A Cup of Tea and a Whole Lot of Grace

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If you’ve been following me a while then you know how much I love to listen and read things from Sally Clarkson. She is a true inspiration for mothers and women. Lately, I’v been reading her book, “The Life Giving Table.” If you haven’t picked up a copy then order one now. Anyway, so as I was reading her book, I heard God tell me to find a way to invite other ladies to enjoy an afternoon of tea. That’s how I started my monthly Lady’s Brunch group.

I really wanted to create a time where women could come for a few hours and be served the best. I have china dishes and tea cups that I really wanted to use for this setting. Not to show that I have the best, but because it’s rare to be served on someone’s fine china unless it’s a holiday. I kept thinking to myself that these ladies give their best each day to their kids, husbands, work, families and may have little time to treat themselves.

I remember having two ladies show up for my first lady’s brunch. Their reactions to seeing the table set was priceless. Each lady got to pick their favorite tea cup along with their preferred beverage. The coolest part was that we spent about 3 hours sitting and talking about life. What were are struggles, our stories of adoption and fostering, and even the lack of community in our society.

The second meeting went just as well. This time there were 3 ladies that joined me for the afternoon. Once again, we sat and talked for a good 3 hours before we returned home to our families. I noticed each lady left a little bit lighter from the burdens of their everyday life. As much as we all love our husbands and kids…it was great to take just a few hours to rejuvenate ourselves and connect.

Since I started this group I have grown so much closer to these ladies. Since I moved to Indiana I have struggled to make honest and deep friendships with other moms. But I’m happy to say I now have those friendships. Why? Because I turned my focus from my self and found others to help.

As a mom it’s a struggle to make good friends. It’s hard to even find the time. One thing I never realized was how lonely motherhood can be. But now I have people to lean on. Godly women who seek God daily. Ladies who I respect and turn to when I need a voice of reason.

Our society has taught us to build bigger homes, drive fancier cars and make it all about what we want. All the while we are forgetting those around us. We don’t help people because we see them more as burdens that could take us away from our ideal lives.

Sally Clarkson

I encourage you today to step out of your comfort zone. Find someone who needs a friend. I don’t mean the people of your normal crowd. I mean people you naturally would avoid. People who don’t quite wear the same clothes you do. People who don’t make as much money. At the end of our lives it’s not about what we racked up in things on this earth but the legacy we left behind. What legacy will you leave behind?

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How Tea Time Helps Me Stay Connected

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It was more than 2 years ago my husband and I moved to the Midwest. We were excited to head to a new place but leaving family was hard. Now, they live about 12 hours away. With our busy schedules it’s hard to stay in touch with family on a regular basis. As 2018 is about to start I decided I wanted to spend more time with my family. Even if it is over the phone.

Yesterday, I text my sister and scheduled an afternoon phone call with “tea time”. We both asked our husbands to watch the kids while we went into a quiet room to talk on the phone. My sister enjoyed a hot cup of Chai tea while I grabbed an afternoon cup of coffee. We talked on the phone for almost 3 hours. (We did not expect it to go that long). It was great. I loved just talking to her about what’s been going on.

My sister and I always enjoyed drinking coffee and talking ever since I can remember. When we lived in the same city I would go over to her house and talk all day. We even liked going out for Starbucks and making a girls day out of it. Sadly, those moments are far and few between these days. Again, the distance and the fact we’re raising kids of our own can make it difficult to spend time together.

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As I get older, I find myself seeing the real importance of life. People. I would trade everything to have more time with my family and friends. I also know we are not promised tomorrow. I want to make the best of each day. Last year, I struggled a lot with depression and anxiety. I had very few people who knew. Even fewer who reached out to  see how I was doing. Now that I am doing better I want to make sure the people that I love don’t go unnoticed. It’s so important for us to take the time to see others. To ask how they are doing. To stop and schedule some time to talk with a friend or family member.

That’s why in 2018 I hope to spend more quality time with family and friends. Even if it’s over the phone. By scheduling an hour to sit and talk is important to me. I’m hoping to add more of my friends and family to this new tradition. As my husband and I journey into becoming foster/adoptive parents I know we will need support. We will need to have strong relationships around us. No matter the distance.

What are some ways you stay in touch with family and friends? Is there someone you need to reach out to?

Leave your comments below. I want to hear from you.

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6 Natural Items to Use When Your Family is Sick

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Colds and sinus infections seem to hit my family the most throughout the winter months. It’s always cold outside and places indoors are usually scorching. Not to mention our home has only electric heating which creates a very dry atmosphere. Here are some ways I tackle these small sicknesses in our home.

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor do I suggest doing this with everything. These are just items I use to help my family. I do go to the doctor if I see the sickness is getting out of hand.

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Essential Oil Diffuser. My husband bought this for me when I was pregnant. I struggled the first 6 months with extreme headaches and sinus infections. I wasn’t allowed to take my normal sinus medication so I had to find something. This diffuser cost about $15 off of Amazon. It’s pretty straight forward. All you do is fill it up to the line with water. Then add about 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil in the water. Put the lid on and hit the button. This diffuser allows you to choose whether you want the contents to be released in the air every 30 seconds or constantly until turned off. It also has different colors. When I am sick I put this by my bed at night to help me sleep. I also like to get my essential oils from T.J. Max. They usually have about 4 in a pack for about $15.

Humidifier. This is a lot like the diffuser except it helps add moisture to the air. We use one of these in my daughter’s room a lot during winter. Like I mentioned before, our heat can make the home really dry. She pretty much has one of these constantly going in her room.

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Nose Spray. I love this stuff. Especially when I wake up with a dry and stuffy nose. It helps with that sinus pressure that you get through your nose. Once again adding moisture helps a lot in dry climates.

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Essential oil Chest and foot rub. I found this gem one night when I was looking for relief for my daughter. She was really sick and I came across this in CVS. It’s hard when your child is young because they’re not allowed to really have any medicine for a few years. I didn’t want to use Vick’s Vapor rub because she wasn’t of age. So I used this instead. It’s safe for babies 3 months and up. I rub a little on her chest and feet. I also use it for myself. You remember the burning sinus pressure in your nose I mentioned before? I will dab a little bit on my nostrils and under my nose to help with that. Usually in minutes I feel so much better.

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Apple Cider Vinegar. If you want to get rid of a sore throat almost instantly then this is your go to. Many people can take a shot of this stuff but I can’t. I usually mix it in a glass of orange juice or lemon water. They cut the acid from the vinegar. I also like to use this on a daily basis. This will help with your immune system and so many other things.

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Zarbee’s Natural Medicine. Once again I found this one night when I was at CVS looking for any medicine my daughter could have. She was dealing with a cold and lots of coughing. I ran across this honey based medicine that helped her stop coughing. There are different age types for these. They also have ones with agave nectar for kids under the age of 1 since honey can be dangerous to give to your child before that age. It’s a more natural way to help your sick baby with colds and sinus issues.

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How to make a Capsule Ornament

If you’ve read my review on Datebox then you may have seen the capsule ornament provided in the box. I would love to say I thought of it but I can’t. However, it is a new tradition my husband and I are adopting for the holiday season.

Here’s how you can make your own capsule ornament.

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What you will need:

Plastic ornament that comes apart. (Splits in half)

• Paper

• Pen

• Glitter

• Glue

• Craft writing pens

These are the items that were given to us. You can always use other craft items as well.

My husband and I kept our décor basic. I also made sure to write the year on the inside of the ornament. Remember to just decorate the outside. Or make sure the inside is dry before placing your message inside.

After you’ve decorated your ornament it’s time to write a message. This can be really anything. I wrote a letter to myself. I wrote out goals I want to meet in 2018 and I wrote a quick note to my family. If you have kids then maybe have them draw a picture if they can’t write yet. Or maybe put hand prints on some paper. Then next year you can compare how much they’ve grown.

Since this is the first year for us we won’t be able to do the whole reading last year’s note. But next year we plan on reading our messages in Christmas Eve. Then writing a new note to put inside.

Another cool thing to do is get a scrap book. So each year you can put the messages in the scrap book. That way in years to come you can go back and read them. Another great way for your kids to read their old messages when they are olde. You can keep the scrap book with the Christmas decorations to make it easier.

For foster parents this would be a great idea to incorporate in your home around the holidays. You can either keep the ornaments after the kids make them or let the child take them. I know some kids are in homes for a short time but it could be something to remember them by.

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DateBox: What’s Really Inside?

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Datebox. It’s one of thousands of subscription boxes you can order. Each month there is a new activity, snack and game inside. My husband and I were curious so we started ordering them. We were NOT disappointed. We have been getting a date box every month for 6 months. But I wanted to give you guys a look into this month’s box.

DateBox: Holiday Special. 

  • Spotify Playlist for to go with the Datebox
  • Peppermint Truffles — You make them together
  • Eggnog Recipe
  • Conversation Starter
  • Capsule Ornament making kit
  • Pictionary with Christmas tunes

Peppermint Truffles. We received supplies for White Chocolate Peppermint Truffles. Sometimes in Dateboxes they will provide all the ingredients and sometimes you have to pick up a few things up yourself. For us, all we needed was cream cheese. They provided the Oreos, white chocolate and candy canes.

I’m sorry to say these look horrible. They were suppose to be coated in white chocolate and sprinkled with candy canes, but I burned the chocolate on the stove. It’s best if you melt it in a microwave. Sadly, we don’t have one so that’s why this photo isn’t as cool as I had hoped.

Capsule Ornament. This was one of my favorite things in the box. They provided all the supplies to decorate the ornament. Then you write a letter and place it inside of the ornament and hang on the tree. The catch is you don’t read the letter aloud until next Christmas. Read more about how we’re making it a new tradition this year.

Pictionary with Christmas Carols. This was such a fun game. You can play it against each other or work together. One person draws a card. Then tries to draw the title of the Christmas tune before the sand runs out. You can’t use numbers or letters at ALL. This game had us laughing so hard. Steven and I worked together thankfully. I thought I knew Christmas songs until we had to figure them out through pictures.

This Datebox also came with a Eggnog recipe. We skipped that one because we didn’t have all of the ingredients. Instead we just had coffee with our date. Also, each box comes with a specific Spotify playlist. I’ve never been disappointed with any of the playlists. The box will almost always have conversation starters for you and your spouse as well. Each month there is something new we learn about one another through those questions.

Again, I love getting this box once a month. We don’t live near family and only have a Nanny during the week. So when we want a date night this helps us take time for ourselves. Plus, every box is unique. It keeps the dates exciting even if they are at home.

Have you subscribed to the Datebox? If so let me know what you like most? What was your favorite box so far?

Here is $10 off of your first Datebox. Just click here.

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Day 12 Giveaway: Prayer Journal

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It’s the FINAL day for the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway. While I am sad it’s coming to an end. I’m also excited to reveal the last but not least item up for grabs. “Pray Big” is a 6 weeks journal.

This journal was created by Karem who wanted to see growth in her own prayer life.

Karmen Smith, who has an M.A. in Elementary Education, taught 1st grade before resigning to homeschool her two sons. Her article “Confessions of a Shopaholic” was featured in WHOA Magazine. She has also had the honor of sharing her story on many podcasts, including Christy Wright’s Business Boutique. Chosen as one of Jennifer Rothchild’s “Forty Under 40” in 2016, Karmen is proving she is determined to make an eternal impact.

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Karmen Smith, self-published a prayer journal When You Pray Big Things Happen, is a passionate storyteller who loves encouraging others with REAL stories about REAL life. Her heartbeat is to challenge women to look for the activity of God amidst life’s struggles.

Karmen and her husband Jason own and operate the local feed and seed store in their hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama. They have two boys and enjoy fostering children on their farm on Lookout Mountain. You can read more about Karmen and her passion for life at www.karmensmith.com.

Here is how you can win a free copy.

Click here to view this promotion.

 

Day 11 Giveaway: Pampered Chef

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The 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway is almost over. But I still have a few more items for you guys. Today, you get a chance to win a 3 cutting boards from Pampered Chef’s Collection. This is a $17 value.

Stacy is the lady behind this gift. She donated this item for the giveaway. Here’s how Stacey decided to partner with Pampered Chef.

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“I’m a stay-at-home mom to 4 great kids whom I homeschool.  I was trying to find a way to help with the little extras at home but have fun while doing it.  One night, I hosted a Pampered Chef show in my home. My husband commented, “Hey you could do that and have fun too.”  Pampered Chef has great products that range in price. So yes some can be spendy but others aren’t.  The host and consultant benefits are great as well as the support system. ” – Stacey
You can follow Stacey on Facebook or checkout her Pampered Chef’s website.
Here’s how you can enter a chance to win.
Click here to view this promotion.

Day 10 Giveaway: Modern Day Healthy Hippie

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Throughout the holiday season we are constantly surrounded by yummy food. It’s not easy for anyone to resist. So staying healthy can be a challenge. Whether you want to lose weight or meet a new fitness goal, Day 10’s giveaway could help you get back on track. It’s a free one-hour coaching session with the Modern Healthy Hippie. A $99 value.

Whoever wins will have the option of signing up for Carra’s personalized custom wellness coaching program that is currently $250 for a month of unlimited communication, coaching, help with meal planning, grocery lists and fitness routines.

Carra is the owner of Modern Healthy Hippie. She tells us how her passion for fitness encouraged her to help others.

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“I started The Modern Healthy Hippie because I recognized that so many people had no idea where to begin a healthier lifestyle.  Over the years, I learned that most women do not give themselves permission to take care of themselves, yet they pour into the lives of so many others.  My passion is helping them realize that when they feel and look their best, they can be more available for so many others, reduce their health care costs and be the best version of themselves! We are all unique and I want all women to feel beautiful and be as healthy as possible!  I offer real life solutions and a personalized plan for each person.” – Carra

You can follow Carra on her Facebook page.

You can also check out The Modern Healthy Hippie’s website.

Now is your chance to enter the free giveaway.

Click here to view this promotion.

Day 9 Giveaway: MayeBelle Boutique

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The 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway is going strong.  And we’re not done yet. Today, the item up for grabs is a “Winter Wonderland” style top donated by Mayebelle Boutique. (The item is a $34 value).

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I first met owner, Marissa, through Business Boutique Community group. She was one of the many ladies who wanted to partner with me for the giveaway. I was super excited to add her to the list. Today’s giveaway wouldn’t have been possible without Marissa’s recent decision to start her own business. Marissa shares her story.

As a mom of 3, I look for clothes that make me feel good. I love a shirt that gives me confidence yet feels comfortable.  My aim is to provide clothing that allows you to feel the same way.

Even though I’ve always enjoyed fashion, it took me some time to make the leap to start my own business.  In the summer of 2017 Mayebelle Boutique was formed.  The name “Mayebelle” was created from combining the names of our two daughters.  Mayebelle Boutique is for any woman who is looking for fashionable affordable and comfortable clothing. -Marissa, Mayebelle Boutique

Now that you know about the item and a little bit about the amazing lady giving it away. It’s time to enter a chance to win. Follow the link below.

You can also visit Mayebelle Boutique on Facebook and Instagram. Just in case you want to buy something from her store.

Click here to view this promotion.