26 February 2015

Entryway & Front Hallway | #SimplyFreeHomeTour

The Simply Free Home Tour is back! And what better way to resume than with a view of how you enter our house? This hallway not only connects to half the rooms in the house, it occupies one of my favorite spots, and is the most trafficked space next to the kitchen. When you come to visit, this is where you begin, and this is where you leave. So join us, walking through the front door!

This is the first view you get when you walk in the front door - home office to the left & dining room to the right, and the master at the end of the hallway.


You may remember reading about my coffee bar a handful of times. Well this is where it lives! On the other side of the wall is the kitchen, and it's just outside our bedroom door. Perfect placement for this coffee lover who is most definitely not a morning person.
 Here's a close up of the opposite side of the hallway - our command center of sorts! The perfect spot for wedding save the dates, festive invitations, cards, and the like.
Off this hallway is the powder room as well. Since this is the restroom most guests use, I wanted it to be fun and pop! 



details:
burlap bulletin board & picture hanger | DIY
shutter card holder | antique
coffee bean USA pallet art | DIY 
coffee bar table | Target (same table, diff color)
turquoise woven plate | handmade from Panama
framed "e" | DIY
large handled baskets | World Market (similar)
French Quarter artwork | NOLA
wallpaper | Target

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24 February 2015

Encouragement

Wanted to share with you some of my absolute favorites currently when it comes to staying encouraged. And my most favorite, which currently occupies my lock screen on my phone, can be found on Instagram. Also I am obsessed with basically every single one of these. Simply beautiful. Words of affirmation are my primary love language, so these are just wonderful reminders to place around the house, in my office, and on my phone/computer. Permanent reminders of His unending agape.

Quote prints:
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Music has the same effect on me. Crying out the lyrics someone else has so masterfully penned, in chorus with others across the word, gives such meaning to community for me throughout the world. It brings such a connection from experiences, and allows praise and worship to flow outside the walls of the church with ease. These two songs have been on repeat lately, and I would encourage you to listen to the truth in the lyrics! Good stuff, y'all.

Music:

What are your favorite quotes/verses? Share with us & join in for Tuesday Talk below!
Becky from BYBMG | Beth from Our Pretty Little Girls | Chelsea from The Contented Wife 
Elizabeth from All Kinds of Things | Tara from Mrs.Coach Sims | Keri from Living In This Season 
Sarah from Abiding In Grace | Lauren from Simply Free | Andrea from Mitchael Journey 
Jessica & Katie from Sweet Little Ones |  Mandy from Almond Place | Teressa from Teressa Jane 


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18 February 2015

Ten Ways to Fully Experience the Season of Lent



Determine your level of involvement | Depending on your views on Christianity & being a servant, you will want to determine if you will be giving something up, taking something on, both, or if Sunday s will be a "cheat" day. You should think about the logistics before diving in so you are set for success in what you choose!

Educate yourself  | If you're like I used to be, you might need to first focus on what the season of Lent is really all about in preparation for Easter and the Resurrection of Christ. Or perhaps you want to take this season to dig into scripture and learn more about the Bible in general. Whatever you want to learn about, increasing your knowledge during this time is a great idea.

Give something upFasting from a food or drink item, social media, etc. that might be consuming your time and taking your focus away from your relationship with Christ.

Take something on | Consider diving into the Spiritual Disciplines, perhaps even taking on one a week, and growing in your faith. 

Partake in the sacraments | Attending an Ash Wednesday Service, joining for communion, reciting the creed or Lord's prayer; these are things the church universal does together so when you join in, you are joining in with other Christians throughout the world and there is such a powerful beauty in that connection.

Get on your knees | Now you don't have to literally assume this position, however being active in prayer is something to pursue during Lent. 

Get rid of clutter in your life | It's sometimes hard to focus on your relationship with God when you have so much stuff lingering around you. One way is to go about simplifying your material items and donating the excess. You can also focus on simplifying your closet, or just general decluttering of life!

Share your ideas | Here's some great ones from last year by RHE - 40 Ideas for Lent

Take one day at a time | Remember that His grace is new each day and if you failed yesterday, there is no need to give up. Refresh yourself on ways you can grow daily in your faith during this process and know you're not alone!

Get a buddy | Now hear me on this, I'm certainly not saying you should plaster what you're doing all over the internet, but it's always better to have a friend who knows what you're going through. Not only does it help with accountability, but allows for the opportunity to for conversation, help, and encouragement throughout the journey!
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17 February 2015

World Vision

Since my time in Latvia & Russia, there has been stirring within me a love and compassion for Eastern European countries that rivals that of my love for South & Central America. When the husband I began researching sponsoring a child, one of things we looked for was the ability to do so in a region often times overlooked. I've often felt guilty that my heart is not burdened for Africa or Asia to the same extent of those around me. However, I find comfort in knowing that, just perhaps, it's all a part of a greater plan. Because if everyone was only fighting over Kenya or China, pleading for those in Uganda or Ecuador, India or Ethiopia, what would become of the rest of those in need? 

After much research, prayer, and discussion, the husband and I chose to work through World Vision and sponsor a precious little girl in Romania that we could watch grow up. Read more about their mission and their impact throughout the world to see a glimpse of why we chose them.


Meet Timea Maria. Is she not the most precious little girl? She is the very real representation  of all the girls I have connected with in my mission experiences. How I long to be able to meet her one day. Play dress up with fun headbands and play silly games of chase and kickball. To show her that our love is far deeper than simply sending gifts to her and her small village. But until that time, we will continue to love her from a distance. To consider her a part of our family and cover her in prayer. And to advocate and share not only her story, but that of her community, and all of those in need of support, in hopes of spreading the gospel just that much farther. 


Will you join us on this journey? See how here or consider sponsoring a child as well.

Annual Sponsorship

Smile Again | World Vision Blog

What moves you to compassion? What breaks your heart? Link up with us for #TuesTalk & share!
Becky from BYBMG | Beth from Our Pretty Little Girls | Chelsea from The Contented Wife 
Elizabeth from All Kinds of Things | Tara from Mrs.Coach Sims | Keri from Living In This Season 
Sarah from Abiding In Grace | Lauren from Simply Free | Andrea from Mitchael Journey 
Jessica & Katie from Sweet Little Ones |  Mandy from Almond Place | Teressa from Teressa Jane 

And don't forget to head over to Instagram for an awesome giveaway going on that ends today!!




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16 February 2015

Instagram + Giveaway

Did you know that we're posting fun pictures and inspiration almost daily over on Instagram? Be sure to join in for exciting tidbits of life, like the #100happydays challenge and some pretty awesome giveaways like the one going on currently in extended celebration of Valentine's day. But hurry, your chance to wins ends 2/17 at 11:59pm!
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So what are you waiting for? Head over to Instagram right now to enter & share with a friend!
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12 February 2015

Intentional Joy

Over 3 months ago, I embarked on a journey about choosing happiness. Being intentional daily to seek out the good, and relish in the small joys of life. One hundred days later, I find myself in awe of how a little project can produce so much change. The picture aspect has shown the beauty in life, however the true joy has come from a gradual changing of attitude. A change within my heart if you will. Now this certainly does not mean that the past 100 days have been unblemished. Free from frustration, doubt, displeasure, or the like. But rather, it has been filled with love. With compassion, appreciation, laughter, joy, and hope. 
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I started this #100happydays series as a way to intentionally seek out the beauty & joy all around me & to focus on what the Lord has so generously blessed us with. At first, I was plagued with the need to share only what I thought "worthy" of sharing, but as the days went on, I simply put that which made me happy, regardless of whether it would be well "liked". And friends, I was able to rejoice in true happiness, my heart overflowing with love. This has been not only a fun little journey, but an eye opening one. Since Nov, in this last year of my 20s, it has been a year of discovery, a year for for being molded further into who I was created to be, and a year to simplify the clutter. So excited to see what the Lord has in store for the next 100+ days & beyond! 

If you were following along on Instagram these past 100 days, you also saw this quote below that I posted recently. Which is one of the reasons I've been a bit more MIA here on the blog, and floating around a bit more on other outlets of social media that are more instantaneous (read- able to conquer via iPhone). This space is so precious to me, and I never want it to become a chore or obligation. I write from the overflow of my heart and the experiences of my tiny little life. So as free time has been gobbled up with 'living life to the fullest' with friends and family these past few months, I am tickled to think of where this space is headed and all that is to be shared in the future. So if you're still hanging on to read about the remaining Spiritual Disciplines, get ready. Or if you're lingering to see the rest of the Elliott Homestead, get ready. Because it's all right around the corner along with some exciting new endeavors I can't wait to share with you!
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How are you choosing happiness along the way? 

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10 February 2015

Yes or No | Review

Last year I read a book called Yes or No that you saw on my 2014 book list a few weeks back, and I was blown away by how much truth was captured in this book. Sometimes you feel like you're alone in the world of decision making, like everyone else around you can decide quickly, and correctly, and you are left trying to pull together all the pros and cons and still coming up empty handed. Well, that's me at least. Then I began to dive into the idea that your everyday decisions will shape your life. What you choose will have an impact of not only yourself, but those around you. 

I have always struggled with letting my Yes be yes and my No be no as we are urged in scripture. My mind is always flowing with "yeah, but why?" or "are you sure?" or "is that really the best choice?". And while this book certainly does not satisfy my need for answers, it completely calms my fear that I am the only one in search of those loose ends to be tied before relinquishing my own decision to fate. 

Every day, we are faced with many decisions that require a yes or no answer. Many of these decisions are routine. Many of these decisions we make without really giving the matter a second thought. But what happens when we are faced with major decisions – life-altering decisions – decisions that take us down paths we have never traversed before? In those moments, it helps us to understand the things that influence the decisions we make. It helps us to understand our natural decision making style. It helps us to know what questions we should be asking and what factors we should be considering to help us decide when to say yes and when to say no to the situation at hand. It’s not about following a formula, it’s about determining who we want to be, and the story we want to tell with our lives. Once I know what I love the most, I’ll know what to prioritize. 

And that's where this book landed me. As a jumping off point to what truly matters to me. How each of my decisions are either pointing someone towards Christ or away. That with every response I am either helping to usher in the Kingdom to a now but not yet world, or I am perpetuating the existence of evil within this space. It's quite humbling to realize that I am in a place where my daily decisions effect more than just myself in my job, however, it it even more so to envision the impact my choices can have outside these walls. We are Christ's ambassadors - called to spread His love, to go, and "do likewise" in His name so that others may be well aware of His great love and mercy. Simply knowing that my choices have such an impact is nothing unless I am aware of how I make those decisions, and what my ultimate goal is for this life. And for me, this knowledge has been immeasurably beneficial in shaping my decisions to glorify the one who created me.

On the Yes or No website, you can even take a quiz to determine your decision making style. It will come as no shock to y'all that this was my result. I mean, my entire professional career is predicated on data...

How do you make decisions? Take the quiz to find out & order your copy of the book now!

What's on your reading list? Join in for #TuesTalk & let us know!
Becky from BYBMG | Beth from Our Pretty Little Girls | Chelsea from The Contented Wife 
Elizabeth from All Kinds of Things | Tara from Mrs.Coach Sims | Keri from Living In This Season 
Sarah from Abiding In Grace | Lauren from Simply Free | Andrea from Mitchael Journey 
Jessica & Katie from Sweet Little Ones |  Mandy from Almond Place | Teressa from Teressa Jane 


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review and I was not financially compensated in any way for this post. All opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.
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