A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Organize Your Life with a Dayspring Calendar & Planner Sale!

I have a bit of a confession to make....

My memory stinks!

Okay, that's really not that much of a confession, I've been pretty honest about that! I've never had the greatest memory, but this year my health issues have made it even worse. Just this week alone I forgot about and burnt the macaroni and cheese I was cooking, and then on a separate occasion started searching for what to make for lunch---completely forgetting that I had already started cooking! Yikes! Needless to say, if I'm struggling to remember something from minutes before, keeping track of my days and weeks is even more of a struggle. For me, having a planner (or two) is an absolute MUST!

So, today I had to share with all of you an amazing deal from Dayspring that you're going to want to check out! All calendars and planners are on sale- $1, $3, $5 or $10- most in that $3-5 range! If you've shopped for planners before, you know what an amazing offer this is. Just take a look at some of these-

And even better? You can use the code 25FORYOU to take an additional 25% off AND get free shipping! Wow! This truly is a deal that you cannot pass up! Head on over to take advantage of this offer now!

While you're there, be sure to check out the washi and more from Illustrated Faith! These aren't just great for journaling, but for glam planning too!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Craving Connection {Encouraging Relationships with (in)courage and Dayspring} #CravingConnection #DaySpring #LiveYourFaith

**I have received the products featured in this post as a member of Dayspring's Craving Connection Launch Team. Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are my own. 

As children, friendship was everything, wasn't it? Our whole world seemed to revolve around who our friends were.

In elementary school, our friends were our classmates. They were the ones that we played at recess with, the ones that we sat with in the cafeteria. They were the ones that you could have fun with, invited to sleepovers. We vowed to be friends forever with the exchange of a friendship bracelet/necklace. As we grew into teenagers, our friendships evolved but they were still every bit as important. For many of us, our circles grew. We had friends from school, friends from extracurricular activities, maybe even friends from work. They were no longer simply friends because we were in the same class, but because we had common interests, or because we just clicked. These were people we not only could have fun with, but whom we could talk to and trust. When I look back on my high school days, I remember less about my classes than the people that I spent my days with. And then we grow up, and once again those friendships change. People move away and suddenly we don't have that common place to hold us together, many friendships we thought would last forever, simply fade into the background.

As a socially anxious person, friendships have never been easy for me. I've always relied on the more social people around me to take that first step. In school, this worked well for me, but then I graduated and moved across the country where I knew no one. I was a brand new wife and soon a brand new mom. I needed friends then more than ever, but I was very much alone. In time, I did make friends- fellow special needs moms of the children in my son's class. What a different experience it was then, to have someone to talk to, someone who got it... both what it took to raise a special needs child, AND to do so alone much of the time while our husbands were deployed. I loved this circle of friends that we had built... but as with all things in the military, it would soon once again change. One by one, we found ourselves being uprooted and spread throughout the country. Once again, I found myself in a brand new town having to start all over. Almost five years later, and it's still an ongoing struggle for me.

Some might think that as an introvert, it's not a big deal. And perhaps there is some truth that I need less 'people time' than most, but I'm still human and those connections are part of who we are. Even the Bible speaks highly on the value of friendships. Take a look at some of these verses:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Proverbs 27:17
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

When we read verses such as these, is it any wonder that we crave those friendships? As we grow older, life doesn't become less complicated. We need advice, we need encouragement, we need to know that we're not alone in this... but how- in our busy schedules- can we make and strengthen those relationships? What is the secret to make connections? I must admit, I don't have the answers...I need them myself... but the new book from (in)courage can help:

We all long for meaningful relationships, the Colossians 3:14 kind that fulfill our desire for unity and connection with God, our friends, and our community.  But where do we start?  The (in)courage community invites you to grab a cup of coffee, pull a chair up to the table, and commit to creatively and prayerfully fulfilling your cravings for connection.  Craving Connection is a journey with (in)courage writers sharing real-life stories, practical Scripture application, and connection challenges that will encourage you to:  (1) embrace the desire God has given each of us for connection, (2) invest in meaningful relationships, right where God has you, and (3) become the friend you wish you had.  

I have been a fan of (in)courage for many years and the thing that I loved most about it was it truly did feel like a community. When I need to feel uplifted, I know that I can find those words of comfort and encouragement there always. Isn't that what WE should be in our relationships too? A place that others can turn to to lift them up and not tear them down. If ever there was a perfect group to write such a book, (in)courage definitely fits. (You can read more about their relationship to Dayspring here.)

Every year I find myself thinking that THIS is the year. This is the year I am going to put myself out there, this is the year that I am going to make friends and grow those relationships. And every year, I fall short. I have the best of intentions and I truly WANT those relationships, but I just don't know where to begin. While I have not finished reading through the book, already I feel like it is giving me that jump start I need to work on the relationships in my life- starting with the most important one- our relationship with God. If you are like me and need that extra help, this is one book that you are going to want to pick up. Read it on your own, or with your groups.

To better help celebrate and encourage these relationships, Dayspring also has a variety of products to go with the book. Take a look at just some of these great products:

Wear-One-Share-One Necklaces. We loved friendship necklaces when we were kids, so why should we stop enjoying them now!? Rather than those half hearts we were used to then, every necklace set features one word - Hope, Brave, Believe, Loved, Grace or Peace. These words can serve as a reminder to ourselves and our friend just how important and loved we are, and that we are not in this together. Not to mention, they're gorgeous too!

Clip Frame & Art Print Sets. In my home, I love having words of encouragement and inspirations incorporated throughout my decor. When I'm having a rough day, I can look upon those pieces, it brings me some hope. What I love about this set is that those words of encouragement can be switched out to best fit those needs. It is the perfect gift to offer a friend who needs some support, but you may also find you want one for yourself too.

Encouragement Postcard Book. I must admit, some days I dread going to the mailbox. I know when I go out there all I'm going to find is bills, bills and more bills. But every once in awhile, I'll find a sweet surprise from one of the ladies in my happy mail group. Oh what a joy that can bring! Something as simple as a postcard with an encouraging word can make such a difference. It says I thought of you, and you are loved. This book features 20 unique postcards that truly are perfect to send that little bit of love to your friends, wherever they may be.

I am loving these gorgeous products, perfect for giving and I am loving this wonderful book. More than anything, I am loving the inspiration to work on the friendships in my life. Throughout this year, I look forward to taking on the challenges brought forth in the book and using the products to truly make this the year that I WILL make new connections.

You can find all of these wonderful products, the book and more now at Dayspring.

And for a limited time, you will receive a FREE mug with your book purchase! Don't miss out!

Do friendships come easy to you? What products from this collection do you like best? How can they help you strengthen and grow your relationships?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Alison's Choice {A DVD Review & Giveaway}

**DVD received for review, all thoughts are my own.

On January 22, 1973 the Supreme Court made the landmark decision on the case of Roe v. Wade on the issue of abortion. The Court ruled 7–2 that a right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman's decision to have an abortion, but that this right must be balanced against the state's interests in regulating abortions: protecting women's health and protecting the potentiality of human life.

In the 44 years since this ruling, the subject of abortion has remained a heated topic of debate. To be honest, I'm not sure that there is any other issue that can bring about such an emotional response.

But no matter what side you stand on the issue, have you ever wondered to yourself: What would Jesus think? What would He say? If you found yourself facing that seemingly impossible decision, what would He have to say to YOU?

Today, I want to share with you a new movie that sought to answer just that:

When young Alison finds herself pregnant by a dead-beat boyfriend, she turns to abortion.  There in the clinic, as she waits for her name to be called, she encounters a cast of extraordinary characters; a flamboyant counselor, a suburban mom, a heart-weary receptionist, an inner city counterpart… And more than anyone, a gentle-faced janitor with mop “eternally” in hand. The two begin to talk and it quickly becomes clear he is no mere janitor, but the living God manifest – and He’s come to plead for the life of her baby.  With the clock ticking precious minutes away, it is a fight for life or death. Suddenly a nurse appears, “Alison, we’re ready for you.”  What will Alison choose…

First and foremost I want to be very clear, this movie is absolutely 100% pro-life. If you are adamantly pro choice and have no wiggle room on the topic, chances are this isn't a movie you are going to appreciate. And that's completely okay, but for those who are pro-life, those who aren't sure, or those who want to gain a perspective on the other side of the issue, this is a powerful movie that has the potential to truly change someone's life.

In any decision and any hard time that we face, we know that God is with us... but sometimes its hard to really picture that. It becomes just something we say, but that can be hard to truly feel in those moments of need. We talk to God, but does He talk back? What would it be like to truly have a back and forth conversation with Him? In this movie that is just what we see. We meet Alison, a young girl who finds herself at an abortion clinic faced with a tough choice. While there, she meets a janitor who helps her talk through her decision... the holy spirit, in person...well, something like that.

What really struck me about this film is that there was no hate and no bashing shown to those who DID make that decision. Again, its absolutely and clearly a movie that is pro-life and yet, it did not place judgement. It made clear that God loves us- each of us- no matter what. Yes, even those who went through with decision to have an abortion. To me, that's a pretty powerful statement. To say, no, God doesn't hate you, He never could. Still, it made clear that He also loves each and every child, and that He mourns for those losses. Even the children never to be born are still His children, and He knows them by name.

This isn't a fast paced movie. You're not going to be rolling on the floor or holding the edge of your seat to see what happens next, but it IS a beautiful movie and a beautiful story that needs to be shared.

You can find out more and purchase a copy of this powerful movie here.

And they are giving 5 lucky winners the chance to win a copy for themselves. Click here to enter. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Make Your New Year's “Vegolutions” with MorningStar Farms® at Walmart #DailyVegolutions #CollectiveBias #AD

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DailyVegolutions #CollectiveBias

Are you tired of your same old meal plans from last year? Are you ready to introduce new healthier options in 2017? Do you and your family want to incorporate more vegetables into your meals but are not quite sure where to begin? Now is the time to make some New Year’s “Vegolutions” for your busy lifestyle! MorningStar Farms® products are a great way to incorporate vegetables into your weekly meal planning. These items are not just for vegetarians, but are great for everybody!!

With MorningStar Farms® products, it is easy to substitute meat for veggies and use them for breakfast, lunch & dinner!

Don’t miss this great Ibotta offer! When you buy any 3 MorningStar Farms® products at Walmart, you will earn $3.00! *Offer available through 2/15/17 or while supplies last.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Bloggers, Increase Your Earnings with Dealspotr Deal Sharing Widget

** A huge thank you to Dealspotr for sponsoring today's post. All thoughts are 100% my own.

A few months ago, I shared with all of you a new way that I was making (and saving) extra money--- Dealspotr.

In case you missed it, here's the story:

Dealspotr is a community-driven coupon site. Like on Wikipedia, the content you see on Dealspotr is created and edited by end users. We're a discussion platform, but specific to deals.

Dealspotr's mission is to help shoppers save more money. We do this by providing accurate, up-to-date deals, as well as easy ways to find deals, through a powerful search engine and a personalized news feed, just like Facebook.
On Dealspotr, you earn points and reputation for being helpful to the community. The more you help people save, your status and points increase. Better yet, you can trade points for gift cards.

Now, I must admit, when I first heard of Dealspotr, I was a little skeptical. I've joined many sites through the years that promise gift cards in exchange for points, but most seemed to take forever to actually amount to anything. This was certainly not the case with Dealspotr. Within just a few days, I'd already had my first payout. Over the last several months, my earnings have only continued to grow- just by posting and validating deals!

If you haven't joined already, it's simple:

1. Sign up here, using access code fdsiiNVjhttps://dealspotr.com/join?source=influencer
2. Upgrade to silver status, by completing your new user checklist, entering your blog URL, and adding and verifying a Dealspotr button to your blog. By upgrading to Silver Status, you will earn 15,000 points ($15) and double your lifetime point, allowing you to earn even quicker.
3. If you choose to do so, you can then upgrade to Gold Status, allowing you to redeem point via Paypal too!

Once you've joined (or if you're already a member), start posting and validating deals to earn points! And you can now even further your earnings from Dealspotr by using their Deal Sharing Widget. Here's how it works:

  1. Find the deals you want to share on your blog.
  2. If viewing the deal from the homepage, click the 'share/embed' option. If you're on the store's section, click on the deal's headline to view the deal details.

  3. Click the share icon.
  4. Customize. When you click the share icon you will be given a few different options. You can share links directly to social media, or copy the embed code directly. These are both great options for quick shares, but to most increase your earning, click on advanced options. This will give you the chance to add your own affiliate link, customize the headline and description, and share similar deals once the deal expires, if desired. Soon, you will even be able to customize colors to better coordinate with your blog look.

  5. Paste onto your deal sharing blog posts.
Using the share widget is super easy, but...what's the point? Why is using this widget a better option that just posting your affiliate links into the text of your blog posts? There are a few simple reasons I am loving it:
  • Visibility. We're all busy, right? I must admit, when reading even my favorite blogs I am sometimes guilty of skimming. The widget sets the deal apart in a way that grabs the readers attention in an easy to click link. This could lead to even more affiliate sales for you. It features a clean look that will look great on any blog!
  • Easy to Click. Perhaps this goes with the visibility, but I love that it is so easy for readers to click to copy and shop the website. As a reader, I myself would love the convenience of this widget... so much easier than finding the links within the text and copy and paste the codes. If its easier to access, I'm more likely to do it. Just take a look at how at these deals as an example:

  • Earn Referrals. By sharing the widget within your post, you're also providing more visibility to Dealspotr itself. You can encourage your readers to join Dealspotr to find more great deals. Referral can earn you more points, meaning more income that way too.
If you share deals on your blog, the Dealspotr Deal Sharing Widget is a must see! It truly is a great way to increase your earnings and only takes a few simple clicks. Head on over to join and check it out today.

Have you joined Dealspotr yet? Try out the Deal Sharing Widget and let me know what YOU think.

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Year of the Giveaway: Tips For a Winning 2017

As a blogger, there is nothing I love more than sending out those messages to say, 'Congrats, you are the lucky winner!' There is just something about brightening someone's day, even just a little bit, that brings a smile to my face as well. Perhaps that is because I don't just post giveaways, I love entering them too! I know firsthand the excitement of opening my email to find a winning announcement. In fact, as a stay at home mom, giveaways have been a really fun way for me to contribute to my family! Throughout the years, I've been able to bring home many amazing prizes- gift cards, a car seat, a stroller, a play pen, a coffee maker...even a bounce house for my kiddos! It's allowed us to stretch our primarily single income budget that's for certain!

Because of that, I'm often asked, 'What's your secret? How are you so lucky!?'

To answer that question... it's not just luck! Yes, of course luck plays a part, but there are also some great strategies that you can use to increase your chances of winning too! Today, I wanted to share some of my personal tips with all of you so that you can make 2017 the most winning year of all:

Designed by Freepik

Enter. A Lot.
First and foremost, you cannot win if you don't enter, so take that first step- even if you think you never win anything. I have had so many winners throughout the years that have told me they had never won before in their life. There is a first time for everything. I've also had many winners who won with just one entry. So, even if you cannot or choose not to follow ALL of the steps listed, at least make that initial entry, it could be the lucky one! And enter a LOT of giveaways. For as many giveaways as I've won, I've entered even more!

Here are some great places to find giveaways to enter:

Giveaway Promote
Family Focus Blog
2 Wired 2 Tired
The Review Wire (Super Saturday Giveaway Linky- posted every Saturday)
OurKidsMom (Monday Morning Giveaway Linky- posted every Monday)
Mommies with Cents (Giveaways in Blogland Linky- posted every Wednesday)
Change Diapers (Cloth Diaper Giveaway Round Up & Linky- posted every Friday. Don't let the name fool you, this is a GREAT resource for finding cloth diaper giveaways around the web, but the linky also features family friendly giveaways too... NOT just diapers!)
Sarah's Blog of Fun (Friday Giveaway Link Up, posted every Friday)
Must Have Mom (Sunday Sweeps Giveaway Linky, posted every Sunday)
5 Minutes for Mom (Around the Blogosphere Giveaway Linky, posted every Sunday)

Complete As Many Entries As You Can.
While it may only take one entry to win, your chances DO go up with each additional entry. Most giveaways will have several different options available, so do as many as you are able. This step alone can make a HUGE difference.

Take Advantage of Daily Entries.
If a giveaway offers daily options such as tweeting or sharing the giveaway, take advantage of them! This goes along with the previous tip in getting you as many entries as possible--- sometimes there are even free daily entries. All you need to do is come back! Some of my most frequent winners are those that make sure to come back daily! I suggest making a bookmark folder on your browser so that you can do so easily.

Share for More Entries.
Some giveaways will give you the option to share the giveaway post for more entries. Simple as that. Again, this goes with completing as many as you can, but for some giveaways this can give you an even greater advantage- giving you extra entries for every person that enters via your link!

Follow the Rules.
There is nothing I hate more than going to choose a winner only to discover that the winner has not followed the rules- be it not completed mandatory entries or claiming an entry they did not complete. Not only does it stink for the would be winner, but it also takes up more time for the blogger too! Make sure you read everything carefully so you don't miss out! (On occasion, things happen and maybe you get a little click happy- its happened to me too. A simple comment letting them know about your mistake can make a big difference to me as a blogger!)

Check Your Email.
Finally, after you've gotten your entries in, followed the rules and came back daily...it's time to watch your inbox! There is nothing worse that going through all that effort and missing out by not responding in time. Many blogs require a response to winning emails within 48 hours, some are just 24. Either way, you want to be certain you are providing an email that you check frequently. I'm not saying you have to sit and refresh every 5 minutes, but you'll definitely want to check once a day at least. Also check your spam folders. I have found many giveaway announcements in my spam, and have been lucky to catch them in time! I know that many people like to have a separate giveaway account so that they can sign up for newsletters, etc without bogging down their primary account, and this is fine...so long as you remember to watch it closely.

Do you love entering giveaways? What are some of your favorite wins? What tips and tricks would you add to the list?

Friday, January 6, 2017

Out With the Old with Dayspring's Warehouse Sale #Dayspring

Out with the old, in with the new!

That's really what the new year is about isn't it? We say goodbye to the previous year, and hello to the new. Goodbye bad habits, hello good habits. Goodbye old look, hello new. The new year is all about changing ourselves for the better and starting fresh! That's a good thing, right?

But t's not just us who are starting fresh with the new year! Dayspring is too! They're making room for all new products that I personally cannot wait to see! But before that can say hello to the new, it's time to say goodbye to some of the old- home decor, cards, gifts- all at one amazing, can't miss deal. During the New Year Warehouse Sale, you can save up to 70%! Wow! Talk about a deal, right?

Take a look at some of my personal favorites from the sale:

Everlasting Light - North Star Pendant Necklace was $50/now $25!

Korie Robertson - Salt & Light - Medium Glass Carafe was $22/now $11!

Lovely Friend - Ring Holder was $10/now $5!

Good Friend & Good Book - Journals, Set of 2 was $12/now $6

And perhaps one of my absolute favorites, Everlasting Light - Star Tealight Holder was $44/now $22!!

This beautiful tealight holder adds a little light into any decor, and for me serves as a great reminder of how I want to live my life--- as a light for Christ. Shining his love in all things I do- from showing kindness to others as I'm out and about, in the way I teach my children and even in the way I decorate my home!

With such amazing deals, this is a great time to restock your gift closet- think ahead to Easter, birthdays, even next Christmas! Or use them to give your home- and yourself- a whole new look for the new year! Check out all of the amazing deals included now, while they last!

Have you checked out the Dayspring Warehouse Sale? What are your favorite deals? How can they help you get your new year started off right?