Monday, December 23, 2013

Parents, Please Remove your Crying Children!

Please take a minute to read this before you go to church in the morning...

We went to a great Christmas concert tonight! Since we were a few minutes late (shocking, I know) we missed the announcement to anyone with babies asking if they would please take them out of the room because the concert was being recorded and apparently they did not want crying babies in the background. Sounds like a good idea, right? Wrong. Think about it this way... That little baby and his/her family may have had to juggle nap times and feedings, fussiness and busy schedules, last minute diaper changes, siblings who can't find their socks or who have emotional meltdowns as they’re walking out the door, phone calls and washed out roads, etc. It may be the only outing of the week for a mom and dad hanging by their last thread. The last thing they need is to be asked to leave when it may have taken them everything they had to get there. 

I never thought about these things before I had children. I never appreciated children. I never even liked being around children. It's not that I disliked children;  I just didn't love them like God does. I didn't really get it. When we are single, our world is pretty much just about us. When we get married, our self-centeredness starts to show its ugly head as we realize that opposites really do attract, and that God uses our differences to sharpen us and make us more complete, more like him. When we have children, all thoughts of self go out the window, and your children are your world - and that's the way it should be. I don't buy the garbage our world tries to feed us that pushes children aside so parents can pursue what they think they need to - always sending them away to play in their rooms or outside, or shuffling them from one sitter to another. 

Why don't we want to hear their voices? Why don't we want to see their smiles? We only have our children for a very short time, on loan from God. We have a huge responsibility to train them up in the love, grace and truth of God's Word. We need to discover (along with them) who God made them to be and encourage them in their uniqueness. We need to instill clear vision and purpose into their lives. We need to be with them to do these things, talking with them, listening to them, doing things with them. If we neglect our responsibilities or pass them off to someone else, our children will walk in darkness and confusion down a path of destruction all their lives.

So, the next time you hear a baby crying in a church service (or other public meeting), if you catch yourself wishing the parents would remove their child from the room, ask God to forgive you and change your heart about those wonderful little creations of His. You might even offer to hold that little one for a few minutes and give those parents a little unexpected blessing!

Photo source:

Guest post by Amy Humphrey, and was not actually a post at all, but just an honest and heartfelt plea that she had written in a Facebook post after attending said concert.  Amy makes lovely handcrafted jewelry and bags that can be found in her Etsy shop and website, U.R. Unique.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Aunt Mae's Earrings Giveaway!

Have you heard of Aunt Mae’s earrings? They are a brand new line of absolutely stunning handmade earrings that are lovingly made to match the wildly popular Lilla Rose Flexi clips! 

Mr. Owl Earrings with Who's Hoo Flexi clip

Aunt Mae* has meticulously searched the globe for just the right matching beads for these beauties! The resulting creations are nothing short of magnificent!

Elegant Emerald Dream Earrings with Circle Stoneset Flexi clip

The ear wires are made of stainless steel (nickel-free), and there are 23 styles to choose from, with more on the way! Mae will also take special requests, if there is a flexi you’d like to match!

Starting at only $8, these are incredibly affordable, and would make wonderful gifts for the Flexi-lover in your life!

Hummingbird Earrings 

Aunt Mae is generously giving away 3 lovely pairs of earrings to one lucky winner!

Just enter in the Rafflecopter below!

Elegant Emerald Dream Earrings

*In Februrary, my friend Mae unexpectedly lost her beloved husband, leaving her and her young son devastated with very little to live on. Mae is working on several home businesses to help support the family so she can continue to stay home and homeschool her son. Thanks so much for supporting this dear family, and please share this with your friends!

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Learning to Love Where You Are

About six years ago, we were close to living our dream of buying land and moving to the country. We found breathtaking rolling hills with lush shades of green wherever we looked.

Unfortunately, circumstances arose that prevented us from making that purchase and realizing our long-held dream. My heart was sick. I ached to live in the midst of such immense beauty.

I came to the realization that I could not remain in that deplorable state. I needed to learn to love where I was. I needed contentment.  Thankfully, God showed me the path to becoming content, and now I do love the place I am, and thank Him every day for where we are.

Are you facing a disappointing situation? Do you wish you lived elsewhere? Do you realize  that it is actually possible to learn contentment? (… I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  Phil. 4:11) Let me share with you what I learned about achieving contentment:

1. Ask God for contentment. This first step seems obvious, but it is surprising how we rarely do it! Pray continually, and keep God always in the front of your mind. He loves to lavish His beloved children with his bountiful grace, and will be happy to grant this gift to us, if only we ask!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Eph.1:3

 2. Give thanks in everything… no matter what your circumstances.  I cannot overstate this enough.
“God has yet to bless anyone except where they are. And if we faithlessly discard situation after situation, moment after moment, as not being right, we will simply have no place to receive His Kingdom into our lives.” ~Dallas Willard

Not only are we commanded to do it, but it is amazing how being thankful in everything can totally change our perspective and bring abiding joy. It is impossible to make yourself feel joyful, but you can become joyful by practicing thankfulness and gratitude.

“...the secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.”
“Eucharisteo—thanksgiving—always precedes the miracle.”  ~Ann Voskamp
 3.  Open your eyes.  Look for the reasons why God may have you where you are at this time. It may not be obvious at first, and you may not ever know why in this lifetime, but if we don’t make a conscious effort to see God working and our role in what He is doing, then we will miss out on some incredible opportunities!

Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Heb.13:15-16

4.  Meditate on scriptures about thankfulness. Fill and transform your mind with what God has to say about gratitude. The scriptures are filled with instructions to rejoice, and for good reason!

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  Rom. 12:2

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess. 5:18

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.
Col. 4:2
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!  Phil. 4:4
Learning contentment will bring you abundant joy and change your life!  Many times circumstances only last for a season, so just because you are at a particular place at this time of your life, it does not mean that it will last forever. Do I still dream of moving to the country? Certainly!  One day we just might. But can I be content if I never do? Absolutely!

Linked up at:A Wise Woman Builds her Home
Amazing Graze Farm
Far Above Rubies

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Raising Homemakers
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Sunday, April 21, 2013

How to Make Easy, Homemade Natural Foundation

I just made my first batch of homemade, natural foundation! Who knew that you could make your own makeup for a fraction of the cost of store-bought? It also  has no questionable ingredients!  As a matter of fact, you could actually eat it! Well, you may not want to eat it, but you WILL smell delicious!

All you need are a few simple, inexpensive ingredients:

arrowroot powder

Pour a tablespoon or two into a bowl. Next, add one or more of the other ingredients, depending on the color you'd like. All of them are fairly neutral, and very similar in hue. The cocoa gives a cool, very slight red tint. The cinnamon gives a slight yellow tint. The nutmeg is inbetween those two, with a more neutral tone; however, it is has a more grainy texture. Experiment with how much to add of what to get your desired shade. You may prefer to simply go with the scent you prefer!

 That's it! So easy!

Homemade vs. Mineral Foundation:

Now, you may be asking how this homemade makeup compares to the more expensive natural mineral makeup. Well, it does a fair job of covering and evening out your skin tone, and giving your skin a more matte, smooth  appearance. It is also very soft and comfortable, and does better at absorbing oil.  

The mineral counterpart is superior in regards to coverage, evening out your skin tone, and giving a smoother appearance. The one I love and have been using for three years now, is Ecoglo Minerals. 

I believe that the homemade version is a great affordable alternative for everyday use.  Save your pricier makeup for date night with your hubby. Your edible foundation  will save you money and make you smell absolutely scrumptious!

Linked up at:
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Monday, April 15, 2013

Ponytail with Lilla Rose Headband

My last two posts showed how to do a Gibson Tuck and a Braided Bun. This week, I am going to show you how to do a cute ponytail using a Lilla Rose Freestyle headband. First, put the headband in; next, pull out a little hair underneath the black elastic band; then finally, pull it all up into a ponytail, covering the black band. And you're done! So cute!

Ponytail with Lilla Rose Freestyle Headband
The headbands from Lilla Rose ( are made with strong music wire, and are oh-so-comfortable, as they have an adjustable elastic band that will fit both adults and children!

Linked up at:
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Monday, April 8, 2013

Aunt Mae's Natural Soap Giveaway

Aunt Mae's Have you read about all the harmful ingredients in store-bought soap yet the thought of making your own is too intimidating? Would you like to wash with a gentle lather safe enough for a baby's skin? Then let me introduce you to Mae’s Handcrafted Natural Soaps. These natural soaps made with real tallow will delight your senses! Mae lovingly makes all her soaps in small batches to ensure the highest quality. She uses the best of the best ingredients: real tallow is gentle on your skin while at the same time is used for the bar's hardness, which means it doesn't get mushy in the shower. Olive oil is added for further gentleness along with a touch of coconut oil for a fluffy lather. Cranberry-Fig-resized-300x199Only high quality soap scents or essential oils are used, and even then they are added with a light hand. Mae's bars give you an absolutely delicious scent you can enjoy in the shower, without becoming obtrusive during the day. Even her coloring agents are of a natural origin. These unique combinations make long-lasting, gentle bars that your whole family will love.

You Can Win Natural Handcrafted Soap!

Would you like to win some of Mae's Natural Handcrafted Soap for yourself? Well, here's your chance! Enter below and be one of SIX winners for a $25 credit that you can use to chose your favorite soaps from Mae's delicious selections.
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Aunt MaeThis review and giveaway is on behalf of a dear friend and sister in Christ who unexpectedly lost her beloved husband in February of this year. He left Mae and a young son behind, reeling from their loss. Mae’s husband had been out of work for a year, living off of a small military pension. The family, understandably, had to cut back on expenses - one of which was their life insurance policies. His sudden death now leaves Mae and their son with very little income (less than a couple hundred dollars a month). Because of different personal situations, she is currently ineligible for benefits like Social Security. Mae homeschools their son, and thanks to The Home School Foundation, she will receive a grant to cover homeschooling supplies and curriculum. She is asking the Lord to provide for her son and herself through her small businesses, one of which is making soaps and other body products. As you can see, the situation is dire for this sweet widow and her son, but we know that God is able to do more than we could ever think, or ask (Eph. 3:20), and we hope that you will consider joining up with us to help our dear friend by supporting her business. We're asking you, dear readers, to seriously consider the call of James 1:27—to care for widows and orphans and consider Mae's Handcrafted Natural Soaps for your next soap purchase.
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. James 1: 27
Anyone who knows Mae is touched by her. She is an incredibly godly woman, who acts as a Titus 2 mentor to those who know her. She is loved so dearly and we want to do all we can to support her during this incredibly difficult time! Please pass this on by sharing this giveaway on Facebook and Twitter.

If you'd like to give a donation, you can send via Paypal to Please remember to choose "Personal" giving so the Raymond family doesn't incur fees with your donation. If you need more details on how to do this, please contact and she'd be happy to send you directions.

A big thank you to all the bloggers participating: Ann @ Anne @ Authentic Simplicity Tara @ Everyday Ramblings of My Life Jill @ Jill's Home Remedies Sara Elizabeth @ A Mama's Story Gail @ The Imperfect Housewife Renee @ I Am The Clay Del @ Devote & Seek Jill @ Blessed Beyond a Doubt Rebecca @ Rebecca's Ramblings Hilary @ Accidentally Green Marci @ Amazing Graze Farm Susan @ Learning and Yearning Erin @ The Humbled Homemaker Justyn @ Creative Christian Mama Chelsea Rebecca @ For Unmarried Christian Women Chelsea Rebecca @ Hearts for Home Paula @ Whole Intentions Amy @ A Heart Surrendered Blog Bambi @ In the Nursery of the Nation Dana @ Clan Chris Dean Kristen @ Smithspirations Caroline @ The Modest Mom Blog Alicia @ Walking In Faith Stephani @ The Cheapskate Cook Amber @ Homemaker by Choice Marci @ Thankful Homemaker Katie Sullivan @ Brighton Park Blog Anjanette @ Raising the Barrs Pam @ Mom Does Reviews Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage Stacy @ Something Whimsical Natalie @ Visionary Womanhood Paula @ Beautiful Life of Joy Rachel @ Of Love and Beauty Reagan @ The Arsenal Kelly @ Generation Cedar Kelly @ Practical Savings Stacy Karen @ A Delightful Home Kristen @ Five in Tow Diana @ A Little Bit of Spain Elizabeth @ Yes They Are All Ours Jacque @ Deep Roots at Home Karrilee @ Abiding Love, Abounding Grace Karrilee@ Blessed Memories Scrapbooks by Karrilee Shawnee @ The Apronista Adrienne @ Whole New Mom Janine @ True Aim Education Kathryn @ Singing Through the Rain Alicia @ Fun Reviews and Giveaways Deborah @ A Delightful Glow Stephanie @ The King's Bookworm Christy @ The Simple Homemaker June @ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Shadedlily @ With Them Joy @ Artful Homemaking

Monday, April 1, 2013

Braided Bun Tutorial

In previous posts, I showed you how to do a lovely Gibson Tuck and a Ponytail with a Lilla Rose Headband. This week, I am going to teach you how to do an elegant Braided Bun, using a Lilla Rose Flexi clip. It has such an intricate appearance, but is actually fairly simple to create!

Braided bun secured with Lilla Rose Divinely Framed Jewel Flexi clip

Simply make braids on each side of your head, then one big braid all together, which you will then twist around into a bun. A flexi from easily secures it all in  frustrating bobby pins required! Isn't it lovely?

Linked up at:
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Monday, March 25, 2013

Gibson Tuck Tutorial

The Gibson Tuck is one of my absolute favorite hairstyles because it is elegant, classy, and old-fashioned! And with a Lilla Rose Flexi clip, it is super easy to do! Just follow this photo tutorial to create a lovely Gibson Tuck for yourself!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Eat Eggs to Lose Weight!

Did you know that eating eggs for breakfast is a simple, easy way to lose weight and gain more energy? Yes, by making just that one simple change,  you can jump-start your way to fat-loss!

Researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center of the University of Louisiana compared two groups of overweight subjects. One group ate two eggs for breakfast, and the other had a bagel.  Both meals were similar in weight, and had the same number of calories.
After eight weeks, the egg group lost 65% more weight, lost 34% more from their waistlines, had a 61% greater reduction in BMI, and reported higher energy levels than their high-carb counterparts!*

Researcher Dr Nikhil Dhurandhar, an obesity expert, said:

"Despite equal energy content and weight, an egg breakfast had a greater satiating effect compared to a bagel breakfast, which translated into a lower energy intake at lunch."

"The resulting decrease in energy consumption lasted for at least 24 hours after the egg breakfast."

To make it even better, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides, did not differ between the groups! This should help silence those "eggs-are-bad-for-you" naysayers!

This is great news for all of us in the trenches, trying to live a healthy lifestyle and achieve a healthy weight. Just one simple change can result in amazing results!

I have experienced this phenomenon myself, but it is great to have it confirmed by scientific studies! When I eat my spinach omelet for breakfast, the whole day goes so much better, with less cravings and bad choices. When I eat pancakes or toast, however, well, it just seems I am hungry all day, and crave all kinds of sugary, gooey, chocolatey things!

What about you? What has been your experience?