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One Stop Shopping for All Natural Beauty Products

Do you, like me, try to use beauty products that contain natural and non-harmful ingredients? Do you ever find it challenging to find these items? Wouldn’t it be great to have a trusted source for all natural beauty products that you knew would have just what you needed when you needed it? Wouldn’t it be great if you could order those products from the comfort of your own home and have them delivered right to your door?

Well, I’m happy to tell you, there is such a place! Grove Collaborative is the place for beauty products containing natural and healthy ingredients and no harsh or harmful chemicals. Not only do they have beauty related items, such as shampoo, make up remover wipes, and moisturizer, they also carry products for the home and other personal care items. It’s a one stop shop for all things naturally based!

I love shopping at Grove. Every month, I receive a box from Grove filled with items like soap, laundry detergent, body wash, and multipurpose cleaner. These items come from brands such as Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers, and Acure.

They are continually adding more products and expanding their inventory to include more brands like these. And the website is super easy to navigate. It’s a great place to shop and I’ve always been extremely happy with the service I’ve received from the company.

An added bonus is that because it’s an online company, they can keep their costs down, and they pass on the savings to the customer. That means their prices are almost always less than you’d find in stores.

I know it sounds like I’m a walking commercial for the company, but I just love it that much! No, this is not a sponsored post. I really do love the company and wanted to share it with you!

Check out a few of the things you can find when you shop with Grove Collaborative:

 

Go ahead, give Grove a try! I think you love it 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!

10 Books That Will Forever Change Your Prayer Life

books on prayer

 

Prayer in the life of a Christian is very important, and worthy of special focus. Recently, I’ve been intentionally trying to learn more about prayer and to develop my prayer life more fully. I believe it is something all Christians should strive for.

The following is a list of books on prayer which I have found helpful and encouraging in developing my own prayer life more fully. Perhaps they will be encouraging to you as well.

 

A Simple Way to Pray by Martin Luther

A classic treatise on prayer written by a giant of the faith. This book is surprisingly easy to read, yet profound in the truths it contains about prayer. It is a quick and deceptively simple read with an enormous amount of depth and written (and translated) in an easy to understand style.

 

With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray

Another classic book on prayer by a well known preacher of old. From amazon.com: “This is one of the most beloved books on prayer, written by a man whose entire life was devoted to prayer. With Christ in the School of Prayer presents a thirty-one day tutorial: each chapter presents a new aspect of prayer, in a concise way that is at the same time rich and joyful, coming from the author’s vital relationship with God. A favorite book for generation after generation, it is as fresh today as when it was first published in the 1890’s.”

 

The Complete Works of E.M. Bounds on Prayer by E.M. Bounds

Yet another well known and much loved book on prayer. This is a thoroughly presented collection of eight books written by E.M. Bounds and covering every aspect of prayer in a readable way. Included in this collection are all that this great pastoral leader taught about the essentials, necessity, possibilities, power, purpose, reality, and weapon of prayer.

 

Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I find the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer so inspiring. His courage and depth of conviction in the face of the evils of World War II is a shining example of what it means to have true faith. In this book, he gives one of his secrets behind the powerful witness of his own life. He had learned to pray the Psalms and from them drew on the power of God in his years of imprisonment.

 

Taking Hold of God: Reformed and Puritan Perspectives on Prayer by Joel Beeke and Brian Najapfour

From Amazon.com: “In ‘Taking Hold of God’, you will enter the treasury of the church of Jesus Christ and discover some of its most valuable gems on the subject of Christian prayer. The writings of the Reformers and Puritans shine with the glory of God in Christ, offering us much wisdom and insight today that can make our own prayer lives more informed, more extensive, more fervent, and more effectual.”

 

Developing a Healthy Prayer Life by Joel Beeke and James W. Beeke

This is an extremely practical yet inspiring look at the place prayer should have in our everyday life. It is a gentle challenge to examine your prayer life and an helpful motivation to focus on making it more effective and enjoyable. I love the emphasis this book places on the joy to be found in prayer.

 

The Power of Prayer by Charles Spurgeon

This is a collection of six sermons on the subject of prayer by the Prince of Preachers himself. In it, Spurgeon shows why prayer is so powerful and how a believer might best go about praying.

 

Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy With God by Timothy Keller

In this book, Timothy Keller offers biblical guidance as well as specific prayers for certain situations, such as dealing with grief, loss, love, and forgiveness. He discusses ways to make prayers more personal and powerful, and how to establish a practice of prayer that works for each reader.

 

Becoming a Woman of Prayer by Cynthia Heald

I first read this book as a newly married young woman. It shaped my view of prayer and it’s place in my life. Prayer is our response to the One who has called out to us and desires to be in a relationship with us.  In this book, Cynthia Heald will encourage you to respond to God’s invitation to deeper intimacy with Him.

 

The Battle Plan for Prayer by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick

From Amazon.com: “Inspired by the Kendrick Brothers’ movie, War Room, this resource is designed to help anyone learn how to become a powerful person of prayer. The Battle Plan for Prayer begins with prayer’s core purpose, its biblical design, and its impact throughout history. Readers will be guided scripturally through the fundamentals of how effective prayer works, inspired towards a closer, more intimate relationship with God, and shown how to develop specific prayer strategies for each area of life. Prayer can accomplish what a willing God can accomplish. It should be your first plan of attack in all of life’s battles, not your last resort. If you want to experience the joy of mightily answered prayer, then it’s time to engage with God at another level.”

 

I hope this list inspires you to take a deeper look at the subject of prayer, just as it has done for me. Do you have any favorite books about prayer? I’d love to hear about them in the comments, if you’d care to share!

 

 

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!

6 Simple Ways to Celebrate Fall

6 simple ways to celebrate fall

Autumn is my favorite time of year. There’s just something about the cool crispness of the air, the crunch of fallen leaves under my feet, the hillsides around my home blanketed with riotous color, that makes my heart beat faster. The smell of woodsmoke and the taste of fresh apple cider calls to me and tells me it’s that time of year, a time of warm sweaters and cool mornings and hot cups of tea in the afternoon. The beauty of fall is singular among the seasons. How can everything be so beautiful when it is in the midst of dying? Come, come with me as I celebrate fall….

I know I’m not the only one who loves fall. There are so many wonderful ways to celebrate the season of autumn. I’ll share a few of my personal favorite ways to savor and celebrate all things autumn.

1.  Host a bonfire night

celebrate-fall-bonfire

Woodsmoke on the cool crisp air of an autumn evening is one of the season’s most delightful pleasures. Build a fire pit in your backyard (it’s not hard) or find a state park or campground near you that has fire pits for use. Invite some friends over for the evening’s festivities. Set up some chairs and bring out your warmest blankets. Snuggle down and enjoy the company of your favorite people for an hour or two as you roast marshmallows and watch the sunset. I guarantee you’ll create some wonderful memories to treasure for many years to come.

2.   Go apple picking

Do you live near a pick your own apple orchard? I’m privileged to live in a rural area with many local orchards. (I also happen to be blessed to have a little orchard in my backyard.) Search out an orchard where you can pick your own apples. It’s worth the drive if you don’t have one locally. Spend an afternoon in the fresh air, plucking some red, shiny fruit off some old apple trees. Be sure you bite into one of those lovely fresh, crisp apples and enjoy the tart juiciness.

3.   Read a book under a tree

celebrate-fall-book

Wrap yourself in a warm sweater and relax with a good book under the canopy of a big tree. Savor the feeling of the colorful leaves falling to the ground around you.

4.   Bake a pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie on rustic background

With the advent of pumpkin spice everything, the simple goodness of an old fashioned pumpkin pie is sometimes lost. It’s the original pumpkin flavor that never gets old. You may not want a pumpkin spice latte or a pumpkin donut, but who doesn’t love a homemade pumpkin pie? The cozy feeling of baking in the fall,and the spicy sweet smells filling the house, are matched only by the deliciousness of eating what you baked!

5.   Have a cup of fresh apple cider

celebrate-fall-apple-cider

In my opinion apple cider is the most delicious flavor of fall. If you can get a cup of the good stuff, the kind that hasn’t been pasteurized. It’s full of wonderful nutrients and it just tastes so yummy!

6.   Take a walk in the autumn woods

autumn walk

Take the time for a long walk in the woods this fall. Take deep breaths and savor the scents and sounds around you. Walking through the woods in autumn can be a wonderful opportunity for reflection and relaxation. Slow down and enjoy the beauty surrounding you.

Those are just a few of my favorite ways to celebrate fall. Do you have any favorite activities you enjoy this time of year? What do you do to savor the autumn season? Please share in the comments. I’d love to hear your ideas on how to celebrate fall.

Fall Fab Fit Fun Unboxing 2017

fall-fab-fit-fun-box

It’s time for another Fab Fit Fun unboxing! This box is the fall 2017 box. It’s full of all kinds of fun goodies. This is one subscription box that always has something really great included in it. The variety of items in each box is excellent and the choices the curators make are very well done. I look forward to receiving this box each season.

The fall box is no exception. There is a nice selection of different kinds of items in this box. Although there are some things included in this box that don’t excite me, most of them are things I am looking forward to trying out.

If you like what you see here, you can get a Fall Fab Fit Fun box of your own by using this link. The cost of the box is $49 per box and a new box comes out four times a year. The estimated value of the items in each box is always well over $250, so it really is a huge bargain. Plus, it’s like getting a surprise gift four times a year!

How fun is that?

Without further ado, let check out what’s in the Fall Fab Fit Fun box….

fall-fab-fit-fun-fashion

 

fall-fab-fit-fun-beauty

Mer-Sea & Co. Scarf

This scarf is so luxuriously soft. When I took it out of the box, I was so excited. I love scarves, and the color of this one is beautiful. By far the best part of this scarf, though, is the soft texture. It’s cozy and snuggly and I can hardly wait for cooler weather to set in so I can start wearing it! (Retail value: $98)

Private Party Gym Bag

This cute bag features a denim style material and a fun saying on the front. It can make going to the gym more stylish and sassy! I don’t go to the gym—I do my workouts at home, but I can think of a bunch of other uses for this bag. (Retail value: $59)

IMM Living Coxet Wire Heart Ceramic Jewelry Holder

This pretty little holder is a great way to store some favorite jewelry pieces. It would look pretty on a vanity table or bathroom countertop. A handy and cute storage solution! (Retail value: $33)

Whish Beauty Renewing Mud Mask

This all natural beauty mask features ingredients like bentonite clay, aloe, and rosehip oil. It’s a naturally luxurious way to rejuvenate the skin. I’m looking forward to trying this one out. (Retail value: $48)

Mytagalongs Hot & Cold Gel Pack

An extremely versatile item, this hot and cold pack can be frozen or heated. It can be used to soothe any kind of ache or pain. (Retail value $15)

Trestique Matte Color & Shiny Balm Lip Crayon

A handy, 2-in-1 product, this lip crayon features creamy, lightweight lip color with a matte finish on one end, and a nourishing lip balm for added shine on the other. Mine came in the color Tuscan Wine, which is a deep burgundy red color. (Retail value: $28)

DPHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

I prefer to use all natural ingredients in my hair. I’ve made my own ACV rinse before, but this one is conveniently already mixed and ready to use. I’ll definitely be trying this one right away. (Retail value: $35)

The Jetset Diaries Cable Knit Beanie

This cozy little hat will be very handy as the weather turns cold. It’s soft and warm and oh-so-stylish. (Retail value: $49)

As you can see, there is a nice variety of things include in this box. As always, it will be fun to try each item and see how I like them. I’m excited to get started!

Want to try out Fab Fit Fun for yourself? Join in on the fun each season and get your own subscription! Just follow this referral link and get $10 off your first box. Try it—you’ll love it!

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!

Summer 2017 Lifestyle Favorites

Since starting this blog almost a year ago, each season I have shared a short list of all the things I’m especially loving lately. I really love sharing my lifestyle favorites each season. It’s a fun chance to look over the season and how I’ve passed my time and used my energy.

Since it’s coming to the end of the summer season and fall is just around the corner, it’s time for another lifestyle favorites post.

So, without further ado, here are my lifestyle favorites for summer 2017….

Multimedia

Podcast—What Should I Read Next?

I’ve recently discovered the delightful world of podcasts. If you’re not listening to podcasts, you should be. There are several I enjoy enough to subscribe to. My favorite of all the podcasts I listen to regularly is “What Should I Read Next?” with Anne Bogel. Anne has a blog and started the podcast as a spinoff of that. If you like book recommendations from a fellow bibliophile as much as I do, you’ll love this podcast. (Just search for “What Should I Read Next” on iTunes.)

Reading

the happiness project book

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I’ve just finished reading this book, and I found it insightful and encouraging. If you’ve ever felt like your life was great but you just weren’t enjoying it as much as you could or should, this book is for you. The basic premise is that the author went on a year long journey to find out what made her happy. What she discovers about herself, and about happiness in general, is fascinating.

Beauty/Personal Care

tree hut sugar scrub

Tree Hut Sugar Scrub

I’ve been using the Tree Hut Sugar Scrubs for a while, but I don’t believe I’ve ever mentioned them in one of my favorites list before, so I thought I would now. I love these scrubs. They are perfect for using in the shower. They smell great and really do the job of exfoliating. And the ingredients list isn’t too scary, either, which is always a plus. My current favorite scent is the coconut lime, though the honey almond is lovely, too.

Fashion

Michael Stars Ruana

This scarf/poncho/sarong came in my Fab Fit Fun Summer box. I like the monochromatic gray color scheme—it goes well with a lot of my wardrobe. It’s light and flowy and makes a nice accessory to dress up a simple outfit. I like to wear mine with a plain knit dress or t-shirt and pencil skirt.

Food

the republic of tea earl greyer tea

Earl Greyer Tea from The Republic of Tea

I am a huge Republic of Tea fan. I do not get any compensation for talking about them all the time—I just really love their teas. The variety of flavors is impressive and the quality is amazing. Recently, I tried their version of the classic Earl Grey and I loved it. It’s smooth and flavorful with just the right hint of bergamot and orange. It’s especially delicious with a splash of cream and a sprinkle of sugar or stevia.

Home

canvas factory print

Canvas Factory 16”X20” Photo Print Canvas

Last but not least, to wrap up this favorites list, I want to share my recent Canvas Factory print. I love using Canvas Factory to print some of my favorite photos. Their quality is excellent and their customer service is great. The process of designing the canvas is easy and fun. It’s also convenient and the prints always ship quickly. I’ve had a great experience every time I’ve used Canvas Factory.

I just received another photo canvas from them, and I’m so pleased with how it turned out, I just had to add it to my favorites list! This photo canvas is going to look amazing over the sofa in my den. The photo itself has special meaning to me—it is of one of my favorite spots on the Maine coast, a place we love to visit as a family. The room I plan to hang it in has a slightly rustic feel, so it will go perfectly with the design.

It’s giveaway time!

canvas factory giveaway

Recently, the folks at Canvas Factory reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in offering a giveaway to my blog readers (that’s you!). Of course, I said “Yes, please”! You may remember a similar giveaway I hosted a while back. I’m exited to offer one again!

To enter the giveaway to receive your own 16” x 20” canvas print (of a photo of your choice), use the Rafflecopter widget below. This giveaway will run for one week. It is open to those in the U.S. and Canada only.

What have you been loving lately? Leave a comment and let me know what your current favorites are.

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!

Summer Garden Tour

Gardening has been a passion of mine for many years. There’s nothing quite like getting down, hands in the soil, nurturing and bringing forth green and growing things. It is indescribably rewarding.

Gardening is a useful skill. Growing a vegetable garden can provide fresh, nutrient rich food for the family. Yes, it’s a lot of work to grow your own vegetables, but the quality of the food and the feeling of satisfaction that comes from it is worth the effort.

My favorite type of gardening, however, isn’t the practical kind at all. It’s planting and tending my flower gardens and landscaping beds. I love flowers, and my favorite way to enjoy them is when they are growing right in my own backyard.

I’ve spent several years working to develop and cultivate my flower gardens. It’s something I dreamed about for years before we built and moved into our house. I envisioned the profusion of flowers that would spill forth from my garden beds. I could see in my mind all the varieties of plants I would choose, and many of those are the very plants I have now.

Bringing beauty and creativity into the world is an extremely rewarding pastime, whether you are growing flowers or painting a picture or cooking a delicious meal for your family. Never underestimate the value of creating beautiful things. As humans, we are made in the image and He is an inherently creative being. This means that we should also be creative. One of our missions in life should be to find the ways in which we are gifted toward creativity and pursue those ways to beautify and enhance the world around us.

In gardening, I like I am cooperating with God in encouraging the growth and expression of the beauty of His creation. There is an aspect of flowers and plants that brings glory to God in His amazing creativity.

It thought it would be fun to give you a bit of a tour of my gardens and tell you a bit about how they have developed over the years. What do you think? Would you like a peek at my gardens and all the pretty flowers I get to see out my windows every day?

Well, then, here we go….

We’ll start in the front yard. Our home is a large traditional federal style house. We built it ourselves (my husband used to build houses for a living) about 15 years ago. About 12 years ago, we added some hardscape (stone surrounded beds) to the front and one side of the house to enclose the foundation plantings. In the front of the house, these stone wrapped beds hold a profusion of hydrangea bushes.

garden-tour-hydrangeas

Hydrangeas have long been one of my favorite flowers. I love their big showiness, yet there is an element of simplicity in them I really enjoy. These front flower plantings are one of the things I clearly envisioned long before our house was built. I had a picture in my mind of exactly what this area of the garden would look like, and that’s exactly what it looks like today.

One of the things I love most about having these hydrangeas planted in the front of my house is the beautiful, dramatic bouquets I have on my kitchen counters at this time of year. There’s nothing quite like a vase full of hydrangea blooms to brighten a room.

Toward the front corner of the house, there is a spirea bush I bought years ago at a local plant sale held by our town’s garden club. (Several of the plants in my garden came from this annual sale which is a fundraiser for the garden club.) What started out as a small sprig I paid $1 for has grown into a large bush which is overflowing from the space where it is planted.

garden-tour-lilac

Next to the spirea grows our large lilac bush. At this point, it is more of a tree. It could use a good pruning one of these years. I love the sent of lilacs wafting through the living room windows on a lovely spring day. Another flower I love to bring inside, lilacs make beautiful cut flowers. Lilacs also happen to be my husband’s favorite flower.

garden-tour-daylily

Moving on to the side of the house, I have couple of flower beds that I designed to have the feel of an English country garden. There is a profusion of flowers blooming throughout the season, from spring through fall. Daylilies, pink mallow, peonies, candytuft, irises, salvia, creeping phlox, and climbing roses all take their turns in the spotlight during the summer months.

garden-tour-side

Our house is set into a hill, so our side garden is laid out in a terraced design. In the lower terrace, I have more bright bloomers overflowing from the bed.

garden-tour-terrace

Heading away from the house and into the backyard area, there is a small and simple garden consisting of hostas and daylillies surrounding the base of a willow tree. There are also some fragrant asiatic lilies that were given to us in honor of our daughter who passed away. There are a beautiful pure white color and smell heavenly, reminding us of our little girl’s beautiful purity and the hope that she is waiting for us in our heavenly home. This garden has special meaning to me not only because of these lilies, but also because I planted the garden the summer I was expecting her. For me, this has created a tender connection to her life.

garden-tour-willow

Beyond this flower bed, we have a small orchard and a few berry bushes. To the side, we have an arbor with grapevines and we have a small fire pit area set up as well. The fire pit was thrown together by our sons one afternoon last summer and we’ve enjoyed and used it often since then.

garden-tour-orchard

 

garden-tour-fire-pit

Along the perimeter of our back deck I have planted hostas. Hostas are wonderful plants for landscaping. They are easy care plants that give you a lot of bang for your buck. They blend with many different styles of landscaping and gardens.

garden-tour-hostas

One last area of gardening in my yard (at least for now!) is my little herb garden, which is planted beside my vegetable garden plot. In it, I have two kinds of mint, lavender, oregano, purple coneflower, lamb’s ear, and chives.

There you have it—my summer garden tour! I hope you enjoyed getting this peek into one of my favorite places to spend a quiet summer afternoon. Gardening has been a rewarding and enjoyable hobby for me for many years, and I hope it will continue to be for many more to come.

How about you? Do you enjoy gardening, or is it a hobby you hope to develop for yourself one day? I’d love to hear your thoughts–please leave a comment!

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