4 Homemade Beautiful Kid-friendly Ornaments

www.wholefully.com

The girls and I have plans to make ornaments twice this December. Once with another homeschool family and once with their AHG troop.

So I scoured the web looking for ones that are cute AND can be made mostly without grownup help. Because isn’t it a lot more fun for kids if they make it all on their own!?

I hate that so many of the actual cute homemade ornaments out there basically require grown-up assembly from start to finish—with hot glue guns or sewing or cutting with a knife etc.

And I didn’t want to compromise in the cuteness department. You know, opting for something that would look chintzy or fall apart before Christmas.

So, here are four I found that are adorable and can actually be made by kids. (Some of them do require some grownup prep and/or a few adaptations to be totally kid friendly.)

www.wholefully.com

I found these cinnamon ornaments on Wholefully. Aren’t they great?!

We had friends give us something similar as a Christmas present two years ago. The girls loved them, they smelled delicious (ahhh…cinnamon is heavenly), plus they’re much prettier than the traditional salt dough ornaments I made as a child. Don’t you think? A win all the way around in my book.

www.thediymommy.com

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2 Things that make me forget I have UC

Probiotics help Ulcerative ColitisI feel incredibly blessed to feel SO WELL these days— completely normal and like my “old self”. And with little (1/2 a dose) and very safe medication to boot! No steroids or other meds with awful side-effects or visits to the hospital. Not even a SINGLE symptom at all!

I was diagnosed with UC (Ulcerative Colitis) a couple of years ago and it made my life much more difficult. I felt miserable and was afraid to go anywhere. Ugh. Anyone who has this autoimmune disease will know what I am talking about.

Not only do you suffer with the common symptoms associated with UC, though. Which are bad enough. Anytime you’re dealing with autoimmunity there is a host of “random” symptoms that can plague the sufferer too. Recurring fevers, joint pain, fatigue, flu-like symptoms etc. are all common.

But, pinch me!! I feel so fortunate that I found something that REALLY WORKS to help me feel so well with this disease.  It’s too good not to share with my dear readers and for you not to share with those you love. It’s just THAT good and easy!

While UC is chronic and here to stay, I stumbled across this simple regimen that in recent months has made me often forget I even have UC at all. Crazy, right!?! I feel that AMAZING.

The two things I do are… Continue reading

Plaid and the power of words

Power of words Power of words

Power of words
Above are my awkward attempts at taking a selfie, ha.

On my first day of highschool I wore plaid.

It seems like an odd thing to remember, right? I couldn’t tell you what I wore on the first day of any other school year. But because of what happened to me—or more specifically what was said to me—I remember my outfit from that day all this time later.

During lunchtime an upper class-man made a mean comment about my plaid shirt and my appearance. Silly really. What did it matter what this girl thought about my clothes or how I looked? But my 13 year-old self went home crushed from her unkind words and paranoid about my appearance.

Obviously I recovered from this little incident. I still wear plaid, as documented above ;). And over time, I’ve learned to Continue reading

Contentment: The key to a happy life

Contentment
Photo by the lovely Anabell Jimenez

I’m giddy to write this post, so I found a giddy picture to go with it, ha.

I am so excited to share this with you because, you guys, it applies to us ALL regardless of age, race, sex, education, nationality, status etc. And it hits close to home for me!

You see, this is something that turned my life right-side-up, after years and years of just barely getting by. Like totally transformed my way of thinking and as a result the way I experience life for the better. And, wow, I am so grateful.

I spent too many years looking to my circumstances and/or other people for happiness. Which, frankly, is a terrible way to live. Because how often do our circumstances or other people let us down? Pretty much on a daily basis. Right?!

During those years I allowed my circumstances and the behavior of others to Continue reading

How are you?

How are you doing and feeling? I mean REALLY doing and feeling?

If you asked me this question 14 or 15 years ago , and I was honest, I would have had to say I was not doing well AT ALL.

I was just barely getting by. I was in a real bad place in every way—physically, mentally, and emotionally. I felt like I was hanging on by a thread.

And there was no way I was going to breathe a word of this to anyone. Too humiliating—I thought. I have a wonderful family and I didn’t even say anything to them.

And no one asked. You see, on the outside I was putting on a dang good show. I was excelling in my college classes and working part-time to boot. I had good friends, took trips, and dated. I was very involved in my church and faithfully practiced the Christian disciplines . But on the inside I was FALLING APART. Absolutely, totally, completely falling apart.

I am living proof that there is a way out of a pit—even when it feels impossible. If you had told me at the time that I would feel as good as I do today, I’m not sure I would have believed you.

If you’re merely hanging on by a thread, know that I am here rooting for you. We all are. Please don’t hesitate to message me. Sometimes it’s easier sharing with a friend far away, than one right by.

The first step to climbing out of that pit, to really healing, is to admit that everything is not okay.

With love,

Lauren

5 things to do in the wake of an offense

Pray for the offender.

Scripture tells us to pray for our enemies and to do good to those who hurt us. On the surface, it seems like an impossible pill to swallow. But, what I have found is that by behaving in this way, God is helping set us free from the shackles of unforgiveness and bitterness that bind us in the wake of an offense. And, our honorable behavior speaks volumes of nature of the forgiving and gracious God we serve. I believe having this prayerful, kind attitude toward our offenders is the only real way to heal from offense and to move forward in a healthy way.

Get some perspective.

I find in situations where I have been offended (especially repeatedly and by someone who you expect more from), it really helps to take a step back from the situation. To even attempt to view the situation as an outsider. In the history of Continue reading

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

We had the loveliest time at the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse in Maine over the weekend.

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

It was one of the less iconic lighthouses we’ve visited since moving to New England. As the lighthouse is on the top of the house and barely visible. But it made it no less special to visit–as I am sure you can tell from the pictures we took. The views all around were breathtaking. And the actual building was beautiful as well.

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For the guys…

Hey, guys! Want to make your woman feel like a million bucks? Want things to improve in the bedroom?

Don’t look at other naked women.

It takes a lot of intentionality and work and LOVE in our overly sensualized culture to do this. Cause, well, naked people are everywhere—from the internet to popular shows and movies.

Porn isn’t just in certain magazines or behind the curtain anymore. It’s EVERYWHERE. And it’s becoming a problem even for very young unsupervised kids.

I know what I am saying will be viewed as prudish by some. And you know what? That’s okay!

My hubby has made the commitment to not look at anything that even remotely resembles porn and works dang hard to keep his promise (with internet filters on the computer and phone, reading reviews on tv shows and movies before watching, etc). And I’m telling you there is nothing more ATTRACTIVE and liberating than this…

To be a woman who doesn’t wonder who you’re being measured up against in your most vulnerable moments. To feel totally cherished and worth the effort. Yeah, it’s amazing. (And as a bonus it really works wonders in the bedroom.;)

It’s never too late to return to this way of cherishing and respecting women either. Even if you’ve messed up in a big kind of way in the past. And if you aren’t married yet, becoming a stand-up kind of guy on this issue will make you attractive to the right kind of girls. Trust me.

I dare you to give this a try!

Let’s Talk: Dates!

I may have had my favorite date night ever last night. And it was so simple!

Brance and I started out the date by walking to a coffee shop near our home and chatting over iced drinks. We have had a heat wave lately, for Boston, so it felt pretty amazing to sit in some central air, too :). Plus there is nothing quite like sitting across from your man with no distractions. It’s the best, right!?

Next we wandered over to a favorite restraurant and ordered our meals to go. We grabbed our car and camp chairs and headed to a beloved park. The park is large (for the city) and gorgeous and so few people hang there (I think because most people in the neighborhood prefer to be on the beach). It has big, old trees and lovely bay views where you can see sail boats. And there are large colorful Victorian homes, with widow watches, facing one side. It felt wonderful to sit there and soak up summer with Brance. As the sun set, we ended our time there with a stroll around the park near the water and talked about life.

And then like the parents we are, we ran to the store ALONE to pick up some things we needed before heading home.You see. It was nothing special, but it felt nice to be alone together talking and laughing and relaxing. Even shopping.

Back when Brance and I were dating and engaged we spent many date nights cooking together. We had a lot of fun looking for recipes and shopping for the ingredients. We would turn music up while we cooked and would dance whenever the recipe allowed. We still love cooking together.

What are you favorite kinds of dates? Is there a certain place you eat out or do you prefer to cook at home? Do you like to do something adventurous? Do dates involve the movies or a concert or shopping?  Maybe you love doing something outside. Let’s talk!!

Let’s Talk

I am not much of an orator.

In fact, I often stumble over my words or get things mixed up in translation. (Just ask someone who knows me in real life). Perhaps that is one of the reasons I enjoy writing.

There is no one actively engaged and waiting for my immediate response. So, no reason to feel shy or nervous.

Writing seems to flow better for me, because it’s slower and my brain is able to keep up.

I can easily edit—adjust or move thoughts around. I can delete them entirely.

It’s not that I don’t want to become a better speaker: as an orator and in general conversation. I really do. But writing and I are a comfortable pair. I can express my thoughts and feelings, imperfect as they are (both my thoughts and the expression), easier.

After experiencing a huge transformation in my wellness (physically, mentally, and emotionally), I wanted to share that with as many people as possible. In case it might help them too. Writing seemed a natural way for me to do that and that is how this blog was born.

Perhaps one day I will feel comfortable sharing all of this in other ways. For now, though, I keep writing!

Which is easier for you? Talking to other people about your thoughts and ideas in person or writing them down? Let’s “talk”. I’d love to know!!