Ethical Spring Fashion // Wish List

Today I’m excited to share pretty pictures of pretty awesome ethically made items! I have items from some of these brands, am soon to be an owner of, or am kind of drooling over the rest! Curl up on the couch and do a little drooling with me…scratch that, let’s just swoon, it’s a lot less messy! Just click on the pictures to take you to the source! Not only are each of these items awesome on their own, but I’ve been imagining them all paired together…cue the heart eyes!

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Everlane Ryan Tank Dress

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New Eve Jewelry Fiercely Loved Tassel Necklace

Mint and Gold Paper Bead Necklace-Short

Oh Tiny Gifts & Smile Africa Mint and Gold Paper Bead Necklace

 

Zemen Tote | FASHIONABLE

FashionAble Zemen Auburn Leather Tote

Shegaw Scarf | FASHIONABLE

FashionAble Shegaw Scarf

 

Caramel Leather Stitched Ribbon Sandals | Sseko Designs

Sseko Designs Caramel Leather Stitched Ribbon Sandals

 

Mama Shares Monday Book Review // Planted with Hope

If you follow this blog you probably know by now that I love Amish fiction and was given the chance to read Tricia Goyer’s new book, Planted with Hope. I even had a little giveaway going a few weeks ago and one lucky read now gets to read TWO of Tricia’s books. But maybe you are one that wants to know a little bit about what you may be diving into with a new read. If you were curious about Planted with Hope, you’ve come to the right place!

Planted with Hope was a great read. The reading is easy, and honestly just draws you in with the simplicity and beauty of Amish life that Tricia describes. In this book, Hope, a young Amish girl, dreams of having her own garden, just like she use to have before her family moved.. With a move from Ohio (right around where we are actually from!) to Florida she finds it difficult to find not only a garden, but to maintain a sense of identity in a place where she doesn’t feel she belongs.

You don’t have to be Amish, or a girl for that matter, to identity with searching for your identity and looking for a place to belong! We often rest our identity on something we can do well, but what happens when that thing is taken from us, or life’s circumstances change and we are left with that identifying marker?

Following Hope in her journey allows the reader to walk alongside her in her search. To relate as she struggles to find out where she belongs and how to build community in a new and unknown place. And then of course there’s romance, because, well, do I have to explain why that’s a good thing!?

The message of God providing and walking along side us in our journey is beautifully woven into the pages of this book. It is a reminder that God knows us. He knows our hearts and He knows our most inner longings and desires…and He also knows what we need and what will bring Him glory. We often think we would be better off if God would just give us what we want. Planted with Hope portrays how God often has bigger and better plans outside of simply the things that we want. If we let God work in us and around us, and open ourselves up to His good and perfect plan, we will often be left with very full hearts.

So if you’re looking for an uplifting and easy read (because I know those two things are important to all you mamas out there!) Planted with Hope by Tricia Goyer will fill your tank! Thank you, Tricia,  for allowing me to read your wonderful book!

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The Extraordinary, Ordinary Days

Do you ever spend so much time dreaming about the future that you forget to focus on the present? To be joyful in what you have and where you are, while yet maintaining an expectant hope for what’s to come?

It has often seemed like I’ve waited for the next change in my life. To drive, to go to college, get married, get a job, have babies, stay home with those babies and now go do mission work. I’m learning to be content right where I am, which right now happens to be in Africa.  But I can still find myself dreaming about our future home we will build when we move back to Ohio and what my days might look like there, and some days wishing we were there. I can find myself looking at my phone again, wondering when it will finally be nap time, or bedtime, or whatever time it will be quiet. I can find myself comparing my own not so Pinterest or Instagram perfect days to those of others that looks a lot prettier, joyful and bright. I can find myself waiting for that next big thing to happen and not be quite content in the place my journey has brought me.

But what happens when we continually look towards the future and forget about being present right where we are? We miss all the goodness and love and promise of that wonderful or hard or extraordinary, ordinary moments. By looking too far ahead and not being content where we are, we rob ourselves of the joy of THIS moment. The importance of THIS moment is another building block in all the wonderful, or hard, or extraordinary, ordinary moments.

Some days we just want to get past a certain moment, a certain time, experience, or hardship. We want to breeze on through and jump forward to happier, more easily joy counted days. But the hard days , and the days that are  difficult to count joy, and the days that seem down right impossible to count joy, can be some of the most meaningful and faith building days of our lives. Times when the Lord is growing us. Times when the Lord is strengthening us. Times when the Lord is using us to bring complete glory to Him and allow us to boast in our weaknesses.

Some days we just want more. We want more recognition, more love, more meaning, and maybe even more stuff. We focus on our discontent of that moment instead of the joy of the moment. Instead of holding up that discontent and offering it up to our Father, we take it on ourselves to figure out how we can not be quite so discontent anymore, and in the process make an idol out of whatever that earthly thing may be.

And because Ann Voskamp always says it better than any one I know…

“The extra everyone’s looking for —- it’s found in the ordinary. The ordinary becomes the extraordinary when the eyes see the extra glory right here.” Ann Voskamp

Amen and thank you, and Amen again!

So here’s to the ordinary days. The wonderful, and hard, and extraordinary, ordinary days.

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Wear {9} // Fruit of the Spirit Tee & Pearls

Soon I won’t be the only one wearing short sleeves over here in Uganda! Spring is coming back to the U.S. and it will be time for cute skirts, tees, and maybe even a string of pearls!

This week I paired my Sunday best skirt with my Oh Tiny Gifts shirt and pearls. There are still some pink Fruit of the Spirit Pineapple shirts available in pink for women and kids! And if you sign up for the newsletter now, you get an extra special discount for March!

Think Spring thoughts and enjoy this very Springy wear post!

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Shirt:Oh Tiny Gifts // Skirt:Mr. Price // Shoes: Keen // Pearls : Grandma H.

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And this is my pose when I run out of poses and want to pose like a thirteen year old…nailed it!

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Linking up here!

Tot Home School // Spring Unit

By now you all have probably figured out that I’m a big ol’ mixed up mess of home schooling theories and ideas…but in a good way, right? I take a little of this and a little of that and I use what works for our family, and trust me, I am totally still in the process of figuring out what works for our family.  

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This is what 90% of our days look like… (insert music blaring and baby screeching noises).

Displaying WP_20160307_16_00_03_Rich_LI (2).jpgI have currently decided to go with a Spring Unit and incorporate whatever home schooling theories work best for the girls at this time. That means they get a little bit of traditional book work, some Montessori type activities and some things geared more toward Charlotte Mason’s teaching.

Mind you, this Spring unit is just as much for me as it is for them. It’s hovering in the 90’s and I’m sitting here sticky and hot as I type. When back in Ohio, Spring is my absolute favorite time of year, and kind of how I imagine Heaven sometimes! So for the next few weeks, or however long this mama NEEDS her Spring time phase, we are doing a tot school Spring Unit. Here’s the break down for those that are interested in trying it out! The links will take you to the sites I used for ideas, and if you follow my Pinterest Spring Unit board, you can see most of the unit there.

Monday– A music class that included learning some new Spring songs. We then played around with the boom whackers and I worked on some music theory with Gracie. A wonderful friend from Ohio made us a little felt music staff and felt notes, along with some music flash cards. I had Gracie arrange some notes on the correct lines using the flash cards and then we played it with the boom whackers. We then made up a Spring like song to go along with our music.  I had her practice writing a few of those words to finish up.

Tuesday-We looked at lots of beautiful pictures of tulips in Holland! We found where Holland is on the map and then even made up our own plan to someday visit Holland during the Spring on our way back to the U.S.- just to see the tulips! The girls then colored pictures I had made of a tulip’s life cycle and we looked at them in the correct order. We finished by listening to books all about Spring.

Keukenhof Gardens in season

Wednesday- We found where Holland was once again on the map and talked a little bit about windmills and how they are a symbol of Holland. We watched a short youtube video on windmills in Holland and talked about how windmills are using the wind as a source of energy. We then made our very own pinwheels.

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Thursday-I’m able to take Gracie with me to a friend’s house on Thursday while I give piano lessons to two of her children. This sweet friend is gracious enough to hold an art history class for the littles where they get to make their very own masterpieces.

Friday-We did some brief phonics and writing practice in our workbook and then we created our very own Spring wonderland.

I start each class time by reading the Jesus Storybook Bible. We then pray and I work on a short bible memorization verse with Gracie. We all sing the ABCs together and I remind them what month it is, the day of the week, and the date. All of our activities are done in the morning and usually take an hour or two at most. Lots of outdoor play, free time and just being kids is part of the agenda! Lillie is able to do some activities with us, but usually ends up doing her own thing. I think this is perfectly fine, as she is only two, but I’m hoping to incorporate some more Montessori type activities for her next week that she can do independently while I try to help Gracie.

I hope this helps spark some wonderful Spring activities for you to do with your kids -wherever you are in the world and whatever your Spring looks like!

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Planted with Hope Giveaway!

If there is one type of book I’m always in the mood to read, it is most definitely Amish fiction. Growing up in Ohio, in the heart of Amish country, only one county over from the largest Amish population in the world may have something to do with that! On the way to school there was always about a 99% chance that you were going to have to pass a buggy…or maybe two. My Hospice nursing job took me into many Amish homes and developed a deeper respect and appreciation of Amish culture. We are good friends with a few Amish families, and it was so good to see them when we were back in Ohio over the Christmas season.

Amish culture is simpler. It revolves around God, hard work, and community, things I think we can all agree are pretty important, though often overlooked in this day and age. Reading Amish fiction transports me back to beautiful Ohio and reminds me of the many Amish homes I have been warmly welcomed into. It reminds me to treasure the little things, and that being unplugged and away from technology for a bit, can be a very good thing!

I’m a few chapters in to reading Tricia Goyer’s new Planted with Hope book and I’m hooked already! She paints beautiful pictures with her words and tells a story that draws you in from the beginning. This is why I am so excited to be teaming up with Tricia to not only give away one of her books, but two of them! By entering the giveaway below you will be eligible to win Tricia’s books Planted with Hope AND Made with Love. Giveaway ends on 3/16 at 12 am EST. Good luck! Now I’ve got to back to my reading!

(Giveaway open to US residents only)

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Confidence in a Critical World // What I Want My Girls to Know

I can pinpoint a lot of moments where my confidence started to take a hit. It can pretty much be wrapped up in two words though. MIDDLE SCHOOL. I was in a new school, making new friends, and you know those girls that seems like they skip the awkward middle school phase and transition beautifully? Well that wasn’t me. Braces, acne, long hair and perfectly ironed clothes…(which may be why I never iron my clothes., sorry mom). Middle school feels like a time of scrutiny. A time when you are trying to find out who you are and where you fit in, but in possibly one of the most awkward phases of your life! 

I can tell you it all turned out ok! I pretty much never wanted to leave school when it was all said and done, but I definitely became more self conscious. I’m still very sensitive today and often place a lot of value in the opinions of others, even when I probably shouldn’t. 

I want to dive in to what I want my girls to know about confidence. I’m not talking so much about confidence in themselves and their abilities, but a confidence in the ONE who made them and created them just they way they are.

I want them to know that God made them with a purpose and plan in mind. (Ephesians 1:11-12) That  He loves them just the way they are and He will never stop loving them. (Romans 8:39) I want them to know that they can be fully confident of who they are as Christ’s children. They can know who they are, what their purpose is, and where they are going all because of JESUS.

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Will they have weaknesses and make mistakes? Sure! But in those weakness they can go forward with the confidence that they are being used to bring glory to God. (2 Corinthians 12:9) I pray that they will draw on the Lord for their strength. That they would seek Him when they are feeling put down by the world’s standard’s and earthly views. (Psalm 105:4)

It can be easy in this day and age to feel like we are not enough. That the things we do aren’t good enough, and for the standards and opinions of others to beat us down and trod on our confidence. Gracie is only four and she has already learned to compare her work to others. To sometimes think that her work is not as good, even though she is comparing her work to someone else’s that may be a few years, or more, older! 

How often do we let our own confidence be defeated as we compare our journey to someone else’s? We forget who we are in Christ and that He has a purpose for our specific journey in a specific way and a specific time. He knows the plans He has for us and He won’t leave us to go it alone.  (Psalm 138:8)

So let’s teach our little ones not to measure themselves by the world’s standards. Not to place the opinions of others at a higher value than that of their Father’s. Not to create a false sense of confidence in what they can do in this world, but rather to gain confidence because of who they belong to. To be confident in the love of Jesus. To be confident that they will always be His child. To be confident in knowing He has a purpose for them and He will never leave them alone. To daily walk in the confidence of God and His Word.

This I pray.

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Currently // 3/4/16

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Eating / Now that we are back in Uganda, the reality of lack of choices has hit us…hard! We’re probably eating healthier in a lot of ways because there are a lot less food just to easily snack on…we may be addicted to baking chocolate chip cookies though!

Drinking / Water and coffee all day every day.

Practicing / Being intentional and loving well in the moment I am currently in. Not looking too far ahead, wishing a moment away or dreading what’s to come.

Mastering / I would not consider myself an artist, but lately I have been practicing a lot of hand lettering and some painting just for the fun of it…I may be in love.

Playing / The girls are back to running around outside mostly naked and chasing chickens…that’s playing, right?

Finishing / We may be getting towards the tail end of potty training Lillie. Wait a minute, who I am kidding…we have a lot more ruined underwear to go through before this is over!

Reading/ A lot of Beatrice Potter books to the girls.

Remembering / God is growing me and using me wherever my journey leads.

Wearing/ Skirts, maxis, and anything that is cool, because it is too stinking hot!

Cooking / Bread

Working / Getting back into the swing of things with homeschooling, visiting Smile orphanage once or twice a week, giving piano lessons to some friends, and helping with widow’s class occasionally.

Traveling / We’ve stayed pretty much around Tororo since we’ve been back, but we have been up to Mbale for a ballet lessons and then another 45 minutes past Mbale to visit Hellen’s family.

Wanting / Is string cheese too much to ask for?

Thanks for stopping by and seeing what we have been up to this last week. What is happening currently in your life!?

It Will Be OK // Home School Reflections

Hey there mama/teacher of little children.

I know it get’s frustrating sometimes. I know they don’t always want to listen to you. I know that a lot of whining will usually take place every 4 out of 5 activities. I know that at least one of your children is usually distracted and not paying any attention. 

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I ‘m there in the midst of it. Tot home schooling in Uganda. Doing my best to encourage creativity and curiosity while learning the basics. Trying to spark that passion for learning and understanding that we all have different gifts and talents that Jesus has given us.

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The midst of it can be a strange place to be. It’s fun and frustrating all at the same time. And even though the end is a far way off, I don’t really mind, and  I have a feeling that it’s all going to be ok.

It’s going to be ok if that fun activity we planned just doesn’t pan out. It’s going to be ok if the two year old is paying zero attention to your letter learning. It’s going to be ok if you get a little snappy and have to ask for forgiveness. It’s going to be ok.

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And this is why it will be ok. It will be ok because you love them. It will be ok because you are trying. It will be ok because Jesus gives you grace for each moment of each day. For each failed activity and each distracted child.

So pull together some lessons. Read some books. Work on a craft together. Get outside and take a nature walk. And through it all, know that it will be ok.

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