A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Journaling When It Doesn't Come Easy {A Look at the Illustrated Faith 'Doodles To Live By' Devotional Kit} #IF_DoodlesToLiveBy #IllustratedFaith #


**I received this kit as part of Dayspring's Illustrated Faith launch team. Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own.

Today, I'm going to be open and real with all of you.

Living with mental illness is tough.

I have dealt with anxiety for as long as I can remember. Even as a young child I remember feeling anxious and sick all the time. At the time, people would say I was 'painfully shy'. As I got older, I came to realize that it was not merely shyness, but was in fact severe social anxiety. Since, I have also been diagnosed with general anxiety and panic disorder as well. During my junior year of high school, I hit a low point in my struggles with anxiety. Being in a social situation daily took its toll on me- physically and mentally- I dealt with excruciating migraines that would last weeks on end... it reached a point that I decided it was best to finish school early over the summer independently and not return my senior year.

After some time, things got better. I still dealt with anxiety but for the most part I was able to handle it on my own. Things were good. Until they weren't...

You see, this is the thing about mental illness.. it's like a roller coaster. You can be going uphill for what seems like forever, and then without notice it all comes crashing down. That's where I am now...one of those low points on the roller coaster.

When you hit those points, it affects your entire life... you're exhausted, physically and mentally. It affects your health, and some days it takes everything within you to just get out of bed. Even the things that you once loved are hard to do. It's not that you don't still love it, or even that you don't WANT to... it's just that the motivation and the inspiration isn't there.

For me, this includes Bible Journaling. I so want to journal, but when I look at the pages I feel clueless on where to begin. And the thing with Bible journaling is that not only do I WANT to do, but I truly NEED to do it too. When I'm in this place, I NEED the peace and calming that journaling provides me. I NEED that time in the Word, worshiping and praying, remembering that He is still with me even through all of this. I NEED the strength that these things bring.

But I also need the motivation and inspiration to do it, or else I'm looking at a blank page wondering what to do now. This is one of the reasons that I truly love the monthly Illustrated Faith Devotional Kits from Dayspring. When I don't know where to go, they give me that direction. They keep me in the Word and journaling when it's hard to do so on my own. This month's kit- Doodles to Live By- was just want I needed to help me journal through my funk. Take a look:



Enrich your soul with Scripture and fourteen (14) days of thought-provoking devotionals shared by Elaine Davis, who's been filling journals with thoughts and doodles since she was little.  Elaine encourages you to get your story on paper, ask God for creative guidance, and speak words of kindness, even when it's difficult.  "As you work through each day, you'll explore some blessings I've found to be super healing, enriching, & restorative!"  —Elaine 


Product Details:

1 plastic pouch
1 devotional booklet
1 clear stamp collection
1 roll of washi tape
1 sheet of cut-out paper pieces
2 cardstock sticker sheets
3 tip-ins
1 magnet1 thank you card from Shanna









First, can we just admire the style of this kit. Now, the doodle look might not be for everyone, but I loved it. Glasses, typewriters, coffee... these are some of my favorite things and I loved seeing them all in ONE kit. The bright colors also had me encouraged to brighten things up a bit.

In previous kits, the devotional will offer a verse or two, a short reading and a couple of questions to think on... but as far as what to actually journal, no firm directions are given. You can use those devotions and the pieces included to make it your own. This one was a little different. Each devotion again had a verse, quick reading and questions, but there are more direct prompts given. We are given specific challenges to doodle. We can still make them our own, but we are given a very specific direction in which to go. For those lacking inspiration, this is PERFECT! Just what I need at this point.

Whether it's anxiety, depression, or just an everyday creative slump, Doodles to Live By is a great kit to inspire and motivate you to keep on journaling, even when it doesn't come naturally. It is available to purchase now on Dayspring.



Are you in a slump? How can Doodles To Live By help? How can I pray for you? 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Save on Graduation Gifts at Dayspring #LiveYourFaith

Can you believe the school year is almost over? For some, that just means another summer vacation, but for others that means graduation... going out into a world and finding out the plans God has for their life. This is both an exciting and scary time... so for the graduate on your list, why not treat them with a gift that reminds them that they are not alone on this journey. For that Dayspring has a great assortment of Graduation gift options...check out some of my personal favorites:
And for a limited time, you can save 25% on all your graduation gift needs with code CONGRATS! Check it out and shop now!

Save Money with These Top 6 Most Useful Budgeting Apps {A @Dealspotr Article} #Dealspotr #FrugalLiving


This post originally appeared on the Dealspotr blog. Dealspotr is the most accurate coupon site that pays you to save. I'm @RandiKaye on Dealspotr, use my link to join today and earn 5,000 bonus points.

Financial planning is a tough skill to learn, especially as your needs and responsibilities change. Luckily, there are a lot of useful budgeting apps designed to help you save and manage your money. The problem is that since there are so many apps out there today, making a choice can be just as difficult as keeping track of your spending.
Here are the six best budgeting apps out there – so that you don’t have to stress about anything other than sticking within those spending limits.

Mint

Mint is one of the best finance apps out there, provided you have a bit of an understanding of what managing a home budget is all about. It offers great personalization options, but it’s more than just a budgeting tool – you can track and pay bills, and check your credit score, all within the app environment. Mint is a great tool if you’re looking to simplify your home finances by replacing multiple sites and apps with one service. Best of all, it's free.

You Need a Budget

As the name suggests, You Need a Budget (shortened to YNAB) is an app that is strictly focused on helping you to better manage your money. The premise is simple: you tell the app how much you earn and how much you think you spend (yes, be sure to include all the dining out you do), and it aggregates your bank accounts and bills until you get a handle on the reality of your riches.
You can get a free trial of YNAB for 34 days, and students get a free 12 months in addition to that. After that, you'll have to add the yearly fee of $50 to your budget under "YNAB payment."  It is a little intensive up front, but if you’re looking for a tool to budget with the aim of saving, then this is the app for you.

EveryDollar

Most of us live our lives on the move, and EveryDollar has taken this into account.
Apart from its super easy budgeting tools that are mostly visual, what sets this useful budgeting app apart is the convenient sync function. You can manage your money online from any device, and that means that you can make adjustments on-the-go instead of waiting until you’re home (and have forgotten your calculations). EveryDollar is fast, easy, and mobile, making it one of the best budgeting apps around.

Spending Tracker

Learning how to budget, at its core, is straightforward – you must know how much money comes in, how much you’re going to spend, and how much you have in your account at all times.
Spending Tracker is ideal if you need a simple, overall spending tool.  It allows you to allocate expenses and income per month, and gives you a detailed summary at the end. It's great if you want to manage your money without worrying about every single detail.

Albert

One of the reasons why people avoid budgeting is because of the perception that anything financial is complex. Albert solves this problem by removing all the technical terms to help you make better decisions on managing your money.
One of the standout features of Albert is its overall financial health score, out of 100. It gives you an instant assessment on what your budget is looking like, and prompts you to make simple decisions that put more money in your pocket (like lowering credit card payments). It’s a powerful app with great security features, and is also the most aesthetically pleasing of the best budgeting apps.

Personal Capital

This is the app to get if you’re looking for a financial experience that matches the real world. Personal Capital offers you simplicity and key financial functionality, but with the added advantage of personal attention from licensed financial advisors. You can speak one-on-one with these advisors, and learn to manage your money more effectively. If you want to go beyond budgeting and grow your wealth, this is the best budgeting app for you.

What Works for You?

With such a broad range of budgeting and financial tools out there, all you need to do is ask yourself what your financial needs are. Once you know whether you want to grow, simplify, or manage your money, you can choose an app that’s perfectly suited to you.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Swing into Spring with Bible Stories for Babies & Toddlers {A Giveaway Hop Event}

Welcome to the Swinging Into Spring Giveaway Hop brought to you by The Hopping Bloggers!
Each giveaway has a value of a minimum of $15, however some are worth much more. Be sure to enter to win all of them because there is no limit to how many you can win. GOOD LUCK!

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**I received these books from WorthyKids/Ideals for free in exchange for an honest review.


Want to know what the sweetest sound in the world is?

Hearing a child talk about Jesus. Seriously, I cannot think of anything better in this world. Sometimes it seems that even some adults struggle to talk openly about their faith, so to see kids doing it... just amazing! Aside from that, it's often astounding to me just how much kids take in even at a young age. Kids are sponges... whatever they see, hear and read (or have read to them), they take in.


This is why I try to start my kids off on the right foot- teaching them about God right from the start! Thankfully, there are many books for all ages that help us to do just that. Today, I'm excited to share two of these books from a brand new Bible stories series for babies and toddlers:



In the Beginning
A fresh take on a classic Bible story that's perfect for very young children
With its bold, modern art and simple text of about 100 words, this fresh new take on the story of Creation is just right for babies and toddlers. Children will learn that in the beginning, everything was dark. Then God said, Let there be light. He created the seas and the land, the sun and the moon, all the creatures on the earth . . . and us! And then God rested. This charming depiction of God's Creation makes a perfect gift for little ones.

Noah's Ark

A fresh take on a classic Bible story that s perfect for very young children
With its bold, modern art and simple text of about 100 words, this fresh new take on the story of Noah and his ark is just right for babies and toddlers. Children will learn that God asked Noah to build a big boat; that it rained and rained for days; and that God saved Noah and the animals, then He placed a rainbow in the sky. They will learn to count the animals two by two and will discover the colors of the rainbow as well. This charming crowd of elephants, giraffes, monkeys, and more makes a perfect gift for little ones.

In the past, we have tried many books from Worthy Kids, as these books are. We have also tried many other kids' Bible stories from other publishers. For whatever reason, the Worthy Kids books are ALWAYS the ones my daughter loves the most. I'm not sure if it's their beautifully drawn illustrations, or how they truly are tailored to children and written in a way that appeals to them, but whatever it is my daughter always love them more than all the others. These were no different! She immediately fell in love and wanted to read over and over again. Thankfully, these books are pretty short, so I was happy to oblige. We all know that for kids, repetition is key, so I loved that my daughter wanted to hear these stories over and over again. In fact, we read In The Beginning so many times one day that she started to pick up the story. Amazing!

By introducing our little ones at such a young age, we are setting them up with a great foundation as they learn and grow in their faith.

Check out the links below to purchase these books:

In the Beginning: http://amzn.to/2nfmcHE
Noah’s Ark: http://amzn.to/2nZRYbw

And one very lucky winner is going to win them both! Enter using the Rafflecopter form below:

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.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Spend Time in the Word with The Beautiful Word Devotional {A Review}


**Book received for review. All thoughts are 100% my own.

People always ask me, "What's your favorite Journaling Bible?"

You see, I have quite the collection of them- various styles and types, translations and sizes. I honestly love each and every one for various reasons, so I love sharing the highlights of each, but one of my personal favorite journaling Bibles is one that I personally don't even journal in--- the Beautiful Word Bible.

Beautiful Word is unlike the others in my collection and on the market in that there are already pre-drawn illustrations--- fully colored. While there is also space to do your own journaling, I personally just fell in love with it simply for its beauty. I can't bring myself to actually journal in it myself, but it is my go to church Bible.

Needless to say, when I heard about The Beautiful Word Devotional, I was thrilled:



He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Your devotional time is precious as you draw near to the Lord and experience His love in your life. The Beautiful Word Devotional is the perfect companion to help you experience His goodness through His Word as beautifully lettered Scripture.

This devotional includes:

182 verses illustrated in full color Special places to write your own reflections Warm devotions for each day of the year Dive into 365 devotions to nurture your spirit and encourage your heart as God’s Word washes over you with its promises. With lovely devotions and inspiring images, The Beautiful Word Devotional will refresh your heart daily as you seek to enjoy God’s Word in a creative way.

This beautiful devotional offers everything I love about the Bible in a stunning devotional! On one page you have a devotional with beautifully illustrated artwork, on the next you have a devotional with a lined margin for your own notes and journaling.

In the past I've talked a lot about how the idea of Bible journaling is not for everyone. Some people may like that idea of Christian journaling and even art journaling, but they simply aren't comfortable with the idea of doing it IN their Bibles. As I looked through this devotional, I couldn't help but think this could be a great option for these people! Now, the pages are glossy, so some forms of art journaling would not work well, but some would...and general journaling of notes would certainly be possible!

Each day is labeled by date, but you can jump in at any time and circle back, or if you'd prefer to just start at day one, there is no reason you could not. But I love that there is a devotion for each and every day of the year- a great way to inspire us to make time in our day for the Word.

The Beautiful Word Devotional is available to purchase now.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Look at Motherhood Through the Book of Esther {+ Mother's Day Gifts at Dayspring}


**Product received for consideration. Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own.

I love being a mother.

The hugs, the snuggles, hearing that sweet voice say, "I love you, Mommy!". There truly is nothing better in this world. Still, motherhood can be a thankless job. It's endless nights, piles of laundry, sinks full of dishes. It's dirty diapers and spit up and snotty t-shirts. It's playing referee, chauffeur, nurse, personal chef, tutor, and so many more, but without the pay of each. Oftentimes, we don't even get so much as a thank you.

Is it any wonder that some moms start doubting themselves or their worth? They think about other people out having successful careers or making huge differences in the world, and look at their stain covered yoga pants and feel inferior.

With Mother's Day approaching, I want to take a look at motherhood through the book of Esther.


Esther is my favorite book in the Bible, and I know is loved by so many... but what does it have to do with motherhood. After all, Esther wasn't a mother. Still she was a woman of God who was put in a position that--- well, wasn't necessarily always ideal. She was a person who God used, right where she was.

Esther 4:14 reads, "For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”"

We might not be in a position of royalty, but we are in a position of great power as mothers. We are in a position to teach our children. Perhaps our role in God's kingdom is not to save millions through God's word, but in our position as mothers, our role is to raise that child who will. If you ask me, that's a pretty important role.

Whether in motherhood, your career or life in general, when you start feeling those feelings of not being enough or not doing enough, think about Esther. Ask God to use you... not in the future how and where you want to be used. Right here and right now, wherever you are. God put you here for a reason, let Him use you.



This Mother's Day, spread this message of encouragement! Remind your mom friends or yourself that God uses each and every one of us. Even 'Just a Mom'. Dayspring has the perfect gifts to express this in their Created Called Crowned collection, featuring scripture from Esther in a stunning design every mom will love. From mugs to notepads to gift sets that feature it all, there are so many great options to remind every mom that God is with them, wherever they are.





You can see these and more great Mother's Day gifts at Dayspring!


And through Monday, April 24 you can save 25% off sitewide with coupon code FAITH25! Head on over to save now!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Stay Positive Among The Negatives {Unsinkable Faith Book Review}


**Book received for review. All thoughts are 100% my own.

Take a look around you. Do you ever feel like there is nothing but negativity everywhere?

Turn on the TV, its bad news. Scroll through your newsfeed- it's complaining and fighting. Politics, motherhood, what's to watch on TV or what's in a drink at Starbucks... everywhere we look people are complaining about something. Seeing it all can really weigh us down... add in real life issues that actually aren't going well... well, it really is truly very hard to stay positive! 

Today, I'm sharing a book that may just help, Unsinking Faith: 

For many people, remaining optimistic and feeling positive about themselves and their lives is a constant battle - especially when circumstances are difficult and life is hard.
For others, negativity is something that only sneaks up from time to time, yet still wreaks havoc in their hearts. Regardless of the root causes, once pessimistic thoughts permeate our minds, our feelings and emotions begin to control us instead of us controlling them. Eventually it doesn't seem possible to stay positive, happy, and full of joy, and negative thought patterns shake our faith, causing us to sink emotionally, mentally, and spiritually over time. But it doesn't have to be that way. Despite what storms roll in, hearts anchored in God don't sink. When we change the way we think, we can change the way we feel and live, even if our circumstances remain the same. Intentionally embracing the opportunity to experience a transformed heart and a renewed mind opens the door for a changed life, because a positive mind will always lead to a more positive life.
In 
Unsinkable Faith, author and Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker Tracie Miles offers hope for women who struggle with negativity. Each chapter explores Tracie's and other women's personal stories, showing how they rose above their circumstances by transforming and renewing their minds. 
Unsinkable Faith is a breath of fresh air for anyone longing for a heart full of joy, an unbreakable smile, and a new, more optimistic perspective on life. This book will equip you to:
-Replace pessimism with positive thinking by becoming the captain of your thoughts;
-Learn how true joy and happiness are based on choice, not circumstances;
-Overcome unhealthy habits of negative thinking by intentionally implementing three easy mind-renewing steps;
-Stop feeling hopeless and pitiful, and start feeling hope-filled and powerful instead; and
-Discover that when you change the way you think, you change the way feel, and in turn you can change your life completely.

If you look around my blog and even my personal Facebook page you'll find that I really do try to keep things positive. I try not to complain- though I'd have plenty to complain about if I chose to. I try to be uplifting. I try to keep my eyes on God through everything and trust in him to bring me through. I feel like negativity is contagious, as is optimism, so I try to spread that optimism and focus on the good.

But in my real life, offline--- sometimes it's a little harder to keep that positive attitude going. Don't get me wrong, I try...I'm not being fake online, I'm just choosing where to put my focus and ignoring the rest. In real life, it's a little harder to ignore health issues- physical and mental and all of the bad things that life throws our way. As much as I aim to stay positive, sometimes I fail.

This is a book that we all need in our lives... it's not a book that teaches us how to have the perfect life, but a book that helps us to look on the bright side even when things are falling apart around us. 
Unsinkable Faith is available now. Learn more and purchase a copy.