Caravan Sonnet: August 2015

8/31/15

5 Ways to Stop the Comparison Game and Love your Life

"Comparison is the thief of Joy"

Last week I discussed the topic of "Envy in the Single Journey". Although I only received a few comments in public on the post I received many more emails with people expressing the difficulty that they have with comparing their lives to someone else and asking how to overcome the envy or comparison game. I am not an expert but as I enter my fourth fall of being primarily home bound, living with my parents, and having nothing that resembles a "normal" life at my age, I have learned a lot of lessons (the hard way) regarding the topic of comparison. Here are five tips that I use and hope it will encourage you to stop the comparison game and love your life:


1. Focus on Your Life, Your Loved Ones, Your Family, and Your Relationships.
This might seem like an overly simplistic thing to do but when we spend time focusing on others and pouring over their lives we waste precious time missing out on the blessings and gifts that God has placed in our lives. Focus on your life, your loved ones, your family, and your relationships and the joy that can be found there not in comparing to someone else. Darling, lets be adventurers in this beautiful journey God has given us. 


2. Limit Social Media
In 2014 there was a study released that said that people were spending an average of 21 minutes a day on instagram in addition to the time spent on other social media outlets. (Lets be honest depending on the age range that you fall into it could be more or less.) The study went on to conclude that people were spending an average of 2 to 3 hours on combined social media outlets.
 Another study being performed currently shows that in one year researchers are expecting these numbers to triple. Y'all, I am going to suggest that part of the issue with dealing with comparing our lives to others is the amount of precious time we give to social media.

Look, I love social media, especially with fighting for my health right now because it allows me to connect with others outside my home, book speaking engagements,run a boutique and an etsy shop from my home, promote my books that I have authored, allows me to stay connected with friends and loved ones, and gives me the opportunity to make new friends. BUT, I am the first one to say that I am very very purposeful with how I spend my time in regards to social media. Those closest to me know that I will spend some time on instagram, post a picture, connect with others, and then log out of it. Many of you blog readers know that from my blog tips and advice I suggest organizing time each week (not each day) on various social media sites, I also highly recommend limiting the amount of social media sites you are on. I just do not see how it is possible to be on a million social media sites all of the time?!? I want to ask people that I see that are on all of these things: how do you have time for work, for your friendships and relationships in person, and time with the Lord?

I DEFINITELY believe that you can have a healthy balance with using social media. I truly do. I also believe that social media can be a wonderful tool for sharing the gospel and encouraging others. BUT I also believe that if you are really struggling with the comparison game that taking a step back from social media can be a really helpful tool. As I mentioned in #1- take the time to focus on your life, your loved ones, your family, and your relationships. Instead of spending hours looking at how great someone else's life "supposedly is" build into your own life and relationships.


3. Focus on the Blessings You Have in Your Life.
As I mentioned last week, I truly believe that each of us has so many blessings in our lives. I do admit that sometimes it can be hard, in certain seasons to find those. This is especially true when you are longing deeply for something in your life like marriage, babies, etc. But there is always something to be thankful for. I urge you sweet friends to dig deep and really focus on the blessings that you have.

One of the greatest lessons that I have learned in being sick is that I honestly can say that I would never complain about "ordinary and routine" things again as I get better. Y'all, I miss grocery shopping, I miss working outside the home, and I miss spending time doing the laundry. Before you start to complain about these things and think that other people's lives are "easier" remember the blessing it is to do the simplest things.

One of my favorite quotes that has challenged me and changed me is: "Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." (William Arthur Ward)


4. Work Hard and Create Your Legacy
"Stewarding your life wisely can bring confidence, excellence of character and peace of mind- and lead you to create a legacy, a story worth telling." (Sally Clarkson)

One of the things that amazes me is when I hear people comment on how they wish they had "so and so's life because it is so easy". Y'all everyone has difficulties in their lives and most people are comparing a life that has worked incredibly hard to get somewhere with the beginning stages of our own. I love this quote by Sally Clarkson and the truth that comes with "stewarding your life". We all have the same amount of hours in a day but think about how you want to spend them. Instead of complaining about how hard your life, think about the legacy that you are creating even now in your life.

What are your dreams for your life? Have you prayed about where the Lord is leading? Steward your life friends. Put in the time it takes to follow a dream instead of envying someone else's dream. Need more education? Go back to school. Need more experience? Work your way up in a job to get that experience. Need (fill in the blank here)? Take the time to steward your life and go after your dreams and create a legacy and a story worth telling. Choose to be wise with time, even in the hard seasons of life. Don't look back and say that you wished that you had spent more time chasing after the areas that God has called you to because you were spending hours comparing your life to another's. Feeling like you are suffering through a difficult season in life? There is a legacy that is even created in suffering friends.


5. Give to Others.
There are seasons of life that we must rely and lean into our precious loved ones a little more heavily. For me, this is one of those seasons. I am leaning more on friends and family for not only physical needs (including financial) but also go them for emotional support and ask for countless prayers each day. Maybe you are like me friends in this area. Maybe you don't feel that you have a lot to give right now, but we can each find little and big ways to give to others. Whether it is a simple smile to a stranger, a kind word to the person checking us out at the grocery store, a card to a lonely friend, or taking the time to supporthandmade shop, you always can give something to someone. I have mentioned so many times how cards and packages have made my entire week (or month). You truly never know much your kindness can make a difference to someone.

Giving changes everything. Not just for the person who is the receiver, but for us as the "givers". Your kindness can change the course of someones life and nothing can compare to that friends. 

8/29/15

18 Back To School Money Saving Ideas


I stopped in at Staples on Monday to fax some blood work to my Lyme Doctor and the place was swarming with wide-eyed parents and excited children whose baskets were filled high. As I was waiting in line I got talking to a frazzled looking mother who shared with me that she can't believe that for two of her children to go back to school (one is in middle school and the other is in high school) they are going to spend more on supplies then their food bill for three weeks. (If you think that sounds crazy - some people spend more on Back to School things than a family of four uses for their grocery bill for a month. Don't believe me? The National Retail Foundation says that the average family spends $700 for Back to School supplies. And it goes up every year. Just so you know in 2009 the NRF said that the average family was only spending $549.)

I wanted to share a few tips that you might not have thought of to help save a little more money. What is necessary? What should you spend money on? What should you save money on? So here are eighteen tips- in no particular order:

1. Don't buy everything on the list As a former teacher I am here to let you know that not everything a teacher puts down on the list will be needed for the next year. Did you know that most teachers are asked to create their "upcoming school year lists" in the Spring of the previous year? It's true. Here is why this is important: in the Spring a teacher can want one thing and in the Fall something totally different. Stick to the basics and find out if your child really needs those twenty orange folders or if it will be ten red ones. *smiles*

2. Find out from the school if a teacher (or teachers) have left or they are the same from the previous year. This is easy to do and can save a ton of hassle. A friend of mine shared the experience that the list that the school gave them for her 4th grade daughter detailed specifically a few items that they literally spent weeks searching for. They finally paid a good bit of money when these items were found online only to be told a short two days before school started that the previous teacher had left and the new one didn't even want those items. (And yes, it was non-refundable. Urgh.)

3. Buy cheap pens. As a former teacher I can't even count the number of pens that I would collect in one day let alone the ones that I found in a school year that students "lost". In addition to loosing them students often share give them to friends and they are never returned. Unless you have a child (like I was) who loves different color pens and is going to guard them with her life- invest in cheap pens. You are going to need more in a couple of weeks anyways. *smiles*

4. Don't buy an entirely new Back to School Wardrobe. Yes, I love fashion but it is much wiser to buy a new Back to School outfit (or two if you have the finances) and then set up a system to buy another new outfit in the changing seasons.

5. Buy clothes that are versatile. Remember that just like emotions that change frequently in children, so do clothes that are considered "in/cool" at the beginning of the school year change to "out of style" by October. 

6. Consider a clothing swap.I have a friend whose family hosts a "clothing swap" every summer with approximately 8-15 different families. Everyone brings in a set number of items and each family contributes $5.00. Then the children (with parents if they are younger) go shopping! Any items that are left over are donated to charity and the families use the money to have a big bonfire and play a movie on a large screen outside. How fun. I seriously love this idea. Builds community and saves money! Yahoo! 

7.Read the school list carefully. Just because it was on the school list last year doesn't mean that it will be on the school list this year.

8. Set a budget for your Back to School Shopping and Keep it.  Am I the only one who loves all of the pretty pens, highlighters, folders, paper notebooks, paper clips that are out there? If you have children like that: set a budget. And don't buy the zebra printed paper clips. *smiles* 

9. Buy certain things in bulk. There might be certain things you consider buying in bulk to save time and money later on in the school year. Be selective though and really think if you are going to need those bulk items. 

10. Consider buying your items at your local grocery store. You might be surprised to find out that your grocery store offers school items cheaper than other stores! And, if your grocery store gives gas savings off of the number of points you spend each month- this could be a double savings! 

11. Clip Coupons. I like clip coupons and let me encourage you that this is the best time of year to clip those coupons to help save money. (FYI: If you are buying your supplies at Sam's you can not use your coupons there.)

12. If you live in a state that does "tax free week" shop then. Sixteen states have "tax free weeks". Want to know how to find out if you are one or live close enough to one to cross state boarders? Click HERE. Sorry my sweet Georgia friends, due to the budget deficit there is no tax free week for you this year. 

13. Ask for additional discounts. Don't forget to ask for additional discounts. Many times stores offer military, senior, teacher, student, etc. discounts. 

14. Look at Home first.  Check your home to make sure you don't have the supplies you are going out to buy. 

15. Don't forget about "price match". Some stores have "price match" to other stores, including on-line stores. Do your research before you buy!

16. Wait until September. MANY stores will drop prices on back to school items once Labor Day has passed. Buy what is necessary and then consider buying items that you won't need until later on in the school year then. 

17. Buy books online. Some high schools now require their students to buy books for Advanced Placement classes. Consider renting or buying them online and you could save money. (You could also help a child in need if you go through Campus Book Rentals. Click HERE if you would like to know more about that program.) And while you are online- don't forget to check out social media! Some companies are now offering exclusive awards through social media only. 

18. Check out Thrift Stores and Be Creative.  I am ALL about the idea of "altering" an object- notebooks, calendars, etc. Check out your local thrift store and let your children be creative with their items. Want an example of an altered notebook? Click HERE

What about y'all? How do you and your family save on Back to School Shopping?

8/27/15

Thursday Health Thoughts: 15 Amazing Benefits of Ginger

I first heard of ginger from my acupuncturist about a decade ago. I started using ginger (specifically for nausea during times when I would travel) but didn't know all of the amazing health benefits of consuming ginger until I did additional research. Y'all I am so amazed at the health benefits that come with consuming ginger and hope that it will inspire you to add this to your daily life! So what are all of the health benefits that ginger has? Check out these 15 amazing benefits:

1. Ginger contains gingerol which is a powerful substance with medicinal properties. Ginger has been known to not only help aid digestion and reduce nausea but also help fight the flu and common cold (as I mentioned in this post HERE!)

2. Ginger helps prevent motion sickness. As I mentioned above one of the things that I have long used ginger for is to help prevent motion sickness. There was a study done several years ago that showed that ginger was as effective (but without all of the side effects) as Dramamine! [It should be noted that many times it takes a "build up" process with ginger so if you are going to travel I would suggest using ginger for several weeks ahead of time and in addition to the time during your travel.]

3. Ginger helps reduce nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy. There have been many studies that have been done that when ginger is added to an anti nausea regime for chemotherapy that nausea and vomiting was reduced!

4. Ginger helps the body absorb essential nutrients.

5. Severe digestive issues or cramps? Ginger has been known to help digestive issues and cramps! Ginger has been found to be as effective as ibuprofen in help relieve pain from menstrual cramps in women (see #6!). Another benefit to ginger is that it may help prevent stomach ulcers which can be caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. 

6. Ginger helps reduce pain. Ginger is anti-inflammatory and recent studies show that ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that may rival non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In a study done in 2013 on women's athletes it was found that those that took 3 grams of ginger each day had a significant decrease in muscle soreness and muscle cramps. In addition to muscles though ginger has also been found to help with migraine headaches. 

7. Ginger can help reduce nausea from morning sickness. Recent studies have shown that ginger can help reduce pregnancy-related nausea. 

8. Ginger can help Osteoarthritis. 

9. Ginger may help lower blood sugar and improve heart disease risk factors in patients. Although the studies on this are very new (just started in 2015) doctors are now saying that ginger may help diabetes and heart patients. Ginger appears to help with insulin release and insulin action in the body and helps improve lipid metabolism. Another clinical trial done recently shows that those who consumed ginger had a marked difference in many of their levels. It will be exciting to watch in years to come what future studies say about this!

10. Ginger helps improve circulation. 

11. Ginger can help inhibit certain bacteria, including Salmonella. Ginger is a great item to add to your kitchen as it an help prevent sickness due to salmonella!

12. Ginger helps fight Cancer. Due to the anti-inflammatory properties that ginger contains it is beneficial for many chronic illnesses including Cancer. A recent British study shows that Ginger can help in the effective management of certain Cancers, including prostate Cancer. Other studies have shown that it helps promote anti-tumor activity that can help treat even the difficult to treat types of Cancer. In addition to this a study that was performed at the University of Minnesota found that ginger can help slow the growth of colon Cancer cells.

13. Ginger helps reduce vertigo. Studies show that regularly consuming ginger or ginger tea can help reduce vertigo.

14. Ginger helps reduce the chance of a stroke and the damage done due to strokes. Taking ginger may help reduce the effects that a stroke can have on the body.

15. Ginger helps strengthen the immune system. Along with other wonderful foods, ginger can help improve the immune system.

While using fresh ginger is a wonderful idea, ginger can also be used dried, powdered, or even as an oil (or tea). Do you use ginger? In what form have you found it helpful? Have you found any benefits to consuming ginger?

{Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.}

8/26/15

What's Up Wednesday (August Edition)

Happy Wednesday friends! I am excited to link up with MelShaeffer, and Shay for the "What's Up Wednesday" Link up! I have so enjoyed reading these ladies posts and am excited to join in! It was so fun last month to connect with so many other ladies who are doing this! 

What We're Eating this Week... 
Well I am just going to be honest here y'all... food is difficult right now, but one thing that I still enjoy is my morning smoothie that is filled with yummy fruit and lots of probiotics. 

What I'm Reminiscing About... 
With the upcoming cruise next month I am definitely reminiscing about the last cruise 17 months ago! It was such a fun and sweet time with my best friend and new friends that I can't wait for this adventure (and to celebrate being finished with this treatment round!!)

What I'm Loving... 
Becoming a merchandiser with Chloe + Isabel. Taking this job has been so incredible as I have been able to connect with so many amazing women, partner with an amazing company, share beautiful and gorgeous jewelry, and help raise awareness and funds for charities and friends who I am passionate about. (Interested in hosting an online pop up party? Email me: caravansonnet@gmail.com - I would love to work with you!!)

What I've Been Up To...
If you follow me on instagram than you know that this month has continued the intense summer of fighting for my health in new ways. Starting on June 8th we added in intense antibiotics, shots, new supplements, and new IV's. It's intense and every hour of the day is taken up doing something for my health but I am determined to beat Advanced Late Stage Lyme Disease.  This past week was especially difficult with an unplanned and emergency trip to the ER due to intense and severe pain. Unfortunately we discovered that Lyme has been attacking another part of my body that has decided to cause some issues. I continue to appreciate prayers for the pain to diminish, some specific issues to be resolved, and for complete healing. 

What I'm Dreading... 
Due to the findings this past weekend there are a ton of additional testing that has to be done... not looking forward to this at all. 

What I'm Working on... 
final edits for my book, December Caravan, and a devotional for Lyme Disease patients. 

What I'm Excited About... 
I know I shared this last time but y'all I realized this past weekend that it is only FIVE weeks till the cruise with my best friend! I LOVE how the Lord works out details and had already planned this long before we knew what this summer would bring! It will be a wonderful celebration of finishing this round of treatment! 

Even though it is still five weeks away I have been already planning and figuring out what I will pack (okay, lets be real... I have been doing this for months! *smiles*) as it is going to be a cooler weather cruise. As I have been researching so much I shared yesterday my Top 10 Must Pack items for a New England and Canada cruise as it has been so hard to find information! If y'all have any thoughts or tips I would love to know them!

(p.s.- Words can't begin to express my gratitude to the kind friends who have paid for this opportunity and wish to remain annonymous. You are a blessing to my little heart in so many ways!)

What I'm Watching/Reading... 
A couple of years ago I shared about one of my heroes, Darlene Diebler Rose and my favorite book, "Evidence Not Seen". Her book is absolutely inspiring, life changing, and encouraging. Although I have read it nearly a hundred times I always make a point to re-read it each summer. The spiritual truths are so encouraging and have truly encouraged me in my walk with the Lord. 

What I'm Listening to... 
Honestly, the same songs from the last months are still on repeat this month. These past few weeks they have grown even more dear to my little heart. I have talked about the one, Isaiah 40, in this post HERE, and love the music by the Wissmann Family, especially this CD HERE, and cry through Aaron Keyes song "Sovereign Over Us" almost every single day. Each one of these is such a blessing!

What I'm Wearing... 
pic from here
Okay so ever since I was preparing the post for yesterday, I have been sneaking looks at fall clothes. I can't even begin to describe how much I love summer and don't want to see it end, but I might be crushing on some fall clothes y'all. *smiles*

What I'm looking Forward to Next Month... 
The cruise is NEXT MONTH!! Yea!! AND... most importantly... next month we will officially hit the end of this round of treatment!!! This treatment has been.... extremely rough. I would continue to covet prayers for this treatment round as I am not feeling so great and am fighting as hard as I possibly can. Thank you so much friends!!

I would love to know your answers to these questions friends! Share your thoughts below in the comments!! *smiles* Happy Wednesday!

8/25/15

Top 10 Must Pack Items for a New England and Canada Cruise

Cruises to New England and Canada aren't like packing for a day in the Caribbean. So when it comes to packing for my upcoming cruise to these places I have struggled to decide what should end up in my luggage. The truth is that unlike my last cruise where my suitcase was filled with cute sundresses, lots of flip flops, bathing suits, and adorable warm weather clothes, this cruise will not be a tropical getaway. 

So as I searched for what to pack for this type of cruising climate I struggled to find answers. There were tons of ideas for warmer weather cruising but not for "colder weather climates". So I searched to find anyone who had been on a New England cruise that could share their thoughts, talked with Carnival Cruise (who we are sailing with), and searched tons of travel sites for their thoughts on visiting this area of the world. The reality is that this area of the world in the season that we are going (early fall) can bring unpredictable weather, beautiful views, and gorgeous opportunities. So here are the top 10 things that you can't leave home without y'all:

1. Layers
photo found on pinterest
With weather that is unpredictable during this time of the year (some days can be in the low 30s to the high 80s!!) it is important to pack clothes that you can "layer". 

2. Boots, Booties, Shoes, Sandals
Unlike the Caribbean where you live in sandals, you might want to vary your shoe "wardrobe" a little bit more for a New England Cruise. For time on the boat you might want to still live in cute sandals but time off the boat and the excursions that you choose might determine that you wear different types of shoes. Taking a cruise to New England and Canada offers you a wide array of options as far as choices go for excursions and many that include hiking so don't forget to pack a variety of different shoes that you will need for your cruise!

3. Scarves
photo found on pinterest
Lets be honest. If you have been around the blog then you know that I love scarves and where them in all different weather environments, but a cruise to New England and Canada is a perfect opportunity and excuse to wear a variety of different scarves on the cruise. 

Scarves are also a perfect accessory for a cruise as they are lightweight and don't take up a ton of room but can bring a pop of color to an outfit, change up an outfit (by simply wearing a different scarf), and are the perfect addition to any cruising outfit.

4. Sunscreen
It can be easy to forget this necessary component of your New England and Canada cruise since you are not traveling to a "warm weather" environment but don't forget to pack your sunscreen! I heard from several people who have been on the Carnival New England and Canada cruise that this was something that they forgot but were pleasantly surprised that they needed with two full days aboard the ship that turned out to be in the high 70s! 

5. Camera (and the Extras)
Although I technically live in New England for half of the year and have been to several of the ports that we will be stopping at I can't wait to experience this cruise and the beautiful views that I am sure we will be met with. Fall in New England is gorgeous and I am so excited to explore Canada during this time of the year. Don't forget to bring all of the "extras" that you will also need like a spare battery, battery charger, extra chip, etc.(A great tip that a friend of mine shared with me the last time I went on a cruise was to charge my camera battery every night. This tip was invaluable as one day I accidentally forgot to turn off my camera in all of the fun we were having and would have missed out on some precious picture memories had I not done this!)

6. Extension Cord
Okay, so this isn't a particular suggestion only for New England and Canada cruises but can be for any cruise! This was a suggestion that someone gave to me on my first cruise and it was a lifesaver! Throw in an extension cord and you will be glad that you did!

7. Umbrella or Rain Jacket
As I stated before the weather in this area of the world is unpredictable, but many northeast cities get 3 to 4 inches of rain during the fall months. Consider bringing rain gear or a small umbrella so that you are prepared for whatever weather that you might encounter!

8. Purse, Bag, Etc.
photo found here

Anyone that knows me knows that I love big purses. They are honestly one of my favorite accessories. Taking a big purse with me on my cruise last time was the perfect way for me to carry everything that I needed for our days off the ship (and adding a cute accessory). Some people like to use a backpack or some different type of item to carry their belongings in, but definitely remember to pack some type of bag. For me a large purse works perfectly as I can fit in everything I need to (including a small umbrella!) into it! 

9. Journal, Travel Books, Etc.
Y'all know from my shop that I love creating and altering travel books and journals so this recommendation is probably not a surprise at all! *smiles* Some people like to pack travel guides to take with them on the cruise so they can explore in depth the ports of call while others like to bring journals on board so as to remember the special details and memories that are made. With so many special memories that are made it can be hard to remember every detail and was so glad that I brought this along 

10. Cruise Documents and Passport
Don't forget like any other cruise that you will need to bring all of your cruise documents and passport if you have a Canadian port of call (and you are American). 

What about y'all? Any must pack items that you recommend for a New England and Canada Cruise?

Chloe + Isabel St. Jude Walk/ Run Fundraiser


As I was sitting in treatment yesterday, receiving necessary things for my body I was reminded how big of a struggle it is to pay for the necessary treatment procedures that my body needs. From IM shots to IVs to supplements and medication to a thousand other little things it can be extremely overwhelming. The financial aspect and burden when you are sick is a stress that I wish noone had to live with honestly. But the reality is that it is there. Every single day. Whether I want to think about it or not I am reminded everyday of the hundreds of little things that I need to purchase and spend money on in my fight to get well all the while worrying that it will never be enough. Through the kind generosity and help from others with my go fund me page, I receive help that is needed in order for me to get better. 

And then I think about what it would be like to have my own child be sick and the heartbreak, the burden, and the passionate desire to do anything to get them well and not have the financial resources to do so. 

And I think about the children who are suffering and desperately need help due to being sick but due to finances can't afford to get better.

And that is why I am so personally grateful to partner up with St. Jude to help those kiddos that are fighting desperately for their health and the parents who are longing to see their kiddos happy, healthy, and returning to "normal life". 

So will you join with me y'all?!? TODAY ONLY I am sharing my commission from my boutique in hopes of raising $100 for St. Jude. All you have to do is click HERE and shop away knowing that you are not only purchasing beautiful jewelry but you are changing a child's life! Will you join with me today?!?


8/24/15

Envy in the Single Journey

“A tranquil heart gives life to the body, but envy makes the bones rot.”
-Proverbs 14:30-

One of the real aspects of the single journey (or in anyone's life!!) is the aspect of comparison and envy. Unfortunately though, as I grow older in this single journey I see more and more single women who grow envious of the relationships that they see others have and experience. Instead of rejoicing with what the Lord is doing in other's lives, they grow resentful, bitter, and even withdraw from friendships. 

Do I think that it is easy to always rejoice when I see one more friend get engaged and that is my heart's desire? Absolutely not. It can be painful, I sometimes spend a few moments crying, but as I take this to the Lord, He truly comforts me and gives me the strength to rejoice that someone has been given a new season or relationship in their life. 

I do think that there are times and places that someone can be sensitive to our hearts as single gals (as I shared about here) but if I allow envy to rule my heart I miss out on the opportunity to rejoice with those who are rejoicing and miss out on celebrating the ways that the Lord is working in someone else's life. 

The reality is that if we withdraw out of envy or comparison for what the Lord is doing in someone else's life because we long for that then we do not have love for those people and we are not acting out God's love. I Corinthians 13:4 clearly states that; “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.”

Romans 13:13 encourages us to walk honestly with one another not with envy. In a healthy and God-honoring friendship we can feel free to express our longings and struggles knowing that our friends will pray for us and will walk along side us in our hurts while we walk alongside them, rejoicing with what God is doing in their lives. In God honoring friendships we can have freedom to find comfort, truth, and exhortation to live for Him alone. If we struggle with this area the book of James encourages us to confess this. “But if you harbor bitter envy… do not boast about it or deny the truth.” (James 3:14) 

So sweet friends, lets confess our struggle to the Lord and to those that we trust and love so that we can live in freedom. Ask the Lord to help you release your envy, not just for today but for everyday that we live. Ask Him to remove any jealous feelings you have. Ask Him to help you release any envy and lay it at His feet. As single gals lets deal with this issue now so that if we marry in the future we can take the lessons that we have learned in this area into our marriages. Let us not compare our lives or our friendships or our future relationships to others. 

God is writing our stories friends and we can rest fully in the knowledge that God is good and we have no need to be jealous of another person's story. 

8/23/15

St Jude Walk/Run Fundraiser


The end of childhood cancer starts with me, and you can help.

I've signed up for the St. Jude Walk/Run (online fundraising) to End Childhood Cancer, and I need you to help me reach my fundraising goal of $100. You can donate directly to my personal page by clicking here or you can click HERE to purchase items in my Chloe and Isabel boutique where I will be donating 10% of the proceeds for the rest of the month to this cause

As a lady who is fighting for her health I am passionate about the health and resources that children have available to them in their journey with illness. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is where doctors send their toughest cases, because it has world's best survival rates for the most aggressive childhood cancer. Since St. Jude won't give up the battle against cancer, neither will I. Join me, and help the kids of St. Jude win the fight against childhood cancer.

How Your Support Helps:
  • Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, and food because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
  • St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children.
So don't delay! Head on over to my boutique and shop for a great cause today! (Click HERE!) Thank you so much for joining in to support St. Jude! 

Notes From the Porch (thirty-nine): Prayers Needed

I shared this on instagram yesterday but would covet your prayers friends as I head into these final two weeks of this treatment round and am now dealing with some new news. Thank you so much for all of your prayers!

Thank you to so many of you who have been praying for so many years of this journey and specifically for the last day in the ER due to severe pain that we could not get controlled. Thankfully there was nothing life threatening that was found but unfortunately we have discovered a new area of my body that Lyme was attacking that is now "rearing its ugly head". 


While at this time I don't feel comfortable sharing more details (as I am still processing and will be finding out more information in the weeks to come) I do appreciate your prayers for this news and the severe pain which has not diminished. I also appreciate your prayers for my little heart which is hurting at this new news.


 I find hope and comfort in while this is a surprise to me it is not to the Lord who carries us each day (Psalm 68:19), understands that we are made of dust, and who promises to work out all things for His purpose. Thank you friends for all of your support and prayers. You are a blessing.

8/20/15

17 Foods To Boost Your Immune System


It is so hard for me to believe that the summer days are quickly coming to an end. For my sweet southern friends school started last week and around other areas of the United States students are frantically trying to enjoy their last few days of summer fun before the school bells chime. 

With the start of school and fall "around the corner" I wanted to share with y'all 17 foods that will help boost your immune system as we head back into the school year. (Concerned about colds and the flu already? Check out these 21 tips to prevent colds and the flu!) This list contains foods that go beyond the typical orange juice and chicken noodle soup ideas. These foods will help you boost your immune system all year long! So in no particular order here are the 17 foods to boost your immune system:

(1) Fish. Fish are loaded with Omega-3's which are excellent for your immune system.

(2)Red Bell Pepper. Y'all, I was SHOCKED to learn that red bell peppers have almost THREE times the amount of Vitamin C than an orange! Move on over orange juice and hello yummy red bell peppers! 

(3) Oysters . Oysters are filled with yummy zinc that is helpful for fighting off infections. Allergic to shellfish? Try Pumpkin Seeds which are also packed with zinc.

(4) Hello Tea, Goodbye Coffee:  Harvard University did a study that showed that tea drinkers immune cells are FIVE times stronger than those that drink coffee only. So either add tea (green, black, or white to be specific) to your diet or say goodbye to the coffee. 

(5) Yogurt: Probiotics have been linked to a strong immune system so start taking them regularly or start eating some yogurt! 

(6) Garlic. It has been known to kill bacteria in the body!

(7) Broccoli: Some studies have shown that this helps regulate your immune cells. 

(8) Goat cheeseGoat Cheese contains copper, which helps keep your immune system working. 

(9) Blueberries:  All berries are good for you, but blueberries have the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants of all commonly consumed fruit, according to research from the USDA Agriculture Research Service in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

(10) Mushrooms: Research suggests that mushrooms may have antiviral and antibacterial properties. While there are tons of different kinds "button mushrooms" are known to have the most Vitamin D.

(11) Anise seeds:  These seeds are known to have antibacterial properties and also have been known to help with the upper respiratory tract.

(12) Fennel. Fennel is known to help clear chest congestion and sooth a cough. While it can be eaten raw, some studies have shown that drinking it as a tea helps the most!

(13) Basil. There are so many amazing benefits to adding basil to your diet! You can read my blog post on all of the amazing benefits of basil by clicking HERE

(14) Leafy Greens. These are loaded with so many health benefits. Remember the post that I did on the benefits of eating Kale? These leafy greens are PACKED with lots of nutrients! 

(15) Dark ChocolatePure cocoa contains more of the disease-fighting antioxidants known as polyphenols than most berries and it's loaded with zinc, also! Check out more benefits of Dark Chocolate HERE

(16) Brazil Nuts. These nuts are filled with protein and selenium that helps maintain a healthy immune system. 

(17) Apples. Y'all there are so many amazing health benefits to apples! You can read my blog post on the amazing benefits of apples by clicking HERE

Isn't it amazing how much food can help boost your immune system? What is your favorite food to help you stay healthy?

{Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.}