giveaway

The Perfect Bag + $100 Gift Certificate Giveaway

We are still in Georgia visiting with family so today's post is kinda short and sweet! Excited to come back tomorrow refreshed and renewed! 

Christmas time is right around the corner!!! Ah, all the happy dances happening right here y'all. I am stoked. So of course I have begun brainstorming presents for friends and family and gift options that I am wanting for myself.


I adore leather, I adore stripes, and I LOVE supporting small handmade businesses that have hearts for Jesus. Well, Better Life Bags is one of those businesses, and I want to put all the products on my wishlist this list. They are all so stunning. These bags are beautiful and sooo well made! I really do want them all. 


I am swooning over all this gorgeousness! And you know what? You can even design your own Better Life Bag online and pick your own fabrics and everything! How cool is that? 

In order to spread some Christmas cheer your way, I have teamed up with some of my sweet blog friends to give one lucky winner a $100 gift certificate to use towards one of these gorgeous bags!! YAY! 


All entries will be verified so play fair! And enter to win below! :)



Deck the Halls Fever + Advent Giveaway!!

Christmas is my all time favorite holiday! I love the season of celebrating the son of God entering the world, and I love all that comes with it. I truly believe the festivities of Christmas can be something pleasing to our Lord! Our Heavenly Father is a festive being. He calls the Israelites in the Old Testament to observe festivals on a regular basis and he institutes feasts and banquets to be pictures of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb at the end of time. I love that we can rejoice and be a picture of such a glorious day that is coming to those around us!


So all that to say...Christmas is my thang. For real. Just ask my poor husband who has already had to put up with me begging to begin decorating our little home for my beloved holiday now. The rule is not until after Thanksgiving...but I just cannot help it. I want to decorate everything soooo badly! But alas, I am waiting per request of my husband until at least the week of Thanksgiving! 

As a newlywed last Christmas everything was fresh and exciting. Ben and I were experiencing everything together as husband and wife for the very first time and it was so fun. We did everything ourselves. 90% of our decorations were made by yours truly...including all our Christmas ornaments. We were broke, and simply did not have money for tons of decorations...our Christmas tree was even part of our gifts to each other last year! HA! 

So I LOVE making things myself. This usually applies mainly to what I make in the kitchen, but every now and then I branch out and get crafty when necessity calls. So today I wanted to share some fun DIY projects I found that I love for this Holiday season! 


I tend to really find myself drawn to rustic and woodsy materials for Christmas decor. So these all seemed so fun and unique! I am hoping to make at least one if not all of these this year, and I am starting early so that even if I cannot decorate I can at least MAKE decorations before Thanksgiving! :)

More importantly than all the decor is remembering what Christmas is all about...and to many this is called Advent. This is a time leading up to Christmas to remember who Christ is and how he came. It really helps to prepare our hearts for the season, as well as keep our minds focused on who Jesus the Son of God is and why his coming is so important for us who call ourselves his children! 

So, to kick off this week & the upcoming holiday season I am participating in a giveaway with Jenni from Frankly My Dear & friends to make this season mean something.

Advent is a special time of year & it begins in three short weeks. To celebrate we are giving away one Naptime Diaries Advent Devotional + Calendar. The devotion is a 25 day interactive workbook that walks through hope, love, joy, peace, & purity leading up to the Christmas holiday. In addition, the calendar prints that accompany the devotion will bring cheer ANY time of year.





Good luck & have a great week!

Also, don't forget! Tomorrow is the Bread & Wine Project Link Up! Link up any recipe and share your thoughts on "How do you approach the Holidays and Hospitality?" Hope to see you there!

BEST GIVEAWAY EVER!

I have been counting down the days for this post to go live...I have the most exciting giveaway to date for you all. I am just giddy about it. I am teaming up with

Jenni of Frankly My Dear

, my new kindred spirit that I met in real life last weekend at the Renew Retreat to bring you all something HUGE! We have teamed up with a large group of bloggers to bring you not one but TWO tickets to the Influence Conference 2015. YES! TWO ladies will get tickets for the conference next September, for FREE!!! 

Photo Credit -

Madison Wetherill

I found out about the

Influence Network

through Jenni. Which is why she was the first one I contacted about teaming up with me on this...she introduced me to this amazing community that I want each and every one of you to be a part of. The Network is just incredible. It is full of creative and God fearing women who desire to use their online influence for Jesus and his glory!! Hello?! Count me in. They offer classes, and community groups, and a opportunity to connect and "network" with women just like you. 

I have reaped rich benefits from being a member of the network, and I have purchased my ticket for the conference next year, as has Jenni (we will be roomies!). So not only will you get a free ticket if you win this giveaway, but Jenni and I and several other ladies helping host this giveaway can hug your neck in person in September and pray with you, and maybe even grab a meal together! How amazing would that be?

A big thank you to all the ladies that are helping give these tickets away! You are all so wonderful! I hope everyone will show them some love today as they are all HUGE in making this happen! 

What is the Influence Network?

TWO lucky readers will win a ticket to the 2015 Influence Conference. The conference is a three day event held in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Westin Hotel. You will meet women from all over the country who are seeking to learn the right tools for their passions. There will be workshops, classes, speakers, coffee, & shopping. There will be bloggers, mothers, small business owners, writers, and the list goes on & on. 

Two Places At Once

    //    

What She Saw

    //    

Rivers & Roads

Oaks & Oats

    //    

Amy Cornwell

    //    

Simplicity Relished

She Lives Free

   //    

Elah Tree

    //    

Mandy Living Life

Vallarina Creative

    //    

Camp Patton

    //    

23 and 9 Creative

Wetherills Say I Do

     //    

Oh Simple Thoughts

    //    

Frankly My Dear

You do not have to be a member of the Influence Network to enter or the giveaway OR go to the conference but I can personally attest to the growth I have seen in my life through the network and the relationships I have built through it.

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**Please note that this giveaway is in no way sponsored by The Influence Network. 

We are a group of independent women who are joining together to make this conference happen for two of our readers. The two recipients will only receive tickets to the event & are responsible for ALL other expenses, including but not limited to travel, lodging, meals, parking, etc. If for some reason either of the winners cannot attend the conference they will be expected to contact one of the hosts immediately so that another winner can be chosen.

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My Foodie Bucket List + Cookbook Giveaway!!

So I have fallen in love with food. If you read this blog you have probably watched as this new passion has been awakened in me. So in order to push myself and create space for learning new techniques and out of the box recipes I have created a "foodie bucket list" on Pinterest. This bucket list is just for recipes that challenge me in some way. For example it is not made up of chocolate chip cookies that I could make in my sleep. Rather it is full of recipes like brioche breads, pretzels, roasted chicken, and macaroons, things that require technique and learning...and y'all I am so excited!

In addition to this bucketlist I have gained two new cookbooks for my collection. Bountiful and The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I have been swooning over these beauties and all the recipes inside since they arrive at my doorstep this weekend. Like...for real y'all these cookbooks are PACKED with rockstar recipes. Here are the recipes I am trying first from the Smitten Kitchen...


Apple Cider Caramels, Fig, Olive Oil and Sea Salt Challah, and Pancetta, White Bean, and Swiss Chard Pot Pies! These all look divine, scream fall...they just make me want to cry, and write, and sing for joy with hoe perfectly beautiful they are. I am dying to get in the kitchen and make each one! Be sure to follow along on pinterest with my bucketlist!

So in the spirit of loving food and pretty cookbooks I am teaming up with some lovely ladies and giving away these gorgeous cookbooks I have been oh so in love with AND a copy of a recent favorite book, Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenrieder. Meet your pretty hosts!!


The winner will be announced this Friday so stay tuned and play fair! All entries will be verified. Have fun!! 


All Natural, Handmade, Local Soap + Giveaway

Sometime in college I began to fall in love with locally crafted goods. I love the idea of supporting the farmer at your farmer's market, or the stay at home business owner who is a mom, or the single guy/gal just trying to make some modest money in order to be able to do big things for the Kingdom of the Lord. So I am always so eager to share great companies when I find them, and this is no exception. 

Meet Ashwater Soap Co. This soap company is run by two single guys that love Jesus, and love natural, wholesome ingredients that are good for your body. I knew Willie (one of the owners) through mutual friends in college, and can testify to his deep love the Jesus and others knowing Jesus. So when I saw that Willie had begun making soap with a friend, I knew I had to try it out. And I fell in love. 


First, the soap looks so awesome. The branding and packaging makes it so appealing, and the smell...ah that glorious smell when you open your package...it is divine. They are so pretty, almost to the point that I didn't want to use them because I just wanted to stack them on my dresser and look at them...okay not really, but they are pretty soaps. 

I tried the lemon poppy seed and black bar first (which happen to be their best sellers) and loved them. The poppy seeds really act as an exfoliating agent in the soap which is great for my dry summer skin. The best part is that everything that goes into the soap I have heard of, can pronounce, and for the most part, know what it is. The soaps are made with olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, shea butter, essential oils, and so many other great ingredients that are not just okay for your body...they are GREAT for your body! 

They have 6 different varieties you can choose from, and they are all perfect for girls or guys. None of the scents are overly girly or manly smelling in my opinion. They are perfect for all your people. These soaps would make FANTASTIC gifts by the way! 

I don't know if I will ever go back to normal soap...seriously, I love this stuff that much. 


I asked Willie a few questions about how they got started. Read below to learn more about Ashwater Soap Co. 

What inspired you to begin making soap? Why soap? 

Depending on how it’s told, it can be a long story, but I’ll try to keep it brief. In the fall of 2013, Nick and I spent a lot of time diligently seeking God regarding how to share His gospel with unbelievers. In the process we purposed to not just be hearers but doers. So twice a week, we would get off work and go straight to the Drill Field to engage strangers in conversation about the state of their souls and the salvation offered by God through His Son and His gospel of grace. In the process we started kicking around the idea of starting a business to avail more freedom to do the work of the Lord, and that conversation became more and more serious, but we had no idea what we could sell.

Also, both of us are relatively health-conscious people, from food to exercise to natural care products. Nick apparently had been doing some research on the adverse effects of commercial “soap” (which are many), and we ordered the supplies to make some of our own. In the process of doing lots and lots of research, we both separately had this idea that this might be a viable business to start. After realizing that we were on the same page, one weekend in October, we made our first batch, and it was a success. From there we have developed and refined our own recipe, and the business has prospered as the Lord has seen fit. So to answer the question, “Why soap”, it was really a matter of timing. As our eyes looked to the Lord, He was gracious to us (Psalm 123:2).
                                                                                                               
What inspires the varieties of soap that you create? 

That’s a tougher question. First of all, we love the process of making new soaps, so there has been no lack of creativity in that area. One initial goal was a wide variety of looks and scents, and we’re still in the process of providing that variety. The genesis of each individual bar varies. A couple of the bars were solely Nick’s idea, and a couple were solely my idea, and when we get together to make them, often we’ll go back and forth about look, scent, exfoliate...until we have a bar that both of us feel comfortable with. Even after that, we’ve made at least 6 other bars that eventually didn't make the cut, so there’s lots of trial and error. The black bar is probably the exception, and it’s become a sort of signature bar for us. Its scent is probably the most unique of all our soaps and that was one we developed together from start to finish. Perhaps that’s a long answer to a simple question, but there it is.

How long does one bar take from beginning to end to make? 

We make our soap in batches of about 40 each. The process of mixing and pouring a batch takes maybe 30 minutes. However, with the natural cold process method that we use, the soap has to cure for at least 4 weeks, so from start to finish, a single bar goes from disparate ingredients to a finished product in about one month.

Where all can Ashwater Soap be found? 

In addition to the online store, ashwatersoap.com, our soaps can be found in numerous stores across the state and one in Memphis.

The Mississippi Gift Company - Greenwood, MS
Babcock Gifts - Memphis, TN
Tin Roof Market - Senatobia, MS
Polks Drugs #4 - Brandon, MS
The Everyday Gourmet - Jackson, MS
Lemanedi - Brookhaven, MS
Sweet Peas - Florence, MS
Tropical Glamour - Petal, MS
Peterson's Art and Antiques - Vicksburg, MS
Wild Magnolias - Leland, MS
McAlister House - Ripley, MS
Down South - Corinth, MS
Heartfelt Traditions - Mendenhall, MS
Kaleidoscopes - Newton, MS



For all you Mississippi readers, Ashwater Soap Co. will be at the Prairie Arts Festival in Westpoint, MS Saturday, August 30th. So be sure and stop by their booth and pick up some soap for you and all your friends!!!

And because I want one of you to try this soap so badly, I am giving away two bars of soap! The winner can choose between the 6 varieties offered! Enter below!  
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Polka Dots, Leather, and A Fall Must Have

Good Morning dear ones! So I love Etsy, and that is no secret. I am such a big supporter of ladies that use their hands to make things and sell them. I think this is a beautiful picture of a Proverbs 31 woman and so I seek to support these small business whenever I have the opportunity. Awhile back Jenna contacting me about this giveaway of a tote bag she found on none other than Etsy. I was happy to buy into the giveaway because I love Jenna and I love handmade. AND...this tote bag is just darling and I would love to have it. So here you go friends, we are giving one tote bag away!



Have I got a treat for you! I'm partnering with 3 of my very favorite bloggers to give this adorable Rouge and Whimsy polka dot and leather tote to one of you lucky readers! This handmade bag is extremely cute, durable, and unique. The seller makes them to order and each one is a little different. I'm in love with the buttery soft caramel-colored leather and the sweet-as-can-be dots. It makes me happy just looking at it. 

           Dearest Love                The Lady Okie            The Wetherills Say I Do        Oh Simple Thoughts 
This giveaway is run via rafflecopter. All entries will be verified, so please play by the rules! The winner must claim their prize within 48 hours of being emailed, or a new winner will be chosen. I'm so sorry international friends, but this giveaway is only open to those living in the US. Good luck!


Don't forget to send me any questions you may have for my Q&A video I will be putting together for next week! I want to hear from all of you! :) Submit your questions here.

Also, meet one of my sponsors this month, Lorriane of This Pilgrim's Progress. Lorraine writes the most insightful and spiritually encouraging posts. It is easy to see her love for the Lord and the Gospel after just a few minutes on her space. 



What is your favorite breakfast item?
I love a good English Banger, or more commonly known as an sausage.

Describe yourself in 3 words. 
Introverted, Unstable, Quirky

What is one thing you have learning this month?
Truly loving and learning that it's worth dealing with sin, and intentionally putting it to death systematically. Was recently challenged to deal with my fear of rejection I've been struggling with that I did not feel it was a big deal as I could not see that it manifested itself in anyway. However, the more I've asked the Holy Spirit to convict me and show me the root of the issue and how the gospel speaks in to it, I've found so much freedom from being freed from its bondage. 

Choosing Joy + Cutest Shoes on the Block

Lately life has seemed to be full steam ahead. Ben has the busiest two weeks of the year right now because of a conference that he is submitting not one, not two, but three professional journal articles to. He also has had field work, and we had vacation which set him back some...so things have been crazy busy. Today I am choosing to breath deep, and count the Lord's gifts when it would be really easy for me to crumble into a heap on the floor and not move for awhile. The Lord is faithful, and gracious, and called us to joy! Here are some pictures from Instagram that have brought me joy lately. 
1. I have mentioned this in passing several times, but I have a new part time job! I will be working at The Biscuit Shop starting next week, and could not be more excited about it. All you Starkville folks, stop by and see me!

2. My pup...pictured twice always brings me joy. (#6 too)

3. My brother and sister. It was so great to see them last week at the beach. I am beyond thankful for both of them and their friendship. 

4. Peach Raspberry Crisp. Seriously, food was meant to be enjoyed and shared, and so I am declaring this the best fruit crisp I have ever put in my mouth. Head over to Madison's blog for the recipe. Like right now!

5. Headwarmers. I have picked up my crochet hook and yarn again, and am working hard to build an inventory or headwarmers, coffee cozies, scarves, dish clothes, and a few other surprises before fall. More details to come! 

So while today is Monday, it is another day Jesus Christ has given us to rejoice and declare the joy of his great Gospel, with out lips and our lives, so I am choosing joy today!

Also, added bonus, I'm teaming up with some fabulous ladies to give YOU the chance to win a $200 giftcard to TOMS! They have something for everyone from their shoes, to clothing, to eyewear and coffee! Be sure to stop by and say hello to the wonderful ladies who made this possible!





Enter below to win! All entries will be verified. Winner will be chosen in one week and has 48 hours to claim their prize by responding to our email. Open to legal residents of USA, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Netherlands who are 18 years or older.

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LIFETIME Influence Network Membership Giveaway

Friends! I am really excited to share this incredible giveaway with you today! Many of you have heard of the Influence Network, and many of you have not...and those of you who have not should run over to their website right now and check them out.

The whole reason I blog is to make much of Jesus. I write to inspire women to take care of their bodies, homes, families and husbands with the gifts the Lord has given them. I am always striving for my blog to be used for the influence of the Kingdom of God. So when I discovered the Influence Network, a place for women who desire to have influence for Jesus in their online spaces, I knew I had to be a part. I actually had one of the ladies hosting this giveaway with me email me about the Network because she thought I would enjoy being a part (thanks Jenni!) and I am so thankful that she did.

Being a member has been the most incredible experience. I have been able to take classes on building community online, and in real life...how to set healthy boundaries for myself and my family...how to dream big ideas that honor the Lord...and how to balance vulnerability on my blog. I am a part of a small group through the network, and have enjoyed that so much. I have made friends with some amazing Godly women around this country...and it has been awesome.

So when I was brainstorming giveaways for this month, I had the idea to do a lifetime membership giveaway. I decided why not go big, and I reached out to Beth of Oak & Oats (we are in the same small group in the Network) and asked if she would be willing to join forces with me! She said yes, and we set off running with the idea. So here we are, offering one lucky lady a LIFETIME membership to the Influence Network!

I would not be able to bring this giveaway to you without the help of some amazing bloggers! These ladies all have made this possible so make sure to check them out and show them some love.


Oh, and the lifetime membership includes the following:
10 free classes to take anytime
Open Forums
Weekly Free Resources
Discipleship Groups
Pursuit Groups
One Free Monthly Class
Extra Surprises!!

So this is seriously the way to go, lifetime members receive their money's worth times 1,000 in my opinion! You get so much and the investment is well spent! The giveaway will run for one week, and all entries will be verified so play fair! We will email the winner on how to receive your membership upon the closing of the giveaway! Good luck!



Fullness of Joy Giveaway

Happy Monday friends! This weekend was such a great time of getting stuff done for Ben and I. We washed cars, cleaned the house, went to the farmer's market, and had dinner with my mom who was in town! It was the best! However, maybe I am alone in this, but I really love Mondays! They are a fresh start, a new week full of possibilities, and a new week to accomplish things for the kingdom of Christ.

So on this Monday I am super excited to bring you all a giveaway that will help you dig deeper in your relationship with Jesus, and pursue him more intentionally. I have put together a giveaway full of awesome tools and resources to help you in your daily time with the Lord. YAY! 

I decided before I began doing monthly giveaway that I wanted all of my giveaways to enrich the winner's life in a non materialistic way. Don't get me wrong, I love a good giveaway, but I just want my giveaways to add encouragement, and joy to the winner's life. So I spend a lot of time carefully selecting the items I will give away. 

This Fullness of Joy giveaway includes the following:

"Give Me Jesus" Journal - This journal was created by the lovely Gretchen Saffles of Life Lived Beautifully. I am in love with Gretchen's heart for Jesus and helping women to know him more through using this awesome journal. It is a great tool, and it so beautifully designed! 


Val Marie Paper Prayer Journal - This journal is a 6 month, undated prayer journal. I have one and love using it. It has different sections for each month, so you can create focus in your prayer time and really cry out in prayer for specific things! It is really small and can fit right in your purse or bag! 


She Reads Truth Study Pack (Ruth) - I am sure most of you have heard of She Reads Truth. This study pack is on the book of Ruth and includes two gorgeous high quality scripture prints, two memory verse cards, and the study pack. This study begins Monday June 16th, so the winner should have the pack in time to start the study with everyone else! 

I could not have put this giveaway together without the help of some amazing blog friends! I am so grateful for each of these ladies! Please go check them out, I promise you will fall in love with their blogs and their hearts! 


The giveaway will be live until this Friday June 13th. All entries will be verified so play fair! Good luck! :)




A Harvest of Blessing

Check out my sweet sponsor this month, Madison of Wetherills Say I Do!

Noonday Giveaway (for the Ragan Family Adoption)

It is Wednesday! Which means the week is halfway over, I feel like days fly by so quickly lately. Maybe it is due to summertime, I don't know. I am not complaining though. Anyways, I am so excited about this giveaway!!! I could do a little happy dance right now I am so pumped. Many of you may remember the Ragan Family from a couple weeks ago.
Remember these guys? Well they are adopting a little boy or a little girl from the U.S. and are so excited about it! If you want to hear more of their story and heart behind adoption please watch their video in the post I mentioned up above...and grab some tissue because if you are anything like me you will need it to catch the tears! 

Kaylee and Colton are raising money to make this adoption possible and to bring their baby home! This is where is gets good, eekkk! I am hosting a Noonday Trunk Show this coming Sunday, and 30% of all merchandise sold goes directly to the Ragan Family Adoption!!! And the best part is that ANYONE can purchase items, you do not have to come to my house to buy something and support this family. 

So let me break it down...

Noonday, ever heard of them? They are a jewelry and accessories company that gives back in big ways. "Together with the Noonday ambassadors across the country, we offer you the opportunity to use your purchasing power to create change in the world {while looking really good along the way}. Your fashion sense can now restore dignity to abandoned women in Ethiopia, empower communities in Ecuador, and create business opportunities for Ugandans." Noonday sells beautiful necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and more, all made by artisans in third world countries. Some of the money from every item bought goes back to these artisans to create a sustainable lifestlye for them and their communities. HOW AWESOME?! Here are some of my favorite pieces! 
I own the earring in the top left corner, and I wear them all the time! Isn't their stuff just so beautiful? Most is all made from materials unique to the area. So some bracelets and necklaces are made from rolled up paper beads, or seeds, or recycled gun metal, or bones of animals! So cool!

HOW CAN YOU HELP THE RAGANS?

Well, let me tell you. If you would like to purchase an item from Noonday, for yourself or for someone else, just follow these simple steps to insure the credit goes to the Ragan Trunk Show!

2. Shop around, pick out your items, and proceed to check out. 
3. In the box asking for an Ambassador Name, put McCall Aldridge.
4. In the box asking for Trunk Show Name, put Ragan Trunk Show
5. Check out, and wait for your gorgeous pieces to arrive in the mail. 

I hope some of you go and check out this awesome company, and choose to buy something! You will get to not only give back to the women who made the piece you purchase, but also to a family who is adopting a little boy or girl. So double giving...pretty neat if you ask me. 

So now for the giveaway, I am so thankful for the online community I have found myself in. Each of these women below have been such a blessing to me, and have given in order to purchase this necklace we are giving away. The necklace will be purchased through the Ragan trunk show so part of the money given to buy the giveaway necklace is going directly to the Ragans! This Noonday necklace is new this year, and one of the best sellers, meet the Del Mar Necklace, and your giveaway co hosts!


Thank you so much for participating in the giveaway! It is such a joy to watch others invest and show interest in this adoption! The Ragan's appreciate it so much! 

Check out my sweet sponsor this month, Jenni of Frankly My Dear!



Instagram Recap + Good for the Soul GIVEAWAY!

Happy Monday dear ones! Can I just say this weekend was one for the books...Ben finally finished his big preliminary exam, which marks the halfway point of his PhD studies! Can you hear the hallelujah choir singing out as I announce that? Because I can. To celebrate the completion of his exam, we went on a special date Friday night. Like I got all dressed up and even teased my hair kind of date night. We walked to a little cafe right down from our house and had yummy pizza. After dinner we walked to my favorite coffee bar and got lattes.We came back and talked on our porch swing, and rounded out the evening with a marathon viewing of The Office. We spend all day Saturday outside planting our veggies, and cleaning out our flower beds. For dinner, we ate crispy grilled flat-bread pizza (yes, pizza two nights in a row...don't hate) topped with some of our delicious homegrown herbs. It was the kind of weekend that just makes your heart full. Here is a little Instagram recap. One, because I love IG, and two, because pictures are the best!












In order from left to right.
1. Ben and I were invited to enjoy Easter lunch with a family from our small group, and since we were not with either of our own families, we jumped on the opportunity. I was asked to bring something pretty for the table. So I gathered bunches of pretty hydrangeas and azaleas from my grandmother's yard and added a little chalkboard as well. It was so lovely with all of the fine china and vintage table cloths.

2. We had some good friends over this past week for dinner. It was my first time to cook a few recipes from "Bread & Wine". We went for a Mexican inspired meal, and I made green enchiladas, Esquites (Mexican street corn), and simple black beans. We enjoyed tea and coffee after dinner, and sat at the table until almost 11...it filled my heart with gratitude for such dear friends. We want to start doing this once a month, and maybe even cooking through some cookbooks together.

3. Wednesday I was super blessed to come home from staff meeting to some happy mail. Totally a surprise, and if you know me even a little you know how excited I get about mail. I was jumping up and down when I ripped into the packages! A new journal, hand painted tablespoon measures, little ceramic bowls and TWO sets of stationary. Swoon. I am so thankful for the body of Christ.

4. My bestie, Sera Beth, came to eat lunch with me. We had not seen each other since her wedding so it was such a great time of catching up, and eating lots of fried southern food at one of our favorite restaurants in Starkville. Blue plate specials are the best in my book. Check out Sera Beth's adorable clothing company here, and her appearance on Oh, Simple Thoughts here.

5. Our mess of a kitchen table. We have been working hard to build up our "puppy fund" for when we bring little Piper home in June. Ben has been burning cutting board non stop it seems like...(did you know we make personalized wood cutting boards? Great wedding, anniversary, or house-warming gifts) and I am helping a college friend with redesigning her blog for a little extra pay. All this means our kitchen table has become a work space...and sometimes there is joy in messes.

6. Meet Joyful Papery. Emily the face behind this adorable Etsy shop is a radiant light for Jesus that all of you need to get to know. Her work is incredible. Congrats again to one of my blogging bestie's, Madison, for winning this print in my Flash Giveaway Friday!

7. Selfie!! I jumped in on The Naptime Diaries #FridayIntroductions this week, and loved it. Already connected with some lovely new ladies!

8. Date Night...so great, and recaped above! :)

9. Saturday Breakfast. French Toast, made with homemade French Bread, French press coffee, and whole cream...it was bliss, and apparently we love the French? :)

So this was a blissful week/weekend! In other news, I love to read good books. There is something about sitting down with a new book that just makes my heart race...that is my happy place. Coffee in one hand, a great novel in the other, that is my definition of bliss. So naturally when I was thinking through what to select for this month's giveaway I landed on something related to literature. I am very particular about giveaways that I host. I want them to fall in line with the mission of my blog. I want them to encourage, build up, strengthen you...I do not want to add junk to your life, but rather give away things that enrich our lives as women seeking after Jesus. 

I mentioned last week that I been reading Shauna Niequist's book "Bread & Wine", well I am thrilled to announce that I am teaming up with some of my favorite other bloggers to bring you not just this book but two other best selling books written by Shauna Niequist! I pray that the winner of this giveaway is inspired to seek the Lord more in so many ways. Each book focuses on something different but share the common theme of pursuing the Lord more. 

"Cold Tangerines"- This is a book dedicated to finding the Lord and his purpose in the everyday things of our life. I think we can often walk through life and forget to stop and find joy in the very mundane and everyday things. This book is dedicated to celebrating life and joy found in simplicity and everyday things.

"Bittersweet"- This book focuses on the good and the hard things that we face in life...the premise is that life is full of sweet moments and bitter moments. Life that is simply sweet, or simply bitter is not realistic. There will be trouble, and there will be great joy. Shauna speaks to this balance and how to see the Lord's hand in troubles and joy. 

"Bread & Wine"- This book is my favorite of the three. As someone who loves to cook, this book spoke to me in such a deep way. It resonated with me on so many levels. I am currently cooking my way through the recipes included in the book, and having a blast. This would be a great book to read/cook through with a group of friends. Such a sweet reminder to live intentional lives investing in the ones that we love.

We are also giving away a $25 giftcard to Starbucks because my hope is that whoever wins this giveaway will have the chance to enjoy a great cup of their favorite coffee while tucked away in a corner diving into these lovely books. 

BUT WAIT, there's more! It just keeps getting better. We are also giving away a gorgeous print by ohmydeer Etsy shop of a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote. I have always loved this particular quote and when I saw this print about 6 months ago I fell in love.


I am so happy to bring this giveaway to you guys, but without the help of some lovely blog friends of mine this would not be possible! Meet your co-hosts:


The winner of the giveaway will be announced Monday, May 5th. All entries will be verified, so make sure to play fair! :) Good Luck!


Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Muffins


Carbs, oh how I love you! Especially in the morning, so carbs plus chocolate is always a great to start off the day in my book. I made these for breakfast last week, and I am still thinking about them. So perfectly light and airy while being enough to carry you over to lunch. This is what breakfast should be made of!

WHAT YOU NEED: (Makes 12 regular size muffins)
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh orange zest (optional)
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin tin with non stick spray. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, soda and salt. And zest and stir.

In a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well.

With mixer on low speed add dry ingredients 1/2 cup at a time, alternating with yogurt. Add chocolate and stir it in with a wooden spoon.

Scoop the batter out to lined muffin tin, filling all the way to the top. You can place few chocolate chips on top of each muffin. Bake for 5 minutes in 400 degree oven, Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees and bake 15 more minutes, or until browned on top and toothpick inserted in the center of each muffin comes out clean. Cool in pan for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
You can wrap baked muffins tightly and freeze for up to 1 month. Simply defrost on the counter and pop in the microwave for 7 to 10 seconds to warm up and make chocolate melt.

original recipe found at: Crunchy, Creamy, Sweet



Go make these right now. They are perfect for brunch, a shower, or just because you need a chocolate fix.

What are your favorite kinds of muffins?

Has it been raining in your neck of the woods as much as it has here the past 24 hours? I has not stopped storming...guess the old saying rings true this year, April showers brings May flowers! Well in honor of this little old saying I am joining in with Rebekah of Living Lavender to give you an opportunity to win a monogrammed jacket AND Hunter rainboots!! YAY!
SHOWERS1

Spring is officially here so my fabulous co-hosts and I decided to host a giveaway to help keep you dry during spring showers! We have 3 great prizes for 3 lucky winners so be sure to enter below & show your hosts some love!
The Prizes
1 pair of Hunter Rain Boots
1 Monogrammed Rain Jacket
$30 Paypal Cash


Meet Your Hosts:
cohosts.png



Show these lovely ladies some love, and good luck with the giveaway!

A Harvest of Blessing | Jack of All Trades Link Up

Much Love,

Rachel
BLOGLOVIN' // INSTAGRAM // TWITTER // PINTEREST // FACEBOOK 

Wedding Bliss + Instagram Recap

Happy Monday sweet friends!! :) I hope your weekend was full of rest and sweet springtime memories made. Ours certainly was. I feel as though this week was such a whirlwind, but the weekend was so sweet, and just a ton of fun. I love being transparent with you guys and letting you into my world. So I thought I would do a little Instagram recap and share about some of our weekend happenings today!


1. Chocolate Chip Muffins + food photography practice. I cannot wait to share this yummy recipe with you all TOMORROW. Stay tuned. 

2. I was so surprised to receive this calligraphy set in the mail from Ben's grandmother. She reads my blog regularly and I know she saw my 101 in 1001 list which has #75- Teach myself calligraphy. I am so excited to use this kit and teach myself to write in calligraphy. Thanks Nana, I will be calling you soon. You are so sweet to think of me! Love You!!

3. Read my post about all that I learned from my sweet Grammy here that you may have missed last week. She was a joy to know and love. Miss her everyday! 

4. I have started following along with She Reads Truth, and I am LOVING it. So sweet to tap into such a large community of Christ seeking women. 

5. Have you guys met my sweet friend Valerie? Go check out this sweet lady and her amazing talent in the design department. She is so gifted, and a joy to follow! This print it FREE to print over on her blog! And can be used as your desktop background. I hung this on our fridge...so gorgeous!

6. Crusty Bread- find the recipe here. This is a fool proof recipe and so yummy. You do not have to kneed it or anything. Just let it rise over night and bake in a cast iron dutch oven. Yummy, and so pretty.

7. Best part of my weekend was watching this friend and mentor of mine walk down the aisle and become a wife. She has taught me how to truly pursue Jesus Christ with everything that I am. 

8. Isn't she the most beautiful bride? Oh what a glorious day Saturday was. She worked so hard to make sure every guest was pointed to Jesus and not her, her dress, or her decorations. It was amazing. We all left loving Jesus more and feeling overjoyed to be called his child. 

9. Documentation that my good looking husband was in attendance at the wedding. Weddings always remind me of our special day almost one year ago (ah almost a year? WHAT?!!). It is always so much fun to reflect on that special time.

So now to share a little more of my sweet friend's wedding. The wedding and reception took place at her grandparents home, which is stunning. They worked so hard to build this house and it shows, from the handmade (by her grandfather himself) cedar planks inside to the lovely garden and courtyard in the back, it is nothing but a breathtaking home. Saturday was sunny, with a nice breeze, and perfect for a wedding.



Such a gorgeous wedding! Ben and I spent all day Sunday working on planting some plants on our porch!! YAY for completing #5 on my 101 in 1001 list. Tune in to Instagram for some more picture of our lovely little plant babies! 

Also, it is time to announce the winner of the Atlas Print by The Rustic Orange Etsy Shop! And the winner is Laura Kathleen! Hope you enjoy this print in your bedroom, or in your parents room for you at their house! I will be emailing you soon for shipping information! Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway! I will be hosting a BIG group giveaway with some INCREDIBLE goodies in a few weeks so be on the lookout!


How was your weekend?

Much Love, 

Rachel

Friday Letters + GIVEAWAY

Dear Ben, you let me sleep in yesterday morning while you got yourself ready for work. Thanks for loving me selflessly, and being willing to make your own lunch every now and then. Also, thanks for never missing a morning of letting me know when you make it to work. You graciously pay attention to my tender heart when it comes to things like that, and just a simple text knowing you are safe always puts me at ease. Thanks for paying attention to the details of my heart. 

Dear weekend, you are looking so promising. I am beyond excited to celebrate the wedding of a dear friend, and make sweet memories as she becomes a wife. So excited for all you hold starting today. 

To our puppy, we are working hard on our "puppy fund" to bring you home soon and very soon little one. Ben has been making a million wood burned cutting boards to pad our fund a little more so we can buy you all kinds of things when we bring you home. Cannot wait to meet you and bring in a new little life to our family of two. 

Dear wife day, this week you were like gold to me. I am grateful for one day a week to rest, stay in my pj's guilt free, clean, bake and watch food network. Managing our home is a joy for me so thanks for giving me one day a week to focus wholeheartedly on our humble abode. 

Dear self, remember to strive to be like Jesus, not Southern Living magazine. Your life is not your own, so stop trying to make much of YOURself, YOUR home, YOUR marriage, and strive after making life about the one who created you, sustains you, and calls you his child. Accept messes, incomplete to do lists, curve balls, weariness, and inadequacy...embrace it all, and rest in the strength and sovereignty of Jesus. Do this EVERY DAY. 

Much Love, 

Rachel

I really enjoy stopping and reflecting on my gratitude in the form of letters. It is always so refreshing to my soul. Do you write notes to your loved ones, and even to yourself from time to time? 

I read this prayer yesterday on She Reads Truth, and knew I had to share it with you all. So powerful, raw, and beautifully written. I am even considering printing it and framing it somewhere in our bedroom, and buying the book of prayers. 

“Eternal Father,
Thou art good beyond all thought,
But I am vile, wretched, miserable, blind;
My lips are ready to confess, but my heart is slow to feel,
    and my ways reluctant to amen.
I bring my soul to thee;
    break it, wound it, bend it, mould it.
Unmask to me sin’s deformity,
    that I may hate it, abhor it, flee from it.
My faculties have been a weapon of revolt against thee;
    as a rebel I have misused my strength,
    and served the foul adversary of thy kingdom.
Give me grace to bewail my insensate folly
Grant me to know that the way of transgressors is hard,
             that evil paths are wretched paths,
            that to depart from thee is to lose all good.
I have seen the purity and beauty of thy perfect law,
        the happiness of those in whose heart it reigns,
        the calm dignity of the walk to which it calls,
 yet I daily violate and condemn its precepts.
Thy loving Spirit strives within me,
brings me Scripture warnings,
speaks in startling providences,
allures by secret whispers,
 yet I choose devices and desires to my own hurt,
    impiously resent, grieve,
       and provoke him to abandon me.

All these sins I mourn, lament, and for them cry pardon.
Work in me more profound and abiding repentance;
Give me the fullness of a godly grief that trembles and fears,
    yet ever trusts and loves,
    which is ever powerful, and ever confident;
Grant that through the tears of repentance I may see more clearly
    the brightness and glories of the saving cross.”

Wow. So in love with this. I think words are such a beautiful thing. I love to write, and that is a huge part of why I blog. I also think that story telling is powerful and can bring the Lord so much glory. Storytelling is not complete without words. Words, stir up our affections for Jesus. Don't you agree?

So I am so excited to introduce to you all one special Etsy shop and some fantastic prints that use words to stir my heart for the Lord. 

Meet The Rustic Orange! I found Annette through Instagram and have been obsessed with her work for quite sometime! I was so excited when I reached out to Annette and asked to share her work with my readers and she agreed! So she sent me some of her gorgeous Atlas prints and now I am giving one away to one of you!!

I will be giving away one print that says, "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders"!! Enter the giveaway below!


The winner will be announced next Monday! Happy Weekend y'all!

Much Love, 

Rachel
BLOGLOVIN' // INSTAGRAM // TWITTER // PINTEREST // FACEBOOK 

Handmade Highlight - Lavender and Linen + a GIVEAWAY

Happy Tuesday my friends! As usual I am linking up this morning with KhalaSamanthaJenni, and Renee for some Tuesday Tea!
Many of you may be new to my Handmade Highlight series. Read all about it here. Basically the purpose behind this blog series is to introduce you to women who love Jesus and creating things with their own hands. So for all you handmade lovers out there remember to tune in every two weeks or so for new vendors and handmade store owners. 

Meet this week's store owner: Kendra of Lavender and Linen!


I have been so blessed to "meet" Kendra via Instagram. We have really developed a sweet little social media friendship because of our mutual love for Jesus, newlywed life, and handmade loveliness. Lavender and Linen is full of vintage inspired and chic items you are going to LOVE.



I did a little interview with Kendra so that you can all get to know her and her precious heart a little bit better. 

Rachel: What inspired you to open up shop?
Kendra: I was in my senior year of high school with no plans of going to college and having a career. The Lord had given me a desire to be a wife and a stay at home mother and I knew that's what I wanted to do but I also had the desire to be able to help make a little extra money from home if necessary. I had started out with headbands and hair clippies and had been selling them to a little shop (which is now where we have our little location!). With some help from my Mom I was able to get a few things listed in an etsy shop and it has grown from there! As it grew I realized it was getting a little too big to handle on my own so I went into partnership with my mom almost a year ago and with both of us working at it we are able to add so much more variety plus I love crafting together and coming up with new products! 


Rachel: What has been the greatest joy for you in creating something for others?
Kendra: I think one of my absolute favorite things in creating things for people is praying over the item before I send it off to them. I am not as disciplined in this as I should be but I try my best to whisper a prayer and ask The Lord to do for them what they have need of and to let my product be a blessing to them!


Rachel: What is the story behind the name lavender and linen?
Kendra: Proverbs 31 has always been an extremely special passage to me and I try daily to be at least a little of that woman.. It lays a great guideline for what a woman of Grace should be like. I love that it shows not only that God created us to work with our hands and be crafty but also that we can use those talents and God given abilities to serve our families! So our name was taken and inspired by this chapter. 


Rachel: What has been your favorite part of newlywed life?
Kendra: hmm.. I have so many favorite parts! I think my most favorite is quality time. I love spending time in conversation, going on date nights or watching a few episodes of our favorite shows together. He truly is my best friend and being with him never gets old!


Rachel: What is one thing the Lord is teaching you right now?
Kendra: Definitely right now I'd say He's teaching me to be still and to trust Him. No matter whats going on. I will run myself ragged worrying about something and not fully wanting to give it over to Him. But I'm learning! He is showing me little by little how much better it is to let go and trust Him to do His divine will. 


Rachel: What is one piece of advice you would give to small business owners?
Kendra: Realize you are blessed! Somedays I find myself so frustrated and complaining about how I don't have time for something I want to do and how I'm tired of sewing and then I realize how ridiculous I'm being. Im blessed that I can sew, I'm blessed that I can work from home doing what I love and help make a little extra money, Im blessed with so many orders! So take some time to be thankful that you get to do what you love. 

Rachel: What are your favorite items to create?
Kendra: I think the coffee cozies are my new favorites. I love finding new verses or quotes to put on them and I also LOVE seeing what people come up with to put on their own custom cozies. They can be so personal with all the different colors and quotes.

Look at all this loveliness from Lavender and Linen!




Want to shop or follow Lavender and Linen? Here's how...




AND NOW FOR THE BEST PART! 

Kendra has so gracious given one of her soft stretchy headbands and a hand stamped inspirational coffee cozy for a giveaway. Enter below for your chance to win! 


Happy Happy Tuesday sweet ones. I hope you all give sweet Kendra lots of love today and get to know her. She is a gem and such an encouragement! 

xoxo,

Rachel