Don't you just love these free lock screens from Well-Watered Women Co ? 

... I have completely neglected my little corner of the blogosphere for the past 6 months. Forgive me! We've been a foster home for 6 months now.  And let me tell you- foster care is no joke!  I pinky promise to sit down soon to write out a charming blog post about our experiences so far, the good as well as the not so great... but still having to protect the kid's privacy... which requires more brainpower than all the chaos & lack of sleep provides me with on any given day!

  If you are a parent, and you have tips on how to get the kids to get in gear in the mornings so we're NOT scrabbling for the bus everyday... PLEASE comment below or shoot me an email! I'd loveeeeee to hear strategies that actually work! 

 But- I do update more on instagram, if you're not following me there, go follow! Let me add in some snapshots of the past couple of months for ya. 




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So.....

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Many book reviews!!! I know, I've been away learning how to be a foster parent- trial by fire & have neglected the blog. I'm still learning- trial by sometimes BIG fire and until we get the swing of things, it'll be hit & miss with the blog posting.  Today, it's a hit!  I have tons of book reviews for you & some of these were life changing, right when I needed to cling onto my faith the most!

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From Bethany House:  Alive in the Spirit by A.W. Tozer
  I've noticed I'm a sucker when it comes to Tozer books. His writing always comes with a bite. It's quick, to the point, no frills or sugar coating, which I need most of the time! This book was no different. I feel like the Holy Spirit is often overlooked.  When I noticed I was overlooking Him, I made a point to try to learn as much as possible about Him, how to relate, how to worship & basically how to talk to Him. This book supplied me with all of the answers I was looking for! I just wish I would've read it when I first began to take my walk with the Lord seriously.



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From Blogging for Books- Enjoy by Trillia Newbell
  Mrs. Newbell knows how to stop you dead in your tracks & enjoy your life! I loved her writing style, more relaxed than preachy. The art work on the cover looks so real I actually thought it was a photo! This book is fantastic for the upcoming Summer season, making you look forward for those slow & steady days instead of the rat race days. It would be perfect for any adult!



From Book Look Bloggers- Devotions for Easter by Stacy J. Edwards
  I'm so far behind on these reviews it's ridiculous! Look, this one was from BEFORE EASTER! Ah, well... live happens!  This book was so beautiful, the writing AND gorgeous flower photos throughout! I love devotionals that lead up to something, and Easter- the most important Christian holiday (in my opinion) doesn't get a lot of the devotional hype as others, like Christmas. So, I was so excited to review this book. And it didn't disappoint me! Loved the simple, sweet, daily messages as well as the gorgeous floral photos! This would be a fantastic gift for anyone who celebrates Easter.

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From Tyndale Publishers- 60 Days of Happiness by Randy Alcorn
  60 Days of Happiness really set my world on fire! I feel like, as a society, everyone is frantically searching for happiness. I want to scream it from the rooftops that I was one of you! Some days, I still am.  But, you'll only find that kind of happiness that you're looking for- from Jesus. And this book helps break it down for you. It's a slow approach type of helping book, not a flip-your-world-upside-down-in-30-seconds type of book.  And I love that the cover is a happy yellow color :)



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From Moody Publishers-  Prayer, How to be Filled with the Holy Spirit, both by A.W. Tozer
  Again, Mr. Tozer is becoming one of my favorite authors! As I mentioned before, I feel like the Holy Spirit gets neglected from most people because the focus is mostly on God the Father & God the Son. So, I'm actively searching for all the info I can absorb on the Holy Spirit. This book (How to be Filled with the Holy Spirit)  shed so much light on Him! It's one of the books that you just know it'll be on your bookshelf for the rest of your life. Tozer gives insights that I know I would not have put together on my own, and I love that!

  Prayer by A.W. Tozer was also a fantastic book! I get tired of praying the same old things over & over. Tozer supplies the how to's as well as the whys , & what your prayer life should look like. I love that he supplies the biblical backup for his thoughts.


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From Baker Books-  The Imperfect Disciple by Jared C. Wilson
  Okay, now this book is AWESOME! I'd never heard of Jared C. Wilson before, but any book that acknowledges no Christ follower is perfect and says so as one of the main points is a book I'm definitely going to read! Wilson delivers many arrows of truth straight to your heart in a funny style of writing that I love! He gives insight, backs it biblically, and it's one of the books that doesn't make me feel like a loser of a Christian because I don't have it all together! I love it! I would recommend this to every. single. last. Christian in the world. Read it! You can thank me later!

Whew, thanks for hanging in there with me! I was so far behind with the reviews!

I am hoping to get a couple of new Foster Home updates going here in the next week, but school will be out soon & only my God knows how much time I'll actually have free to blog.  If you'd like to stay more up to date, follow me on Instagram! It's the one social media outlet I keep up with almost daily.

Hope y'all have a great weekend!

**I received these books complimentary in exchange for my HONEST opinion.**
It's that time again...

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  Lately, I've been pretty silent on the blog, aside from reviewing books and things that I love. This wasn't a scheduled break from blogging, just a natural one where my focus shifted from writing to real life.

  Dealing with Fibromyalgia and all that comes with it is exhausting... physically and emotionally. Some days, it's hard to accept that I cannot do it all- family, homemaking, and blogging/Etsy shop. It's frustrating when your body can't keep up with your mind.  The only bonus of this is when you have to force rest, you have extremely cute cuddle buddies! Ginny is like a noodle, just molds to whatever space she can fit in!



  So, a little update for you. We've been trying to finish up little home projects. It's finally feeling like a home instead of a house, which makes all the difference in the world when it's Winter here in Chicago-land. Thankfully, this Winter wasn't all that terrible, but the cabin fever starts getting tough around this time. And when I see all of my family and friends in the South already in shorts outside- yeah, that doesn't help me!


  We did have a couple of warm days where Ginny and I stayed outside as long as we could to soak up some sun! The Mr. came home from work & let me know I was getting a little too pink, so we loaded up in the car and drove to get some frozen custard.  Almost just like Summer!



  I've also felt called to get serious about my walk with God. This could be due to the awesome books I'm fortunate enough to be able to review, or to my community group from church. Whatever the reason, I have been pulled to spend my mornings deep in quiet time- and figuring out exactly what "Quiet time" (with God) means to me. How and what do I do? How long do I need to be in bible study? How long to spend praying? Does bible studies and devotionals count as "Quiet time?" All sorts of questions to answer so that I get the most out of the time I spend with Jesus.

  Basically, that's been my life for the last couple of months. Just really focusing inward and less on social media. The Lord has really been convicting me that less time spent on mindless scrolling equals more time I can invest in Him and my family. And that, my friends, makes the rough chronic pain days more bearable. I don't want to spend what rare good moments I have in the day on empty things, mindless scrolling. I want to make them count!  That being said, I still have neglected this blog more than I wanted to. Writing posts that mean more, have more substance to them over posting just to be posting, is something I want to focus on as well. I have roughly 40-something posts in my draft folder, so my goal is to finish those so I can get that off my to-do list.  So, be on the lookout for more posts coming soon!

  How do you squeeze in more quality time in your day? Comment below!
Less scrolling, more enjoying

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 Since childhood, there has been this girl that I immediately wanted to be my BFF.  Anne Shirley was and still is, such a kindred spirit that I can't wait until we foster children so I can watch them fall in love with Anne as well!

 

  So, here's the plan... when we get a precious foster child, we want to read to them more than just bedtime stories. We are avid readers & want to encourage every child that comes into our care to read and take some enjoyment in it. It's one of the activities that will never fail you. No matter where you are in life, being transported into a book is amazing! And the whole Anne of Green Gables series is perfect for the foster children since Anne is essentially one herself.


   After we get through the first book, I want to make a big deal out of it. Who wouldn't want to, right? And what better way to do that than making a movie night watching the first Anne movie? I'm talking popcorn, ice cream, tons of blankets & pillows in the living room, possibly a fort being made, and hot cocoa, all for these children that desperately need to believe in something and more importantly, have someone believe in them! That they can do anything with their life with enough determination and positivity... just like Anne!


  Y'all, this restoration set of Anne of Green Gables DVDs are amazing! Fully restored, the picture is super clear, and to me that just enhances the whole story. And this mug.. I'm such a sucker for a nice mug!



   When I say that I can not wait to introduce Anne to my foster children, I mean it. It's close to jumping up & down with excitement type of can not wait!


  What other books do you recommend? Comment below!


*I received these items complimentary in exchange for an honest opinion. All thoughts & opinions are entirely my own.*
Anne, you stole my heart

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 Lately, I've noticed a trend- bible journaling. At first, I saw the beautiful works of art on the pages of bibles and thought-- there is no way they can read the words now! Now that I have a chance to review one, I understand that it's not about being able to read the words, it's about celebrating the words & verses that touch us. Y'all, I'm so excited to try this whole bible journaling thing out!


  This bible- the NIV Journal the Word Bible from Zondervan is AWESOME! The delicate floral pattern is so cute, you don't need a bible cover! Pages are nice & thick, so I could even journal with watercolor and it wouldn't be too wavy after. This is the best for a gift, maybe someone in your life is sick, or will have lots of time to sit or lay after an accident, maybe they're like me and have a chronic illness that knocks them down almost daily. Whatever the reason, this is the nicest gift- encouraging someone with the Word while giving them some stress relief by journaling!


  I've noticed on the bad pain days that I tend to seek out bible verses that help me deal with everything that comes along with chronic illness. There are so many encouraging ones, but I just had to share my favorites.




  Have you tried bible journaling? Gimme all your tips for it! Comment below!

**This bible was complimentary in exchange for my HONEST opinion. **

For the Bad Pain Days...

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 We've been in our new home for about 7 months now, and I'm still organizing, sorting, staging, decorating... I mean, does it really ever end? Probably not. Especially because the decorations and style I love is the whole rustic/cozy, Joanna Gaines style. And thank you to Joanna for making this style popular now because I don't have to scour antique shops for 5 years to find the right pieces. I can find things I love everywhere!  And y'all, how cute are these items?! I'm drooling over here! Let's take a closer look, shall we?



   Normally, each New Year's Eve, I choose a new word of the year to focus on. (You can check out posts for previous words of the year here)  It's a great way to improve yourself or your life and just gives you at least one thing to start working on. I never do resolutions because to me, it puts way too much pressure on you. I'd rather work towards something than take something away.

  BUT, when I saw this pillow,  I fell in love! These words/phrases are everything that I want to work on this year, but I couldn't narrow it down to just one word. So, I'm just going to use this pillow as my words to focus on. It's inspired me already, and it's not even New Year's! To have your yearly inspiration on throw pillow is awesome! Sort of in your face, a constant reminder, and that's perfect for me! 

  This pillowcase is made with thick material, and I know it looks like burlap (which is so cute) but, it's not! It's so soft!  You can either buy a pillow form to put in it, or you can do like I did & buy a bag of batting, filling it yourself. It'll work nice both ways. 




  The next thing I'm drooling over lately is this wall plaque. HELLLOOOOOO Anne Shirley! If you know me, you know that Anne was my first BFF. Just a couple of months ago, I did a re-read of the whole Anne of Green Gables series. You know, the story just seems to get better each time I read it.

  I mean, how can you go wrong with this sign? It brings my love of Anne, combined with one of my favorite bible verses, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

  It reminds me that tomorrow is a new day, always fresh, loads of potential to make it into anything I want. With battling a chronic illness, sometimes you need a gentle nudge to remind you of that. For me, it reminds me 1. of God's faithfulness to us & 2. That no matter how much pain I will be in, I determine my attitude for the day. If I didn't succeed in keeping an upbeat attitude today, I can tomorrow. What it boils down to is: it's all about your attitude and outlook on life, not your circumstances or pain level. Right?

Do you use home decor to remind yourself of things? Comment below!

* I received these items complimentary for my honest opinions.*



Watch out, drooling will commence in 3, 2, 1...

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Y'all, Fall is almost over, but I finally uploaded the photos so I need to publish this ASAP! Although, I used fall flowers in this DIY project, but you could use any kind to celebrate all seasons!

OK, so everything here I found at Michael's, but again, use whatever you have on hand, or whatever type of flowers you'd like! I plan on doing a little arrangement for all the holidays as they come around.


What you'll need:

Container of some sort, this is a little Wilton bucket that I think you can actually bake in
2 bunches of artificial flowers- I used Sunflowers here. You can also use more flowers if you want a fuller bouquet.
2 blocks of flower foam
Sharp scissors or wire snips
wired, wide ribbon,
Any additional picks or extras you want to add to the bouquet.


1. Cut flower foam to fit inside your bucket or container. I snipped off just enough so the foam would fit, but not fall out easily. You want a snug fit.


2. Snip all flowers at various lengths.


3. Starting in the middle of the foam block, stick in the tallest flowers.  Then, add the medium height flowers, spacing them out enough to make it look full. Lastly, add in the shortest flowers. Fluff all the flowers & leaves throughout the bouquet.


4. Add in any picks or additional decorations. I chose two cute scarecrows. They came already on a stick, but you could easily glue something onto a wooden skewer if you can't find anything already on a stick.


5. Time to wrap the ribbon around the bucket & try your best to make a bow. The AMAZING thing about wire ribbon is when you fluff the bow part, it actually stays! Makes it look so much nicer & for minimal work!  I had to put a piece of tape on the back part of the bucket to help secure the ribbon.


There you go! SOOOO easy & you just saved about $20 each!   I think total cost for my supplies was less than $20 for 2 arrangements.  The thrifty part of me is jumping up & down about this! Hopefully, these two arrangements will last many years to come.

What's your favorite ways to decorate for the holidays? Comment below!
Easy DIY Fall Arrangement

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  No matter how hard you try, sometimes you slip further from God. Life gets hectic, you miss your quiet time that day & promise yourself that you'll catch up tomorrow... sometimes you actually catch up, sometimes you slip further. This is when the enemy slips in & tells you.. look- you missed your time with God and nothing happened! You're fine to miss another, go ahead, you're too busy.

   Folks, when this happens to me, when I miss a day of quiet time, I'm crankier; my fuse gets shorter; my words become sharper.

  At first, I may not realize what's happening; but when I do I dive head first into prayers, begging forgiveness for my weaknesses. I know that I haven't been plugged into God and my spiritual batteries are weak, near powering down. Then, I get a bible in front of me- sometimes it's my humongous study bible, sometimes I'm out and about, so I pull up my bible app, just any form of His word needs to fill my eyes ASAP and fill me up!  I'm my best self when I pour everything out to God in the morning, and pray He fills me with the Holy Spirit, sticking closer to me than a mosquito in the South.

  Sometimes you are so spiritually weak that you need a kick start... like devotionals. And lately I've really enjoyed reading works by A.W. Tozer. His words cut through the fluff & hit your heart like a sledge hammer. When I had a chance to review a morning and evening devotional by Mr. Tozer, I jumped!

  These devotionals are pure gold. Mr. Tozer's words connect some dots that I would have NEVER connected before. Clear and precise messages for every day, backed by a verse from the bible, and sticks with you throughout the day? Yes, please!  I feel as if I've found the devotionals that I could read for years on end and never get tired of. I would recommend both morning and evening devotionals by A.W. Tozer for teen to adult.


And sometimes you need to write down verses on sticky notes, on chalkboards, on anything in eyesight to help you when you're spiritually weak. These are my particular favorites to combat Grouchy Jessy, the pretty flowers help my mood also!






** I received these devotionals complimentary in exchange for my HONEST opinion. **

When you're spiritually weak

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