20 Years

Twenty years ago this month Jim and I started dating. We were 16 and like all teenagers eager for a relationship. Jim has always carried this quiet confidence with him, sometimes it wasn’t quiet but regardless of its volume you knew what he was sure of. Loving me at 16 was one of them. I’ve always loved him deeply but I was so much more hesitant than he was. He was bold and sure. I was timid and perfectly happy to “just be friends” because I loved the relationship we had and I feared we’d lose it.

I loved the idea of love. I loved every ounce of romantic notions that the world would throw around and I wanted all of it, but I also loved comfort in the known and predictable. I felt secure in a few truths: love was beautiful but often damaging; and even if I found love and got married it would not last. The stats were nothing to the realities I saw around me. Broken homes. Shattered dreams. Nope, not for me. I wanted it but I was afraid of it.

We wobbled and imploded under the weight of a love that neither of us fully understood. I saw it through a shattered lens and he saw it through a hazy “good enough” lens. Neither realizing that we needed to clean and repair.

So twenty years later I have a new definition and understanding of love. It’s hard. It demands all of you. It has zero to do with perfection and 100% to do with imperfection. It brings out the best in us and challenges even the hardest, most broken hearts to come into the light.

So for those of you fighting the good, hard battle of love here is some hard-learned wisdom: very often hardest work gleams the best harvest; a peaceful, loving relationship doesn’t just sprout up, it’s cultivated. Fervent prayer is the steadiest battle plan there ever was. Kindness bridges what bitterness shatters. And rushing through difficult seasons does not make them go away, bottled up hurts and anger will most likely explode at a later time. Communicate about even the things you think they already know. Being present is always the best gift, no matter how many years tick by.


Clean Pockets, Not Cleaned Out Pockets

Hey Ya’ll!

Over the last few years I’ve tried my hand at Vanilla Extract making, wreath creations and other odd hobbies. So when my Mother In Law brought me some homemade laundry detergent to try I knew it was right up my alley. I love this stuff! But then I was asked by a friend if she could buy my detergent I decided maybe it was time to widely share the “recipe.” It’s so easy and saves us about $150 a year. That’s based on Gain’s 96 load container which we went through one every 2 months. Money talks in this house and it says “save me!”

Okay, so how do you make it?

Everything you Need

1 cheese grater *I bought a cheapie one that is only for making laundry soap.

1 tote *I chose a medium sized tote as that gives me plenty of mixing room as well as storage after making the detergent.

2-14 1/2 bars of Zote *Zote can be tricky to find, but I have found it hidden in the laundry soap isle. I’ve tried Zote alternatives and am not a fan. It’s offered in both pink and sometimes white. I’ve now used both and maybe it’s just because I’m a girly girl, but I like the pink.

1 or 2 55oz bottles of Purex Crystals *choose your scent! I went with one 55oz and one 18oz bottle

1-4lb box of Borax *Found in with the laundry detergents

1-3lb container of OxyClean * Used White Revive because well..  this Mama has boys and needs all the help she can get! They say this is optional, but I can’t speak to how well the detergent works without it as I have simply not tried.

1-3lb 7oz box of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soap *also in the laundry detergent isle

1-4lb box Pure Baking Soda *It can be found in the laundry detergent isle as well.

First step is to grate your bars of Zote which can be tiresome so don’t forget to take a Sweet Tea break!

Sweet Tea Break!

Finished grating, finally!

Grating Completed!

Our next layer is the whole box of Borax.

Borax-layer 2

Mix the Zote and Borax. I find mixing between layers makes it so much easier than waiting until everything is in the tote to mix.

Next, add both (if you chose to do 2) bottle(s) Purex Crystals-I chose purple which is Lavender Blossom

Purex Layer 3


So pretty!


Mix Again. By the end of this you won’t need a workout for your arms.

Now for the Arm and Hammer Super Wash Soda.

A&H Layer 4


**As you can see I leave my wedding rings on during this process, they’ll be extra sparkly once washed.

Mix AGAIN. Do you love me yet?

Only two more steps!

Now for our OxiClean

Oxi Layer 5


And… we mix.

Last ingredient! One box of Pure Baking Soda.

Final Ingredient

Mix once more and you’re done!

Some extra tips and the how-tos.

I store the bulk of my detergent in my mixing tub, but I have a smaller container I keep at the washer. So you have the simplicity of “regular” detergent, but it’s oh so much better! Also, I have been known to give jars of it away so after making a fresh batch a pre-jar several jars just in case.


Each load takes about 1/2 to 3/4 full using the Purex lid. This detergent is safe to use on HE machines as well as standard washers. We have an HE so you may need to use more for a standard washer.

Got any questions?

I sure hope Ya’ll enjoy your new detergent! Come back and let me know what you think!


One last thing: I shout out to my honey for helping me take pictures for this post.