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How to Create a Personal Sanctuary

sunlight-through-window

Our lives are so full and fast paced these days. Everyone is busy. We all have so much going on. We’re overworked, overstressed, and in constant need of more rest. I think many of us have forgotten the importance of stopping to refresh and renew.

That’s why we need to create a personal sanctuary.

A few moments of quiet solitude to be still with our own thoughts is extremely important to our own health and wellbeing. A daily time of quiet reflection is essential.

For as long as I can remember, spending time alone has been necessary for my own sense of balance and peace of mind. I need moments of solitude in every day to be able to ponder and process through my thoughts. I like to use the time to reflect on the past and make plans for the future.

As a Christian, it is important to me to take a few minutes each day to read and mediate on God’s Word, the Bible. The Scriptures give guidance and wisdom for daily life. They help us know the mind of our Heavenly Father. Spending time in the Bible brings clarity and purpose to my day.

Along with reading and meditating on Scripture, I also love to carve out a few minutes in every day for activities that feed my soul. Whether it’s reading a good book, working on a sewing project, gardening, taking a quiet walk, or practicing an instrument, doing something just for me is an important part of what keeps me sane as a homeschooling mother of eight children.

Karen Andreola, one of my homeschooling mentors, calls this sort of thing Mother Culture.

“When a dedicated, hard-working home teacher takes part in Mother Culture she safeguards her enthusiasm. She will be better able to cope with her responsibilities. To take part in Mother Culture is to feed herself with the Word of God, with ideas from books, nature, art, music, etc., taking care to keep growing spiritually and mentally.”

It’s not only homeschooling mothers that can benefit from taking time to feed their own souls with beautiful, life giving activities. Anyone can find peace and joy by carving out moments in each day to cultivate their own interests. So much more than just “Me Time,” this daily sanctuary helps us to develop as people and brings refreshment to our spirits.

Do you have a time and place each day devoted just to you? A quiet, peaceful place where your soul can be renewed? Do you dedicate a few moments to solitude within your own thoughts? If you’re a Christian, do you spend time reading and meditating on the Scriptures each day?

In the hustle and bustle of life, don’t forget to feed your soul. Humans were not meant to be on the go 24/7. We need times of rest and silence alternated between times of activity and busyness.

Take time to create a personal sanctuary in your life. It doesn’t have to be fancy. it doesn’t have to take long. Just a few minutes of listening to your favorite song or reading a good book can do wonders. If you love to knit, do that. If you like to paint, make time for it. Enjoy a quiet cup of tea in the afternoon. Take a relaxing bubble bath. Just do something that brings you joy and makes you feel peaceful. Do it just for you. Don’t try to find a reason to justify it. Don’t multitask while doing it. Be fully present in it, just for a few moments every day.

This practice to create a personal sanctuary will bring balance to your life in ways you may not expect. It’s a wonderful way to de-stress. It’s great for your overall health and wellbeing. And you may find that you feel happier and more fulfilled in every other area of your life.

Modest Fashion Friday: Pretty in Pink

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Be assured that  I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

The blush pink trend I’m seeing in fashion right now has me very happy. Blush pink is the ultimate feminine, girly color!

blush-blouse-floral-skirt

To celebrate the spring weather that has finally reached our region (for real!), I’m showing off my new favorite blush pink blouse and a pencil skirt in soft tones of floral.

This blouse came to me through ThredUp, but it’s still available through Old Navy. It’s soft and flowing and flattering on just about anyone. I love the delicateness of both the color and texture of this blouse.

I chose the skirt to wear with the blouse because it brought out the color palette perfectly. The soft blush pink of the blouse is beautifully echoed in the pink of the floral print on the skirt.

blush-blouse-floral-skirt-close-up

This knee length A-line skirt is a surprisingly versatile piece. I’ve worn it dressed up, as with this outfit. I’ve also worn it with a T-shirt and sandals for a more casual look. (And it was yet another ThredUp find.)

The shoes are classic nude pumps. You may have seen them before here on the blog. They are an absolute wardrobe staple. They truly do go with almost everything in my closet.

A long string of pearls, looped and knotted, lends a classy and elegant feel to the look. The earrings I chose with this are a neutral colored drop style that blend well with the overall outfit. And the watch is a fun addition in a pretty pink that coordinates perfectly with all the blush tones in the other pieces.

blush-blouse

This is a perfect outfit for a sunny spring day. It has a feminine, timeless appeal that I really love.

So tell me, do you love the blush tones  as much as I do?

What I Wore

Blouse: Old Navy (via ThredUp)
Skirt: J. Jill (via ThredUp)
Shoes:Clarks
Pearls: similar
Earrings: similar
Watch: Geneva Rose Gold watch

Linking up with: Modest Mondays | Hello MondayStart the Week Stylish | Watch What I am Wearing | Style Sessions | Style Swap Tuesdays | On Trend Tuesdays | Turning Heads Tuesday | What I Wore |  Style Me Wednesday | Color and Grace | Who’s Wearing What Wednesday |  Style Spotlight | What Wives Wear | Thursday ModaNo Rules Weekend Blog Party | Friday’s Fab Favorites | Fun Fashion  | Fancy Friday | Fabulous Friday | Fashion Friday | Weekend Wear Linkup

10 Best World War II Historical Novels

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Be assured that  I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

best-wwii-historical-novels

I’m a bit of a history buff. I guess I come by it naturally; my dad had a passion for history. My brother is very knowledgeable about history as well. And it’s being passed on through the generations to my own son and to my nephews.

One era of history that particularly fascinates me and many others is World War II. The horror of that time, as well as the heroism displayed in the face of great evil, captures interest and makes us want to learn more.

From thrilling, to poignant, to romantic, to heartbreaking, there are so many novels available to the WWII history buff.

Here is a list of historical novels that will bring to life some of the events and people surrounding that time in history.

(Please be aware that these books should be read with discernment. Not all the content in all the books is easy to take in. Considering the subject matter, some of the details and incidents in many of these books may be disturbing or graphic.)

This is not a comprehensive list by any means. It’s just a few recommendations to get you started, if you’re interested. Choose a book or two (or more!) from this list and allow yourself to be immersed in this major turning point in modern history.

World War II Historical Novels

 

The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah

Two sisters make decisions and live with the consequences in this war-time story set in France.

 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

A poignant tale that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.

 

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

If you didn’t have to read this one in school, you should read it now. It may be considered YA, but like most good books, it has value for a large range of ages.

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

This is an imaginative and somewhat quirky novel that gives a taste of live on the German-occupied British isle of Guernsey during the war. Oh, and it’s about people who like books.

 

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Several women from different background struggle to survive a Nazi concentration camp.

 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

A young girl finds hope and beauty in the midst of tragedy and the horror of war.

 

The Sisters of St. Croix by Diney Costeloe

A beautifully told tale of the lives of people in an occupied French village.

 

The Violin of Auschwitz by Maria Angels Anglada

This haunting story shows the strength of hope and the power of beauty in the face of atrocities.

 

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson

This isn’t a novel about World War II per se. It is a coming-of-age story set during the war and gives a glimpse of life for families on the home front.

 

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Not a novel, but well written and highly recommended. Arguably the best on the list. Corrie Ten Boom tells the story of what happened to herself and her sister when her family hid several Jews in their home.

 

Go ahead, immerse yourself in the reading and learning!

Spring Skirts to Pair with Chambray

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Be assured that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

A classic chambray shirt can pair beautifully with so many outfits. I thought I would try my own favorite chambray button down with 3 spring skirts.

Outfit 1

blush tulle skirt with chambray shirt

This outfit is fun and feminine. I’ve been seeing skirts like this one for the past couple of seasons, and the looked so pretty and girly, I just had to try one. This skirt is a bit more “fluffy” than I normally wear, but pairing it with the chambray tones down the look and keeps it from becoming too fussy.

spring skirts in tulle

For the accessories, I chose peep toe heels in a neutral dark brown to ground the look. I added the floral belt, which picks up the colors in both the shirt and skirt and ties both together. A sparkly statement necklace adds just the right amount of bling.

I had so much fun putting this outfit together. Even though I don’t typically wear something like this, I enjoyed challenging myself to try something new. Maybe I’ve inspirited you to do the same!

Outfit 2

yellow floral pleated skirt

I love the slightly retro feel of this look. This time, I paired the chambray shirt with a pleated floral skirt in a pretty pastel yellow. There is a classic ‘50s quality about this outfit that I really love.

knee length pleated floral skirt with chambray shirt

A pearl necklace and earrings make the perfect accessories to bring out the vintage vibe. And these shoes! A cream colored slingback heel, these shoes are so lovely and feminine.

This classic outfit is so ladylike and pretty.

Outfit 3

linen maxi skirt

This look is a bit more casual than the others, but no less feminine. The toned down blue of the chambray blends beautifully with the tan skirt. I love the details in this linen skirt. A wide belt cinches in the waistline.

linen maxi skirt with chambray shirt

The turquoise in the necklace adds a bit of color and interest to the outfit. Beige wedge sandals complete the look.

I like the laid-back feel of this outfit.

It was a fun challenge to find different ways to style a chambray shirt with these spring skirts.

What I Wore

Chambray shirt: Merona
Tulle skirt: Lisong
Floral belt: thrifted (similar)
Brown peeptoe heels: Liz Clairborne (similar)
Statement necklace: Dressing Your Truth (similar)
Floral skirt: Choies
Slingback heels: BCBG
Pearls: (similar)
Linen skirt: Soft Surroundings (via ThredUp)
Turquoise and silver necklace: (similar)
Beige belt: (via ThredUp)
Wedge sandals: Clarks

 

Linking up with: Modest Mondays | Hello MondayStart the Week Stylish | Watch What I am Wearing | Style Sessions | Style Swap Tuesdays | On Trend Tuesdays | Turning Heads Tuesday | What I Wore |  Style Me Wednesday | Color and Grace | Who’s Wearing What Wednesday |  Style Spotlight | What Wives Wear | Thursday ModaNo Rules Weekend Blog Party | Friday’s Fab Favorites | Fun Fashion  | Fancy Friday | Fabulous Friday | Fashion Friday | Weekend Wear Linkup

Spring Fab Fit Fun Unboxing

It’s that time again—time for another Fab Fit Fun Box!

Fab Fit Fun is a subscription box service that comes four times a year. Each season brings another box of goodies. Getting one of these boxes in the mail is so much fun. I love to dig right into it and see what kind of surprises await!

spring-fab-fit-fun-box

The spring box had some interesting items included in it. I was really excited about some of them. Others didn’t catch my interest quite as much, but they may still be useful in some way.

So let’s dig right in and see what’s in the box!

Gypsy 05 Roundie

fab-fit-fun-beach-roundie

This is a cool, hippie style beach or picnic blanket. It’s large, tie-dyed, and…well…round!

Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-in Conditioning Spray

fab-fit-fun-conditioner

I can’t wait to try this leave-in conditioner. It looks like it will be perfect for my curly hair. The ingredients are safe and curly-girl method approved.

Milly Zip Pouch

fab-fit-fun-wet-suit-bag

This water-resistant bag is perfect for travel. You can throw a wet swimsuit in it and keep it from soaking anything else in your bag.

Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Age Defying Exfoliator

fab-fit-fun-dr-brandt-microderm

I’ve never tried anything from the Dr. Brandt brand, but this looks like a good product to use at the end of a long winter. It claims to help “reveal radiant and renewed skin.”

Karuna Hydrating+ Face Mask

Another good product to rehydrate the skin after a long, drying winter. This is an all natural sheet mask. I’m looking forward to trying this one.

RealHer Lip Kit

fab-fit-fun-lip

These lip products are made from natural ingredients. The kit includes a liquid lipstick, plumping lip gloss, and lip liner.

Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish Set

fab-fit-fun-nailpolish

The pretty blue of this polish is perfect for spring.

Luv AJ Diamond Kite Crawler Earring Set

fab-fit-fun-earrings

This 14K rose gold earring set has sparkly appeal. I’ve never worn crawler earrings before. It will be interesting to try them.

Bonus item: Nature’s Bounty Hair, Skin, & Nails Gummies

fab-fit-fun-vitamins

Often, the boxes contain an extra item or two as a bonus. These vitamins are a really good quality supplement. I was close to running out of my current vitamins, so this was perfect timing!

Total retail price of the box: $374

The subscription price is only $49.99 per box!  How’s that for an amazing deal? Plus, use this link and get $10 off your first FabFitFun box!

I know you’ll love receiving a surprise box of amazing beauty, fashion, and lifestyle items each season as much as I do!

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Be assured that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

8 Picture Perfect Easter Dresses

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links. Be assured, I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

Easter dresses

Easter Sunday is quickly approaching. Are you looking for the perfect dress to wear? I have a few suggestions for you!

I love the tradition of wearing new clothing for Easter. It is a very special day in the Christian calendar, and it deserves special treatment.

For our family, it is a day spent in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a wonderful opportunity to remember, in praise and worship, the miracle of the resurrection. It is symbolic of new beginnings, of new life found in Him.

So, it is fitting to adorn ourself in new clothes.

Easter is also somewhat of a harbinger of spring. It is, in many ways, the unofficial start to the spring season. The tulips are blooming, the days are warmer, and it’s a great time to break out all our pretty spring dresses!

So here are my personal picks for the perfect Easter dresses.

classic floral dress for Easter

The RP Classic Dress in Floral Bloom from Rachel Parcell
I recently discovered this fabulous new clothing brand on Instagram and I’m blown away! So much prettiness in this little floral sheath. I’m all heart eyed over this one!

pink gingham dress

Merry Go Round Dress from Dainty Jewels
Now this is how to wear gingham! Isn’t this dress just so sweet?

Prelude to Spring Dress

Prelude to Spring Dress from Dainty Jewels
The gorgeousness of this dress makes me want to sigh. And that blue—such a beautiful color!

bell-sleeve dress for Easter

Aurora Bell-Sleeve Dress from Florence Adams
A “fancy” sleeve dress is so on-trend right now.

red nautical dress

Amelia Striped Dress from Florence Adams
This dress has a fun, nautical flare to it.

green floral wrap dress

Edith Pleated Wrap Dress from Florence Adams
I love this clothing brand. They have so many beautiful items available, not the least of which is this lovely sage green floral wrap dress, perfect for spring weather.

Floerns Women's Long Sleeve Chiffon Rose Print Spring MaxiThis flowing chiffon maxi dress is so feminine and lovely. Don’t you just love the pink roses?


Angerella Navy Belted DressSimple sophistication at its finest. Who knew Amazon was such a great source for beautiful dresses?

Book Review and Giveaway: The Magnolia Story

This month’s giveaway is especially for all my book loving friends! It will also most likely appeal to those who enjoy DIY projects, home decor and design, and any of you who like to read biographies of interesting contemporary figures.

So, without further ado, on to the giveaway!

The Magnolia Story book review

A while back, a friend asked me for some book recommendations and then mentioned that she had recently finished reading The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines. I was vaguely familiar with the Gaines’ names. Though I had heard they are Christians, I had never seen their HGTV show. I hadn’t heard any specifics on what exactly it is that they do. However, knowing that my friend’s taste in books is excellent, I figured I’d go ahead and read it for myself.

I’m so glad I did!

Chip and Joanna Gaines are a fascinating couple and their story is an inspiring one. Their hard work and determination are an example to those around them. The way they work as a team on any project they tackle is a beautiful picture of what a marriage can be when both husband and wife are willing to fulfill their roles and lay aside selfishness for the benefit of one another and their common goals.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The Gaines’ writing style is appealing and accessible. Their story is told in an interesting and compelling way that will keep you turning the pages to find out more about them. And their faith in God is genuine and completely uncontrived.

Reading their book made me determined to see their show, Fixer Upper. What a refreshing thing to see a clean, family-friendly, faith affirming show on tv! Programs like their’s are very rare in this day of no-holds-barred, anything-goes, throw-off-your-inhibitions television. They are certainly not your typical reality tv couple.

I highly recommend both their book and their HGTV show. (I read The Magnolia Story on ebook. It was the cheaper option, and I love the portability of ebooks. I watched the show at my mother’s house because we don’t have tv access in our home.)

For this month’s giveaway, I will be offering a physical copy of The Magnolia Story and season 1 of Fixer Upper for one of my readers.

Entering is easy: just use the Rafflecopter widget below.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of your own, you can find The Magnolia Story here and the ebook version can be found here. Or try the audiobook. You can find Fixer Upper here.

Happy reading!

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Note that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

Modest Fashion Friday: A Little Bit Boho

modern boho look

This week’s modest fashion post is on the casual side. I’ve had an extremely busy couple of weeks, and quick and casual looks like this one have been my go-to.

All of the pieces in this outfit are ones I have had for a while. They are tried and true favorites I’ve worn again and again through several seasons. There’s just something grounding and comforting about familiar clothing items you know will be comfortable and well fitting.

Boho chic

This denim maxi skirt has been a favorite of mine for a long time. It’s a wardrobe staple that has stood the test of time for me. A high quality item like this one can serve well for many years and if it’s a classic design like this one, it can withstand trends and still look current.

A simple scoop neck T-shirt is an absolute necessity. Every wardrobe should include at least one. This lavender tee is one I have reached for again and again over the years. I love the color and the fit. It’s easy to dress up or down depending on the occasion. It’s held up well through many washes.

These simple purple flats were a fun find at a local discount store. Flats are such a classic, they can complement almost any outfit. And when they’re in a fun color like these are, they can accessorize and bring life into a simple wardrobe.

I love the pattern on the scarf I chose for this outfit. Believe it or not, I found it at Goodwill. The print of the scarf really lends the boho vibe to this outfit. I love the crinkly texture of the scarf, which compliments the pattern nicely. And the fringe really adds to the overall effect.

boho scarf

This was a fun casual look that was easy to put together and super comfortable to wear.

What I Wore

Skirt: Talbots, via ThredUP
T-shirt: J.Jill (similar)
Shoes: (similar)
Scarf: thrifted (similar)
Earrings: (similar)

 

 

Linking up with: Modest Mondays | Hello MondayStart the Week Stylish | Watch What I am Wearing | Style Sessions | Style Swap Tuesdays | On Trend Tuesdays | Turning Heads Tuesday | What I Wore |  Style Me Wednesday | Color and Grace | Who’s Wearing What Wednesday |  Style Spotlight | What Wives Wear | Thursday ModaNo Rules Weekend Blog Party | Friday’s Fab Favorites | Fun Fashion  | Fancy Friday | Fabulous Friday | Fashion Friday | Weekend Wear Linkup

Getting Ready for Spring with a Floral Dress

Spring is finally in the air around here. The air is fresh and clean, the snow is melting, and the temperatures are running the gamut from 30 degrees all the way up to 65. It’s time to break out some spring fashion items!

To me, nothing says spring is here like a flowing floral dress. Wearing a soft chiffon dress in a pretty floral print is the perfect way to welcome a spring day.

peach-floral-dress-green-skirt

This dress is a ThredUp find. It’s shorter than I’m comfortable wearing, but I solved that problem by styling it with a knee length a-line skirt in a lovely green that brings out the color of the leaves on the dress. The flow of the dress works nicely with the slightly more structured skirt. The combination makes for a fresh, pretty look that’s still modest.

peach-floral-dress

This outfit exudes femininity. Can you get much more girly-girl that a pink floral chiffon dress?

I wore this dress and skirt with a pair of Nine West heels I’ve had for several years. I love the slightly vintage feel of these shoes. The ankle strap is my favorite detail on these pretty little shoes. The color is neutral and the style is timeless. They pair perfectly with the feminine look of the dress.

peach-floral-dress-shoes

Wearing this outfit, I feel ready to welcome spring with a smile!

What I Wore

Dress: Tildon (via ThredUp)
Skirt: Connection 18 (via ThredUp)
Shoes: Nine West (similar)
Earrings: (similar)

 

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Note that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

 

 

Linking up with: Modest Mondays| Hello Monday| Classy Monday | Start the Week Stylish | Watch What I am Wearing | Style Sessions | Style Swap Tuesdays | On Trend Tuesdays | Turning Heads Tuesday | What I Wore | What I Wore Wednesday | Style Me Wednesday | Color and Grace | Who’s Wearing What Wednesday |  Style Spotlight | What Wives Wear | Thursday ModaNo Rules Weekend Blog Party | Friday’s Fab Favorites | Fun Fashion  | Fancy Friday | Fabulous Friday | Fashion Friday | Weekend Wear Linkup

10 Elf Products Worth Trying

elf-products

Have you ever tried any products from the Elf brand? If you haven’t, you really should.

Elf is a great budget option for quality makeup products. The Elf products line includes tons of beauty items for a range of skin types, complexions, skin colors, and tastes and preferences. The products are really good and the prices are super cheap. Win/win, wouldn’t you say?

Here are a few Elf products that I have personally tried and highly recommend.
  1. Complexion brush
    The brushes from Elf are great quality, soft, dense and comfortable to use. The complexion brush is great for applying powder or foundation. And for $3 a piece, what’s not to love?
  2. Baked Highlighter
    These highlighters have just enough shimmer without looking glittery. They give a very pretty, glowing effect to the skin.
  3. High Definition Under Eye Setting Powder
    This finely milled powder works great for setting underage concealer. For a budget price, the quality is compatible to higher end products.
  4. Waterproof Eyeliner Pen
    This eyeliner is easy to apply and stays in place all day.
  5. Beautifully Bare Total Face Palette
    With the exception of foundation and mascara, this palette can give you a complete look. It includes a highlighter, contour shade, and two blushes. You could even use it for eyeshadow in a pinch, which makes this palette perfect for travel. The packaging is pretty as well!
  6. Mad for Matte Eyeshadow Palette
    This eyeshadow palette has a nice range of wearable shades. It’s perfect for creating a wide variety of looks. The shadows are fairly well pigmented and they apply smoothly and wear well.
  7. Matte Lip Color
    Available in a wide range of shades, these lip colors are beautiful. They go on nicely and are super long wearing. Like most matte lipsticks, they do tend to dry the lips. Still, they’re fairly comfortable to wear.
  8. Shadow Lock Eyelid Primer
    This eyeshadow primer works well at smoothing the lid and holding onto shadow. It definitely works to extend the wear time of any eyeshadow.
  9. 3-in-1 Mascara
    This stuff works great and at $3, it’s well worth every penny!
  10. Makeup Mist & Set
    This setting spray helps extend the wear of your makeup. It is light and effective and works great for a great price!

If you haven’t tried any of these, you really should! For the price, you’ll be glad you did!

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Note that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

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