A Simple Review: The Year 2014

Hold the phone! 
Shut the front door!
Come again? 
It’s almost 2015. 
I’m getting old…but kind of loving it. Each new year brings challenges and changes of it’s own, but also so much goodness. I look back on 2014 and see so much goodness. 2014 kicked off with a whole lot of sweet, squishy, super adorable goodness when Lillian Mae Steiner was born on January 25th.
The rest of the year has flown by in a whirlwind because time certainly does fly when you’re taking care of a two year old and a baby. I quit working part time for Hospice and took on the full time job of stay at home mom. In between and written into the every day life of running errands, teaching my girls, play time, dinner times, household chores, and Oh Tiny Gifts sewing, goodness was happening. In between and written into the not so every day life of new birthdays, a sister’s wedding, family vacations, Influence Conference and more, goodness was happening. 

Gracie and Lillie have grown and learned so much this last year! Watching them learn and try new things can only be described as amazing and breathtaking. To see the joy in figuring out something new. To see their faces scrunched in concentration. To see frustration turn to realization and happiness-it’s good. 

Dustin and I also embarked on the journey of letting go of the things we had planned for our lives, and start letting God do the planning. This has resulted in some big changes for 2015. A change that is taking us to pursue mission work in Uganda for the next three years! To learn more about this journey and follow along as we go you can check out A Whispered Yes

I looked back at my New Year’s resolutions or theme words that I had written for 2014.
While there are certainly areas I could have done better in, in thinking about 2014 the most important thing I see is growth. A continual growth and desire to seek Him and put His will first. A not perfect, but improved growth in connecting more with others and making an effort. A move towards simplifying and starting to let go of things that are not needed. (Things will certainly be simplified when we pack our suitcases for the move to Africa!) Growth in saying yes to spread joy to others and put them first, and realizing the joy that comes back is ten fold. Growth in living a healthy, wholesome life and giving grace when I fall short. Growth in seeing the beauty that is all around. Beauty in the imperfections and the failures and the things that make us all very different and very human. 

So now I prepare a few new theme words for 2015. Words full of grace with room for plenty of growth. Words that I’ll share soon to ring in the New Year!

Easy DIY Gifts: An Essential Oils Christmas

You now have less than a week until it is officially Christmas! Need a few more gifts? No worries, I’m here to save you with some SUPER easy DIY gifts. These gifts use Young Living Essential Oils, which I am totally loving. They are are 100% pure, top of the line therapeutic oils, and if you want to learn more, hop over to my friend/partner in crime’s blog post found here!

Winter Hand Scrub (Adapted from Young Living Blog)

1/4 C white sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
3 Tbsp olive oil
5-10 drops of favorite Young Living Essential Oil (I used 10 drops Lavender for a relaxing and gentle hand scrub)

Mix together in a zip lock bag. After ingredients are mixed well, pour into a 4 oz glass jar. Decorate, label and keep or give as a gift! Perfect for rough and dry winter hands.

Bath Salts (Adapted from Young Living Blog)

1/4 C epsom salts
1/4 C sea salts
10 drops of your favorite Young Living Essential Oil (I used 8-10 drops of Juniper and 2-3 drops of Peppermint for a refreshing and detoxing bath salt)

Pour into 4 oz glass jar. Shake well. Decorate and keep or give as a gift!

There you have it! Happy DIYing! Have yourself a blessed and restful weekend…and now that you have these gifts taken care of, I know you will!


Accepting His Gift:Encouragement to Strive Less

All seem to say
             Throw cares away 
                          Christmas is here 
                                       Bringing good cheer

Scroll through your Instagram feed, click through Facebook pictures, pin a million different holiday activities and decorations.

Sometimes it gets too easy to see the perfectly decorated trees, the delicious picture perfect sweets, the twinkling lights, and entirely miss tiny baby Jesus in the manger. 

It’s easy to feel the need to strive and strive and strive. To decorate perfectly, host generously, and make the best of memories with your family and friends. It starts to feel like a tall order of Christmas activities that need to be checked off one by one.

So this Christmas season, I’m going to encourage you to strive less. Wrap those presents with a heart that remembers that Jesus is the gift God sent to us. A gift all wrapped up in a tiny, precious baby. A baby who would someday grow to be a man (though no ordinary man) that would die on the cross to save us from our sins. He gave us the greatest gift of all. The gift of eternal life.

So if that doesn’t just hit you hard, right there, right at the center of your heart, then maybe read it again. 

We don’t have to strive to do more this Christmas season because we have already been given the greatest gift ever. All we need to do now is accept 
that gift and share with others!

So while I have of course set up a twinkling Christmas tree, wrapped presents, baked cookies, and plan on enjoying time with family and friends, I’m also trying to focus a little less on the glitz and a little more on the Christ child. The gift that we don’t have to, and shouldn’t, only celebrate at Christmas.
If you are looking for some awesome encouragement for your heart and soul this Christmas, I’d love to point you towards two great reads. The first is She Reads Truth. They have wonderful devotional series and always right on target, pointing to Jesus with love and grace. The second is Ann Voskamp’s book, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. This family centered book works to recapture the sacredness of the Advent season, and beautifully illustrates that everything, from the beginning of time, had been pointing towards the arrival of our Savior. Check them out and be encouraged and blessed this Christmas season. Let’s aim for acceptance of the gift of the Christ child, and a little less of the check list striving!

Linking up at She Lives Free!

Inspiration to BE MOVED to Action

In order to send you some Monday inspiration, today I’m pointing you over to BE Kids. I had the wonderful opportunity to do a guest post for them that you can read here. The people and community behind this site have such great vision and their goals are to:

Equip and empower parents to live
 on mission, invade communities with love,
 and make a generational change in society. 

They are calling parents and children to be moved to action in a world that would rather we just sit idly by. Their mission states:

“…we want to teach kids who they are in Christ, 
because if we don’t, the world will teach them 
something completely different.”

Such truth! So go check them out, be inspired, fill up on some goodness, and have a very blessed and happy Monday!