blog makes more sense. I constantly crave open-ness, confrontation, truth, and share the messy issues of life. We've had another messy part of life come up dealing with loss that I hope to share in the coming weeks. I just hope now people will understand the way I'm wired a little more...... I just like to talk about the messy issues of life and bring light into them.
That's me, take it or leave it :/


Willis Winter Update!

I haven't posted in a while so I'll do a picture post to show you what our winter has been like so far! I've honestly been a little fragile recently, ha! We've had so many events occur in the past 9 months and I think everything just sunk in a little with me. Our Christmas was very fun and we kicked off the new year with an Open House of our completed home renovation, which was very special. Don't get me wrong: I am in a very thankful state, but just the transition of selling a home in 2 weeks, my husband losing his job, God re-directing and sending him back to school, now Tim in a full blown new career, renovating this house, raising toddlers, finding a new church in Marietta, new friends, and starting a new year..... it's been a lot to process! I think I just kind of had a "go with it" mentality and so much change happened so fast, now that we are settled.... I ask myself, "what just happened?" I may be able to verbalize better in the next few months our new life and our relentless passion to follow God wherever he leads. I feel like sometimes we are so young and have had so much life crammed into our years! ha! I know God doesn't give you more than you can handle, but the trick is..... God knows what your max is and you don't. I had no idea we'd be stretched to what we've been stretched to. I truly praise God for walking step by step with us.

So, here is my winter slideshow so far:
Our cozy little cottage all snowed in. Although we've been a little stir crazy, we're thankful to be snowed in together. We've filled the days with movies, art projects with the kids, cooking, sledding, and doing everything we can think of with the snow =)
Here is a couple pictures from our Open House we had on January 2. This is my favorite room in the house. We have beautiful bright windows and it opens up to the living room and kitchen.
Here is Miss Mackenzie's nursury. I've delayed the photos b/c 2 weeks ago, her crib was in here. She jumped out at 15 months and I put a crib tent on top. After her putting holes in the crib tent, she's a fiesty one, we moved her into a toddler bed! She I had to completely redo her room again! Here it is for now!
Our sweet neighbor, and also family, brought me this at our Open House. I burst into tears (have I mentioned I'm fragile recently?) It is a picture of the real Nellie-Mae. My great grandmother! It is who we named our whole house renovation after. She and her husband Arnold raised 11 children in a 3 bedroom house and built houses all over Marietta. I love this picture of her and it is really special.This is our family Christmas tree. My favorite thing about it is how the lights reflect off our hardwood floors. I am still so in love with the floors in our home. They are 60 year old wide plank pine floors and I can't get enough of them.
Tim sold his Honda and now drives a pick up truck! His sales car days are over and this pick up is a much better fit for his HVAC industry and our property!! (Our 1 acre lot requires a lot of maintenence!) And, everyone knows we have to have a good deal on everything. Would you believe Tim bought this truck for $1300? He did so good.
I tried to make a snow angel, but the thick layer of ice on the ground kept that from happening. My kids thought it was really funny. I was laughing, but when I got up from my numbness, realized ice cut me on the back! Oh well.

We made snow ice cream of course...
And Tim builds fires like its his job. He wanted to see if he could build one out of frozen, wet wood. Of course he did and David loved every second.
Family sledding

I'll try and post more pics soon! It's been really nice to kick the new year off with a break! I am not loving the single digit temps that are coming this way, but having kids has brought a lot of fun to our days snowed in!
Almost forgot this pic.... here is one of the kids favorite christmas presents, a 4 wheeler!
Happy trails!

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