Noonday Collection

“I just don’t believe in any product enough to be willing to sell people on it”, I always said. I never wanted to be the girl who told her friends about products over and over, so I knew that I would really have to feel passionate about something if I was going to put my name with it. Well friends, I finally found that thing and I want to share it with you!

I recently decided to take the plunge and become a Noonday Collection Ambassador. Noonday Collection is a brand of jewelry and accessories made by artisans all over the world. They partner with women who otherwise would have no way to care for their families, and give them an opportunity to do dignified work that opens possibilities for them and their children. If you know me, you know this is right up my alley. This was the first reason I chose Noonday – the impact.

As a new mom, I have often felt like I was impacting my family but not the world. Because I am a big picture person, I wanted to make a difference in many people’s lives as well as pour into my family. Through Noonday, I get to spend time investing in women here and also partner with women across the globe. How cool is that?!

The second reason I chose Noonday is a little more personal. Becoming a mom is a crazy thing, whether the baby is your first or your seventh – it changes things. We know that having a baby can be hard for your self-esteem. This is something that I have struggled with over the last year, as I’m sure most women do. On days when I didn’t feel pretty, I would wear cute Noonday jewelry and it helped me to feel more glamorous. I want to help women feel that same way. On days when you feel gross and less than beautiful, I want to come alongside you and encourage you. It may just be jewelry and accessories, but I believe Noonday has the power to help make you feel beautiful even on a tough day.

I am so excited to begin this journey, and I hope you will join me. Here’s how you can do so:

  • Host a trunk show – You can gather your friends for a fun night of style, and earn free jewelry while you do it. If you’d like to know more, just let me know!
  • Check out my website – Christmas is just around the corner, and Noonday has the perfect gifts! Look at our 2017 Christmas line that just came out last week, or find something you like and as Tom and Donna from Parks and Rec would say, “treat yo’self!”
  • Share this with your friends. Help me spread the word and build this business.
  • Come to my Launch Party! Details to come soon, follow along on my Facebook page to stay up to date.

 

Photo credit: Noonday Collection

 

 

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Thoughts from a Former Teacher

Z just finished his first week of teaching. He leaves early, dressed not quite casually but also not fancy with lunch box in hand. He comes home late, having forgotten his lunch box at school because he was too tired to really think. You see, the first week of teaching is one of the hardest weeks of the year. Teachers everywhere collapse into bed by 8:30 after the first week. Over the weekend, they go home and work to learn as much as possible about their new students. They spend the weekend planning lessons for the coming weeks. Teaching is such good work, but it is also hard work. Here are some things I pray I remember someday when Ruthie is in school:

#1. Teachers are on our side. I know that sometimes we can feel like this isn’t the truth, but I promise that your child’s teacher cares deeply for them (like any other field, there can sometimes be bad seeds. But this is not a common occurrence). They celebrate when your baby accomplishes a new task, they cry when your kid has a tough day, they pray for your student, they push your little one to be their very best – from kindergarten all the way to graduation. Remember that your teachers are human, and they only want what’s best for your kiddos.

#2. “Thank you” goes a long way. This is so simple, just two little words but they can literally make a teacher’s day. Write a note, send a text, give them a call, say it at afternoon pick up. It doesn’t matter how or where, but “thank you” is huge.

#3. Gift cards are even better. If you can afford it, I challenge you to get a $5 Starbucks gift card and take it to your child’s teacher on Monday. Teacher’s spend dollars upon dollars of their own personal money in order to be sure their classroom is the best it can be for their students, the least we can do is treat them to some coffee. Everyone likes to be recognized for their hard work, and a hot cup of coffee is always nice.  

#4.  Teachers are actually world class actors. You will see them greet you with a smile, talk to children in soft controlled voices, and roll with the punches when something gets thrown or spilled on them even though internally they are going mad. This is the life of the teacher. They do whatever it takes to build relationships so that, in the end, they can forge strong relationships with their kids and parents. Teaching is relationship building. They put on a good face in hopes of keeping doors open and building bridges to connect with their students.

 My prayer is that as we move through this school year, we will take the time to remember our student’s teachers. To pray for them, to lift them up, to thank them for loving our kiddos. There is no one aside from us who spends more time with our kids, let’s remember that and pour into our teachers.

Budget Boot Camp: Qualities of a Good Budget

Me again, here to ensure you that creating a budget doesn’t have to feel like pulling teeth! So far, we’ve discussed Lies People Believe About Budgets, and Reasons Why You Need a Budget. As we continue our journey to understanding budgets, I want for us to look at qualities of a good budget. If we’re going to put in the effort and work, we ought to do it well! Let’s look at 4 qualities of a good budget:

#1. A good budget is easy to maintain.

A budget that is difficult to keep up with isn’t helpful. Ain’t nobody got time for that! We want a budget that keeps track of our money, but doesn’t take a million hours to maintain. I personally use a google spreadsheet to track our spending, but some people feel that is too much work. If that’s you, then there are apps that can help! Every Dollar is a great one – you set your budget on your phone, and then just enter the information every time you spend. This is super helpful for when you are out and about – you can just pull out your phone and see where you’re at on spending. Another helpful app is Mint – if you link this one to your bank account, it will actually help track your budget and spending for you. Again, it’s on your phone so you can access it at any time

#2. A good budget accounts for every dollar.

When setting up your budget, it should account for every single dollar brought in. The reason for this is that when we don’t find a place or purpose for each dollar, we are more likely to spend it without thought. If you make $4,000 a month and only need $3,678 for your expenses, you can put that extra $322 into savings, put it towards a vacation, whatever you want. You just don’t want to have money floating around with no purpose.

#3. A good budget accounts for savings.

You guys, this is imperative. No matter what you bring home, it is so important to save. This helps protect you and your bank account in case of an emergency. My personal rule of thumb is to aim to save at least 10% of our monthly income. This seems like a lot, but it has really helped us out in a pinch (like when my car randomly needed a new transmission). If you can’t save 10%, figure out what you can save and stick to that.

#4. A good budget starts with the big things and works down.

If you have a bunch of big rocks, some small rocks, and some sand, how do you make it all fit in one jar? If you start with the sand and then work up to the bigger items, it won’t work. You have to start with the biggest rocks first. Your budget is the same way. Start with the biggest, non-negotiable items and work your way to the smaller things. This will ensure you have enough to cover the most important things.

Creating a budget doesn’t have to be hard. All it takes is a little time and dedication. You can do it. I believe in you! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

Budget Boot Camp: 5 Reasons Why You Need a Budget

Alright friends, we are on week 2 of Budget Boot Camp. This week, we are going to talk about why I believe YOU need a budget. In case I haven’t been clear, I truly believe that every.single.person. needs a budget. Everyone. And here’s why:

#1. Having a budget empowers you.

As I stated last week, having a budget doesn’t have to be something that ties you down. So often, we think of a budget as a terrible thing that takes away all of our fun. I’m here to tell you that a budget can do the opposite for you. (Wow, I sound like such a nerd right now.) Anyways, having a budget does two things: it gives you knowledge, and it takes away guilt. First off, having a budget helps you to know when you can and can’t spend. Knowing when you have the room to spend takes away any guilt you may feel for spending. Now listen, if you have a budget and don’t stick to it then it won’t do these things. Obviously, you have to stick to it in order for it to work. Having a budget equips you to make wise choices, which is the most empowering thing imaginable when it comes to money.

 

#2. Having a budget relieves stress.

On a similar note to reason #1, having a budget also helps you out by relieving stress. You know the joke that people always make about college kids having $0 in their bank accounts? I don’t find those funny, they actually make me feel so nervous. We don’t have to live life stressing over whether or not we will have enough money to pay the bills (or for those $2 tacos we just HAVE to have). Hear me say this: having a budget will not automatically fix your financial woes. It’s not a magic trick. However, having a budget will help you to control your spending and thus, take away stress over whether or not you’ve overspent. I will promise you this: if you will come up with a budget that fits your monthly income and stick to it, you will not need to worry about insufficient funds.

 

#3. Having a budget improves communication.

Y’all, I can’t even imagine what life would look like as a married person without a budget. That sounds so scary. I honestly think it would be impossible for a married couple to handle life and spending without a budget. You have to communicate! Having a budget opens those lines of communication, and helps me to always know what page Z is on when it comes to dollars. Because we have a budget, my husband and I communicate more.

 

#4. Having a budget betters your future.

Here’s the truth: making ends meet week to week is the easy part. (Does that mean it’s always easy? No. But it’s the easier part). But when we don’t budget, what happens when it’s time to retire? Or what about when your kids go to college? Or fill in the blank here? Part of having a good budget is planning ahead and considering those things that may come your way. If you do this, you’re more ready when they happen. Moreover, sometimes you just make less money. If you’re transitioning jobs, or if you’re an hourly employee and you took a vacation, if you’ve already used up all of your sick days but have to be out again. Keeping track of a budget month to month helps you to know where you have some room, and where you need to tighten the reigns. Having a budget helps you to not only plan for the future, but also to know how to move forward properly. Overall, having a budget often offers a better and more secure future.

 

#5. Having a budget grows your faith.

I’m going to be fully honest here and say that tithing (which is something that every believer’s budget should include) can be tough. The Bible commands us to set aside 10% of our income for the Lord. That’s a lot of money, no matter what you make. There have been many times when it has felt like we didn’t have enough, so how on earth could we be expected to tithe? But when you do it anyway, your faith grows. Having a budget and setting aside hard-earned money the way our Father calls us to makes us more like Christ. It reminds us that we don’t have to be in control, and that our God is greater than our paychecks and whatever may come our way. If you ask me, that in itself is enough reason to make (and maintain) a budget.

 

 

Budget Boot Camp: What is a budget & lies people believe

Now that baby is truly eating food, our grocery budget is growing and growing (and growing and growing). Because of that, our family is in a grocery budget boot camp. We are cutting down costs, tightening the belt, whatever you want to call it. All of this has me thinking about women I know who have told me they’ve never had a budget, or that the thought of a budget is terrifying/overwhelming/scary to them, or that they just don’t even want to mess with budgeting. You guys, I’m here to tell you that having a budget doesn’t have to be a burden. So, we are going to do a 4-week series on budgets! WOOHOO! This is something that I am so excited about, and think is so important. Let’s walk through this together!

This week, we are going to look at what a budget is and lies we often believe about budgets. For those of you sitting here wondering, “what is this girl talking about?”, a budget is simply this:

an outline of how much money you have and where that money needs to go

Plain and simple. So why do we run and hide when we hear that word? Why is the thought of a budget enough to make us want to throw in the towel? I believe a big part of why is that we believe many lies about budgeting. We can’t hit on all of these, there’s just no way. But I want to share 4 of the BIGGEST lies, I think, women believe about budgets (and why they aren’t true).

#1: As long as I’m spending less than I make, then I’m okay.

If you are currently spending less than you make, GREAT JOB! That is a wonderful first step. But here’s the problem with this: if you aren’t tracking your spending, you have no idea a) where your money is going and b) no way to tell for sure that you’re spending less than you make. In order for us to steward our money well, we need to know where we are spending our money. We need to be sure we are allotting enough for saving, tithes, groceries, etc.

#2: Having a budget is too much work.

Yes, having a budget is going to be some work. And honestly, it’s going to take some discipline. However, having a budget does not have to be a huge undertaking. Once you have your budget set, it should take no more than 30 minutes a week (TOPS) to keep it up. If 30 minutes sounds like a big deal, then there are plenty of resources that can help lighten that load….I’ll share more on those later 😊

#3: Having a budget will make me boring.

If we are being honest, many of us don’t have a budget because we don’t want anything to tell us what to do. We feel that having a budget will restrict us and keep us from doing what we want. At times, your budget will tell you no. But here’s the beauty of budgeting – having a budget means that you’ve consciously set aside amounts for different categories. This gives you the freedom to spend without stressing. Want to buy a new shirt? If you have the money in your budget, you can buy that shirt without feeling guilty. Setting those guidelines for your money helps you to know what you can spend and when, without feeling bad or anxious.

#4: I’ll handle it when I’m married/I have a better job/my husband decides to do it/fill in the blank here.

You guys, no. I understand this thought – I lived this thought. But if not now, then when? Procrastinating on a budget is like procrastinating on a doctor’s appointment. Both are important, and there’s no better time than now. The longer we wait to have a budget, the harder it will be to incorporate into our daily lives. There are always a hundred reasons not to do something, but I promise it’s worth it.

So there they are, 4 reasons that often keep people from having a budget. If you don’t have a budget, what’s keeping you from it? What lie are you believing? If you have specific questions about budgets, please feel free to reach out to me. I don’t know everything, but I’d love to share what I do know! Next week, we will look at why you need a budget. See you soon, friends!

Belugas & Babies (Guest post by Z)

I’ve got a little story for ya.

A few months ago Sarah and I were home playing with baby girl. Sarah was singing a rendition of the “Baby Beluga” song to our little girl, and she decided to replace “beluga” with “Ruthie” to be cute.  Being the fun guy that I am, I thought it clever to then throw Sarah’s name in the song. However, instead of saying “baby Sarah” I said “Sarah beluga…”. My wife’s face dropped, she got up, and left the room while I was left with our child and a bemused look. One minute we were all smiling and playing, and the next minute she was upset and I had no idea why.

Here is what we (I) learned that night:

Everyone cares how they look and women tend to care more than guys. Pregnancy and postpartum only amplify this. When you rewrite a song on the fly and inadvertently call your wife a whale, it will hurt her feelings.

Guys know that they need to compliment and praise their wife/fiancée/girlfriend. Women can be pretty emotional and pregnancy makes that even more dramatic. There is plenty of self doubt, insecurity, and uncertainty during and after pregnancy, and it is during that time that they need to be reassured by their guy that they are still as beautiful as ever. They will be, they just may not think so. That’s where you can step in and make sure they don’t doubt how you feel.

This is done best by being even more careful of what you say than you may normally be. Think 3 times, pause, think again, and then you may speak. Also, be careful not to think too long because then your silence becomes a negative and you’re hosed.

That night I learned:

  1. Pregnancy changes everything, particularly emotions.
  2. Make make sure you’re complimenting your gal.
  3. As guys, we’re stupid and need to rethink things often.
  4. I’m not a songwriter.

June Must Haves

This week, I’m going to share a few must have items for the summer. A couple of books, a Ginnings household essential (that I’m willing to share), and a couple of baby items I couldn’t live without. I even included a bonus item, since it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. These things will make your life better, I promise!

#1: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty: y’all, Liane and I are quickly becoming good friends. I’ve mentioned another of her books in my Must Haves before, but I just can’t get enough! This book has just enough drama to draw you in, but not so much that it’s crazy. This is the perfect summer read, take it to the beach when you go!

#2: Lavender Essential Oil: if you or your husband or your baby or your dog (aka anyone in your whole house) has trouble sleeping, you need to try this oil. I used to be such a stress dreamer and wake up constantly throughout the night. I started using lavender at night…no more wake ups! Baby girl’s naps are significantly better when lavender is involved. I love this stuff so much, that I will send a small sample to the first 3 people to email me about it!

#3: Honeycomb Teething Necklace: if your baby is anything like mine, they probably pull at and chew on your necklace constantly. Instead of freaking out and worrying about nice jewelry getting ruined, I just wear one of these (they’re especially great when you are wearing your baby). BONUS, they’re super cute!

#4: Business Boutique by Christy Wright: we live in a world of entrepreneurs. Everywhere you look, people are constantly starting their own businesses, whether that is a service, MLMs, an app, you name it. This book gives you a step by step guide on how to make those dollas doing what you love.

#5: TomTom Runner: I had this crazy idea to sign up for a half marathon. I’ve run a couple before, but post-baby workouts are just so much harder so I needed something to force me to do it. (Let me just say, I’m nearly 8 months post baby and I am STILL working on getting back into shape. Geez Louise!) Many runs, being able to look down at my watch and know how much longer I have to go is the only thing that keeps me going as I  slowly attempt to whip out some miles. Get one, and run this half with me!!

-BONUS-

#6: ErgoBaby 360 Carrier: if you’re a mama of a baby, you need one of these. This thing is 100% the only reason baby girl and I were able to make it flying on our own last week. It’s a lifesaver.

Just for fun, here are some pictures of our life lately. Isn’t baby girl just the cutest?

 

Motherhood’s Greatest Joys

Sunday was my first Mother’s Day. While this is supposed to be a day to celebrate moms and all they do, all I could think about was how grateful I am for the little girl who made me a mama. Seven months in and I still can’t believe God entrusted me with her…does that ever sink in? All of this got me thinking about the most joyful parts of motherhood. Oftentimes, it is easy to focus on the hard stuff. While the hard things are oh so valid, so are the joys. If anything, I feel like we should aim to make the joys the most valid things – if we fix our eyes on them, our lives will be all the happier. This week, I want to share with y’all what I believe are the greatest joys of motherhood.

#1: I get to see the way my baby loves her daddy. One of the brightest highlights of my day is the moment that Zach walks through the door. Partly because I’m excited to see him, but mostly because I love to see the smile on Ruthie’s face when she sees her daddy. Seeing your baby light up when they see their dad is enough to make a mama’s heart want to burst with happiness.

#2: The world becomes new again. As adults, much of what we encounter day to day is commonplace. We’ve been there, done that, and moved on with life. But to our babies, everything is new. The kitchen sink, the grass outside, the taste of sweet potatoes, everything. I love to see her face brighten as she learns something new, or to see her eyebrows furrow in befuddlement. When that little girl looks up at me and smiles because she just figured something out, I melt. Watching Ruthie learn about the world has caused me to embrace each day with a new sense of wonder.

#3: The Gospel comes alive like never before. When I think about how God sent his son to earth as a baby to live a perfect and sinless life only to die a criminal’s death on the cross in order that he could rise on the third day and redeem the sins of the world, I am overwhelmed. I can’t even fathom sending Ruthie to do such a job, what incredible love God must have for us! Because I have a baby, my view of the Gospel has become richer, and I have become more thankful of the love that is bestowed upon me.

#4: Every minute counts. Somehow, every day seems to go by faster than the one before. And somehow, the baby that I just brought home from the hospital already knows how to sit on her own and has teeth. Watching my baby go from a totally dependent newborn to a spunky baby who wants to take the world by the horns (help me, Jesus) is such a reminder to me of the importance of every moment. Because I am a mama, I strive to use each minute I am given wisely. This can be overwhelming at times, but it’s also the biggest blessing.

I could go on forever about the things that bring happiness to my mama world, but nobody has time for that. What about you? What are your favorite parts of being mama? What parts grow you? What brings you the most joy?

Mom’s Dress: Lularoe Carly —– Ruthie’s Bonnet: Dillards —– Mom’s Earrings: Noonday Collection 

 

The Heart Behind It

It recently occurred to me that I went about this whole blogging thing the wrong way. In total Sarah fashion, I dove in head first. Which is great, except I want this blog to have purpose. And it does…I just never shared my heart behind it with you. So I suppose it’s time to do that.

Motherhood can be one of the most isolating experiences we, as women, face. It is beautiful. It is hard. It is love. It is lonely. This loneliness is something that I’ve felt down to my bones at times since becoming a mama. That’s not to say that I don’t love my baby, because I do. And that’s not to say that I don’t love being a mom, because I do. But being mama is not an easy job and sometimes the day-to-day of it just wears you down and makes you feel like nobody on the face of this earth knows what you are going through. I believe that Satan can use that loneliness to lure us into feeling like we are uncared for, unknown, unloved, and unimportant. But we don’t have to succumb to these feelings. Psalm 139 makes it very clear that none of these things are true — and we know that — but we tend to forget.

My purpose is for this page to be a place where we fight these things together. Where I can share my stories, with the hope that someone somewhere might be able to let out a sigh of relief and say, “same”. A place where mamas come, and they feel less alone. Where you can visit after a hard day and know, “I’m doing my best, my best is enough, and I am infinitely loved by my Creator even when I fall short”. I want this to be a place where community is built, because none of us were meant to walk this road alone. My hope is that someday, this page will be a resource for the mamas who walk this road behind us. But for now, I just want it to be a place where we can all join together and make this journey a little more relational and a little less lonely.

If you are feeling alone, forgotten, uncared for, unloved…read Psalm 139:1-18 below:

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all of my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, ever there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you’ the night will shine like the day, for darkness is light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with you.

God’s Tender Mercies

Confession: I hate road trips with a baby. They make me so anxious, and just downright grumpy. (Please tell me I’m not the only one.) But last week, God used a road trip to remind me of His goodness towards us.

My in-laws live about 4.5 hours away on a good day. Sometimes the drive can take much longer, mostly depending on I-35. Last week, the latter was the case. The baby cried most of the drive, traffic was horrible, I was irritated, and it was pouring rain. But wait, there’s more: about halfway home, we got a flat tire. Typically, this would be something that just makes you want to scream. But instead, in a church parking lot on the side of I-35 in a rinky-dink town, I couldn’t help but be grateful. Yes we had a flat, but the rain had nearly stopped and our Ruthie girl had just fallen asleep – and then stayed asleep for most of the debacle. This was such a small reminder to me of the ways that God provides for us. So many things could have gone wrong here – Ruthie could have had a total meltdown, we could have had a blow out on the highway, it could have been an hour later and all of the tire shops could have been closed, the rain could have still been in a downpour – but nothing did. How often do things like this happen in our lives? We face a situation that feels so big and overwhelming only to remember that God is for us and He always has a perfect plan. Does that mean that things won’t be messy, or that it will work out exactly the way we hope? No. Not at all. Does that mean that we won’t have to buy a used tire from a guy named Antonio? No. But it does mean that we will be okay.

In a situation where I would usually be grumpy and miserable, God reminded me that He constantly offers us tender mercies…sometimes we just have to choose to see them.

mercies 3

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