Review : (in)courage Devotional Bible


There is something about pretty things.  I enjoy them maybe a little more than just something plain.  Pretty is fun!

This Bible : (in) Courage is an organization that knows something about truth and pretty!  Just about everything they put out from greeting cards, to devotions, to graphics – its all pretty!

9781535924955.front05 (1)

First, I love the linen feel to the cover.  It is in the photo below, a nice teal green.

9781535924955.front01 (1)

The colors throughout coordinate with that teal, as well as some peaches, roses and yellows – the colors are very pleasing and calming!


This is a devotion Bible, with 52 devotions throughout the pages.  There are themes to the devotions and those are : brokenness, togetherness, grace, leadership, friendship, hope, hospitality, gratitude, second chances, and brave.

I love that there is space at the bottom of the pages to write notes, I am a note writer in my Bible!  I would love that space to fill up with ideas and points from studies and sermons!!

It really is a beautiful Bible and I look forward to using it in my quiet time!

NOTE : I received a copy of the (in)courage Devotional Bible at no cost, in exchange for my honest thoughts!



Laundry Detergent

In 2010 a woman came into my life that had a profound impact on me.  She was younger than me, and at the time had two adorable little girls.  We spent many afternoons that summer at her apartment pool.  Her family introduced us to Aldi, as her husband was the manage.  Sweet memories.

Those are not the memories that stand out the most though!  Kimberlie inspired me to ask questions.  She showed me how to dig into things and find out what was going on behind the scenes.  Specifically she told me about a website that you can look up your person care items (face cream, body wash, etc) to see how toxic it was.  WHAT?

Stop the presses!  Toxic body care products?  Ugh!

My youngest son was about 6 during this season, and he had what we called allergry induced asthma.  Not sever.  He did not have frequent issues, but enough to realize something was not right.  When I started doing some research I realized that he might be reacting to some of the things in our house; that we were bringing in toxins that were impacting him.  (soaps, candles, etc.)

So I looked up body wash, laundry detergent, and more.  That was when I started a no-poo approach to my hair.  We switched to Dr. Bronner for our body wash and even for hair for the kids.  I stopped using lots of products and replaced many with Coconut Oil! (LOL)

Fast forward to 2018, I am still no-poo.  We primarily use goat milk soap now.  Soap that I make, with ingredients that are safe.  As far as household cleaners, we use Theives cleaner and several shaklee products.  Rarely do we bring in traditional cleaners.

Most of all though, we stopped using normal detergents, for a couple of reasons.  The smell in our laundry lasted forever, but I realized that it should not.  Detergents contain phthalates, to extend the scent, and these are not good for our health.  Not to mention the price to wash laundry for 6 people!!

So I make my own.  I have done this for many years, not sure how many.  We have used a thick paste like product, until our new washer did not fully dissolve it.  Now we use a powder that I mix up in a bucket about every 2.5 months.  This recipe leaves no scent (a good thing to our family) and it seems to clean things just fine.  My boys work at the feed store and come home stinky and dirty and their clothes come out clean.

Something I read about house hold detergents :

Laundry detergents. These products contain enzymes (as noted by the names “cationic,” “anionic” or “non-ionic” on the label) to loosen stains and ground-in dirt. Cationic detergents are the most toxic when taken internally. Ingestion can result in nausea, vomiting, shock, convulsions and coma. “Non-ionic” detergents are less toxic but can irritate skin and eyes or make you more sensitive to other chemicals. Asthma can develop if a person is exposed to large quantities of detergent. Detergents are also responsible for many household poisonings from accidental swallowing.

So just another reason we do what we do.  Since 2010 I have taken baby step after baby step to clean our environment, clean our bathrooms and laundry room – eliminating toxins everywhere.

So the recipe I use is the following :

1~ 4lb 12 oz box of Borax
1~ 4 lb box of Arm And Hammer Baking Soda
1~ 3 lb 7 oz box of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
3 bars Fels Naptha Soap, grated
If I have ugly goat milk soap, or ends or pieces I will grate those up and add them to our laundry.  I am intentional about not using soap with any coloring, since I do not want to introduce that into our wash water.  But otherwise I use scraps to add to the cleaning power.
Mix all the ingredients in bucket (we have buckets coming out of ears thanks to the soap business).  If you cannot find a bucket to use, you can use a trash bag and then twist the top and mix up the ingredients in your bag.
Try not to breath in over this mixture as borax may or may not be great for your lungs.  I just turn my head when mixing up.
This mixture smells clean, and many people add downey scent things – I avoid all that stuff because it is all toxic – none of it is good for you.  If you want scent added to your clothes, use wool dryer balls (fabric softener sheets are another soap box of mine- lol) and you can add essential oils to the dryer balls – this will give your clothes a soft scent.
I have a large jar that I put the soap in and I use about a tablespoon per load.  This lasts our family about 2-2.5 months depending on how much laundry we go through – or depending on if my kids throw their clean clothes on the floor only to wash again without wearing! (ugh)
I wold encourage you to think different about scents – and realize that those scents can be very dangerous and are not what they seem to be!
Make sure anything you use that is scented has not Phthalates, especially.

Book review : Hidden Peril

Irene Hannon manages to weave a story together that pulls you in immediately, and one that you do not want to put down until the last page!  Hidden Peril is her latest novel in the Code of Honor Series.


Kristin Dane is the main character and her life starts to spin a bit out of control when one of her employees is found dead, followed by a customer from her shop.  Kristin runs a world market kind of shop, where she resells items from all lover the globe to raise money for different organizations.  When the murder happens, she realizes there is more going on with one of her suppliers than she ever expected.

Luke Carter is the detective that finds himself in the middle of a strange mystery surrounding Kristin.  Rick and Colin are Kristin’s childhood friends who are closer than family.  All four characters are pulled into this story in a variety of ways.

Kristin has some family drama that flares up at the same time as the crazy deaths.  Dealing with her own hurts from the past made Kristin seem very real and understandable.  Relying on Rick and Colin to help her deal with the fear she is facing as well as the strain with her family gives the reader a s strong sense of the bond between the three of them.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters in the story, while following along on the twists and turns!  This is a fast paced novel and an easy read, one very worth the time!

NOTE : I received a copy of Hidden Peril at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

More about the book :

As teenagers, Kristin Dane and her two best friends took a vow to make the world a better place. Twenty years later, she’s fulfilling that pledge through her fair trade shop that features products from around the world. All is well until, one by one, people connected to the shop begin dying. Detective Luke Carter, new to the St. Louis PD, wants to know why. Before he can answer that question, however, the FBI weighs in and Kristin suddenly finds herself in the middle of international intrigue—and in the sights of the ruthless mastermind behind an ingenious and deadly scheme. Can this cold-blooded killer be stopped before more people die…including Kristin?

About Irene HannonIrenepicbio

Irene Hannon is a bestselling, award-winning author who took the publishing world by storm at the tender age of 10 with a sparkling piece of fiction that received national attention.

Okay…maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But she was one of the honorees in a complete-the-story contest conducted by a national children’s magazine. And she likes to think of that as her “official” fiction-writing debut!

Since then, she has written more than 50 romantic suspense and contemporary romance/women’s fiction novels. She is a seven-time finalist for and three-time winner of the RITA award—the “Oscar” of romance fiction—and a member of the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She has also received a Career Achievement award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work. In addition, her books have won a Daphne du Maurier award, two Carol awards, three HOLT Medallions, a National Readers’ Choice award, a Retailers Choice award, three Booksellers’ Best awards and two Reviewers’ Choice awards from RT Book Reviews. She is also a two-time Christy award finalist.

Irene, who holds a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in journalism, juggled two careers for many years until she gave up her executive corporate communications position with a Fortune 500 company to write full time. She is happy to say she has no regrets!

Texas Brigades Supports Leadership and Conservation

– by Jacob Cole

Natural Resources are vital to the well-being of everyone, regardless of what they believe. From clothing and the food they eat, to the home that they live in, nearly every product can be traced back to a natural origin. Many people aren’t aware of this, especially the majority of today’s teenagers. Texas Brigades is trying to remedy this by educating teenagers about the importance of wildlife conservation.

Faith Day 2 (118)

Texas Brigades was founded by a man who had a passion for education. In 1993, Dr. Dale Rollins founded the first summer camp, Rolling Plains Bobwhite Brigade. Intending to educate teenagers about wildlife conservation and ethics, Texas Brigades also equips those teens to be better public speakers, leaders, and critical thinkers. Since 1993, additional camps and programs have been formed by volunteers with Texas Brigades, who share Dr. Rollins’ dream. Whether interested in freshwater fish, deer, quail, livestock, or marine life, there is a Texas Brigades Summer Camp for everyone.

Over the past four years, I have attended many of the different summer camps offered by Texas Brigades, learning about habitat management, wildlife biology, and many other subjects. The reason that I believe Texas Brigades is so successful is simple: their motto is, “Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.” Throughout the weeklong camps, the cadets get to participate in nearly every exercise mentioned at camp, from electro-fishing to participating in a helicopter demonstration; we participate in techniques that real wildlife biologists and managers use.

Clint 1 (67)

Texas Brigades’ vision is “Conservation leaders in every community.” The way that they encourage cadets to share their experiences is to offer some great incentives. If cadets report ten outreach activities within 4 months of attending camp, they are eligible for an “early bird” trip that corresponds to the Texas Brigades Summer Camp they attended. For example, the cadets of North Texas Buckskin Brigade get to go on a deer hunting trip, and the cadets of Bass Brigade get to go on a fishing trip. Outreach activities include speeches, presenting tri-fold displays, attending or assisting with workshops, and other advocacy opportunities. After “early bird” submissions, cadets should continue to speak to their community about conservation and how camp inspired them. These activities along with the “early bird” activities give way to other Texas Brigades incentives; college scholarships and opportunities to be leaders among your peers. With the submission of an application and Book of Accomplishments (record book), cadets who did the most quality activities are invited back as Assistant Leaders to help the team with the next year’s camp. College scholarships are awarded to many of these leaders each year.

If you are reading all of this and you are thinking that it seems like something you would be interested in, then I encourage you to visit the Texas Brigades website at I have grown as a leader because of this organization’s Summer Camps Program, and I have really fallen in love with learning about our natural resources and how they impact me.

Book Review : The Cow said Neigh

Even though my kids are ages 17-12, I still love a good picture book/read-aloud!!


I was excited to get to read this to the sweetest 3 year old you might just see as well, and we all loved the story!!

The art work is great!  The story is funny and adorable!


This is the kind of book that your child /grandchild will beg you to read again and again!

Here is my girl with this sweet book, she took it on Monday to our Bible study so she could read it to that same adorable little 3 year old – and they both laughed through it!!



NOTE : I received a copy of The Cow said Neigh at no cost, in exchange for an honest review.