Tennessee Twister

Two weeks ago we had 4 tornados spin through our area and one was right in out back yard! It was pretty intense! Thankfully the only damage we had was about a dozen large trees.

Not all of our neighbors were that lucky. I’ve never heard our windows whistle like that before. Nor have I seen windows pulse… and we discovered the whole “it sounds like a train” to be true! We discovered dust being blown into our house under our baseboards.

Ironically, we just moved from our house that had a basement. Do you need to be told that we’re now shopping for a storm shelter? ūüėČ

For size reference, my hubby is 4 inches shy of 7 ft.

We will have enough wood for bonfires for the next decade! These piles aren’t even half of what we cut and there’s a ton more!

Its alot of work lugging huge trunks up the hill for seats, so hubby improvised and used our mower!

That storm was the closest I ever want to come to a tornado, ever again!

Blessings & JOY ~



We Love Young Living!

We love being part of the Young Living family!  ♥
Have you ever wanted to truly own your time‚ÄĒand your life? What if going to work every day was exciting and enjoyable, and you no longer had to wonder how you were going to pay the bills? Young Living‚Äôs generous compensation plan gives you the power to take control of your future and build a business that will change your life forever.

Being a Young Living member goes beyond simply building a thriving business, however. You will also enjoy extensive networking opportunities, exclusive hands-on experiences, and a strong sense of community. Some of the unique benefits of Young Living membership include:

Generous Compensation: Young Living offers an industry-leading compensation plan with generous commissions and bonuses. Compensation Plan Highlights (PDF)
Wholesale Pricing: Save 24 percent off retail pricing on Young Living products, and save even more money with exclusive specials and promotions every month.
Essential Rewards: As a member, you are eligible to enroll in the Essential Rewards program and earn as much as 25percent each order back in Essential Rewards points.
Exclusive Experiences: Participate in unique events such as the Global Leadership Cruise and our annual International Grand Convention, and experience our Seed to Seal¬ģ process firsthand at farm harvests and plantings.
Community: Enjoy a close-knit community of support. In addition to your sponsor, the entire Young Living family is ready to assist and encourage you in your journey.
Education: Young Living provides ongoing health education opportunities through conventions, seminars, and newsletters to keep you informed and assist you in your wellness progress.
Recognition: As you expand your organization and advance toward the prestigious rank of Royal Crown Diamond, you will enjoy special recognition for your accomplishments and leadership!
Not interested in building a business yet? Enroll as a customer and receive products at retail pricing with flexible monthly purchasing options.

Become a member now by clicking the link below. Pick the membership option‚ÄĒIndependent Distributor or customer‚ÄĒthat matches your current situation. ¬†Please make sure my # 1622294 is in both the enroller and sponsor fields.

Blessings & JOY ~



My friend has the cutest lil grand babies and she asked me to take some photos of them.  Any mother knows that children grow up way too quickly and photographs must be taken often!  These kiddos are just oozing with personality!

Thank you for letting me capture your moments in time!

I would love to chat with you on Facebook ~ or follow me on Pinterest!

Blessings & JOY ~




Becoming Mom Strong

I was blessed to be a part of Heidi St John’s book launch team! ¬†Her new book just released on September 19th!

This book arrived in my life at just the right time.  Being a mother is never easy, raising teens is harder than I thought it would be (some days I long for the toddler stage again), and raising children in this ever-crazy world can often seem daunting!

That’s where this book comes in. ¬†Right now, ‘Becoming Mom Strong’ sits on my night stand. ¬†I think it should be on every mother’s! ¬†Heidi is so relatable and encouraging. ¬†Her words of wisdom come at such a poignant time in history as we often times struggle to stay BOLD in raising our children for Christ in a fallen world.

I know every era had their own struggles and that there is “nothing new under the sun”, but living in a highly digital era has brought along many more struggles that are often hard to stay on top of.

We need to stay BOLD in our mothering. ¬†Strong. ¬†Its not for the faint of heart! ¬†Prayers, coffee, and chocolate are required! ūüėČ

You can snag your own copy of Becoming Mom Strong here, accompanying journal here, and the Becoming Mom Strong Bible Study book here.  You will be glad you did!

I would love to chat with you on Facebook ~ or follow me on Pinterest!

Blessings & JOY ~





This beautiful book is just that. ¬†Beautiful. ¬†Inside and out. ¬†It is filled with Ruth’s gorgeous artwork, along with wonderfully encouraging words about our life in Christ.

There are four sections, named after the seasons: Winter (Resting in God’s Character), Spring (Rehearsing the Truth), Summer (Responding in Faith) & Fall (Remembering God’s Provisions). ¬†Within those seasons are chapters where our daily lives live in many quotes where you will be nodding your head saying, “yes!”. ¬†It’s always nice when you realize you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings!

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Ruth:

Turn to the unshakable, steady, and strong shelter of our Savior.

Just because God does not remove the thorn doesn’t mean He’s not using it for our good and His glory.

He who knows every star by name knows how to heal our wounds, great and small.

If you feel worn out, friend, its a pretty good indication that our infinite God made you finite for a purpose.

You don’t have to be blooming to be growing, so don’t give up.

We are no longer the sum of our past. ¬†We are the formed and forming work of¬†Christ’s faithfulness.

Im not just a generic face among the masses, but a chosen one whom God knows by name.

The Holy Spirit lifts us up before the Father with prayers we don’t even know how to pray.

We can experience no true peace when we’re at war with God.

You were created on purpose for purpose.

I love how God works!  This book came into my life just when I needed it!  I highly recommend this book to everyone, women especially.  Even though I have finished the book, it still sits prettily on my nightstand as a daily reminder of His Truth.

You can find this lovely book here, along with the accompanying journal here.  I received both as part of her pre-launch team in exchange for my honest reviews. ♥

I would love to chat with you on Facebook ~ or follow me on Pinterest!

Blessings & JOY ~






I grew up in the city.  And while my hubby grew up in the same city, he grew up with backyard chickens!  He and his grandma had a lil urban farm going on in their yard.

Fast forward 15 years and many homes and we have backyard chickens!  Its been about 2 years now, and we have two different batches of chickens.  Both are Rhode Island Reds; the second batch we got are heritage!

I love our girls! ¬†They are so sweet and fun! ¬†Plus, they give me breakfast! ¬†I don’t know why I was surprised that they had their own unique personalities, but I was – and they do! ¬†We have one girl who LOVES getting pets and love from us. ¬†Another is super dramatic and its quite funny. ¬†Another girl is super vocal and lets everyone know when she’s annoyed.

We have our little “farm” on the side of the house behind the garage. ¬†It it separated from the yard by a cute picket fence that hubby made. ¬†When I go through the gate, I will say “hi girls” and they all come running because they know I have treats for them!

Have you ever watched any of the Jurassic Park movies?  They totally got the traits of the velociraptors from chickens!  From the way they run, look at you, and the noises they make (like when they are talking to each other, or warning others of possible dangers Рnot the clucking or crowing).  I always laugh!

My girls are my favorite pets!


Chickens are fun, and quite easy to care for. ¬†Every 2 days we have a dozen eggs. ¬†Fresh, non-GMO, free range eggs. ¬†I love being able to grow our own food and raise our own chickens. ¬†If I could, I’d have a goat!

I love being able to keep chickens and let our girls live how God intended them to, instead of shoved into an overcrowded and dirty “barn”. ¬†I recently read an article about “organic” eggs and it made me so sad! ¬†In case you missed my quotes – they don’t follow the rules for organic!!

I think everyone should have backyard chickens at least once in their life. ¬†I never really thought I’d like having them as pets… the few I had come in contact with I was terrified of because they had chased me as a child. ¬†So, I was a bit nervous to own them myself. ¬†We raised them from chicks and I love our sweet, silly girls! ¬†‚ô•

I would love to chat with you on¬†Facebook¬†~ or follow me on¬†Pinterest! ¬†See what a ‚Äúfew of my favorite things‚ÄĚ are!

Blessings & JOY ~




p.s. my blog posts may contain affiliate links to items that I love, use, or want to share. Thank you for helping support Cottage & Hen ♥


Happy Homecoming

Today I had the pleasure of meeting a sweet Army wife at her hubby’s homecoming! ¬†Blessed to have the honor of capturing this day for her!

This week has been the hottest yet this summer, and today was no exception! ¬†It was actually cooler outside because of the breeze vs inside the hangar, so we didn’t mind waiting outside!

Because the Army Post is redoing the airfield, our soldiers now arrive at the hangar via buses!  In the past, I had a great dislike for these white buses as they always were taking my man away, not bringing him home!  Today was much happier!

We saw him get off the bus and this smile says it all!!  They are HOME!

Sweet friends that help us get through the long deployments are why we call them Army Sisters!

In each others arms again!  Her eyes are such a gorgeous blue!

Thank you for letting me capture this moment for you!

There is nothing like being at a military homecoming ceremony!  I always get teary eyed when I attend one!

I would love to chat with you on¬†Facebook¬†~ or follow me on¬†Pinterest! ¬†See what a ‚Äúfew of my favorite things‚ÄĚ are!

Blessings & JOY ~




p.s. my blog posts may contain affiliate links to items that I love, use, or want to share. Thank you for helping support Cottage & Hen ♥


NEW Products!!

Earlier this month at Young Living’s Convention in Utah, SO MANY AMAZING products were released! ¬†Here’s a synopsis of a few of them! ¬†Because they are from a wellness company I can trust, I know that they are the best and safest on the market! ¬†I cannot wait to try them all!!¬†‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

After Sun Skin Care

Refresh and recover from a day in the sun with Young Living‚Äôs LavaDerm‚ĄĘ After-Sun Spray. This naturally derived after‚ÄĒsun spray offers temporary relief from the pain and itching of minor burns, minor cuts, sunburns, scrapes, insect bites, and minor skin irritations, so your family can keep playing all day.

Using menthol from mint, this spray soothes and cools the skin, providing immediate relief from the effects of outdoor activity. Plus, its moisturizing qualities‚ÄĒfrom ingredients such as aloe, Lavender essential oil, and Helichrysum essential oil‚ÄĒalso help prevent peeling and leave skin feeling soft and smooth instead of tacky or sticky. With a vegan-friendly formula made without alcohol, synthetic fragrances, or synthetic colorants, LavaDerm After-Sun Spray is ready for the whole family to use at the beach, on a hike, or during any outdoor playtime. ¬†Formulated without alcohol, parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, animal-derived ingredients, synthetic preservatives, synthetic fragrances, or synthetic colorants.

Insect Repellent

Don’t let bug bites ruin your family’s outdoor fun this summer! Young Living’s Insect Repellent is clinically proven to repel mosquitoes and other tiny invaders using only 100 percent naturally derived, plant-based ingredients.  Pure sesame oil and a carefully selected blend of essential oils traditionally used for their bug-repellent properties come together to make up all 99 percent of the active ingredients in this formula. The other 1 percent? Vitamin E. That means you can use it on your little ones and not worry about the harsh chemicals used in many traditional repellents. You’ll also love the pleasant, citrusy aroma and smooth, non-greasy, non-sticky application.  Formulated without DEET, parabens, fillers, phthalates, petrochemicals, animal-derived ingredients, synthetic preservatives, synthetic fragrances, or synthetic colorants

**Due to state regulations, this product is not available for purchase in every state.**

Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Made with ingredients you can feel good about, Young Living‚Äôs Mineral Sunscreen Lotion provides protection against UVA and UVB rays without harsh chemical ingredients. Instead, the non-greasy sunscreen offers broad-spectrum SPF 10 protection using naturally derived plant- and mineral-based ingredients, including non-nano zinc oxide‚ÄĒa physical UV blocker. The lightweight formula goes on smooth and stays water- and sweat-resistant for 80 minutes, so you can feel comfortable while you stay moving. With hypoallergenic ingredients and skin-loving essential oils‚ÄĒsuch Helichrysum, Carrot Seed, and Frankincense‚ÄĒthis gentle sunscreen rubs on smoothly without a white residue, so you can effortlessly add it to your time outdoors. ¬†Formulated without UV chemical absorbers, parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, animal-derived ingredients, synthetic preservatives, synthetic fragrances, or synthetic dyes.

Super Cal Plus

There are plenty of calcium supplements you can choose from, but Super Cal Plus‚ĄĘ was created to offer more than just calcium and minerals‚ÄĒit is a true bone-health supplement. With a synergistic blend of bioavailable calcium, magnesium, vitamins D and K, and other trace minerals, Super Cal Plus supports the structure, integrity, and density of bones and teeth.


Optimize your workout recovery with the triple-targeted formula of AminoWise‚ĄĘ. It uses three blends for one powerful result: The Muscle Performance blend aids muscle building and repair, the Recovery blend helps reduce muscle fatigue, and the Hydration Mineral blend replenishes important minerals lost during exercise. ¬†AminoWise was developed and formulated to fill a need within the nutritional product line as a during and after-workout replenishing boost for the muscles. With a hydrating blend of minerals that are lost during exercise and with no added sugars, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or artificial colors or flavors, AminoWise is a standout in the field of workout supplementation.

AlkaLime Stick Packs

AlkaLime‚ĄĘ now comes in convenient single-serve stick packs, so you can enjoy this mild, alkalinizing drink on the go. Keep a few in your purse, backpack, or at the office. Contains no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. ¬†Helps maintain optimal pH in the stomach.

Seedlings Line 

While babies are known for their cuddly softness, dry skin affects infants just like adults. Hot baths, dry air, irritants, and other factors can all leave your baby uncomfortable and fussy.¬†Combat the effects of dry skin and prevent future dryness with Young Living Seedlings‚ĄĘ Baby Lotion. This non-greasy moisturizer supports moisture barrier function and smoothly absorbs into your baby‚Äôs delicate skin, leaving it moisturized, soft, and smooth.

The mild, gentle formula of Young Living Seedlings‚ĄĘ Baby Oil was developed for an infant‚Äôs delicate skin. The ingredients are 100 percent plant-based and naturally derived to create a baby oil that will moisturize, soothe, and nourish your baby‚Äôs skin without the use of mineral oil.

Young Living Seedlings‚ĄĘ Baby Wash & Shampoo is formulated specially for infants‚Äô delicate skin. Its mild, gentle formula is tear-free, sulfate-free, and made from 100 percent plant-based, naturally derived ingredients. It leaves skin and hair clean, soft, and smooth and makes tangles easy to comb out.

Young Living Seedlings‚ĄĘ Baby Wipes are ultra-soft and comfortable. The soothing formula leaves skin moisturized, soft, and smooth while providing gentle and thorough cleansing without drying your infant‚Äôs delicate skin.

Savvy Minerals


Whether you use it as the base of an elaborate look or on its own for a more natural approach, our mineral foundation has you covered. Part of our Savvy Minerals by Young Living‚ĄĘ line, this long-lasting foundation is made with high-quality, mineral-based ingredients. Its buildable formula can be used for sheer to full coverage and blends flawlessly for a natural-looking foundation that still diminishes the appearance of imperfections and blemishes. It is also an all-day foundation, so you don‚Äôt need to worry about it as you transition between your home, work, and social life. Plus, we specially crafted it without fillers, synthetics, or parabens, making it a great foundation for sensitive skin. With its long-lasting formula, gentle ingredients, and gorgeous finish, Savvy Minerals Foundation is the only coverage you need stashed in your makeup bag.

Nothing says natural, youthful beauty like blushed cheeks. You‚Äôll love the healthy glow that Savvy Minerals Blush provides and the way it boosts your natural radiance. The mineral-based ingredients in Savvy Minerals by Young Living‚ĄĘ Blush are finely ground to provide a smooth, luxurious application. This also helps the product go on flawlessly, creating buildable color in a long-lasting blush that blends well for all-day wear.

Bring out your natural beauty without compromising on quality. Savvy Minerals by Young Living‚ĄĘ Lip Gloss provides natural-looking sheer to medium color coverage while adding shine. It applies flawlessly without the sticky feeling of many lip glosses. ¬†This lip gloss formula is not tested on animals and is made with natural ingredients, so you can feel good about what you are putting on your lips. It‚Äôs also formulated without parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, bismuth, talc, synthetic fragrances, or synthetic colorants.

Complete your flawless look with a touch of mineral veil setting powder from Savvy Minerals by Young Living‚ĄĘ. A sheer, mineral-based formula, Veil‚Äôs luminizing formula applies smoothly and easily, creates highlights, and blurs fine lines and pores for a glowy, airbrushed finish for all skin tones.


As a licensed cosmetologist, I think I am the most excited about the make up line.  But the bug repellent and AminoWise are a close second!  What excites you the most???

Find out more about all the new products here!  If you are not a YL Member yet, simply sign up here!

I would love to chat with you on¬†Facebook¬†~ or follow me on¬†Pinterest! ¬†See what a ‚Äúfew of my favorite things‚ÄĚ are!

Blessings & JOY ~




p.s. my blog posts may contain affiliate links to items that I love, use, or want to share. Thank you for helping support Cottage & Hen ♥


Gatlinburg Getaway

It has been too many years since we have celebrated a big holiday with family.  We live on the east coast; and they all live on the west coast!  This past Easter we decided to do something different and at the last moment booked a hotel for a lil get-away to Gatlinburg, TN!

Booking online without knowing the hotel can be risky… I read all the reviews and went to one of those bargain sites. ¬†We were SO HAPPY with where we ended up at. Originally we were looking in Gatlinburg, but Pigeon Forge is just 10 minutes away and had more options for less cha-ching! ¬†The hotel we opted for had an indoor pool, outdoor pool with a small lazy river, and even a tiny (I don’t think it gets used much at all) gym! ¬†We had a gorgeous view out on our balcony, including the Smokies and a creek.¬† It was so peaceful and beautiful!

Starbucks in downtown Gatlinburg! ¬†On Saturday we walked around downtown. ¬†I grew up in sunny SoCal, but every summer we traveled to Knoxville, TN and we always stopped to see the cute and quaint town of Gatlinburg…and buy treats from Aunt Mahalia’s Candy Shop! ¬†Now that we live in Tennessee, I find it super fun to take my family here on short trips.

This time we spent the extra money and took the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram up the mountain. ¬†We saw all the fire damage down below. ¬†Honestly, other than the tram, I was not impressed with all they offered up there. ¬†It was similar to a county fair atmosphere. Complete with creeps. ¬†Ya’ll, always be aware of your surroundings!

A few places on the strip had been burned, but most were still there. ¬†Many homes burned in the hills that we could see, I am sure many more that we couldn’t see from the tram ride. ¬†If you look closely, you can see a burnt home on the hill in the background.

Naturally, we ate too many things that aren’t on my diet plan. But that’s what vacations are for, right?? ¬†We had fun playing all weekend. ¬†I think the kids’ favorite thing might have been the single car rollercoaster that went through the Smokies!

I am so glad I brought my DSLR to capture this trip instead of just my smart phone. ¬†It was worth lugging around! ūüôā

I would love to chat with you on¬†Facebook¬†~ or follow me on¬†Pinterest! ¬†See what a ‚Äúfew of my favorite things‚ÄĚ are!

Blessings & JOY ~



Free Concert

So this past Saturday we were able to enjoy a great concert by For King & Country!

Our small town had a two day event by the river but due to a wet, rainy weekend they ended up canceling it hours before the concert!  A large church nearby opened their doors to allow the show to go on! It was so wonderful of them, and more were able to see the band perform than if it had still been outdoors. The band could have just gone home, but they chose to stay in town and bless our city.  Their hearts were evident in that small act.

Joel and Luke Smallbone have such an amazing story and they shared it with everyone again. (A few years ago I put 2 and 2 together and realized their big sis is Rebecca St. James!!)

We love this band, and they did not disappoint!  They even came out into the crowd and our 12 year olds year was made when Luke gave her a high five!!!  I tried to get a video of it, but was lousy Рexcept I did get her face of sheer joy after the fact!!

I have had their songs on replay in my head!

I would love to chat with you on¬†Facebook¬†~ or follow me on¬†Pinterest! ¬†See what a ‚Äúfew of my favorite things‚ÄĚ are!

Blessings & JOY ~




p.s. my blog posts may contain affiliate links to items that I love, use, or want to share. Thank you for helping support Cottage & Hen ♥