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 – not 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!  ♥

I would love to chat with you on Facebook ~ or follow me on Pinterest!  See what a “few of my favorite things” 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 “few of my favorite things” 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!! ♥♥♥

After Sun Skin Care

Refresh and recover from a day in the sun with Young Living’s LavaDerm™ After-Sun Spray. This naturally derived after—sun 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—from ingredients such as aloe, Lavender essential oil, and Helichrysum essential oil—also 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’s 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—a 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—such Helichrysum, Carrot Seed, and Frankincense—this 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™ was created to offer more than just calcium and minerals—it 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™. 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™ 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™ Baby Lotion. This non-greasy moisturizer supports moisture barrier function and smoothly absorbs into your baby’s delicate skin, leaving it moisturized, soft, and smooth.

The mild, gentle formula of Young Living Seedlings™ Baby Oil was developed for an infant’s 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’s skin without the use of mineral oil.

Young Living Seedlings™ Baby Wash & Shampoo is formulated specially for infants’ 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™ 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’s 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™ 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’t 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’ll 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™ 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™ 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’s 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™. A sheer, mineral-based formula, Veil’s 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 “few of my favorite things” 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! 🙂

I would love to chat with you on Facebook ~ or follow me on Pinterest!  See what a “few of my favorite things” 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 – except 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 “few of my favorite things” 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 ♥

Boy Mom

I met this beautiful mama in 2009 when my hubby was first stationed here.  She has always been so cheerful and optimistic; such a sweet spirit.

She isn’t always smiling because life is always amazing; she is always smiling because she knows that God is always with her!  Her life is a testimony and anyone who knows her is blessed!

Love you, Casey!  Thank you for letting me capture you and your handsome boys!!

I would love to chat with you on Facebook ~ or follow me on Pinterest!  See what a “few of my favorite things” 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 ♥


I’ve wanted to write a post about this for years.  I know its not a happy post, but I think its something that should and needs to be addressed.

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Ps 34:18

I grew up in church, but I have suffered from depression (and anxiety) for over 20 years.  It was years before I ever shared this with anyone, including my husband.  Depression is widely spoken of in the public sphere, but often frowned upon in the Christian world.  Yet, 1 in 4 women take mental health meds.  Despite the many articles and speeches on this issue, women (and men) often do not feel like they can talk about it and more often than not do not find the support they need.  In fact, many times I have left church feeling more drained and depressed than when I arrived.  Shame and stigma are often causes for suffering alone.

“But I am afflicted and in pain; let Your salvation, O God, set me on high!” Ps 69:29

Many christians who suffer from depression struggle between what we know to be true and the darkness that we feel to be true.  With that being said, we often feel that we are not “good enough”; or that something is “wrong with us”.  How can someone who walks with the Lord struggle with these dark feelings of hopelessness when God is our Hope and Strength?  So these feelings of darkness get stuffed back down and are not talked about, or shared with others.  One can only hold that in so long before breaking.

“Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not Your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love, for in You I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.” Ps 143:7-8

The church should support and not shun those who struggle with depression and anxiety.  Those who have not struggled with it will not fully understand it, but in no way should it ever be disregarded.  Nor should those who do struggle with it be told something is wrong with them.

“But God, Who comforts the downcast…” 2 Cor 7:6a

Depression and anxiety is very real, its not “all in your head”, and the church needs to do a better job in supporting those who face these demons regularly.  Brandon Peach says it like this, “It’s not a character defect, a spiritual disorder or an emotional dysfunction. And chief of all, it’s not a choice. Asking someone to “try” not being depressed is tantamount to asking someone who’s been shot to try and stop bleeding. Such an attitude can dangerously appear in the Church as, “if only you had enough faith.”

“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Ps 30:5b

I know from personal experience how exhausting it is to constantly be battling it.  I know personally what it feels like to be told that I’m “doing something wrong” in my Christian walk and that is why I feel this way.

“…for You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I will sing for joy.” Ps 63:7

Lets rally around our sisters and really listen and encourage.  Give that hug and just be there when you are needed.  No judgement.  It’s all about loving others, by showing (and sharing) the love of Christ.

God is good, and is the reason I am still here today.

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 ♥

Earn your Premium Starter Kit


So, I think this is kinda cool.  I mean, who doesn’t like FREE?  If you become a Young Living Member with a Premium Starter Kit, you can get “thank you checks” that will pay for the cost of the PSK!  How?  Simply by sharing this amazing wellness company with 3 (or more!) of your friends who become members, too!  When they sign up with a PSK you will receive $50 from YL bonuses!  $25 for the Start Living Bonus and $25 for the Fast Start Bonus!  Is that just not amazing?!

Bam!  Premium Starter Kit paid for!!

I wish I had known this when I signed up!!

If that got you excited, you might like to know that for every new distributor you personally enroll with a PSK, you’ll not only collect $50 but 25% of their orders for the first three months, too!

Being a wholesale member (think Costco) with Young Living gets you the amazing product at 24% off without the membership fees!  Yes, you pay to become a member…BUT YOU GET PRODUCT WITH THAT PAYMENT, unlike other wholesale companies.  Over $300 worth of product for only $160!

In the Premium Starter Kit you receive the Everyday Oils Collection and it is definitely named appropriately!  Those babies get used in our home on a daily basis!

Every day I am grateful for Young Living!

Blessings & JOY!


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Why We Chose Homeschooling

So, our oldest started High School this year.


This was our second year in the public schools off post.  What a difference!  For one, there isn’t any PTO’s – everything is student ran.  So, no volunteering available for school dances, etc.  Which, in our home means our kids don’t get to attend.  When we lived on post and our children attended post schools, the PTO was wonderful and I was able to volunteer at their school dances!  I absolutely loved being part of the PTO and I think it had a huge impact on our kids’ academics and attitudes.

Our son has always struggled academically and as a result has had an IEP since 2nd grade.  When he arrived at this new school they told him his grades were too high and removed it.  As a result his grades and confidence fell.  I was so frustrated.  But he didn’t like being in the IEP classes due to other kids’ bullying him so I didn’t fight for it.  Maybe I should have. We did before and after school tutoring and it didn’t seem to help.  No offense to teachers, but going to school at 6:30am to play a board game, isn’t tutoring in my book.

He would get bullied at school.  Nothing too serious, just stressful when its a daily occurrence.  He would come home so angry.  So angry.  We would not even talk to him for about an hour so he could calm down and we could start to see his real personality again.

I keep tabs on our kids’ grades and his weren’t getting better.  This is High School.  These four years shape you and play a huge part in your adult life.  As a parent, I couldn’t just sit back and watch him just get pushed through with “passing grades”.  That isn’t going to help him understand the curriculum.  What would he do when he went to take his SAT??

After many tears, prayers, and talks with hubby, we decided that pulling him out mid school year was in his best interest.  It would be a lot of work for us and it would mean I couldn’t work in my salon as much.   It would also mean that these next 4 years he could have a personal tutor (me!) to help him succeed.

The perk of homeschooling that we’ve witnessed in these couple months?  His attitude.  OMStars, his attitude has changed – and for the better!!  He is, once again, the sweet young man we know.  It makes my heart happy.  I want our children to succeed academically, but more importantly, I want them to succeed in life!  Who he is, what he does, and how he serves Jesus is what will matter for all eternity.

Homeschooling our high schooler had me terrified, but we are already reaping the benefits!

Our middle child is in all advanced (pre high school) classes, yet she is bored.  So bored she draws on her papers, or mutilates her notebooks.  While in class.  Don’t even get me started on the stories they come home with.  Or the automated phone calls that we get about inappropriate behaviors that have been discovered during school hours.

Homeschooling has been such a pleasant experience that we are planning on homeschooling all three of our children next year!  Homeschooling allows your children to learn at their speed.  Because, isn’t the ultimate goal that they learn what they are taught?


I would love to chat with you on FacebookTwitter  ~ or follow me on Pinterest!  See what a “few of my favorite things” 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 ♥