A Modern Day Fairy Tale: April 2017

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.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Woman's Study Bible {A Review}

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

I started collecting Bibles when I was a teenager! I was always a collector of other types of books, but after looking into more Bibles I realized that each one had a little something different to offer. Some were devotional Bibles that offered devotions mixed in with the reading. Some offered word studies. Others were just plain ol' reading.

Throughout the years, I've added many Bible to my collection, but still I realized there was one type of ultra important Bible that was missing. A study Bible! So, I was thrilled to have the chance to review The Woman's Study Bible:




The Woman’s Study Bible poignantly reveals the Word of God to women, inviting them to receive God’s truth for balance, hope, and transformation. Special features designed to speak to a woman’s heart appear throughout the Bible text, revealing Scripture-based insights about how godly womanhood grows from a woman’s identity as a Christ-follower and a child of the Kingdom.
Now with a beautiful full-color redesign, The Woman’s Study Bible reflects the contributions of over 80 women from a wide variety of ethnic, denominational, educational, and occupational backgrounds. Since the publication of the first edition of The Woman’s Study Bible under the editorial guidance of Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Rhonda Harrington Kelley, this landmark study Bible has sold over 1.5 million copies.

Features Include:


  • Beautiful full-color design throughout
  • Detailed biographical portraits of over 100 biblical women
  • Thousands of extensive verse-by-verse study notes
  • Over 300 in-text topical articles on relevant issues
  • Insightful essays by women who are recognized experts in the fields of theology, biblical studies, archaeology, and philosophy
  • Book introductions and outlines
  • Hundreds of full-color in-text maps, charts, timelines, and family trees
  • Quotes from godly women throughout history
  • Set of full-page maps of the biblical world
  • Topical index
  • Concordance


First and foremost, how stunning is this Bible? Truly, I think this might be the most beautiful Bible in my collection. The beautiful floral design is just gorgeous! But of course, we can't really judge a book by it's cover, right?

Inside it's just as fantastic. Now, I love my devotional Bible and I love my journaling Bibles, but if there is just one type of Bible that I truly do think that everyone needs, its a study Bible. After all, how many times have you found yourself reading a passage and really uncertain of exactly what it meant? What was the context in which it was written? Who wrote it? What was the purpose? Where are other references that might give us a truer understanding? A study Bible can provide us with these things. They tell us the who, the what and the where. They truly help us to dig deeper into the Word of God and gain a much greater understanding.

Each book offers an introduction to the book we are about to read. Who wrote it, what was going on in the time when it was written, etc. It also features commentary on each page to help us again gain that better understanding of what we are reading. This includes other scriptural references to help us get a bigger picture. In addition, there are pop outs about various topics that are important to women.  While the NKJV may not have been my first choice of translations, this Bible is amazing and I am thrilled to have it as part of my collection.

The Woman's Study Bible is available to purchase now.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Celebrate Earth Day and Poetry Month with Animal Ark {A National Geographic Kids Giveaway}

**Book received for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own. 
Earth Day is almost here! Have you been talking to your children about what that means?

I don't know about you, but when I talk earth day with my kids I find that I go back to things like recycling, conserving energy and using greener products... these are all great to teach our children, of course... but I find myself forgetting to talk about protecting one very important thing--- the animals that live on the earth! What better way to introduce them to some of the great species in the world than with a fun book? For that, no one can do it quite like National Geographic in their new book Animal Ark:


A howling wolf, a stalking tiger, a playful panda, a dancing bird – pairing the stunning photography of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore with the delicate poetry of Newbery award-winning author Kwame Alexander, this lush picture book celebrates the beauty, diversity, and fragility of the animal world. 

Featuring more than 40 unique animal portraits, the pages invite kids to explore each creature's markings, textures, and attributes in stunning detail, while calling on all of us to help protect each and every one. Three picture-packed gatefolds inside showcase even more familiar and exotic species. These images are part of Sartore's lifelong project to photograph every animal in the world, with special attention given to disappearing and endangered species.

Now, when I typically think of National Geographic books, a few things come to mind. I think bold, bright photos and I think lots and lots of facts. When it comes to educational books, National Geographic is usually our go to. Still, while we can certainly learn a lot from this book, it is not the full informational resource type book you might have come to expect. Instead it uses poetry and stunning photography to draw kids in! So, while you might not learn quite as much... it's such a great starting point. This was much more suitable for my 3-year-old than others we have, but with its fun rhyme, even my 9-year-old enjoyed reading right along. The pages are filled with beautiful pictures that will captivate even the youngest of readers. Even the way the words are laid out on the page give it a great visual appeal that keep kids wanting more!

This may not be quite the informative books we so often associate with National Geographic Kids, but they certainly have the same fun and vibrant style that will have kids ready to learn more about their favorite animals--- and some new ones too!

You can learn more about National Geographic Kids at the links below:


And one very lucky reader is going to win a copy of Animal Ark for themselves! 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.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

More Thoughts on Autism Acceptance #AutismAwarenessMonth

Shortly after Shaun received his autism diagnosis, we met another family who had a child on the spectrum. He was probably about 15 or 16, and quite committed to his autism (we don't like high and low functioning labels, but that's in another post). While us adults chatted, this older boy spotted their dog and started acting like a dog. Shaun thought this was the greatest thing. He joined right in! They were laughing, having a blast, interacting. This was before Shaun had started school and was not nearly as interactive as he is now, nor did he engage in pretend play. I thought it was great! They were having fun. Together. As a mother, I loved seeing that interaction. It was sweet.


But rather than letting these boys have their moment, his parents quickly put an end to it. They ushered him off and shut him in his bedroom. Out of sight. And then--- they apologized. It wasn't as if we were passing judgement, they knew our situation as we knew theirs. He wasn't hurting or bothering anyone, just having fun.

Throughout all of these years, that moment stuck with me. It bothered me that they would do something like that... to just shut away their child so he wasn't a bother.

Here's the thing--- this attitude isn't isolated. So many people actually truly think that autistic people or those with other special needs should just stay at home where they will not be a bother to others. I've had people say it to me. I've heard people say it about other children, not knowing that I too had a child with special needs.

With the negative attitudes we so often face, to be honest- sometimes it would be easier to just stay home. We wouldn't have to deal with judgement or criticism. We wouldn't have to worry about the noises and the lights and the people that no one else notices but that are deafening and blinding to someone with sensory issues. We wouldn't have to worry about the meltdown that followed that over-stimulation--- because it's never just that ONE thing they're crying about that seems insignificant to onlookers. We wouldn't have to worry about the safety issues that arise when you have child with no sense of danger... yes, it would be easier to just stay home. But then we are the same as those parents--- shutting away our child so he doesn't disrupt YOUR day. We would keep our child from having a good time, from joking around, from truly living and experiencing life like every other kid. He would never learn to behave in social situations- to work, to grow, to find the skills that work for him to meet those challenges he's is faced with. And so we live--- just like everyone else. Sometimes there are meltdowns. Sometimes people are rude and as a mother bear I have to resist the urge to start aiming for toes with my shopping cart. Sometimes we just have to allow that time to run around in circles without interruption to focus that energy in a way that is not harmful to anyone. And sometimes yes, we have to leave... but we will NEVER say that we will not try. We will never be those parents who shut their child away and apologize for them (he's capable of apologizing himself, when truly and actually warranted).

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Importance of Sight: Learn About Fighting Blindness Due to AMD #ffbamd

**This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Foundation Fighting Blindness. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

When you wake up in the morning what is the first thing you do?

For me, I open my eyes and take a look around. I LOOK at the time to decide if I have more time to rest before getting up for the day. I take in the SIGHT of my kids sleeping, soaking up that image as I know they grow entirely too fast. As I get out of bed, I LOOK outside the window to see what the weather is doing for the day, and then I head to my closet to decide what to wear that day- what outfit LOOKS best to me.



That's just in the first 10-15 minutes of being awake, and already I've depended on my sight for so many things. If we stop to think about it, it probably is one of the most used senses. We use our eyes to let us know where we are going, to watch our children, to dress... even just browsing online, it's our eyes doing most of the work. Vision is so important. Just think about the stories of Jesus healing the blind, if sight was not important...why would that story be so important?

video


And so, it truly is so important that we show compassion towards those with vision loss, but that we also take care of our own eyes and know how to properly care for them. Right now, most of us probably don't give this too much thought. Even as someone who wears glasses, I still take that ability to see for granted sometimes. But as we age, our bodies change and that can include our eyesight too.

Did you know that more than 10 million Americans are at risk of vision loss due to Age-Related Macular Degeneration- an eye disease that causes loss of central vision.

The exciting news is that a cure is in sight! The Foundation Fighting Blindness, a non-profit organization, has provided funding for research on cures for blindness, specifically AMD, since 1971. In fact, with the research FFB has already made possible, treatments to stop and in some cases even reverse retinal disease is a reality. This is great news for people over 55 and their families. With AMD it is nearly impossible for grandparents to enjoy the little things in life such as playing games, watching movies and reading to their grandchildren. However, due to innovative research, those things are once again possible for many people…but, we need to continue this outreach, support additional research and find cures.

Perhaps the best place we can start is by knowing exactly what AMD is- what to look for and how it can be treated. If you think that you or a loved one might be experiencing AMD, head on over to download this FREE PDF with more information about AMD.

Do you have any personal stories with Age Related Macular Degeneration? Feel free to share in the comments. And don't forget to share this post with anyone who might need it. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Thoughts on Functioning Labels: Autism Acceptance Month

"Is he high functioning or low functioning?"
Seems like an innocent enough question, right? And a simple enough one to answer, one might think. But there is so much more to it than that.
What does high functioning mean? What is low functioning? What is the criteria to look at? Is it based on intelligence? Is it based on being verbal? Is it based on being potty trained? Is it based off of aggressive tendencies?
What about the child who is verbal and extremely smart--- smarter than all his peers, typically developing or not. But this child is not potty trained by 8-10 years old. Or ever. This child also has meltdowns that lead to physical aggression towards himself and towards his mother and teachers. By some definitions, his intelligence and speech would warrant that 'high functioning' level. By others the aggression and lack of potty training would lead to 'low functioning'
Then we go to the other side... someone who has no speech at all. They use communication devices to express their needs and can write beautifully. They may not have words to speak... but they are intelligent and find their own way. They may or may not need help with self care, but just the lack of speech alone for many would point to 'low functioning'.
See, this is where the problem lies... autism is a spectrum and is based on a variety of factors... someone may have extreme struggles in one area, but excel in another. Sometimes its a matter of any given day. If you struggle with anxiety you know this feeling well yourself! Some days are good... some days are struggles.
When we try to put that label on an autistic child or adult, it says something. It says for those that are 'high functioning' they are 'more normal', we forget about the struggles because hey, 'they're high functioning'. That doesn't mean their struggles actually are less, they are just focused on less. For many, this can make it harder to get the support and understanding they still very much need. When someone is labeled as low functioning, their assets are ignored. They are seen as less than because they cannot speak or use the toilet, forgetting completely all of the amazing assets they DO have.
And so, I say again... we don't like them, and we don't use them. Ultimately, high or low doesn't matter in the slightest. Autism is autism- in all its high points and all its low points it just IS.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Daddy's Little Girl {A Book Review + Giveaway}

**I received this book from WorthyKids/Ideals for free in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are 100% my own.

There truly is something special about the relationship between a little girl and her daddy, isn't there?

My daughter is very much a mama's girl... but there is still that special connection there too, and I LOVE it! So fun to see how she admires her daddy and wants his attention.

Today, I'm excited to share a new book with you that celebrates that daddy and daughter relationship: Daddy's Girl.



Daddy’s Girl (April 4, 2017; ISBN 9780824956813; $15.99; 32 pp) begins with the bubbly host setting up for a fabulous tea party: she plates cookies, perfects table placements, and puts on sparkly jewelry. Excitement builds as the little girl hangs a special sign on a chair and hears a knock at the door. When her father, the mystery guest of honor, walks in, his daughter decorates him with fancy tea-party attire, and he joins in the fun. The story closes with a sweet hug and the conclusion that tea is best with Dad.

With a trim size of 9 x 9 inches and a shimmering, pearlized jacket, Daddy’s Girl is a gift-sized picture book that radiates with the vibrant colors and endearing art of Estelle Corke. The book’s playful, rhyming text conveys the exuberance of the young narrator in great read-aloud fashion. Perfect for Father’s Day presents and every day in between, Daddy’s Girl is a loving tribute to father-daughter relationships.


If you have a little girl who loves dress up and pretend play, this book is going to be right up her alley! The first part of the book focuses on those details of preparing for a fantastic tea party, with a build up to a very special guest. There is glitter and boas. There are pretty dresses and crowns. There are jewels and fancy shoes... all of these things that my daughter- and so many girls- absolutely love. More than that, it truly does show the love of not just a little girl to her daddy, but a daddy to his little girl. We see this daddy dressed in a feather boa and homemade crown- not what most men have planned for their days, but such a sweet way to bond with their precious little girl.

Worthy Kids Books are perhaps among my daughter's favorites. They beautifully share uplifting and sweet stories in a way that makes sense to her, and in a way that is easy to catch on and follow. This book is no different! With its lovely illustrations and beautiful rhythm, my daughter loves reading it over and over again.

If you have a Daddy's Girl and are looking for just the right book for daddy/daughter reading time, Daddy's Girl is the perfect option.

Daddy's Girl is available to purchase now at the links below:


Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2nxJp6J


And one very lucky reader is going to have the chance to win  copy for themselves. 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.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

10 Ways To Fall in Love With Your Bible and Stay In Love {New Book from Shanna Noel at Dayspring} #Dayspring #IllustratedFaith

**Book received for consideration, post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own.

What's your favorite book?

As good Christians when we hear this question we KNOW how we're supposed to answer, right? The Bible. What other book could top the Bible!?

And while it's certainly holds true that there is no greater books in terms of importance, how many of us can truly and honestly say that it is our absolute favorite? As much as we know we're supposed and as much as we might want to feel otherwise, for many reading the Bible feels like much more of a chore than anything else. It's something to check off the list.

Go to church. Check.
Say your prayers. Check

Volunteer at church. Check.
Read your Bible. Check. 


These of course are all great things that we should be doing as Christians of course, but if our heart isn't in it...well, what's the point? I remember in school I loved to read everything, except those things I HAD to read for classes. I would whip through them quickly just to get it over and done with so that I could move on to what I wanted to. And let's be honest... I got a whole lot less out of those books than the ones I truly wanted to read. If I loved what I was reading, I studied it...I took it all in, If I didn't love it... ? Well, it just didn't stick.

This isn't what I want when it comes to reading my Bible. I want to enjoy it, I want to look forward to my time in the Word. I want to fall in love with my Bible.

For myself and many others, Bible journaling provided that way to fall in love with my Bible all over again. For others, it helped them to fall in love for the very first time. And so, I was very excited to hear about the new book from Illustrated Faith creator, Shanna Noel- 10 Ways to Fall in Love With Your Bible And Stay In Love:




Release any feelings of guilt you may have about the lack of time you spend reading your Bible and join Shanna Noel, creator of Illustrated Faith, as she gives 10 Ways To Fall In Love With Your Bible And Stay In Love!   "This is your invitation to leave the excuses at the door and join me in not only falling in love with your Bible but STAYING in love with your Bible."  —Shanna Noel


Now, maybe you're thinking you too want to fall in love with your Bible, but Bible journaling isn't for you. That's absolutely fine, it's not for everyone...and that's not what this book is about. Instead its a great inspiration to get rid of those preconceived notions of what Bible reading is all about and truly allow us to start enjoying it as we should be. With questions to ponder and make us think, and even a section for journaling, this book truly can help us to take our Bible time to a greater level.

And it's Now Available! Grab your copy of the new book 10 Ways To Fall in Love with Your Bible and Stay in Love written by Illustrated Faith Creator Shanna Noel.


Do you love reading your Bible or do you need a little inspiration? How can this book help?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Person First vs Identity First Language {Autism Acceptance Month}

When my son was three years old, we were headed to an autism event and I wanted to create the perfect shirt for him...something fun and catchy! What I came up with was the simple... 'Autistic Kids Rock'.


I loved it and it felt right to me, but at the time I remember thinking, "Is someone going to say something about saying 'Autistic Kid'!?" 

You see, we were fairly new to the diagnosis at that point and I had so many parents telling me the proper terminology was 'child WITH autism'. The reasoning was that you wouldn't call someone with cancer and 'cancer child'. They argued that autism was a condition they had, not who they were. This is called person first language, and in other instances, perhaps this is the correct way to go. Still, with autism, something just never quite sat right with me. I often used the term so as not to offend anyone, but it just didn't feel right to me. I couldn't find anything wrong with describing my child as an autistic child... and person with autism? Well, it just didn't roll off the tongue either did it?



As I dived deeper into the autism community, I started reading accounts from autistic adults stating that they didn't view their autism as an affliction. It wasn't something that they HAD, but rather a part of who they were. They didn't want a cure because it would in fact change who they were. I saw this with my son too. Unlike an illness that plays no part in personality or the workings of one's brain, autism very much does. My son may have liked trains without his autism, but would he have the obsession and the dedication he did? He may have liked movies, but would he have the amazing knack for knowing just who made each movie and what year it came out? Would he talk the same? See the world the same? Would he have the same quirks and yes even flaws that made him who HE was? Without autism- the good and the bad- he would be a completely different child. It would have been impossible to separate who he was from his autism.

The more I thought about these things, the more I realized that he was not a child with autism. He was Shaun- an autistic child. 

As it turns out, most autistic people feel the same. They don't like being called a person with autism because they too feel like their autism is an important part of what makes them them. They prefer identity first language.

As a mother, I can think of no greater resource on autism than those adults who are living it... so knowing this, I came to the conclusion that in our home, we would use identity first language. Are there still some who cringe when they hear me referring to my child as autistic? Oh, absolutely. Some might even try to correct me, but I know in my heart that autism is part of my son, and if we truly want acceptance, we cannot try and separate that.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Be Smurfs Ready with Entenmann’s® Little Bites® and A Kids Craft {+ $25 Fandango Gift Card}

The coupons for product redemption, information, and gift card have been provided by Entenmann’s® Little Bites® so that I could try the product and share my thoughts and information about Entenmann’s® Little Bites®. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Entenmann’s® Little Bites®

La la la-la la la, 
Sing a happy song. 
La la la-la la la, 
Smurf the whole day long


If you found yourself singing along, chances are you are looking forward to Smurfs: The Lost Village, in theaters April 7th! I know we certainly are in my house! We have to wait just a little bit longer to see the movie ourselves, but while we wait... we're getting into the spirit! We're eating, sleeping, dreaming... even CRAFTING blue!

Today, I'm excited to share a super fun and super simple kids craft to help you and your children get movie ready! We're making our own Smurfs!



DIY Popsicle Stick Smurfs
  • Craft Sticks
  • Blue Paint
  • White Felt
  • Googly Eyes
  • Marker
  • Glue
  1. First prepare your popsicle sticks by painting blue. Allow to dry. (For this craft, I found that large sticks worked better.)
  2. While you are waiting, you can create your hat... simply cut out a piece of white felt big enough for your stick in the shape of a Smurfs hat. If you don't have felt, paper will work fine!
  3. When the stick has dried, it's time to assemble the Smurf. Glue on the Googly Eyes and hat.
  4. Finish up by drawing on the face. 
  5. If you want to get a little fancier, you can paint the lower half of your stick white, or create a felt dress for Smurfette, using yarn or pipe cleaner for hair. Or you can keep them super simple, just the faces! 



That's it! Use them as little puppets, or as a fun bookmark! Your little ones can even take their new crafty pals to the theater too!



But of course no celebration can be complete without a delicious treat! In our household, we LOVE Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Muffins! They offer the perfect bite size treat for at home or on the go, and most importantly they taste delicious! I must admit, I LOVE muffins--- especially blueberry muffins, but I don't tend to like packaged ones. Entemann's is the exception! I haven't tried one that I don't absolutely love....and my kids feel the same! In celebration of Smurfs, they are offering specially marked boxes of their delicious BLUEberry muffins! Check it out:



Information
 about Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Muffins:
  • Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Smurf Blueberry Muffins are the perfect Smurf approved baked snacks. These moist, delicious muffins are made with real blueberries, contain no high fructose corn syrup, no transfat and are certified Kosher. At less than 200 calories per pouch, Enenmann’s® Little Bites® are the perfect family snack to enjoy at home or on-the-go.
  • A fun Smurfs coloring cut out for kids is included on the inside of every specially marked box.
  • With the purchase of two 5 count, one 10 count, or one 20 count specially marked Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Smurf Blueberry Muffins packages, receive $5.00 off a movie ticket to see the “Smurfs: The Lost Village.”
  • “Smurfs: The Lost Village” will hit theatres April 7, 2017. 
  • For more information about Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Smurf Blueberry Muffins or about the Fandango Movie Promotion, please visit www.littlebites.com. There, you will also find games and stories about theSmurfs for additional inspiration.
  • Available nationwide for a limited time until 4/30/17.

Want to learn more about the Smurfs promotion or Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Muffins? Connect at the links below:

·         Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Smurfs website
·         Entenmann’s® Little Bites® website
·         Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Facebook
·         Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Instagram
·         Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Pinterest
·         Entenmann’s® YouTube


And they are giving one lucky reader the chance to see the movie too, with a $25 Fandango Gift Card! 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.