Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday's Top Ten [These Things Make Me Laugh]

My family would watch a movie without me, just so they could watch me watch a funny movie later. Apparently I'm entertaining when I think something is funny. Here's the truth though: I think Laffy Taffy jokes are funny, so you may not think these things are funny, but they make me laugh, which in turn makes my day. So I had a lot of fun making this list... cause I can't stop laughing...

1. Every teacher can relate to this...

2. This commercial...

3. Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series is hilarity at its finest. The book is a little rough around the edges at times, but I love the strange characters Evanovich creates stories around; plus the bizarre situations Stephanie Plum gets herself involved in are mysteriously comical. Stephanie Plum is an awful bounty hunter who's constantly down on her luck and with Grandma Mazur or Lulu to babysit half the time, things are always interesting. Not to mention the fact that she has two men she's in love with and I often wonder if Evanovich isn't just going to leave us hanging on which one she picks. I'm rooting for Ranger, but we may never know, which is killing me! 

4. In the movie, Shanghai Knight, when he jumps on his horse and this happens...
 
5. Garfield cartoons.

6. Calvin & Hobbes is also a favorite.


7. This picture.

8. The things my little Bean (pictured above) says and does (check out some of her latest here).

9. Corny jokes.

10. E-Cards.

If you want a taste of what else makes me laugh, check out my LOL board on Pinterest. And yes each of those things pinned, did make me laugh out loud.

Here's more posts of things that make me laugh...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tuesday's Top Ten [Reasons to Host an Arbonne Party]

There are many reasons to host or go to an Arbonne party. I thoroughly enjoy this company for many reasons and would gladly host a party over and over and over again for the following reasons...

1. You actually get to experience their products first hand. (See #2 and #4.) There's many reasons to love this fact (See #6)!

2. You're spoiled with a free facial. Using some of their best products, you and your guests get to experience a cleansing and refreshing facial.

3. A facial produces perfect picture opps such as this:

4. You're spoiled from top to bottom with a free foot soak. Your feet will thank you, many times over. Ahhhhh... I would like one right now...

5. It's relaxing. Provide yummy food for your guests (like these coconut, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies that were a hit at mine), coffee, foot soaks, facials, laughs, good talks, and you have a relaxing party in the making.

6. You get a free product. What's best about their products is that they use natural ingredients that are chemical-free, safe, nontoxic, and eco-friendly. These naturally inspired products are scientifically proven; effective products for your health, wellness, and beauty.
"At Arbonne, we take nature's gifts as inspiration, and blend it with high science and true innovation. Each and every product is carefully formulated and crafted with potent botanicals to enhance your beauty, health and wellness. And improve your life, inside and out." - Dr. Peter Matravers [Chief Scientific Officer] (source)
That quote alone should inspire you to use their products and enjoy the free product you receive the night you host your party. I have yet to find a product I don't like. Here's a few of my favorites and why:

  • Seasource Detox Spa. They jokingly call this their "Windex" product, inspired by the movie My Greek Wedding, where Windex fixes everything.
    "Put some Detox on it," is our favorite statement in our home. We can attest to it's effectiveness with sore muscles, itchy mosquito bites, growing pains on a two year old, hornet stingS, dry skin, and more. In fact, this morning I woke up with a crick in my neck (you know when you wake up unable to move your head to one side, probably because I slept on it wrong?) well I rubbed detox on my achy muscles and I'm already able to move my head side to side (and it's been less than an hour). *This 12 oz container lasts forever. I've had it for nearly a year and it's still full (and we use it daily)!
  • Nourishing Daily Shampoo and Conditioner. I have really, really thin hair. This is the first product to give it life and thickness. 
  • Diaper Rash Cream. We also use this for any rash, not just diaper rashes. In fact, my sister has super sensitive armpits. She used this product when they burned and it helped immediately.
  • Baby Care Sunscreen. It's all natural so I know I can trust what's going on my baby's skin. Plus it smells wonderful and I actually enjoy the way my skin feels after putting it on. Most of the time my hands feel grimy, slimy, and dry after applying sunscreen and I cannot wait to shower. Not the case with this product.

7. As a host you receive an awesome discount on the products you purchase. Seriously, it's worth it just for that one simple fact!

8. The Arbonne rep prefers small numbers because they serve each individual's foot soak and facial needs. Therefore, invite your besties. Then encourage them to wear their comfy clothes.

9. It's unlike any business party I've ever attended. I've never felt pressured to purchase a product, but after hearing about a small fraction of their products and their benefits... I WANT THEM ALL!

10. Your skin feels incredible afterwards. My feet are actually soft, warm, and sweet smelling. If your face is breaking out (like I was before mine) your pimples and black heads will be gone or seriously diminished the.very.next.day. Their products work and you'll feel the immediate benefits from using them.

If you're interested in hosting a party, my sister, Amanda, is one of the best hostess' I know. She serves you well and she knows her stuff. I'm biased, I know, but I'm not kidding.

Check out Arbonne's...

... for more information on this amazing company. Then contact Amanda (or your nearest consultant) for your own party!

Friday, August 14, 2015

My Alarm

I have an alarm that goes off bright and early every morning. The time ranges between 5 am and 8 am and there is no snooze button. In fact, there are rare times the alarm randomly goes off in the middle of the night, multiple times a night. She demands to be fed, changed, and sometimes she spews all over me. My little alarm also smiles at me when I greet her by name, totally capturing my heart. Totally making up for the missing snooze button, spewing all over me, the dirty diaper, the demands... 

Did I mention I have 2? 

The second, however, demands princess movies, offers no volume control as she sings, "Let It Go" at the top of her lungs, and requests that you refer to her as "Elsa-Brielle" most days. She even asks that I fix her hair like her favorite princess of the day: Cinderella hair, Elsa hair, or Anna hair (she has "two ones", and by ones she means braids). She always requires juice and I typically catch her sneaking a sip or two of my coffee. Before any of this, however, she begins her day by picking one of her princess dresses to wear. Once she's garbed, she demands her movie, juice, hair-do and through sleepy eyes asks, "Mommy, hold you?" The heart melting cuddles that follow her asking totally make up for the zero volume control, the name change, the demands...

My little alarms exhaust me, challenge me, love on me, make me laugh, weep, or scream and I love them more than life itself. God has given me 2 very precious alarms.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Shout Out to Ilybox!

The founder of Ilybox honored me with a request to review her business. Immediately upon receiving this box in the mail, while thoroughly enjoying the unpacking of it (along with my 2 year old daughter), my brain was reeling with the excitement over all I was going to share! However, between the challenge of balancing my time with a newborn and a two year old, a family vacation and returning to find a flooded basement, my blog has been moved to a back burner. Now that I'm finally getting back into the swing of things, I'm so excited to share this amazing business!

Before revealing the contents of the box I received in the mail and the excitement over all it contained, let me explain what it is. Crystal, Ilybox's founder, explained it like this on her website (which I encourage you to check out: www.ilybox.com): "Ilybox is a monthly subscription box that brings hope, love, and inspiration through scripture, challenges, and amazing products. We strive to give God the glory with everything we create and do." There's not a better business objective out there! I truly believe God has inspired Crystal in some pretty amazing ways and is using her ilybox's for His glory!

One of the best features of this ilybox is that for every box purchased a box will be sent to someone in need of hope and encouragement. I can promise you that each ilybox will accomplish just that. The contents definitely put a smile on our face!
Once I opened the box, chaos ensued. I had to slow my excited little girl down so I could actually see what was in it too!

I'm pretty sure we shared the favorite...
For my daughter it was a toss up between the incredibly yummy chocolate and the packing stuffer...

I have to spend a bit of time on the Divine chocolate. We received the milk chocolate with toffee and sea salt and it was super tasty! Usually I'm not a fan of toffee, but I seriously could not get enough of it and neither could my Briella Bean. (Self-control was a serious issue.) The thing I liked most was the sea salt, that sweet and salty combination was heavenly... er... um... divine! I'm also a big fan of the company, which was explained on their wrapping, but I encourage you to check out the About section on their website. You'll be encouraged just by this one particular product and the good they're doing for the people in Ghana! It's a wonderful product to include in the ilybox!



Each ilybox has a theme and it was obvious mine was "INSPIRE!" I love that concept. Everywhere we go we have the ability to use our talents to glorify God and spread the gospel message to others.

You also receive a challenge card. I loved this idea as well! 

Here are a few of my favorite challenges:
  • Pray over Philippians 1:6. A verse written by Paul (who was in prison at the time he wrote it) and Timothy to an audience in Philippi who Paul was thanking for their selfless service. They were an audience who was committed to serving others, just like Jesus. Paul's purpose for this letter is found in 1:5; he wants to them to know he is thankful for them and prays for them often because of their partnership in the gospel. Let's live like the citizens of Philippi. Live like we're citizens of a heavenly colony, joyfully serving others for the glory of God! That is one heck of a prayer.
  • Memorize Ephesians 2:10. (Done and done.) It's the amazing part of our salvation through Christ Jesus that we miss. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." The piece that amazes me about this particular passage is that even after being dead in our trespasses (2:1), even after following the prince of the power of the air (aka Satan) (2:2), even after living in the passions of our flesh (2:3), even after being children of wrath (2:3) God made us alive together with Christ and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places (2:4-6)! Because of Christ Jesus we experience His IMMEASURABLE riches of His grace in kindness (2:7). This amazing free gift (2:8) was so that we are raised with Jesus and are able to spend an eternity glorifying His name together as one! Add verse 10 and we have an incredibly powerful section of Ephesians! God prepared our works beforehand that we should walk in them. Not maybe, not perhaps, but we will walk in them. I have no doubt in my mind Crystal is accomplishing her works for God to spread His namesake through ilybox. That's a pretty amazing honor. 
  • Write a story from the point of view of someone who hurt your feelings. Now that is a challenge! Can you imagine if we did this every time someone hurt us? Our anger would probably dissipate once we took a walk in their shoes and tried to see the situation from their perspective.
Each box will also contain ily cards. I loved these cute little boogers...
... which are perfect to hang on a mirror or strategically place it in a wallet so it is seen and inspires on the spot.
Along with the chocolate we also received some other products worth sharing...
Bright Bands are bracelets offering a quick message to remind you to love others just as Christ loved us. That is a selfless, kind, patient love wrapped up in service to others. Love Christ because He first loved you and love others the same way. What a great reminder in my day with small kiddos. (Also, it just happened to match my outfit for the day!)

I am super excited about this journal. My husband used these as a scientist when he took notes out in the field.  I write thank you's every single day and this is a perfect journal to take hiking, camping, or swimming (activities we do often during our summers).
Another product I can't wait to use is the MacDaddy Milkers: Luxury Goat Milk Products, which is a bath ball made with goat milk, shea butter, and 7 luscious oils. The card says my skin will thank me. (Seriously, finding the time with a 2 year old and a 4 month old is difficult, so once the time is found I know I will thoroughly enjoy it!) 

With everything in this box and the price you pay for it, I'd say it's a perfect gift to send to someone or the perfect lift-me-up when needed ('cause there will be days/months/years we all need it). 

If you're interested in purchasing one I encourage you to go to the website and use this unique 10% off coupon code VIPBL10. Enjoy!


Monday, August 10, 2015

Postpartum Depression, the Bible & Discipleship

After sharing a bit of my postpartum story, I shared my sister Mandy's testimony, who had a pretty severe case of postpartum depression. She experienced everything from anxiety to fear of harming herself or her baby. Hopefully through these testimonies you see the effectiveness of God's Word and discipleship. This is the last post of the series where I want to show you what the Bible says about worry, anxiety, and sadness and then how God's Word allows you to replace it with hope, faith and joy. 

First you need to know this one truth: the Bible exists to give you hope and encouragement (Romans 15:4). By reading stories like Job, who lost everything, and learn how God has asked us to handle tribulation, we become encouraged. By reading what Paul, Peter and other apostles and prophets say about Jesus and our hope found in Him alone, we become encouraged. The first and only place to find encouragement and hope that is eternal, is in God's Word.

So what does the Bible say about Job and tribulation?

And what does the Bible say about our hope in Jesus?

Hope in Jesus: These are the first questions I answered for Mandy after she asked me for help. I presented the gospel to her, because she needed reassurance in what the Bible says about our hope of salvation through Jesus Christ alone and she needed encouragement knowing that she is not alone in tribulation. There is help. She has not been abandoned.

Job and Tribulation: Job went through some extremely difficult circumstances. He lost his children, his wealth, his livelihood, everything. His first response to his loss was a wonderful example for us all, 
"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21) 
His response to his wife when she told him to curse God and die was also remarkable, 
"You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" (Job 2:10) 
At this time his health was affected, BUT as time went on, and he endured months of suffering, his attitude changed and he begins to complain in chapter 3. Knowing all that he lost, all of us would justify this complaining. We'd even understand his lament over his own birth. I'm pretty sure not one of us would condemn Job for asking God "WHY?!" In fact, Job is so confident in his complaint and bitterness that he goes as far as telling God statements that should spark fear in the very depth of our soul, 
"I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God, Do not condemn me; let me know why you contend against me." (Job 10: 1-2) 
or 
"But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God." (Job 13:2) 
He states this desire to argue with God multiple times, 
"I would lay my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments." (Job 23:4) 
He even goes as far as asking, 
"What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? And what profit do we get if we pray to him?" (Job 21:15) 
Be honest, we've all asked those questions in times of hardship, God where are you? Why did you do this, I didn't deserve it?! Why should I believe in a God that would allow this to happen? 

Multiple friends come to comfort Job, and fail miserably, insisting he brought this upon himself. There is one young man, however, that speaks truth. His truth is the advice we all need to heed: 
"Job speaks without knowledge; his words are without insight." (34:35) 
and 
"Job opens his mouth in empty talk; he multiplies words without knowledge." (35:16) 
In all your Sunday school lessons did you ever hear, do not be like Job? Well, that's just what Elihu is suggesting. Instead of complaining and arguing your case to God, like Job, you need to instead, 
"Remember to extol his work, of which men have sung." (36:24)  
and to simply, 
"... stop and consider the wondrous works of God." (37:14)
If you want to know the wondrous works of God, begin by reading what God has said about Himself in His response to Job in chapters 38-41. It.is.awesome!

Why did I give you that giant explanation of Job? To help you understand what Mandy and I did on that night of transformation. Instead of focusing on her hardship, we instead focused on the greatness of God!

He is sovereign. 
He is faithful. 
The earth and everything in it is His.
His knowledge is unsearchable.
He provides.
He satisfies.
He holds our breath in His hands.
He knows each star by name.

And that's just the beginning of everything God reveals of Himself in chapters 38-41! Focusing on the greatness of God, worshiping Him, praying to an Almighty, faithful, sovereign God leaves no room for anxious thoughts! So that's just what we did. We listened to this song over and over again,
We cried together. 
We prayed together; thanking God for His gift of salvation, for a love that casts out fear, for working in us even in hardship, that when beyond our understanding you're teaching us to trust, and for being with us through the fires and floods.

That night began a discipleship relationship where we studied the book of Romans. It was that night and the extreme transformation God brought about, that began an incredible journey. Whenever she began to worry, or be anxious, or have scary thoughts, she immediately went to the list she created, to help her focus her mind on God. She listened to this song, she read about God's greatness in His Word, she prayed, and there were many times she called me and we'd do all things together. That is the beauty of discipleship. You are not alone.

That is what I encourage a new mommy to do: find a woman who will help you focus on the greatness of God. Find a woman who will pray with you. Find a woman who will hold your baby while you rest. Find a woman who serves you through meals, cleaning your home, doing a load of laundry. Find a woman who helps you understand that your postpartum depression, no matter how difficult, is bringing you closer to God as you learn to trust Him through this fire! 

Through your depression He is...
... teaching you to trust.
... building your faith in Him.
... loving you so much that He's casting away all fear and doubts.
... working a mighty work within you, for His glory!
So be thankful and worship a great and mighty God.

* If you want to read what Jesus says about worry, I encourage you to read Matthew 6:25-34. There you will find hope by trusting that He will take care of you, just as He promised.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Spilling the Beans [June & July 2015 Edition]

I am so far behind on everything! Hence, two months at once...

June

After scolding Quigley for eating poop Brielle very seriously told me, "Mommy, I don't eat poop."

Corn bread is "supper cake"

She wanted another cookie I was preparing for a baby shower and when I told her what they were for she replied, "Ooooooooh! Can I have a cookie in the shower? That sounds like fun!"

Sitting between Aunt "Symie" and her boyfriend Jake, watching a movie, she turns to Symie and asks, "Do you wear panties?" (Based on his response, I'm pretty sure he felt uncomfortable.)

Bean and I were sitting on the grass as a spider crawled across her legs. She freaked out. I told her I didn't blame her for that one and figured since the song, "shoo fly don't bother me, shoo fly don't bother me, shoo fly don't bother me, don't come 'round here no more!" worked in calming her down for flies I'd sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" (which she loves). As she continued crying she told me, "Stop! I don't like that song anymore!" and the rest of the day she told me it was no longer her favorite.

Brielle came to the living room wearing her Elsa dress and Cinderella glass slippers asking if I'd call her "Elsa Brielle". I told Miss Elsa Brielle how much I loved her and asked, "May I have a kiss from Elsa Brielle?" After obliging she told me, "That was true loves kiss."

July

Bean LOVES acting out parts of movies and some of her favorite lines are from Frozen. "Don't touch me! I don't want to hurt you!" or from Tangled, "I'll never stop fighting you," to Mother Gothel, "NO! Not ever!" She is still pretending to cry like Cinderella after she gets her dress torn by her stepsisters or the scene where she loses her slipper on the stairs.

She took swimming lessons the last week of July and she was terrified at the line that separated the deep end from the shallow, she called it a line monster. It took a few days of convincing for her to realize it wasn't terrifying after all. She was fearless before swimming lessons, but now her confidence is through the roof. She jumped and jumped and jumped and jumped into the water.

She'll grab a ton of toys from her play room and tell me, "I have lots of stuffs."

Kyle came home after being gone all weekend and I gave him a giant hug, to which Brielle commented, "Aw! Mommy's prince!"

Allergies have given her a super stuffy nose and these days she's walking around wiping her nose on blankets, curtains, mommy's hat/clothes/hand and anything else within nose reach. Gross.

Fireworks are "firetrucks".

She sings outside in her princess dresses at the top of her lungs. The neighbors think it's pretty cute entertainment (thank goodness).

We had an awesome conversation about our hearts that went something like this:
Mommy: "I'm sorry Brielle for my selfish heart."
Bean: "Our hearts are dirty."
Mommy: "Yes they are."
Bean: "Only Jesus wipes them clean."