Friday, January 11, 2019

Happy New Year!

Do you know what today is? It's Friday, January 12th, and do you know what that means?......

Nothing! Haha, except for the fact that we are almost 2 weeks into the New Year and I am still going strong with my goals and have settled into our new routines! And do you know why that is? Because I have a new outlook on this year! I even created a motto! Yes, fancy I know! Not just a word of the year but a motto too?!! It may be a little cheesy, but I love it, and it's based off of four principles (simplify, wellness, grace, rest) that I want to try to focus on in my everyday life! So here it is...

Be Intentional. Try Your Best. Receive Grace.

And if you are wondering what I mean specifically, for each area, here it is in a little more detail.

So, if you are cheesy like me, and you like the idea of a life motto, feel free to use mine. I even created a free file for you that you can print out and hang!

And if you think the whole life motto is not really your thing, I get it! Here are a few other resources I am using to help me stay on track this year with my goals.

1. Simplified Planner by Emily Ley I'd like to think that I know just a little bit about planners, since I have tried so many in the past. Erin Condren, Live Well, Bloom, Target Brand, Bullet Planner, and a few others. They all seem to have different features that make them each unique, but for me, the Simplified Planner takes the cake. It has a space/section for everything I need to write down and I just love the look and layout. I will be sharing more about why I love this planner so much, next week in my Instagram stories @the.erin.elizabeth 

2. Prayer Journal by Val Marie Paper Since my word of the year is 'Pray', and my goal in fact is to pray more, I knew that I needed some sort of tool to help me with my prayer time. This journal is perfect. It was just what I needed and I am so glad I found it. I will share more about this journal next week in my stories too!

3. Body Love by Kelly LeVeque One of my main goals this year is to get back into shape and feel good physically. My lil one is now almost 4 months old so I have no excuse. I decided to set a goal of working out 3 times a week and making better choices about eating. I have Celiac's Disease and can't have dairy either, so I have already cut those out of my diet. I also purchased a spin bike, no not the Peloton (it's over-rated), just a cheap 100.00 bike that has been just as nice! Body Love has also been so helpful. She explains the science behind eating and eating well to stay full and create balance. I will share more about this book next week as well!

4. Start Today Journal by Rachel Hollis This was a last minute purchase for me, but I am so glad I did. I already have a morning devotional routine that I do first thing, so I just added this to it. It only takes me about 5 minutes to do. They are currently sold out online, but you can still create one yourself with a plain notebook. You don't necessarily need her specific one to do this. I will explain more about it, and how it works, you guessed it, next week in my Instagram stories!

5. Focus Areas Printable Worksheet  When I decided to create a life motto, I was thinking about all of the different areas of my life that I wanted to focus on. I decided to create a worksheet that included all of these areas with space to write ideas. I included the motto at the bottom, so that I would have it as a reminder while I was filling it out. Feel free to download a copy for yourself and start getting those ideas out of your head and onto paper. This worksheet is meant to be referenced all year long and I will probably update as I go. I don't plan on accomplishing all of what I put on here, it's simply just to get the ideas on paper so I don't forget them.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @the.erin.elizabeth so that you can catch all of my stories next week. I will be sharing a little bit more about these tools and resources each day, starting on Monday.

Many Blessings,

Thursday, December 6, 2018

What I Learned This Fall

Every quarter, I write a post about what I learned from the Season's past and I link up with Emily Freeman on her site to share with others. I have done it for over a year now and I have learned lots of new things from what others have shared. I hope that what I learned will inspire you or speak to you in some way! I'm looking forward to this next season of Winter and the amazing things God has for me! So here they are, the 7 things I learned this Fall!

And the most important thing of all that I learned....

Many Blessings,

Friday, September 14, 2018

Living Your God-Sized Dreams

I love reading inspirational stuff from others. I have quite a few bloggers, authors, and podcasters that follow and I just love their content. They all provide a lot of encouragement and really useful information. Sometimes however, they will have conflicting options about certain things and it's hard for me to decipher which one I lean more towards. This doesn't necessarily mean one is right and the other is wrong, I just think it all depends on your personal walk.

More recently, I have been reading and listening about following your dreams. In one book, the author talks about dreaming small, because God is so big. She talks about when we try to follow those really big dreams, we are missing out on the dreams (plans) He has for us in our everyday lives. We are striving to be something great, when we should be striving to serve Him and give Him the glory. Don't get me wrong, a lot of people will tell you to dream big and there are plenty of really amazing people out there that followed their big dreams and became very successful (including Joanna & Chip Gaines). That's even what this one podcaster, I follow, talks about. Dreaming big and never giving up on that dream.

However, I don't want you to miss my point. I think all dreams can be amazing, if they are God ordained dreams. Meaning, whether you want to open up your own little shop one day, or simply to be able to go on a nice vacation with your family, if they are God-sized or God-planned, then I believe they will come true and you will be successful!

So instead of focusing on your dreams in terms of big or small, how about we just say they are God-sized dreams. Knowing, that these dreams were placed in your heart by God and prepared in advance, for us, by Him. 

A verse that comes to mind when I think about God-sized dreams is....

"Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." -Psalm 37:4

What this says to me, is that when we delight in His Word and His plan for us, then he will make those dreams come true for us, because it is part of His plan for our life. It is not a dream that we are chasing because we saw how successful somebody else was with theirs. This can be hard sometimes though, because how do we know which dreams are God-sized dreams? I can tell you that there have been plenty of dreams that I have had in the past, that never happened or just didn't work out. I figured out later on, that those dreams were never meant for me. They were not placed in my heart by God. They were my own desires that I was chasing and therefore they didn't turn out to be successful.

One dream of mine was to become a mom, and even though it didn't happen when I had planned, and we had to suffer through some hard times to get there, He made that dream come true for me. He gave me the desires of my heart. I have an almost 5 year old now, with another one on the way! And when I think about this dream I had, I don't think about it as a big dream or a small dream, to some, it could be both. Instead, I look at it as a God-sized dream that I had. It was something God placed in my heart a long time ago and I trusted in Him that His promise would come true when the timing was right! So to you I  say, don't follow YOUR dreams, follow His dreams, those God-sized dreams! Many Blessings! 

Simply Yours,

Friday, September 7, 2018

Feature Friday: Grove Collaborative

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Hey friends! Hope you all enjoyed your Summer! I just wanted to stop in and talk to you about one my absolute favorite companies!! Grove Collaborative!

I have been ordering from them for almost three years now and I have never been disappointed! It is a monthly subscription that you can change from month to month. Shipping is only 2.99 and you have the option of skipping a month if you want! They offer all sorts of products from household items to beauty products, they even have stuff for your kids! Below I created a list of some of my favorites that I order often! I could go on and on about how awesome their products are, but you just have to check them out for yourself.

From top to bottom, left to right: Caldrea countertop spray, Schmidts lavender + sage deodorant, Mrs. Meyer's hand
soap, Head to Toe lavender body lotion, Grove reusable storage bags, Collagen Beauty Tonic, Method daily shower spray

Right now, when you join, you will receive a Mrs. Meyers gift set with your first purchase!
I love Mrs. Meyer's products I use a lot of them! This is a great deal, that you don't want to miss out on. Included in the gift set:

Mrs. Meyer's Hand Soap
Mrs. Meyer's Dish Soap
Mrs. Meyer's Multi-Surface Spray
Grove Walnut Scrubber Sponge
Free Shipping & VIP Trial

Follow the direct link below to get started today!! ---->      Grove Collaborative

Simply Yours,

Monday, September 3, 2018

What I Learned This Summer!

I can't believe we are already through another season just about. Fall is only a few weeks away and as I sit here typing this post I am filled with a mix of emotions. I don't want to say goodbye to Summer, it always go by way too fast, but I am ready for the Fall and all that God has in store. The changing of seasons can be hard sometimes, but I am so grateful that He walks through them with us, guiding us, helping us through the change. As I think about this Summer, I definitely learned so much, and I wanted to take some time to share those things with you. Emily Freeman does a link up at the end of every season and it is fun to read through what everyone has learned each season. Each post has something inspiring and encouraging for me, so I hope to do the same for you!!

1. There were some new habits that I wanted to create for my life and a few bad ones that I wanted to break. I was listening to a podcast one day, and the speaker was talking about creating new habits. She said that she will do/try something for at least 21 days, and see if it sticks. I guess research shows that in order for something to stick, you have to do it for 21 days straight. I made a list in my notebook of things I wanted to do more of and bad habits I wanted to break, and I kept track of each of them for 30 days. I figured doing it for the whole month was just easier. Guess what, it worked and I'm hooked. Some new habits I created were reading 30 minutes a day, taking 3, five minute quiet breaks for myself each day, and family prayer time every morning. Some things I wanted to work on getting better at were, less phone time each day, no work on Sundays, and less road rage (yes, I get easily frustrated in the car). Please don't judge!! If there is something that you want to start doing more of or a bad habit that you want to break, try it for at least 21 days and keep track. It works!

2. I realized in order to keep the peace in my life and at home there are three things that really keep me balanced and in a routine. 

                 A. Morning quiet time with my coffee, praying and reading the Word.
                 B. I write everything down! Anytime something pops into my head I have to write it down 
                      so I don't forget. It really helps me to clear my head & not become so frantic when   
                      I can't remember something.         
                 C. Straightening as I go. My house may not always be the cleanest, but it is tidy, and that is
                      because I clean up as I go. I was taught when I was young that I needed to clean up  
                      after myself instead of letting things pile up. It really does help, because then there is 
                      less stuff to do all at once and more time for me to spend with my fam!

3. Just recently, I took a break from all social media. I also did it this past Winter and last Summer. We have also cut back the amount of screen time (tv, computer, etc.) for all of us. Let me tell you that it has made a huge difference! Taking a break from technology or at least cutting back, can help your overall mood, health, and forces you to do other things, that in my opinion, are better for you. You can spend more time with your family going places together, playing games, and just really being present in the moment. Pick up a book and read. There are so many good books out there. I used to say that "I don't really have much time to read", but when I cut back on my phone time and screen time, I was able to find at least 30 minutes to read. Taking a break from social media is also good, because we tend to get caught up with comparing ourselves to others and feeling the need to keep up and we end up getting overwhelmed and stressed out. I will continue to take these breaks at least 4 times a year!!

4. After reading, The Magnolia Story, I was even more impressed with Chip and Joanna. They are two amazing people and they have such a great story. It was such an easy read and I learned so much. The one thing that she talks about in her book is 'thriving or surviving' and what she had to do to make the switch. It got me thing about my own life and what my motivation is for certain things. Am I thriving or am I just surviving? Am I just getting by everyday, missing out on the joyful moments because I am so focused on getting things done and making my house look perfect or am I making the most of every moment, even the bad ones? I am so glad I read this book and you should too. Below are my three must reads that I finished over the Summer! They were all equally good!!

5. In one of the books I read over the Summer, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, she talks about doing a half day of prayer. At first I was like, wow, that's gotta be tough. I thought about it for awhile, I decided that I really wanted try and do it. I picked a day when I knew that my husband and son would be out the house, so I could be alone. The writer also suggests maybe going away to a quiet place if you can, but I preferred to stay at home. This also gave me the chance to go through every room of my house and pray over it. I have to be honest and tell you that it went way faster then I anticipated. Once you start to pray, you realize that there is so much to pray for, that you just keep going. I should also mention that I didn't sit in one spot the whole time. I moved around and I also wrote stuff down and read scriptures out loud too. I definitely enjoyed it and I think it is a great thing to do especially during the changing of seasons or when something major is coming up. I am going to make it a monthly practice for now!

6. One thing that was on our bucket list this Summer was to plant a vegetable garden. I am no green thumb, but just the thought of growing your own veggies and doing something with my son was enough for me to at least try. My good friend knows a lot about gardening, so I went to him for some advice. It didn't take much to put the whole thing together and my son really enjoyed planting the veggies. We even made some pretty rocks for the garden. We decided to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and zucchini. All of them ended up doing really well, except for the zucchini, which we ended up pulling up half way through. I really enjoyed using all of the veggies in our meals and my son loved when it was time to pick one off. It turned out so well, I think next year I am going to grow some pumpkins!!

7. This Summer I got back into using essential oils again! I had purchased a starter kit almost 2 years ago, but didn't follow up with the research and got overwhelmed. This time, I had a good friend approach me about using them and I was hesitant to start again. The thing that I did differently this time around, was I made sure that I joined a community of other oilers and made sure I had a sponsor  that I knew, so I could message her with any questions I had. I also did some of my own research and even bought a book devoted specifically to essential oils. I am so glad I started up again, because there really are so many benefits when you use them continuously! If you have any questions about essential oils and would like to try them out, feel free to send me a message!! Young Living has the best oils and the biggest selection. It is so easy to get started!!

And that's pretty much it! It was a great Summer. We definitely made the most of every moment and hope you did as well! Many Blessings!

Simply Yours,

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Growing up with an Alcoholic: A Story of Redemption

A few weeks ago in church, my Pastor used the phrase “God writes a better story,”during the sermon, and it really moved me and got me thinking. Growing up, when I was really young, family life was pretty good. It wasn’t until I started high school that things started to go downhill.

I was 12 years old when my brother was adopted and for the first two years of his life things were great. I loved pretending to be mom, helping out with him and other things around the house. We did a lot of things together as a family, but eventually my mom had to go back to work, and that’s when she started to get really depressed.

So depressed that she started drinking. First it started out as a drink or two during the week. Then it turned into two drinks 4 nights, until she was drinking almost every night. Sometimes she would finish a full bottle of alcohol in one day. Don’t get me wrong her life didn’t end completely, she was still able to function. She was what you call a functioning alcoholic and she was very good at hiding it from others, but we really knew how bad it was and we saw everything that went on behind closed doors.

The memories from high school and college weren’t the greatest, I’m sure you can imagine. Lots of missed events, yelling and screaming at each other, not to mention the worry every time she got into a car to go get more. We couldn’t stop her. There is just no reasoning with an alcoholic.

I won’t go into all the details, I can’t even remember them all. Some of it is just a blur, but maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe God doesn’t want me to remember everything. Maybe he just wants me to remember the ending to His story.

It was about a year after I graduated college when my mom sat us down and told us she had had enough. She was ready and she wanted to get help. It was time. What an answer to prayer that was. We knew that the only way this would happen would be on her timing!

I remember taking her to the rehab center close to our home, where she spent the first week of her rehab process, but after speaking with one of the counselors, they felt it was best for her to go to a bigger facility down in Florida. The place she was staying at in New Jersey was only meant to be for a week or two and she definitely needed more time. After praying about it, we agreed that this was definitely God moving in big way and that He would provide a way to pay, if the insurance wouldn’t cover it. I can’t remember much of how I felt while she was gone, other than helping at home with my younger brother and other things that needed to be taken care of.

What I do remember is when she finally returned home, three months later. Not only did she look different, but there was something different about her, when I looked her in the eyes. I knew the victory over alcohol had been won. God had delivered her and she was a changed woman. I also remember not fearing the future, if whether or not she would start to drink again, because I knew that this battle was the Lord’s battle and He was fighting for her, we just needed to be still.

It’s been over 10 years now since my mother has had anything to drink, and it puts a smile on my face every time I think about how far she has come. You see in my head, the ending to my mother’s story was a little different, but isn’t that how it is for all of us? When we’re in the middle of the storm, we always write the worst possible outcome or ending in our heads. Instead, we need to wait upon the Lord during these times, He will renew our strength, just like my Pastor mentioned in Isaiah chapter 40. And what happens next? God is the one who writes the story and it is indeed a much better story!! Many Blessings!

Simply Yours,

Monday, August 27, 2018

Creating Your Nest: Part Four

The crisp morning air. The smell of pumpkin muffins filling the entire house. The first of many  leaves changing from green to browns and yellows. It's almost here. Fall, the best time of year.

I have to be honest, I may start decorating my house for Fall next week! I know it may seem too soon for some of you, but as I get closer to my delivery date, the less I want to do, and I know that I won't really have time in the weeks to come! 

This post is that last part of my series, Creating Your Nest. I hope that you have enjoyed reading these posts as much as I have enjoyed sharing my ideas with you. This last post will focus mainly on how I decorate. Once again, I was faced with the challenge of trying to explain how, because I never really thought about it before. What I learned, was that a lot of how I decorate, involves creating vignettes.

The word vignette has a few different meanings. The original definition being, a running ornament (as of vine leaves, tendrils, and grapes) put on or just before a title page or at the beginning or end of a chapter, but when dealing with interior design it is considered a small decorative arrangement of a variety of objects that are placed just so. Sometimes this grouping of items can tell a story, and other times they may just share a common theme. I love creating vignettes. It's arranging and rearranging at its finest, and the beauty of it, is that, it is constantly changing. You can add and remove objects as you please, depending on the season or maybe if a certain item just doesn't go. I have created a Pinterest page with all different kinds of vignettes. Check it out here --> Vignette Me.

I also found this awesome article that talks all about creating a vignette. The author does a great job explaining how to arrange a vignette. Follow the link to the article here --> The ABC's of Arranging Vignettes. I took a few photos of vignettes that I have created around my house.

This year for decor, I plan to do a lot of the same stuff as last year. As you can see from the photo above, I love pumpkins! It is my favorite thing to decorate with in the Fall! Most of the ones I used for decor were neutral colors. I plan to keep it simple, since I will be 8 months pregnant. I added some pops of copper in last year too, which I loved, so I may do that again! My style always tends to be more of a simplistic style. I don't really go over board. I try to have just enough stuff, so that you know what season/holiday it is without it taking over! 

I hope that you have enjoyed this series and most of all, I hope that it has inspired new ideas when creating your nest! Many Blessings!

Feel free to catch up on the rest of the series by clicking on the links below!

And don't forget to download the Fall freebie that I created for you! Just click on the link below!

Simply Yours,