Scrubbing Bubbles and the middle school maid


To make money for clothing and important things like makeup and Bonne Bell flavored lipgloss, I babysat and cleaned houses in middle school.

Stay away from me, Mr. Scrubbing Bubbles!

Scrubbing Bubbles was a new product and the commercials with cartooned, mustachioed scrubbing bubbles made me chuckle. Do you remember the birth of Scrubbing Bubbles or is that before your time?

Well one day, I was cleaning a shower stall. The shower door was closed and I began to coat the tile with a thick layer of Scrubbing Bubbles. As if I were attacking a blaze and holding a fire extinguisher, I doused that sucker. Every tile square received a foamy blast. I wanted to unlock all the cleaning power contained in the Scrubbing Bubbles. As an adolescent fashionista, I needed to keep my job; customer satisfaction, don’t you know.

In the shower stall with the Scrubbing Bubbles can, I prepared to remove all the goo and grime off the tile but then I began having trouble breathing. I didn’t collapse but I began to choke. Since I was a boy crazy, junior high girl, I doubt I had the wits to know to open the door. If Michael Jackson, Keith Partridge or Bobby Sherman would have come to rescue me that would have been a different story but that didn’t happen. I had an epiphany though, something in those Scrubbing Bubbles was rockin’ my world/body. With the door closed, I surely inhaled a fury of aerosol and chemicals.

Screen shot of Scrubbing Bubbles info on the Environmental Working Group

The more I read about chemicals and toxins in cleaning products, the more I wonder exactly what I breathed in that afternoon. When I use soap nuts, I don’t have anything to worry about. I use Extreme 18X (which is a super concentrated version of soap nuts that goes a long way) or make some soap nut “tea” and I don’t need rubber gloves. I’m never concerned about adaquate ventilation either. Did you know that according to the Environmental Working Group, many of the Scrubbing Bubbles products are rated D or F? In my extended family, we have asthma, COPD, migraines and allergies – my loved ones don’t need to be breathing toxins any more than I did as a middle school “maid.”

Obviously I don’t have the original bottle of Scrubbing Bubbles. But this is what the label says now CAUTION: EYE IRRITANT. READ BACK PANEL CAREFULLY. / CAUTION: EYE IRRITANT. Contains lactic acid, solvents and surfactants. Avoid contact with eyes, skin and clothing. Wash thoroughly after handling. May cause respiratory irritation if used with inadequate ventilation. FIRST AID: EYES AND SKIN: Immediately rinse eyes and skin with plenty of water. If irritation persists, seek medical advice. INHALATION: If breathing is affected, get fresh air. CHEMICAL HAZARD: Never use or mix with bleach-containing products or other household cleaners as hazardous fumes may be released. KEEP OUR OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND PETS.

“One day, gf, you’re gonna write about that weird time when Scrubbing Bubbles nearly jacked you up.”

Funny, isn’t it, the weird memories our minds retain? For me it was this strange encounter with a cleaning product. There are greener, safer alternatives for cleaning our bodies, homes and clothes. Soap nuts work. They are 100% organic, biodegradable and effective. Your family deserves someone to be an advocate and a savvy consumer and that’s probably you. Take a look at the products under your sink, read the labels. Look beyond what the brand name company websites tell you about the chemicals they are using. Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts. I welcome them, this is a journey. Here are two other independent reviews of soap nuts also. Check out spoonfulatatime and naturallifemom. I highly recommend these websites for their wealth of information in general.

Ambien – setback, stepback, not giving up


Wednesday around 3am, I felt like a puny junior high girl in PE class…

Good times posing in the Kmart photo booth

Circa 1974ish

My opponent this time wasn’t the rope that was hooked to the gym ceiling that I never could climb at Jefferson Junior HIgh

And it wasn’t the chin-up bar from which I couldn’t pull myself to save my life or my dignity

Wednesday morning, I wasn’t the last one picked for the volleyball match or the girl who lost the softball game

in my red PE  shorts, red and white thin-striped polyester PE shirt with red trim, a lithe and flat female frame devoid of all muscle tone either

No, in the wee hours of Wednesday, I was in bed, in my pajamas, a grown woman!

but I just as felt defeated that night (or should I say morning) sleep mask, pillows, fan going full blast


because I took the stupid Ambien

it was 3am and I told the Lord I was going to do it

There have been times when I have told Jesus I was going to do something and I knew He wasn’t going to like it

I bet you have too

but I was so tired

and having been up with my orange hair, freckle face OS for yet another night

feeling helpless about how to care for him and desperate for some rest

I swallowed that tiny pill and fell asleep with my sick boy nearby

I continue to trust in the Lord

Middle school Cindy

Blocking out the Enemy’s voices that remind me of my failings

My Holy One is teaching me things

I may falter and get distracted

Day and night

Ambien and life

But there is grace

My Heavenly Father presides over me

And through Him, I can do all things

Even sleep

The Lord loved that little wimpy middle school Cindy way back then and is compassionate towards me now. I’m on his team, He picked me many years ago and doesn’t laugh at my shortcomings but gives me the courage to press on

And so I will try again and claim this promise

Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Thanks for listening….I welcome your thoughts and prayers

Bring lunch and walk gingerly

A happy mom and a handsome ginger

Apparently my reputation proceeds me. When it comes to my orange hair, freckle-face 14 year old, he has heard the stories of about me embarrassing his brothers intentionally and on accident. 

Since our summer vacation has officially begun, I’m recalling this one particular Friday during eighth grade. Honestly all I was trying to do was be nice. Is that such a big problem? Zheesh.

I bought a pepperoni pizza roll from Great Harvest Bread Company. They are so good! Like a dutiful mother, I drove it still warm to the school. It was near lunch hour and I wanted my Ike to have something to eat. I promised I’d drop it off for him.

Peeking my head through the glass window on the door, I observed an orange hair, freckle face 14 year old boy. I recognized the child as one of my bairn and with the turn of the knob, I entered the classroom. This is an acceptable thing to do at our OS’s school, I didn’t break any regulations, except for the one Isaac had in his mind.

pepperoni rolls are really delish
and they kinda, sorta look like footballs

Instead of merely handing the pepperoni roll to him, which seemed rather dreary, I pretended I was a quarterback. The pepperoni roll was shaped like a football and it didn’t seem like any big deal. With exaggerated, slow-action motion, I simulated a deep pass to my boy. The pepperoni roll remained in my hand. It didn’t go flying. All the kids laughed as Isaac sprang out of his chair for the interception. We hugged, I’m fairly sure I kissed him, closed the door behind me and enjoyed the rest of my day.

But what I learned later is that Ike was aghast at my shenanigans. Especially when one of his buddies said, “Did your mom really just come into class pretending to throw you a pepperoni roll while the teacher was praying?” “Um, yeah,” was my boy’s reply.

I guess in my haste, I hadn’t noticed that Mr. A was praying. I didn’t observe the subtle clues such as silence and head bowing. Oops.

All sorts of fish stories in our family!

Do you know how many times Ike has retold this story? It’s sure to be one of the legends of the W-H family. Each time he recounts this moment, it grows like a fish story.

Which has me wondering…do you have similar MOMents? 

Wednesday remix – magical mistakes in motherhood

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It’s hard to believe I wrote this 11 years ago. This post is still true today though my OS are 21, 16 and 14. Hope you enjoy and can relate.

Your day will come. It’s sooner than you think.

This picture courtesy of my beautiful cousin Emma!

One day you’ll think you’re the most awesome in the world. You’ll be perfectly puffed up reveling in your parental accomplishments, feeling as if you alone have the key to every motherly dilemma. You’ll wonder what all those other poor moms in the world are doing. No one compares to you. You’re amazingly awesome and your child is soooooooo lucky to have you as a mommy, your head can barely fit through the front door. Go on w/ur bad self.

That’s when it will hit. Don’t be surprised. In fact, enjoy the time when you join the rest of the real world and realize you are going to do dumb things as a mother.

Where should I begin? I’m certain my motherly pride was shot down pretty early. I can’t remember the exact moment but it’s gone.

But I must admit I’m enjoying it. Should I tell you about the time I almost totally embarrassed Nathaniel in first grade? I thought it was Nursery Rhyme Dress Up Day and asked him if he wanted to participate. He vehemently said no and thank goodness he did because it turns out I had the wrong day! My poor boy would have been the only child walking around as Humpty Dumpty in the entire school!

Dare I admire the time I went grocery shopping. Aaron was carefully sitting on the bottom of the grocery cart when I felt an unusual pull as I was going down the aisle. Thinking it was just a piece of junk on the floor, I pushed the cart over the stubborn bump on the ground. Moments later I stopped and paused only to hear seconds later, Aaron’s painful cries. I had run over my child’s finger and had drug that poor fingernail down the grocery aisle! Half of the nail had been ripped off as we ran into the Lowe’s bathroom seeking medical attention.

Then, later on, it got infected and we thought he might never have a nail on that finger again, even as a full-grown adult. (He’s got one now, praise God!)

“Hi, I’m Nate and my mom embarrasses me!”

Do you want to hear another one? In second grade, I insisted Nate wear this new soccer outfit I had bought him. It looked like a sweat pants outfit but apparently not to all his classmates. He told me the minute he walked into class they all burst into laughter because he looked like he was wearing pajamas.

I’m not alone…I’m in good company. My neighbor slammed the car door on  her daughter’s hand (accidentally, I might add!). My own mother once wore a pair of jeans inside out to the grocery store…hmm, maybe it’s genetic! 😉

“Hi, I’m Aaron and I’m lucky to have a nailbed!”

As if I needed reminding, mothering is very taxing. We put our all in it and still we make mistakes, right? But that’s where mercy, humor and grace come in. If you haven’t had your day and you’re still in denial, welcome to that special moment when you become like the rest of us. A regular human mommy, flawed and forgetful. Loving and loved. Blemished and blessed. Just the way God made us.

If we could extend to ourselves the same mercy the Lord gives us! Try it next time you blow it and then enjoy the peace that passes understanding. May we all giggle and smile at the ways we show our humanness to our family and they love us anyway. May we extend the same grace to our loved ones when they flub up. And may your journeys as a parent humble and humor you every day!

Don’t leave me hanging! Tell me about an epic mama fail!

Fancy Scraps


I have been making eyeglass covers for El Salvador. I learned about this need during a Friday meeting with the Hannah’s Hands, Intl. coordinator and as soon as she left the house, I googled eyeglass covers.

To my surprise, I found a decent amount of entries for sew your own eyeglass covers along with a million other things, check it out. That’s what’s great about the Internet. I hate it when I stumble onto icky things when I am innocently surfing the Web but in this instance, I came upon a free eyeglass cover pattern. No sicko stuff! Woot!

What I really love is that I haven’t spent a penny so far. All I did was look on my shelf and in my drawers to find loads of fabric just waiting for a project. I have cotton fabric, fleece, satin flannel coming out of my ears, just ask my husband! Ok, on second thought, let’s pass on that idea.

The material has been cluttering my home for years. Some my sister Lorri gave me a long time ago, I think she bought it at a thrift shop. I have also stashed away bits of extra fabric from past projects. And, quite honestly, I have often wondered what I could do with all of it. What good could come from some of the fabric and the scraps I have collected? I haven’t had enough of some of the material to do aything useful and I’ve even toyed with throwing it out just to get rid of all the stuff. Never did I think to myself, “Hey, I’ve got an idea! I’ll go to El Salvador and I’ll use that pile of material to make eyeglass covers for impoverished villagers!”

But I guess God did and this got me thinking about my life. Do you ever do that? Wonder why you’ve gone through or are going through something? Is it just me, or do you sometimes hang onto emotional remnants or scraps of struggles you’ve experienced? Do you ever dare to think about how that stuff could find a useful purpose? 

Well, as I reflect upon my life, I have collected my fair share of “material,” if you know what I mean. I have pondered and prayed, “Lord, what good can become of that? And, how are you, God, going to use that (insert sin of your choice)? It’s so ugly and worthless!”
I‘m like those scraps that have been sitting on my shelf. Like many, I have vestages of my past stuffed away. Yet, firsthand, I have seen how my Jesus has used those things for His good! In my work with teenagers, it still blows me away that I am able to share the fabric of my life and offer them hope. I am an example of what God can do with our material.  Mine. Even yours. 

He has used each one of those pieces and trust me, that is testimony to God’s goodness. I had no idea how that would be possible because they’re not too attractive. It excites me each time I now sew a simple eyeglass case to find the spiritual parallels in my Christian walk.          

So far I have made about 20 eyeglass cases. The pile of spare material is shrinking and I am so proud of myself because they look pretty good! I feel satisfied and am in wonder. Not because of my mad sewing skills (said like Napoleon Dynamite) but rather for how the Lord is so resourceful.

“I will praise the name of the Lord, who has worked wonders for me, never again will I be shamed.” paraphrased and personalized from Joel 2:26.