A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Finding Strength in God {Journaling Through Illustrated Faith's I Am Strong Monthly Devotional Kit} #IllustratedFaith #DaySpring #IF_IAmStrong #Biblejournaling

**I received this devotional kit as part of the Illustrated Faith Launch Team with Dayspring. All thoughts are my own. Post contains affiliate links.

Today I have a little challenge for you. I want you to go stand in front of the mirror and repeat these words:

I Am Strong.

That's easy enough, right? Now, do it again... but this time, I want you to truly MEAN it.

That's a little bit harder isn't it?

I must admit, I hadn't been feeling very strong lately. In fact, more often than not, I've felt like I'm barely keeping it together. I have dealt with issues with anxiety for as long as I can remember, and for the most part have been able to deal with it pretty well. Oh sure, I have my rough moments but was generally always able to stay pretty positive through it. I have lived by those words, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I would repeat it in my head over and over and over again and I would get through whatever was causing that anxiety at the time.

Lately more than ever my strength has been tested. As many of you may recall, my husband recently got out of the military rather unexpectedly. This was never part of our plan. The plan was that he would stay in for 20 years so that he could retire. At 12+ years in, he was just 8 years away. But that plan like so many fell apart. Due to military downsizing, that just wasn't an option anymore. The military is certainly not without challenges of course, but having married straight out of high school, it was the only adult life I knew. I was comfortable with it, and despite the unpredictability, there were many things we could depend on. We could depend on a steady paycheck, always knowing the dates they'd come and how much they'd be. We could depend on great health coverage should we need it. We could count on special pay JUST for our housing. For a long time, we thought we could count on a job that would be there. There was a security in the military that we had grown accustomed to. Losing that truly felt like our world was turned upside down. To say it has been a struggle has been an understatement. We have struggled to keep afloat and try to figure out what this new life outside of the military will look like.

If that weren't enough to figure out, add in a special needs child going through a serious regression and a toddler entering those terrible threes (which seem to be much worse than terrible twos). So often I find myself feeling like I just cannot catch a break...and I just cannot do it all. When I look in the mirror, it's hard to say "I am strong". I see the dark circles from sleepless nights, I see hair in desperate need of some work that I cannot afford or have time for, I see bruises from dealing with aggressive meltdowns. I see weakness. I feel like saying instead, '"I'm just not strong enough".

When I heard that August's Illustrated Faith Devotional Kit from Dayspring was called 'I Am Strong', I truly felt like it could not have come at a better time for me. I needed that reminder that I knew deep down but was having trouble finding... that I do not have to be strong enough on my own, because God was strong enough for us both. That through Him all things were possible. Through Him I could once again find my strength and my bravery. With Him, I can and I will get though this. This devotional reminded me of these truths...

As I made my way through the devotional, journaling along the way, I was reminded that I AM strong, and I CAN be brave and overcome whatever life throws at me because I am not in this battle alone. My strength doesn't come from me, it comes from Him and Him alone. Even when I don't feel like being strong, He is there with my 100% so that I don't have to be. I was reminded to lean on Him and to hand it all over. I may not be able to handle it all, but He can.

To me, this is what Bible journaling is all about and why these kits are so amazing.They allow us to take a deeper look at ourselves and our relationships with God. They are not just pretty art supplies (though they are certainly that too), they truly are tools to help us spend time with Him in the word.

For me, this month's I Am Strong devotional kit was just what I needed. If you need a little reminder of just how strong you are, this is one that you must check out. Take a look at what you'll find inside:

Feeling spiritually weak...overwhelmed...worried?  Embrace this 14-day devotional journey with all your heart, expecting God to meet you right where you are and to empower you with His strength for all things!  Wilna Furstenburg welcomes you to join her in trusting and discovering God as "my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invicible army..."  —Habakkuk 3:19 AMP

Devotional message:
My Personal Bravery
Wilna Furstenburg
I am Strong

Items in kit:    
1 devotional booklet (14 devotionals)
1 stamp pad
1 clear stamp collection with 1 sheet of cut outs enclosed
1 roll of washi tape
1 package of 3 Scripture sharables
1 sticker
1 bow clip

This kit was packed full of vibrant pinks, oranges and yellows--- a few of my personal favorites I must admit. While some of the elements themselves may have been more understated than kits in the past (the die cuts and stamps primarily featuring words for example, or the very subtle washi design), but in this simplicity it allowed for the messages inside to truly be the star. (You can take a deeper look inside with my unboxing video here.)

Throughout our lives, we will all be faced with tough times and we will all need that little reminder that through Christ, we are strong. If you- like me- are going through that time now- this is definitely the kit for you. Illustrated Faith I Am Strong Kit will be available to purchase TOMORROW at Dayspring.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Make Heart Hands For Farm Animals #ShopWithYourHeart

Aside from the people who are vegan, most everyone I know buys meat, eggs, or dairy at some point during the week/month/year. And those of you who do – have much more buying power than you probably even realize. By buying welfare-certified animal products, or more plant-based products, you send a strong message to food companies that you care about the treatment of farm animals.
Just an average size family spends hundreds of dollars a month on meat. Imagine if every single consumer used that buying power to purchase welfare-certified meat instead of the meat from inhumane factory farms. What a difference that would make!
As you may already know, most of the nearly 9 billion animals raised for meat, milk and eggs in the US are suffering in inhumane factory farms. And animals are not the only affected, as factory farms impact human health—they can be breeding grounds for dangerous pathogens and the antibiotics used to prevent disease create the potential for dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria to develop.
To fully harness the power of our collective purchases and demand better lives for farm animals, the Shop With Your Heart initiative launched by the ASPCA gives consumers the resources to recognize, locate and demand meaningfully welfare-certified meat, eggs and dairy products as well as plant-based alternatives.
Everyone who signs the pledge also gains access to an exclusive Shop With Your Heart Grocery List, including welfare-certified and widely available plant-based brands.
Make Heart Hands for Farm Animals!

Pose with your hands in a heart shape and post a photo using the tag #shopwithyourheart and @ASPCA to let your friends know you believe in a more humane world for farm animals. Don’t forget to tell them where you shop to find more humane products—give the stores a shout-out by tagging them, too!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

All Things Bright and Beautiful: A Kids Book Review & Giveaway #FlyBy

Little kids pick up everything.

Seriously, they are like little sponges... you may not think they are paying attention, but they're absorbing it all...the good and the bad. I don't know about you, but I would much rather they pick up those good things! So, even before my children could speak let alone read, I started introducing them to books and music that glorified God. Though I knew that they would not fully understand everything I was reading yet, I wanted these little sponges of mine to start absorbing these basics from the beginning.

Perhaps one of the earliest lessons that children can truly understand is the idea that God created it all. I know this was certainly my son's first understanding about God! So, I am always looking for those fun ways to help remind them of this. Today, I am excited to share with you a sweet new book that will do just that: All Things Bright and Beautiful.

About the book:
First published by Cecil Frances Alexander in 1848, this favorite hymn has become a mainstay of churches and Sunday school classes everywhere. Here artist Katy Hudson brings new joy to the words with her fresh and bright watercolor style. Readers can join in the fun as they follow two little girls and their brother on a day filled with the discovery of “all things bright and beautiful.”

About the artist:
Katy Hudson was raised in Middlesbrough, England, and started her career as a small child drawing on freshly painted walls. Her parents quickly encouraged drawing with pencil and paper instead. The idea stuck, and after earning a degree in illustration, Katy is now a freelance illustrator. Katy works at a desk in a studio within Old London Library and likes to tap dance in her spare time.

Jacketed hardcover
Page count: 32
Reading age: 4-7
Category: juvenile fiction/Christian
Retail price: $15.99

Now, if you are already familiar with this old hymn, of course you are going to love this book that takes you through each lyrics with beautiful illustrations depicting it all and captivating little eyes. Personally, this is not a hymn that I was familiar with so I loved turning each page to see what came next. With each page I was drawn deeper and deeper into both the beautiful words and the gorgeous artwork inside. Through it all my children were getting this beautiful reminder that from the birds in the sky to the mountains and everything in between, God made it all. It reminded us to take a moment to take in the beauty all around us and to truly stop and appreciate God creation. He is the ultimate artist.

When I first read the title of this book, I for whatever reason assumed that this would be a book more suitable for my daughter...I thought of flowers and butterflies...those things that little girls tend to love. But though two of the three children we see throughout the book are little girls, this book truly is a great one for every child. I know that this is one that our family will enjoy reading time and time again for many years to come.

All Things Bright and Beautiful is available to purchase now.

And one very lucky reader is going to win a copy for their own family. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below:

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will be contacted via e-mail after giveaway ends, and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. One entry per household, winning entry will be verified. Odds of winning depend on valid entries received. A Modern Day Fairy Tale is not responsible for prize delivery.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Spoiler Alert: God Wins! #BibleJournaling #IllustratedFaith

Here on A Modern Day Fairy Tale, I really try to keep it a positive place! Rather than focus on anything negative that may be going on in my life, I try to focus instead on what is going well and the many blessings I have to be thankful for. I do the same on my personal social media accounts. And let's be honest, that little bit of positive space is much needed these days, isn't it?

Every time we turn on the news we are bombarded with more negative, more tragedies, more hate. It's everywhere we look. And it can be so easy to get caught up in that. I'll be honest, many times I find myself worrying about what our country is becoming and what it is going to look like for my children's future. It truly is a scary time. But in times such as this, it's such an important time to remember that we already know how it's going to end....

Several weeks ago I saw a fun graphic with this saying... 'Spoiler Alert: God Wins'. I loved that.

I've been dealing with a lot of personal anxiety issues in my own life, completely unrelated to those things going on in the world around us. I've truly been struggling to keep it all together and to just hang in there. It's just been one of those times in life where things seems to be piling on one after the other and though you try it's hard to see that light at the end of the tunnel. These words spoke to me. Yes, it's a little humorous, but it's also 100% true. No matter what hard times we are going through, there IS hope. God has already won this war... It may be difficult right now, but one day that day will come.

When I heard these words, I knew I had to journal them so I went straight to those last pages of Revelation. The end of the Bible, but not the end of the story. This page was done very simply- the background created with a black dotted Illustrated Faith washi tape (found in the List By Faith devo kit) and a simple focus not on the art being over the top, but on the powerful words on the page.

This page was created just days before the shootings in Dallas. Again, this was created in an effort to help me get through my own personal struggles with anxiety but as I thought about these events, I could not help but think that this was an important message for ALL of us to keep in our minds and our hearts right now. Though we may not see it yet, one day we will see that happy ending...and so I share these words and this page with you in hopes that they touch you as they have touched me.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

-Revelation 21:1-5 ESV

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

FREE Clothes For Back To School? Find Out How with Schoola {Kids, Women & Maternity} #BackToSchool

Just when it seemed like summer was just beginning, it's already time to start thinking about back to school!! And more importantly, back to school shopping!

When you are on a tight budget, back to school shopping can be something we dread... but I have great news for you! It doesn't have to be! There are many ways to save a ton of money on back to school shopping, but perhaps one of the best is to buy used! Of course it's nice to have a new outfit for back to school, but I would personally much rather spend less money on more quality used clothing myself! But what if you don't have a good secondhand store in your area? Today, I want to share with you once again a website that I personally use and love- both for myself and my children- Schoola!!

What is Schoola and why is it so unique?

Here are some quick facts from their website:

  • It’s easy to find great items when you create a custom collection.
  • It’s affordable because every item we sell is up to 70% off the original retail price! You can stretch your family’s dollar even further by earning rewards for spreading the word about Schoola!
  • It’s impactful because when you purchase clothing from Schoola, you are directly supporting our network of over 20,000 participating schools.
  • All of the inventory on our site was donated on behalf one of our 20,000 participating schools. Anyone can donate to Schoola—individuals, corporations, and retailers have all donated to support our mission of helping kids reach their full potential at school.
Basically you get great deals on great used clothes, AND help support schools across the country in the process! Even with no additional discounts, these clothes of all sizes (kids, juniors, women and even maternity) can be bought at quite the bargain, BUT the savings don't stop there!!

  • When you sign up, you will receive a FREE $20 credit PLUS free shipping. There is no minimum purchase to use this credit. If you spend $20 even, you'll pay NOTHING for whatever items are in your cart (credits can not be used with new with tags clothing). 
  • You can earn even more credits by referring your friends. They also receive that $20 credit AND you'll earn an additional $20 for ever friend who signs up and places an order! Even if they only spend their free $20 credit!! 
  • As if those free credits aren't awesome enough, it still doesn't stop there. You can use promotional codes on top of that! There are always new promo codes coming out which you can usually find on RetailMeNot or similar websites, but here are few that are current as of this posting:

    ----BACK2SVGS will give you 30% off your purchase of $30 or more
    ---get50off will give you 50% off your entire purchase, but is only available to NEW members

    Again, these great coupon codes can be used in combination with your credits, which means it can help stretch that free $20 even further! New members can get $40 of clothes absolutely FREE!! Already a member? If you have $20 credit, you can get $30 of product for just $1... or if you're out of credits, you can still get some GREAT savings regardless!!
I know, I know... this sounds too good to be true, right? But it's legit! I have personally purchased from Schoola several times and all have arrived and come as described. In fact, the one time that there was an error in sizing in the listing, I was refunded my credit PLUS some and was able to keep the item too! They have great customer service! And it's not just for kids' clothes! I've ordered for myself too! This is definitely one website that I HIGHLY recommend to anyone looking to save money on clothes for the family!

Ready to start saving and shopping for free? Join Schoola NOW!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Power Rangers Dino Charge: Breakout- Available on DVD TODAY!

If you were a kid in the 90s... chances are, you watched Power Rangers! And if you watched Power Rangers, chances are you also played them and always had your favorite that you wanted to be. For me, that was the Pink Ranger. (Okay, for most of my girl friends!). There was just something about this show that we could not get enough of.

Looking back as an adult, I sometimes have to wonder why we loved it so much... but I guess it was just that idea of ordinary 'kids' taking care of the bad guys, being the heroes. That's a story all kids want to hear and want to live, right? So, I suppose it's truly no wonder that it's still a theme that kids love today. In fact, did you know that Power Rangers is still being made today? Of course the show has evolved many times throughout the years. The days of Might Morphin Power Rangers are long gone, these days its all about Power Rangers Dino Charge!

My son was super excited to have the chance to review the Power Rangers Dino Charge: Breakout on DVD...check it out:

Saban’s Powers Rangers are back in action with Power Rangers Dino Charge: Breakout, arriving on DVD (plus Digital), Digital HD, and On Demand July 12 from Lionsgate. The Red, Black, Blue, Green, and Pink Rangers must once again rely on each other and their new dino-charged powers as they battle to defend the Earth from the villainous Sledge. This all-new Power Rangers series ranked #1 in its time period across all TV with kids 2-11. With an ever-growing fan base, Power Rangers Dino Charge: Breakout will be the biggest, and most shocking, Power Rangers adventure yet when it arrives on DVD for the suggested retail price of $14.98.
The Power Rangers will have to outsmart a puzzling villain, save a prince, and try to defeat Sledge's monsters. When the evil Fury unleashes the powerful Ptera Zord, only the Power Rangers can regain control with the help of their newest ally – the Gold Ranger!

Though much may have changed about this show I loved as a child, in many ways, it's still the same ol' show we all grew up with!! It's action packed, while still being child appropriate. It's a little cheesy and over the top, but in a way that makes it fun for kids. It's got crazy villains and of course, the Power Rangers always come to the rescue! My son loved watching them beat the bad guys! It truly is a great choice for those days when rain keeps us inside this summer. It's also a fun way to share a little piece of my own childhood with him too, but in a more modern package that maybe he'll relate to just a little bit better! 

If you have a little one that loves Power Rangers or action and adventure, this is certainly one you'll want to add to your collection! It is available to purchase on DVD TODAY, July 12!

Did you love Power Rangers as a child? What child in your life now would love this new DVD?

Monday, July 11, 2016

God Bless America: A Patriotic Coloring Book Review #ColoringAmerica

**Book received for review. All thoughts are my own.

There are certain times of year where it seems every one of us seems to break out the red, white and blue and celebrate the USA. Memorial Day, 4th of July, even Veteran's Day can bring out the patriot in all of us.

The 4th of July may have come and gone already, but if you ask me, it's always a good time to show a little patriotism and celebrate the country we live in. As a military family, this has certainly always been something that has been very important to our family.

So, when I heard of the new coloring book celebrating just that, I could not wait to get my hands on it! 

About God Bless America: A Patriotic Coloring Book

Enter the pages of this coloring book for adults, and you will find a peaceful way to reflect on what makes America a truly amazing country: our values of equality, opportunity, faith,family, character, generosity, justice, and perseverance. Each coloring page features an original design from one of nine different artists, illustrating an inspirational quote from one of the Founding Fathers, an historic document, a patriotic hymn, or another of America’s heroes.

Slow down, quiet the noise, and express creativity as you color your way through history.

So grab your colored pencils or markers, find a comfortable spot to relax, and spend some time celebrating America. To help set the perfect patriotic mood, a link to the “Coloring America” playlist is included inside.

My husband is the type of person who will just randomly look up topics on American history...just for fun. And he remembers everything he researches too. That's not me. I mean I may remember the major events from history class but that's about it. It's just not something that I am easily motivated to do for fun. But there are so many important people, places and events throughout history that we really should know and remember. So often I talk about coming at learning from something that they like as a way to get kids interested in learning too... but honestly the same can be said about adults too! I may not have much interest and picking up a history book and reading it... but I DO love coloring! This coloring book allows me to color those famous moments and quotes in the history of the country...and then gives me the chance to read a little bit more about the person or event that inspired those pages. It truly is a great reminder about the history that makes our nation so great! 

Whether you a military spouse, a history buff or just an American who loves adult coloring books, this is certainly one you'll want to check out! God Bless America is available to purchase now.