Crock On! Winner and a Discount Code

Congratulations to Ela on winning a copy of
the awesome cookbook, Crock On!

If you were not the winner, you can still pick up a copy of the book for 15% off using code Creating15 through December 7.

Crock On includes 40 different wholesome and healthy recipes for the slow cooker, and I am in love with this book.  At less than the price of a latte, it is definitely worth picking up a copy!

To read my full review of the book, click here.

Where This Blog Has Been and Where It Is Going

You may have noticed that it’s been a bit quiet around these parts lately.  Lately, meaning most of this year!

As some of you know, we found out that we were pregnant with our second child this past January.  I felt sick and just not myself for a few months, and then we ended up losing our precious unborn baby who is now in heaven This took a lot out of me emotionally and physically, and I needed a break away from blogging.

During that break, I decided that I was going to start a graphic design company (check it out here!).  I had been doing a lot of designing for friends, and they encouraged me and gave me the confidence that I needed to start offering my design services to others.  I am so grateful for this, and I am so grateful that I have been able to keep very busy designing.  I truly can say that it is what I love doing!

A few weeks after I started Simply Designs, we found out that I was expecting another baby.  We weren’t exactly trying to get pregnant again so quickly, but we were thankful for our unexpected blessing!

And now, here we are 26 weeks later, waiting to meet our newest little blessing scheduled to arrive in January!

Between dealing with morning sickness, being extra tired, caring for a toddler, and trying to run a design business, I will admit that I have felt a bit overwhelmed over the past several months.  I felt that I still needed a break away from the blog.  And I am thankful for this time that I was able to spend on a “blogging break”.

It has left me feeling refreshed and renewed, and it has given me the time that I needed to figure out where the future of this blog is heading.

I’ve really missed blogging on a consistent basis.  It is a much-needed creative outlet for me.  So after a lot of thoughts, prayers, and discussions with my husband, I’ve decided that I will start blogging again – consistently.

I will be making a change to the blog, that I want to tell you about.  I will be changing the blog name from what it is now (The Purposed Heart) to Creating Naturally.  I am really excited about this change, and I think that this new name really reflects who I am and what I want to do with this blog.

For all practical purposed the content will stay mostly the same.  I love creating, and I love living a natural lifestyle; and basically I will continue to blog about these things.

The look of the site is going to be changing as well!  I’ve been working on a new design for “Creating Naturally” behind the scenes, and I will unveil it when the domain is switched to the new blog name.  The switch should hopefully happen sometime this week!

The tagline for my new space will be “A simple lifestyle blog for naturally-minded creatives.” 

I hope that you’ll stick around and enjoy this new adventure with me!  All of my old content will remain on the blog, so you will still have access to all of the recipes, projects, and series that are currently here.

I’m looking forward to posting and sharing with you all again on a regular basis!  Thanks for sticking around!

Goal Setting {Guest Post}

Today I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Swap. You’ll find me posting over at Well Rounded Home about 10 Guilt Free Desserts, and I’m excited to welcome Nicole from A Living Sacrifice to The Purposed Heart:

It happens every year.

I have great intentions. I firmly decide that this year it will work. I am determined with a capital D. But in the end, all that determination gets me about a month’s worth of success. And then I’m a failure.

Yup, its my New Year’s Resolutions.

How many of you can relate to that scenario? I remember trying to set New Year’s Resolutions even as a child, but they never lasted long. I forgot. I put things off. Back then, a year was a long time! Surely I’ll get to it eventually, I don’t have to start today!

A couple of years ago, I decided this needed to stop. It was time to take real action!

This time, I was not going to be resolved about anything. I was not going to “make it work.” I was going to develop a purpose, a plan, and a pattern.

My Purpose

I threw the cliché “New Year’s Resolutions” out the window. Just the name itself seems doomed for failure! Instead, I decided to set goals – goals that I could break down in order to accomplish them.

I asked a friend once what the difference is between resolutions and goals. I confess I still sometimes use the two terms interchangeably. But to me, “resolutions” seems like something you are hoping you can do/change/accomplish in a certain time period. In contrast, “goals” implies a positive end result that is being worked towards – not just a “someday, hopefully” but a “I’m working on it!”

I knew my goals needed to be attainable. They also couldn’t be too specific. For instance, last year when I set my goals, I had no idea that I would be moving to Florida for 6 months. So goals have to be flexible depending on your situation in life. One of my goals for this year is to read 2 books per month. That is pretty attainable, no matter what I end up doing during the year!

Once I had a purpose, an idea of what I wanted to work towards, I needed to come up with a plan.

My Plan

Having goals is great. But it is not enough to look at that paper and say, “Ok, here are my goals, I hope they get done!” There has to be a specific plan in place to work towards achieving those goals!

I find the best way for me personally is to break it down like this:

1. Goals for the year  – already talked about these, the main things you want to accomplish/change by the end of a specific time period, in my case, a year.

2. Then break those down into monthly goals. At the beginning of each month, I take a peek at my goals for the year and decide what things I am going to accomplish that month. It takes baby steps. For instance, one thing I decide at the beginning of each month is the 2 books I am going to read that month. Then I write down, “Read Lessons in Buoyancy” and “Read Pride and Prejudice” as two of my goals for that month. That way, it is specific what steps I am going to take that month to accomplish that goal.

3. My monthly goals get broken down in to weekly goals. At the beginning of each week, I sit down, refer to my list of goals for the month, and set goals for that week. They must be attainable…nothing too crazy or overwhelming, or I’ll never even get started. Just what I think I will be able to tackle that week. I usually write something like “Read 10 chapters total” as one of my weekly goals. That just further breaks down that overall goal into something I can accomplish that week.

This gives me a fantastic plan, monthly and weekly, of how I am going to accomplish those goals! Once there is a plan in place, it become easier and easier to stick to it. That is when you begin to develop…

My Pattern

After a while, it has just become a habit. Each day, I can glance at my goals for the week and decide which things I want to work on that day. By following this method, I’m never flying by the seat of my pants. More gets accomplished when I am intentional about what I am doing!

“Living only from week to week is like living a dot-to-dot life.” Dr. Richard Swenson

Does this mean there is no room for flexibility? Absolutely not! This method actually allows for more flexibility, since I am saving time that can be used for other things.

Here are just a few tips on making goal-setting work for you:

Write everything down! Even if you aren’t a natural-born list-maker, you can write down your goals. It makes it much easier to keep things prioritized when you can refer to a list and go over and over those goals.

Accountability helps, too. Never underestimate the power of being held accountable! You may choose to share your goals each week with an individual as an “accountability partner.” For myself, I chose to blog about my goals each week. Nothing like plastering them all over the internet for motivation!

Keeps things manageable. Don’t set too many goals, and don’t make the difficult. Break big goals down into nice, manageable chunks. Challenge yourself, but don’t try to become superwoman all in one week. At least spread it out over a month or so. ;)

Don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged if you don’t get every single thing done. I’ll be perfectly honest, sometimes I accomplish all my goals in a certain week and other times they don’t even make it down on paper. (Another good reason to blog about them…I can at least refer to them there!) “Never do today what can be put off ‘til tomorrow” should not be anyone’s motto, but at the same time, if it just didn’t get done today…there is always tomorrow! Don’t give up just because one day (or week, or month) was a flop. Continue to strive to do your best and attain new things!

Those are things I’ve learned in my journey to live a more purposeful, intentional life. I’d love to hear from others who set goals, or those that would like to start! How are you doing on your goals for 2012?

My New Adventure {and a Kindle Fire Giveaway!}

For the past several weeks, I have been working on a project that is a dream come true for me.  And today is the day that I get to share about it with you!

I have loved graphic design ever since I can remember.  I love playing with fonts, colors, and different looks.  When I started this blog, I had my first attempt at actually designing a website..and I fell in love with it!

Since then, I’ve designed several ebooks, blogs, websites, banners, graphics, and more for myself and some close friends.  (You can check out my portfolio here!)  It has become my passion.  I believe that graphic designing is my sweet spot – it’s where my talents and my passions collide.

From all of this, my friends encouraged me and gave me the courage to do what I am doing today – launching a graphic design business!

So it is with great excitement that I am announcing the official launch of Simply Designs. :)

I hope you will come check it out!  I am having three awesome giveaways to kick it off.  Come enter to win any or all of them!

  1. Kindle Fire Giveaway! (Yay! Super excited about this one!)

  2. Ultimate Blog Design Giveaway

  3. eBook Design Ultimate Package Giveaway

I also have some great discounts I’m offering if you are looking for somebody to do some graphic design work for you, as well as some free printables for you to grab from the blog.

So come check it out, enter the giveaways, and let me know what you think!

 

 

 

 

Lilla Rose Winner and a Huge Ebook Sale

Thank you to everyone who entered the Lilla Rose Flexi-clip giveawayThe winner was comment #9, Gayl!  Congratulations, Gayl, and I hope you enjoy your Flexi-clip as much as I enjoy mine!

For those who entered, but did not win, I am hosting a Flexi-clip party, if you are interested in ordering anything from Lilla Rose.  Feel free to register for the party here and place an order.  The party will last until Friday, April 20.

Simplify Your Family Life eBook Sale

In other news, there is an ebook sale going on right now that I just had to share with you!

Corey from Simple Marriage and Mandi from Life…Your Way have brought together some of the top authors in the family life space with 38 ebooks covering a variety of topics related to family life.

When purchased separately, these ebooks are worth $375, but for four days only, you can purchase the entire collection for just $29!

I bought this package for myself Monday evening, and I can tell you that this is an amazing deal.  There are so many great books in here, and all for $29 - you just can’t beat that price!

Click here to purchase your collection today!

When you purchase the Simplify Family Life collection, you get instant access to each of the 38 ebooks listed below:

(I put asterisks by the books that I’m especially excited about or have already read and highly recommend!  It’s quite a few of them. :))

Entrepreneurship & Blogging

Blogger Behave by Laura @ 10 Million Miles ($4.99)

How to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too by Mandi @ Life Your Way ($12.00)*

Make Money Blogging by Tara @ Feels Like Home ($4.99)

Tap Into Your Unique Creativity and Self Expression Webinar by Lisa @ WellGrounded Life ($39.00)*

Tell Your Time by Amy @ Blogging with Amy ($4.99)*

Your Blogging Business: Tax Talk & Tips from a Bookkeeper Turned Blogger by Nikki @ Christian Mommy Blogger ($4.99)*

Food & Cooking

Get Lean Recipe for Success by Nisha @ Healthy Mom’s Kitchen ($37.00)

Got Dinner? by Susan @ The Confident Mom ($4.00)

How To Cook For Yourself: A Complete Beginner’s Guide by Rachael @ Kitchen Courses ($35.00)

Plan It, Don’t Panic by Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home ($4.99)*

Real Food Basics by Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama ($6.95)*

Real Food, Real Easy by Erin @ The Humbled Homemaker ($9.95)*

Smart Sweets by Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship ($9.95)*

The Everything Beans Book by Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship ($9.95)*

Homemaking

2012 Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner by Susan @ The Confident Mom ($9.00)*

Clean Start: Your Guide to Natural Home Cleaning by Michelle @ Open Eye Health ($4.95)*

Complete Printables Download Pack by Mandi @ Life Your Way ($7.00)*

Food on Your Face for Acne & Oily Skin by Leslie @ Crunchy Betty ($7.99)*

From Debtor to Better by Barry @ Debtor to Better ($15.00)*

My Buttered Life {Summer + Gift Giving Editions} by Renee @ MadeOn Hard Lotion ($10.00)*

Not a DIY Diva by Melissa @ The Inspired Room ($3.99)

One Bite at a Time by Tsh @ Simple Mom ($5.00)*

That Works for Me by Kristen @ We Are THAT Family ($8.00)

Marriage & Relationships

A Simple Marriage by Corey @ Simple Marriage ($4.99)*

Buck Naked Marriage by Corey @ Simple Marriage ($2.99)*

Entangled by Amy @ Permission to Peruse ($4.99)

The A to Z Guide: 26 Ways in 26 Days to a Happier, Healthier Marriage by The Dating Divas ($9.97)*

Minimalism for Families

101 Ways to Simplify Your Life by Laura @ Journey to a Simple Life ($9.95)

321-Stop by Lori @ Loving Simple Living ($9.97)*

Inside Out Simplicity by Joshua @ Becoming Minimalist ($11.99)

Simple Ways to Be More with Less by Courtney @ Be More with Less ($9.97)*

The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year by Rachel @ The Minimalist Mom ($9.95)

Parenting & Kids

4 Moms of 35+ Kids Answer Your Parenting Questions by the Moms @ 4 Moms, 35+ Kids ($7.99)*

Flourishing Spring by Michele @ Frugal Granola ($5.95)

Mindset for Moms by Jamie @ Steady Mom ($4.99)*

Nurturing Creativity by Renee @ FIMBY ($3.00)*

Parenting with Positive Guidance by Amanda @ Not Just Cute ($9.00)*

Truth in the Tinsel by Amanda @ Impress Your Kids ($6.99)

The Simplify Your Family Life Sale is brought to you in part by Plan to Eat, an online meal planner that makes eating at home simple. Receive an exclusive coupon code on a one-year membership with your purchase!

Click here to purchase your collection today!

The sale ends at 9 a.m. ET on April 20th, and there will be no late sales offered, so don’t wait.

Welcome to Ashlie! A New Contributing Writer

Ashlie2

Last week, I had the privilege of introducing Emily to you all as a new contributing writer; this week I’m thrilled to be able to introduce you to Ashlie.  I am so excited that Ashlie is going to be sharing her gift of writing with us!  And by gift, I do mean gift!  Ashlie has been blessed with the gift of words.  Every time I visit her blog (One Small Town Girl), I just sit mesmerized and read and read and read. If you’ve never been to her blog, you should definitely go check it out!

I have asked Ashlie to answer the same short little questionnaire so that we could all get to her a little better. I LOVE reading about other people and getting a little glimpse into their life!  It’s so much fun for me to see what I have in common with others and to learn from their lives as well!  So, just for fun, sit back, relax, and enjoy a little conversation time with my friend and new contributor, Ashlie.

Ashlie1

1. If health wasn’t a factor, what one thing would you like to indulge in on a regular basis?

I would definitely eat ice cream every night! There’s just something comforting about a late night snack. I’d also have to say that bacon, cheese, and sour cream make everything better!

2. Who has been the biggest influence in your life?  What has that person taught you?

My parents. Both of my parents came from difficult backgrounds, but by God’s grace they allowed Him to make beauty from ashes. I can honestly say that my parents are two of my very best friends. Becoming a parent myself has truly opened my eyes to the amount of sacrifice and love they gave for my four siblings and I to be raised in a loving, Godly home. I have so much respect and appreciation for them.

They taught me to cherish God’s Word, and to do tasks as unto the Lord. They taught me that even though I will make mistakes and struggle with weakness, God’s grace is always sufficient. They taught me to love Jesus, and love others before myself. I still stumble daily, but without them I don’t know where I’d be. I am truly so thankful and blessed!

3. Describe yourself in three words or less.

Sincere, generous, long-winded.

4. If you could pick any time period in history to live, what would it be.

I’m pretty happy with now. I’m a tad bit of a pansy – I’d hate to be without hot showers, coffee makers, and. But not gonna lie…those dresses from the 50′s are pretty cute! 

5. How many kids do you have?  Boy(s)? Girl(s)?

2 sweet little girls, ages 1 and 2. I hope to have more!

Ashlie

6. Describe your cooking style.

Flavorful and often experimental. I have several tried and true recipes that I use often, but I love to try new things. While it hasn’t always proven successful (haha!), I rarely use measurements or follow recipes exactly. I love tweaking them or adding my own twist based on what I have on hand or what I’m in the mood for. During this season of life with little ones, my cooking is generally pretty simple and doesn’t require a lot of unusual ingredients. Also – I am a HUGE Rachael Ray fan! 

7. What’s your favorite Bible verse and why?

Habakkuk 2:3-4 "For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.  Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry; Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith."

There have been several seasons in my life where there was a lot of waiting and the unknown weighed heavily on my heart. Those seasons still come and go, and this verse if often one that I return to. As I wait on the Lord, pray for a solution to an issue, or ask for direction, it has helped to keep things in perspective. During those seasons, it is often difficult to keep my faith strong. I am one of those girls who loves to have a plan, and life doesn’t usually lend itself to that! This verse has always encouraged me that God always shows up, even in the timing isn’t what I would hope for – His plan and His timing is always, always better. My life continues to be a journey to increase humility, surrender to Him, and walk by faith. 

Ashlie3 8. Are you a spontaneous person or a planner.

Planner, most of the time. I prefer routines and I love lists…they help me to stay on task and be productive (or at least make me feel like I am!). However, I’m learning that the unexpected things in life are often the best opportunities for me to grow. And, I do love me a spontaneous date night!

9. What was the happiest moment of your life?

I’d have to say the day I married Mr. Small Town – and I’m still pretty crazy about him! Also – the births of both of my sweet girls were beyond amazing. I’ll never forget the first time I held them or when their tiny fingers curled around mine. Love at first sight.

10. City slicker or farm girl?

Definitely a farm girl at heart! I grew up on a small farm in the middle of nowhere, and it was a blast. My sisters, brother, and I would spend our summers fishing, building forts, skipping on hay bales, taking care of our animals, or helping my mom in our enormous garden. As an adult, I love being a girl, dressing up once in a while, and I enjoy the conveniences of living "in town". However, I don’t think I can ever take the love for country life and open sky out of my heart.

11. Growing up, did you enjoy school?

I did! Well, most of the time. :) I was home schooled from preschool until eighth grade, at which point I enrolled in public high school. I loved academics and extracurricular activities alike…I was a busy girl! I’m very thankful for both homeschool and public school experiences, as it not only gives me the opportunity to relate to those from both sides of the fence, but will help my husband and I to decide which educational paths to take for our children. 

12. What would you like to do with one hour of uninterrupted free time?

Read, write, or sleep.

Ashlie8

13. Where did you and your husband meet?  Was it love at first sight?

We were high school sweethearts. I can still remember the first time I saw him, when he walked into my classroom carrying a green duffle bag. And yes, I was immediately attracted! He claims it was the same for him. We became good friends, and when I told him that he had to call my dad for permission to go on a date, he did it! Our first date was the Courtwarming Dance at school. The rest is history. :)

14. What’s your favorite color?

Pink. It has been as long as I can remember. 

15. Have you ever travelled out of the country?  How was it?

My senior year of high school, I traveled to Mexico for a missions trip with a group from my church. It was amazing and life-changing, and I’d love to go back. I’ve always had a love for the Spanish language, and had always wanted to go on a missions trip, so I went.

It was so much more than I’d expected, and God blew me away with the impact on my heart. He showed me how much I had to be grateful for, but more than that it showed me how much I love ministering to others. I loved being a part of something bigger than myself – a vessel of His to be poured out. Something came alive inside my heart when we were in soup kitchens, in the slums, and at orphanages just pouring God’s love out to others. It stirred in my heart a deep desire to be an encouragement and ambassador of His love and saving grace to others, whether at home or abroad. 

16. What’s your all-time favorite song?  All-time favorite artist?

I love Kari Jobe and nearly all of the worship songs she writes…they speak to my heart. Anytime I need encouragement, I usually flip on her song "You Are For Me." So beautiful, such grace to my soul.

Ashlie5

17. What book are you reading right now?

Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman. Although I have a huge stack on my nightstand and my Kindle is full of books I can’t wait to crack open!! I’m a bookworm in my "spare" time.

18. What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?

God’s love in action through His people. To me, there is absolutely nothing more beautiful or miraculous than the way that He uses broken vessels for His purpose…His strength made perfect in our weakness. It moves me to tears and utter thankfulness nearly every time.

19. Do you have a hidden talent?

I’m rusty, but I took piano lessons for eight years. So rusty, in fact, I don’t know that you could call it a "talent"…but I love to play! It’s soothing. I’m working on the hubby to buy a piano for me someday….:)

20. What’s the yummiest thing you’ve ever eaten?

This is so hard because I seriously LOVE to eat! I’d have to say Key Lime cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory…mmm….

21. What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Snails. Ugh…I just can’t do slime!

22. Driving style: tortoise or hare?

Hare-ish…but I do buckle up ;)

23. Do you make your bed a.) every day b.) once a week c.) once a month d.) never

I try to make it every day. I got out of the habit when my husband worked night shifts for a long stretch and would sleep during the day. I’m just now getting back into the bed-makin’ groove.

Ashlie6

24. What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When I’m on the phone, and someone in the room is trying to talk to me. I get confused and frustrated…I can’t comprehend both!

25. Name two things you consider yourself to be very good at.

I’ve been told by many that I’m a pretty good listener.  Also hospitality. At least I hope I’m good at it…because I love it!

26. Name two things you consider yourself to be very bad at.

Sports and staying on task.

27. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A journalist, and eventually a mom & wife. I honestly planned to climb the career ladder before having a family, but God had other plans. I wouldn’t change it for a thing!

28. What is one frivolous thing you own that you wouldn’t want to live without?

My Kindle!

29. What do you think is the best invention of history?

To the person who invented automatic dishwashers, I owe you my life. Oh, and whoever invented coffee!

30. Most hated household task?

Washing dishes (thus the dishwasher love). I put it off until there’s a pile. Sad, I know.

31. Favorite household task?

I actually love to do laundry. The smell is wonderful! The only part that gets me is putting it away…I often have a huge pile of clean folded laundry that just sits.

32. List five random things about yourself.

  • I LOVE to make lists.
  • I love to redecorate but it rarely happens because I am also indecisive.
  • I could eat Mexican food several times a week and never get tired of it.
  • I’d love to travel overseas for a missionary trip.
  • I have a thing for analogies, and my family loves to tease me for it.

Welcome, Ashlie!  We’re so glad to have you here and can’t wait to start learning from you.  Thanks for sharing a little bit about yourself with us!

Ashlie2 Ashlie is a wife to her high school sweetheart, mommy of two little girls, dreamer, thinker, thrift store shopper, recovering perfectionist, and sinner saved by grace.

Ashlie’s heart is to encourage fellow sojourners in the midst of her own struggles. Seeing others discover His vast love and grace makes her do a happy dance! She endeavors to seek God’s truth in the journey while finding His grace in the mess, knowing that at the end of the day, it really is all about Him. 

She loves winding gravel roads, muddy romps, and country life, yet Starbucks, skinny jeans, and pedicures hold a special place in her heart, too. This creates a bit of a conundrum that she is still trying to figure out. Lovely word pictures, insane amounts of coffee, silly times with her family, and chocolate make her world go ’round.

Visit her at One Small Town Girl, where writing through her journey gives her a place to breathe. She tweets as @AshlieWrites and can be found on Facebook as well.

Welcome to Emily! A New Contributing Writer

Vail1

As I mentioned yesterday, I am beyond excited to introduce you to the new contributing writers that will be joining me here at The Purposed Heart.  These ladies are sure to bless us, teach us, and encourage us.

Today, I would like to start off by introducing you to Emily.  She is such a sweetheart and has been a reader here almost from the beginning.  She has encouraged me personally many times, and I am so thankful that she will be able to do the same thing for you now as well!

I have asked each of my new contributors to answer a short little questionnaire so that we could all get to know them a little better. I LOVE reading about other people, and reading this Q&A from Emily was no exception.  So, just for fun, sit back, relax, and enjoy a little conversation time with my friend and new contributor, Emily.

Vail

1. If health wasn’t a factor, what one thing would you like to indulge in on a regular basis?

I love chips! Corn chips with dip are my favourite. The dips can be not too bad if you make them yourself; homemade salsa, guacamole, bean dip, hummus – none of those are bad for you, but it’s the large bag of chips I want to eat along with them that is the problem!

2. Who has been the biggest influence in your life?  What has that person taught you?

My mom has definitely been the biggest influence on my life. She homeschooled me at a time and in a place where virtually no one else was homeschooling. It wasn’t easy for her, and I didn’t make it very easy at times, but I know that keeping me close to home and in her company was hands down the best thing she could have done for me – for my education, my spiritual growth, and my relationship with her and my sisters. 

She taught me to love reading and learning, to be interested in current events and to question the status quo when appropriate. She taught me how to cook (though she protests that I am now a much better cook than she is), how to sew (that one didn’t really stick, I still bring my mending to her), how to clean, and – through her quiet example – how to love my husband and children. She showed me how to graciously endure poor health and other trials, how to manage a home and how to get along with the rest of the family. Most importantly, she taught me what it means to have a relationship with Christ and what that looks like on a day-to-day basis. She is one of my dearest friends and she still teaches me something every time we talk.

3. Describe yourself in three words or less.

Christian, Wife, Mommy.

Vail6

4. If you could pick any time period in history to live, what would it be.

Probably the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. Recent enough for lots of good books to read, far enough to eliminate a lot of the clutter and convenience of modern living.

5. How many kids do you have?  Boy(s)? Girl(s)?

Two sweet little boys so far, and hoping that God blesses us with many more! Our Eli is 2 years old, Theo is 7 months.

6. Describe your cooking style.

My cooking mantra would probably be “from scratch.” My goal in cooking is to use virtually nothing that came in a box or a can – unless I canned it myself. I like to start with basic, fresh ingredients and go from there, but beyond that I try to keep things pretty simple. No fancy techniques or overly expensive ingredients.

7. What’s your favorite Bible verse and why?

One that I quote a lot is Isaiah 43:2-3 – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.”

This is the verse that springs to my mind and lips whenever I face a trial or a challenge of any kind. It comforts me to cling to God’s promise of help and his declaration of his power.

Vail7 8. Are you a spontaneous person or a planner.

A bit of both, but I lean toward planning. However, I have a tendency to over-plan and talk myself out of things too. My husband is a perfect balance for me in this respect. 

9. What was the happiest moment of your life?

The births of both of my children were pretty phenomenal, especially my second (unmedicated) birth.

10. City slicker or farm girl?

A little of both? I grew up in a subdivision in a village who’s slogan was “Shopping Capital of the Valley,” so it was hardly rural, but not a city either. Now I live in a rural community but drive into a city to do all my errands. I enjoy the benefits of both.

11. Growing up, did you enjoy school?

It depends on the year and the subject, but as a general rule yes, I did. Now that I’m no longer studying, I miss it.

12. What would you like to do with one hour of uninterrupted free time?

Some days all I would want would be a nap, but a lot of the time I take advantage of my young children’s naptime to go to the kitchen and get a head start on supper or any other cooking needs our family has. I love spending time in the kitchen creating, it’s very relaxing.

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13. Where did you and your husband meet?  Was it love at first sight?

We met at a Baptist Convention we were both volunteering at. I wouldn’t call it love at first sight, but he did come and sit next to me and introduce himself as soon as he arrived in the room. My interest was immediately piqued by this handsome man I perceived as being so much older than myself. Three years is a lot when you’re a wide-eyed girl fresh out of high school! We got to know each other a few months later attending the same university, and love didn’t take very long to blossom.

14. What’s your favorite color?

Blue, usually, but it all depends on what it is that I’m choosing a colour for!

15. Have you ever travelled out of the country?  How was it?

At the end of my first year of university I went on a short study tour in El Salvador with a group of other women. It was an interesting experience to learn all about another part of the world and the problems that it faces, as well as how the churches there were attempting to address those problems. 

16. What’s your all-time favorite song?  All-time favorite artist?

I’m really not sure I can pick because it changes every 15 minutes or so, but my favourite hymn is “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” I especially love Chris Rice’s version. But aside from that I could never choose a favourite artist. I might go from listen to Christ Tomlin to Justin Bieber to Mozart all in the same hour!

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17. What book are you reading right now?

A few different e-books I purchased recently, Blog Design on a Dime by Jacinda Vandenberg and One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler by Tsh Oxenreider. I also read the Bible every morning, the latest issue of Time Magazine, and I’m slowly plowing my way through Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. Oh, and my husband and I are reading Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll together. 

18. What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?

One summer after university I worked at a tourist destination called Cape Enrage. The whole Fundy coast of New Brunswick is beautiful, but Cape Enrage particularly so. Waking up every morning and eating breakfast on the deck overlooking the beautiful Chignecto Bay… I still miss it.

19. Do you have a hidden talent?

In high school I loved acting and did a few plays, but I don’t think anyone who knows me now would believe it!

20. What’s the yummiest thing you’ve ever eaten?

I LOVE food, and I think I discover at least once a week a new yummiest thing I’ve ever eaten. Lately though, I had a pretty fabulous roasted beet and goat cheese salad at a local restaurant that made me want to return every day for the rest of my life.

21. What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Bananas. I loathe them.

22. Driving style: tortoise or hare?

Hare if I’m not paying attention! I’m usually pretty careful though.

23. Do you make your bed a.) every day b.) once a week c.) once a month d.) never

Every day! Don’t ask me how often I vacuum the floor though…

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24. What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Bad grammar and misspelled or misused words. Just recently I read a news article that used the phrase “shredded in mystery” and I wanted to cry.

25. Name two things you consider yourself to be very good at.

I do think I’m a pretty good cook, or I suppose I wouldn’t presume to have a cooking blog.

I read fast.

26. Name two things you consider yourself to be very bad at.

Decorating. I’m not in the least artistic and have a very hard time figuring out what I like.

Fixing things that are broken. Somehow I always think I’ll be able to fix it and then end up calling my husband and acting pathetic.

27. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

It varied: a speech therapist, a math teacher. The one constant was that I wanted to get married and have children someday and I’m so grateful to be able to live that dream every day. 

28. What is one frivolous thing you own that you wouldn’t want to live without?

My Kindle e-reader. I really didn’t need it, and when my husband surprised me with one last year out of the blue I was beyond  excited. I use it constantly.

29. What do you think is the best invention of history?

I don’t know about best invention, but the Internet has certainly affected our lives more, I think, than any other invention.

30. Most hated household task?

Floors. Sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, it’s always the thing I put off until the very end.

31. Favorite household task?

Cooking! Mindlessly chopping vegetables is very relaxing.

32. List five random things about yourself.

  • I wear glasses.
  • I dread making phone calls.
  • I’m addicted to club soda.
  • My first word was “shoes.”
  • I love exercise videos.

Welcome, Emily!  We’re so glad to have you here and can’t wait to start learning from you.  Thanks for sharing a little bit about yourself with us!

Vail8 Emily is a young wife and stay at home mother who blogs at Gourmet Mommy about life, food and kids. She was married to her wonderful husband Cory in October of 2008.  Their first son, Eli, joined their family on September 13, 2009 and they welcomed their second son, Theophilus [Theo], on May 25, 2011.

Emily is passionate about her faith in God, being a homemaker, living a healthy lifestyle, cooking (and eating!) healthy and delicious food, homeschooling and lots of other things!  You can follow Emily on Facebook and Twitter, and don’t forget to check out her lovely blog as well!

9 Homemade Gift Ideas: Frugal and Fast

 

Are you looking for some simple, easy, and frugal homemade gift ideas for Christmas this year?  Join me today at Keeper of the Home as I share 9 Homemade Gift Ideas that definitely fit into the “fast and frugal” category.

P.S. My favorite gift idea on this list is number 9 (the last one) – I just love it!  If you know someone whose love language is “quality time” you don’t want to miss this idea!

Why I Don’t Wear My Shoes in the House

I’ve always known people that took their shoes off at the door upon arriving at home.  To be honest, I always thought that those people were a little weird and maybe a bit obsessive compulsive!  Well, now here I am, with a house of my own to take care of, and guess what.  We take our shoes off at the door upon arriving at home!  Are we weird?  Do we have obsessive compulsive tendencies?  I don’t think so!  We just like to be comfortable and keep our floors clean!  Let me share with you  four reasons why I don’t wear my shoes in the house.

1.  It keeps invisible germs, pesticides, and chemicals off of your floors.

Think about what lives on the ground where you walk when you’re out and about. Ever been to a public restroom?  Do you want those germs on that floor tracked into your house?  I know I don’t.  Even when your just walking at a park or somewhere else outside, there is chemical and pesticide residue everywhere that stays on your shoes.  If you leave your shoes on when you get home these chemicals will be tracked all over your house. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am NOT afraid of dirt or getting dirty.  I love to go outside barefoot and feel the dirt between my toes!  There’s tons of good stuff in the dirt, but I don’t want to bring the bad stuff (chemicals) into my house!  And trust me, even though you can’t see the nasty germs from the bathroom and the yucky residue from the chemicals, they are there.

2.  It keeps grass and dirt from being tracked in the house.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly like to clean any more than is necessary!  Once we started taking our shoes off at the door, there was a noticeable difference in the amount of time I had to spend sweeping and mopping our floors.  This is true in the summer and winter seasons.  In the summer, it’s grass and dirt.  In the winter, it’s mud and slush.  But whatever it is that’s being tracked in by dirty shoes, taking them off at the door will keep your floors clean and shiny a lot longer!

3.  It’s better for your feet and for your balance.

When you are barefoot, you are less likely to trip and fall.  Your feet provide your brain with feedbackLaurel of Leaves wrote a great article about going barefoot here.  I would like to pull a quote of hers that I really liked. “When you think about it, it actually makes sense to go barefoot. Those funny looking appendages at the end of our legs are shaped like that for a reason. We have toes to aid in our balance and our sensory perception of the ground beneath our feet.”  The whole blog post is really worth reading, and I would encourage you to check it outShe has some great pictures comparing the feet of people who live barefoot and those who live in shoes. Very interesting!

4.  It’s just more comfortable!

To be completely honest, I used to think that I was more comfortable in shoes than I was barefoot.  But since I have made a conscious effort to NOT wear shoes at home, I have learned that I am actually more comfortable when I don’t have any shoes on.  I mean a lot more comfortable!  It really just feels so free and so natural to walk around with nothing on my feet.  This may sound weird, but the muscles in my feet actually got sore the first week that I started going barefoot!  My feet are now stronger, and I can tell that my foot muscles are more developed now than they were when I wore shoes all the time.  Huh!  Who knew you’re feet could get their own little workout just from walking around barefoot!

These are the reasons that our family no longer wears our shoes in the house.  What about you?  Do you wear your shoes in the house?  Have you always taken your shoes off at the door?  What about the comfort aspect?  Are you more comfortable with or without shoes on?  I’m so curious what everyone else’s opinion is on this!

This post is a part of Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist.

Giveaway: Handmade Ceramic Sponge Holder

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Congratulations to Diane G, winner of the beautiful sponge holder!

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Today, I am so pleased to be giving away a beautiful, handmade ceramic sponge holder! 

Mossy Rock Pottery is a family run business that sells their beautiful handmade pottery on Etsy.  David is the craftsman behind these beautiful pieces, and I can tell that he takes great pride and ownership in each item that he makes.  He has made pottery since 1992 and has made it his living since 2003.  His pieces are absolutely stunning to look at and are of the utmost quality also!

Some of the gorgeous pieces from Mossy Rock Pottery.

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Soap and/or Lotion Dispensers

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Bowls (LOVE!)

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Mugs

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Candle Holders

This is just a small sample of the beautiful pottery offered at Mossy Rock Pottery.  Go check out their shop to see for yourself all of the other items that they have to offer!

One of my favorite pieces from Mossy Rock Pottery is this pretty sponge holder.  What I love about it is how beautiful and functional it is!  It gives your sponge a beautiful place to live and dry out between uses, instead of just lying in the sink where it only keeps getting wet and dirty. This makes your sponge last longer, keeps it cleaner, and prevents it from getting smelly!  And did I mention how beautiful it is also?  It’s a win-win!

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David has graciously offered to give away one of his handmade Sage Sponge Holders to one of The Purposed Heart’s readers today! 

All you have to do to enter the contest is leave a comment below.  If you would like, tell me what other item you would like from David’s shop, Mossy Rock Pottery.

This giveaway is open to US Residents only.

This giveaway will close on Friday July 22, 2011 at 10 pm EST.

The winner of this giveaway will be contacted by email and must respond with a shipping address within 48 hours. If the winner does not respond, another winner will be chosen.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below to be entered to win this beautiful, functional, and handmade sponge holder!

This post has been shared with Things I Love Thursday.