{Guest Post} Beautycounter Awareness + Giveaway!


One of the things that I am trying to really change in my house is the presence of toxic products. It started when I got married and I was purchasing the cleaning supplies for our home, and now that I have a baby daughter, it has really become important to me. I've totally become a fan of Norwex for cleaning products - I love that I can clean my entire house with their microfiber cloths and just water! 

But did you know that not only cleaning products have toxins in them, but your beauty products and cosmetics also do?? I don't want to clean with toxic products, I definitely don't want to be putting them on my skin! 

Recently, I've been introduced to Beautycounter, and their mission is to change the standards for beauty products in the US. We deserve better....and they are doing something about it!

To promote awareness of safe and healthy makeup, our friend Sarah at Beautycounter is offering an amazing giveaway this week. Take it away Sarah...

Hi! My name is Sarah Featherstone, and I’m so excited to be here! I’m a wife and stay-at-home mom to a one-year-old son, Rowan. When not chasing him around, you can find me over at A Lovely Feather and most recently, growing my business with Beautycounter, a non-toxic brand of beauty products and cosmetics that are invigorating, safe and effective.


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I’m a conscious consumer, especially when it comes to what I eat, but I had never thought much about the safety of the products I put on my skin. When I found out I was pregnant, however, I started thinking about how every choice I made also affected my growing child. When I started looking for safe products, I was surprised that the beauty industry is largely self-regulated. The last federal law regulating the ingredients used in beauty products was passed in 1938. The EU has banned over 1,300 ingredients known to be harmful; the U.S. has banned only 11. Companies don’t have to disclose what’s in the products they’re selling, even if the ingredients are known toxins.


beauty counter 2

Beautycounter is hoping to change that. They have over 1,500 harmful ingredients that they will never use, and one of the strictest safety standards in the industry. The company has partnered with several nonprofits, including the Breast Cancer Fund and Healthy Child Healthy World, and they are working to help change the legislation regarding the beauty industry.


Beautycounter giveaway

When I found out what Beautycounter was doing, I knew I wanted to be a part of the mission. And, after I tried their products, I was sold. The products were the best I had ever used, and most importantly, I knew they were safe so I could feel good using them.

It’s been a wonderful experience so far working with Beautycounter, and I’m thrilled to be here offering a chance to win one of our best-selling products! The Lip Conditioner Calendula Balm is one of our perfect lip moisturizers, formulated with regenerating oils and flower extracts. It’s great worn alone, or paired with your favorite Lip Sheer. You’ll love it!


Beautycounter giveaway

To enter, follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below. You have a total of nine chances to enter! A winner will be chosen on Wednesday, May 6. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


**For more information on any of the products or on how to get involved, contact Sarah via her Beautycounter website or at alovelyfeatherblog [at] gmail.com.

For more information about Beautycounter, please watch the video below.




{Guest Post} A Story of Adoption & How You Can Help


I am lucky enough to be able to share this space today with Kayla from Many Sparrows. The story of her growing family is beautiful and I hope you find it as inspiring as I have!


* * * * * * * *

Every morning, I stumble out of bed, grab my Coke-bottle glasses, and shuffle my way across the hardwood floors into the kitchen. Our four-year-old waits patiently for his oatmeal, and his hand always seems to find mine as I make breakfast in the early morning hours. I pour myself coffee as our two-year-old, his bedhead just as wild as his little heart, comes hustin’ out of his room.

Motherhood, you guys. It’s chaotic and sleep-deprived and sweet and 100 kinds of awesome.

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I became a mom in a fashion that only God could create. I was a young, twenty-something newlywed learning more about the world, and more about its creator, every day. We were stumbly and we weren’t perfect, but we couldn’t help but sense that God was leading us both down a path to parenthood that, in the world’s eyes, was a bit unconventional.

My husband and I both started to feel the tug on our hearts for children who didn’t have families. We both grew up in safe and loving two-parent homes, and we couldn’t shake the idea of little ones not growing up without the structure and nurture a family provides. We knew we couldn’t do everything, but we could be open to doing something. We prayed, and asked God to lead.

One billion “only-God” stories later, and we were getting off a plane, welcoming our incredible one-year-old son into our arms, forever. Joseph joined our family via adoption from West Africa (you can learn much more about that here), and our lives have been so radically blessed by his presence. We grieve for what he lost with his fist family, but we praise God that he writes beautiful stories from brokenness.

Fast forward two years, and we welcomed a second son into our lives, this time the old-fashioned way. Asher fits into our family perfectly, and it’s a joy to see my sons grow and learn and play and explore life together.

And now, our hearts are open to more. And we continue to believe that God will form our family once again through adoption. There are children here and abroad waiting for safe and loving homes, and it’s at the core of our heart that we might have the privilege of being a family for another little one (or ones). Due to logistics, this time our process will happen in the U.S. instead of abroad. We’re not quite sure what this adoption will look like, though we know we want to be a family for a waiting child.

Over oatmeal and apple juice in sippie cups, we talk about adding a new brother or sister to the mix. “I know, Mommy!” Joseph says, scooping in another mouthful of breakfast. “We’re going to have two sisters! And name them Mommy and Daddy!”

--

So, there’s a tiny glimpse into the big story God is writing. It’s a humbling, profound privilege to parent a child or children not born to me, and it’s not something I take lightly.
As we walk into the unknown and trust God that he will form our family in the ways only He can, we go through all of the paperwork and processes to ensure everything is done correctly and ethically.

We have just completed our home study, the giant 500-billion-page document written by a social worker who has poured over every detail of our lives to ensure that we are approved to be an adoptive family.

Adoption, as I’m sure you’ve probably heard, can be costly. Social workers, attorneys, agencies -- each are compensated to ensure things are handled the right way. We’re a young family that has been saving for a second adoption since we completed our first. Every Christmas gift, every extra bit, has gone into a special account for “someday.” And someday is here!

My husband is a pastor who took on an extra job as a high school speech coach this year, and I’m a freelance writer/editor who has taken on extra projects to make this adoption a reality. We are also trying to think of creative ways to tackle the fees.

Here’s where the fun part comes in: We’re hosting a GIANT shop-our-closets sale this coming Monday, April 27 at 7 p.m.

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  •  I gathered more than 10 of my most stylish friends of all shapes and sizes, and together, we cleaned out our closets.
  • We have around 200 gently-worn items in quality brands (think J. Crew, Banana Republic, Gap, Free People, Anthropologie, Sevenly). Basically, my basement looks like an amazing women’s boutique right now. You’re going to want this stuff!
  • We’re selling it ALL (think 25+ dresses, 75+ tops, skirts, ethically-made jewelry, scarves, heels) in a HUGE Instagram auction-style fundraiser to combat adoption fees.
  • To join in on the sale: Follow us at @craigsadopt, and get those bidding fingers ready!
  • Each item will have a fairly low starting bid price, though we hope you have fun and bid generously! The sale will go on for 24 hours.
  • To bid, you must have a PayPal account. If you don’t, go sign up here!

These shop-my-closet sales have become so popular on Instagram, and I love them! (I love scoring thrifted treasures -- you can have on-point style on a budget!)

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Think of this sale as us doing the dirty work for you -- all you have to do is sit back and bid away -- knowing that 100 percent of all money is going directly to our adoption account. You’ll get some crazy-awesome deals, and you’ll be entering into the work God is doing to provide waiting little ones a permanent, loving family.

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We want others to know that adoption is worth it, because at the end of the journey, there’s a child who is going to feel a family’s love and there will be a family whose lives are changed by the love of a child.

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Giveaway time: We’re giving away this gorgeous Santa Fe necklace, ethically handmade from women in Haiti through Vi Bella ($35 value). Share about the sale on Instagram with the date/time (Monday, April 27 at 7 p.m.) and tag us in the status (@craigsadopt) for an entry, and tag friends for more entries. (We’ll draw a winner Tuesday, April 28 - no purchase necessary, U.S. residents only.)

Need reminders of the sale? Let’s connect on Facebook. Questions? Shoot me a message -- I’d love to hear from you! If you feel led to give, you can make a donation to our adoption here.

Thank you for entering into our story.

--

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Kayla is full-time journalist turned work-at-home editor. She lives among the Iowa cornfields, where she’s hitched to a shaggy-haired pastor and they’re smitten with two wild + free boys: Joseph (4) and Asher (2). Kayla sips strong coffee, likes pretty things, and believes there's beauty in the broken. She writes about faith, motherhood, and style at Many Sparrows, encouraging women to find worth and live a story worth sharing.



10 Scriptures To Pray For Your Children


A few weeks ago I was awake around 3 in the morning feeding my daughter. As I looked down at my then 9 month old, I realized that, more than likely, her future husband was already born. That just boggled my mind. I find it funny, though, that it took me that long to put two and two together because when we were told that we had a girl {we waited until she was born to find out}, the first image that popped into my husband's head was him walking her down the aisle and giving her away! I absolutely love that.

That night, that realization showed me the importance of being in prayer for her daily, consistently, always.

There are so many different ways to pray for your children. I think the most important prayer we can lift up for our children is for their salvation. That they would come to know Jesus personally. I also frequently pray that my husband and I can raise our children in a way that they seek after the Lord; that we are changed and can be used as examples for them. Only by completely relying on Christ and giving our children over to Him can this be possible.

One of my favorite verses to use as a guide to pray for my daughter is Galatians 5:22-23.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."
Using each fruit of the Spirit as a keyword, there are so many verses to pray over your children! I've gathered a few verses to share with you, check them out below.


1. Salvation.

"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." {Romans 10:9}

2. Love.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." {John 13:34}

3. Joy.

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." {James 1:2-4}

4. Peace.

"Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it." {1 Peter 3:11}

5. Patience.

"And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone." {1 Thessalonians 5:14-15}

6. Kindness.

"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." {Ephesians 4:32}

7. Goodness. 

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever." {Psalm 23:6}

8. Faithfulness. 

"Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness." {Joshua 24:14}

9. Gentleness.

"But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect." {1 Peter 3:15}

10. Self-control.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." {Philippians 4:8}

What are some other verses that come to mind when praying for your children? Share below!

Be sure to check out 10 Scriptures to Pray For Your Husband too!

Linking up to Thoughtful Spot Blog Hop @ Mommy Maleta, Motivational Monday @ Making It In The Mitten, Coffee and Conversation @ Mom's Morning Coffee, Weekend Bloggy Reading @ Serenity Now, Pretty Pintastic Party! @ Simplicity Relished

Candle Love + A Giveaway! {closed}


One thing that I love are candles. There is nothing better than walking into a room and being greeted with a scent you love! Burning a candle just seems to make everything so much better. So when I was contacted by Jackpot Candles to try out a couple of candles, I jumped at the chance.


The two scents that I chose to try out were Lilac and Cucumber Melon. And oh my goodness, did they deliver! As soon as I opened each candle, I could smell the scent, and definitely not in an over-powering way. It was the perfect balance, not too light, but not too strong. I live in a ranch home and it filled my house up with the delicious scents of the coming summer.

Growing up, we had lilacs on one side of our house and I always loved smelling them when they were in bloom. The lilac scented candle definitely brought me back to my childhood and playing outside! As for the cucumber melon scented candle, it's one of my favorites! I can never pass this scent up and this candle did not disappoint. It's definitely one I'll be burning lots as I look forward to summer!


So what is so special about these candles? These are 100% premium soy candles made in the USA. I always love being able to purchase from companies that are supporting our own! The candles arrived quickly after ordering and were packaged so that there was not a chance for any breakage. These candles burn from 80 to 100 hours (WOW!) and each one has a surprise jewelry item inside! It's like digging through the cereal box for the prize as kids, but the adult edition!

I mean, how can you go wrong? A wonderfully scented candle and a surprise piece of jewelry! As you burn your candle, a piece of foil is revealed. Once it is fully floating in the wax, you just blow out your candle and carefully pull the foil from the candle. It should come out easily - if not, just let your candle burn just a little longer. I only had to burn each of my candles less than a day in order to get to my jewelry surprise.


The thing that makes Jackpot Candles stand out from others is that, when purchasing, you get to choose whether your jewelry surprise will be a necklace, ring, or pair of earrings. And if you choose to receive a ring, you can choose your ring size. No more rings that won't fit! I love having the option to choose. And if you prefer tarts over candles, you're in luck! You can get a surprise in a package of tarts too!

So you've burned your candle down enough and have your foiled wrapped surprise - now it's time to open it and see what you've received! Each piece of jewelry comes with a tag on it containing a code. You can go to their appraisal page on their website and enter the code to see what your piece of jewelry is valued at. Your piece of jewelry can be worth anywhere from $15 to $5000! Check out what I received in my candles below :)

I requested a ring to be in my cucumber melon candle and I was pretty impressed with what I received. Appraisal = $17.


For my lilac candle, I asked for a necklace. This is probably something I will give to my daughter when she is old enough to start playing with jewelry. Appraisal = $20.




Overall, I was quite pleased with not only the amazing candles, but also the surprise pieces of jewelry I received. Be sure to follow Jackpot Candles on Facebook and Instagram to see what others are uncovering in their candles!

Lucky for you, I get to give one of these candles away! The winner will receive one (1) Jackpot Candle of their choice - your choice of scent and jewelry option! Good luck to you all!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions
  • Open to anyone 18+ years in the US only.
  • One winner will be randomly selected through random.org and will be emailed. They will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is selected.
  • No purchase necessary. 

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. I was given two Jackpot Candles as a gift, and one as a gift to give away. All opinions expressed are 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC guidelines for reviews.

Book Review: Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan


I received a complimentary copy of Where Trust Lies (Return to the Canadian West)* by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan in exchange for this honest review by participating in the Bethany House Publishers blogger review program.  I was not compensated for this review; all opinions are my own.


Where Trust Lies* is the second book in the Return to the Canadian West series. Be sure to check out my review of the first book, Where Courage Calls!

*   *   *   *   *   *

Where Trust Lies* continues to follow Beth Thatcher as she returns home after a year of teaching in the Canadian West. A changed woman, Beth struggles as she is torn between following what her heart wants and following what her family wants for her. And on top of that, she is sorting through her feelings for Jarrick (Jack) Thornton as they begin a long-distance courtship. As she awaits to hear back on an invitation to continuing teaching in Coal Valley, she agrees to go on an extended cruise, after some urging from Jarrick, with the women of her family and some family friends.

Right from the start of the cruise, Beth realizes that reconnecting with her sisters and mother was going to be harder than she imagined because she begins to fully understand how much she has changed from her year away - stronger, more mature, and much more independent. As the cruise continues, she slowly begins sorting out her relationships and growing them into something much more, as well as growing her faith as she receives counsel from her mother and older sister. She also learns how much she still needs her family and how strongly her feelings for Jarrick are as tragedy strikes and they all must pull together.

I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I have to admit I was a little disappointed that this second book did not take place in Coal Valley as the first did, but as I read on, I really enjoyed learning more about Beth's family and her relationships with them. With a slow beginning, just a hint of romance, and a great deal of suspense as you read on, as I neared the end of the book, I simply could not put it down. This book drew me in as the storyline developed and I can't wait for the next in the series to come out! I highly recommend this series for anyone who wants a light, but exciting read.

*This post contains affiliate links*
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