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welcome

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

C. S. Lewis

Hello Friends,

Welcome to my new blog!

I have decided to start a blog as a creative outlet to share my passions. I will be chatting to you about seasons of life, faith, fashion and places that I discover on this journey.

Click subscribe and join in the fun!

Yours truly,

Courtney

fight the good fight

Let’s chat about Human Trafficking + modern day slavery.

Recently the news is covering more and more news on the reality of human trafficking, child sex trafficking and other forms of modern slavery. I am grateful there has been more awareness on this topic. It has been a passion after traveling to areas around the world and see it take place as well as working with refugees in college.

Reality is this is happening in your city, throughout your state and in places that you might consider safe.

It is real. The stories + the people.

Facts on Modern Day Slavery can be found on a previous post.

My heart is big for justice in this area! We all have different ways we are passionate about this topic, but I think it is important to remember there isn’t just one way to fight trafficking. We are not all called to pursue each way but we can inform each other of different ways to join the fight.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Research and find organizations that fit your views and support them financially or join them in prayer. My husband and I just recently became Freedom Partners with International Justice Mission (www.ijm.org) and have attended an event in Charlotte to learn more about what they do. I previously posted about Freedom Sunday.
  2. Join in campaigns that bring more awareness of what is happening. You will learn details that you might not find searching on your own and you get to chat with friends about it. I have for the past three years participated in Dressember where you wear a dress all month long to raise money to support several organizations. Here is more information about it: https://www.dressember.org/.
  3. Foster Care: fostering is a way help those who are vulnerable in your local area. If this is something that you feel called to do, you can actively combat modern day slavery.
  4. Research companies that you support. Where is the majority of your money going? Are those making the products being paid fairly?
  5. Shop ethically: here is a short list of favorite shops or companies:
    1. Noonday Collection https://dianatolles.noondaycollection.com/
    2. Bombas (socks) https://bombas.com/
    3. Grace and Lace https://www.graceandlace.com/
    4. Aumma’s Umma https://ammasumma.com/
    5. The Flourish Market https://www.theflourishmarket.com/
    6. Athleta https://athleta.gap.com/
    7. Who Gives a Crap: (paper products: toilet paper, tissues, paper towels) https://us.whogivesacrap.org/

Joining the fight doesn’t mean you have to do everything possible: It just means you are aware and choosing one way to join the fight.

creamy mushroom chicken pasta

You voted Yes to seeing the details on this recipe….

Our household has switched back to our strict diet.

In case you haven’t heard, I have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and it is classified as an autoimmune disease. Since I learned this major key to my health, I switched my diet and environmental factors that can influence my flare ups. Gut health is so important for our bodies and I was amazed with the process my entire body was making.

Life gets in the way, if you allow it. We moved, the stress, and the lack of paying attention to what I was eating quickly caused my body to react. I spent a few hours in a ER concerned that something major was happening due to the pain I was in. Long story short, my body is not ready for the things that I eliminated to be reintroduced and may never be. We have been cooking up a storm and look forward to sharing more recipes that help promote a healthy gut and allow for it to heal.

Here it is friends, it so delicious! Recipe is coming from Unbound Wellness.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, canned
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 tsp sea salt (divided)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 box Jovial penne cassava pasta
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 12 oz boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Using a small bowl, whisk the coconut milk, broth, vinegar, arrowroot, and half of the salt and pepper together. Set aside.
  2. Cook the penne pasta as directed (either before the remainder of the recipe, or simultaneously).
  3. Using a large, deep skillet heat the avocado oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reads 165 F. Set aside, and allow to cool slightly before slicing into strips, or cubes.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium. Add more oil to the pan if needed along with the onions and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes or until the onions are slightly translucent.
  5. Add the mushrooms to the pan and saute for 4-5 minutes or until tender.
  6. Pour in the broth and coconut milk mixture along with the coconut cream and stir. Bring to a low simmer, allowing the liquid to thicken.
  7. Add the cooked chicken and the pasta to the sauce and stir to thoroughly coat, cooking for about a minute or so to allow to reheat. Top with parsley and serve.

Enjoy!

Upcoming posts:

My journey with essential oils

Essential Oil Education: Hormones + Oils

More AIP recipes

Edible Cake Batter

Looking for a quick and simple dessert?

I mean who wants to bake a cake when you can eat the batter?!?

You are going to love this recipe, it is delicious! It is gluten free, dairy free, and can be paleo. As I transition back to full on AIP eating to help promote a healthier gut.

This recipe was quick and easy!

I recommend doubling or tripling the recipe if more than one person is going to eat some it. Recipe comes from Unbound Wellness.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup almond flour (see notes for AIP swap)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (sub vanilla bean powder)
  • 3 tbsp ghee, melted (sub coconut oil)
  • 2–3 tsp sprinkles

Instructions:

  1. Stir the almond flour and coconut flour together until well combined to ensure there are no clumps.
  2. Fold in the wet ingredients and stir until a soft batter forms.
  3. Fold in the sprinkles and stir until well combined.
  4. Enjoy immediately or store chilled for 3-4 days.

Enjoy!

Courtney

Ditch + Switch 🌿

candles, air fresheners and more…

We all love for our house to smell yummy, right? Unfortunately, using candles, air fresheners, wax warmers, etc. can come at a cost to our health because of the synthetic fragrances.

These “scents” that we love so much in our homes are doing damage to our bodies and our health. I have always had candles throughout our home. I stocked up on candles and burned them all year long – I didn’t even know about the damage it could have been causing. You are going to want to rethink the candles you are burning and the impact it is making to your health. Environment factors influence our health just as much as what you put in and on your body.

The National Academy of Sciences points out some vital facts about synthetic fragrances:

👉🏼About 95% of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum (crude oil).

👉🏼They include benzene derivatives (carcinogenic), aldehydes, toluene and many other known toxic chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.

As Dr. Axe states: “Avoiding the dangers of synthetic scents is crucial. It’s something I need you to share with your family and friends. When a company puts “fragrance” on the label, don’t be tricked. This is a catch-all term that actually can stand for thousands of different ingredients (literally, at least 3,000). And when you use a product containing “fragrance” or “parfum,” all of those mysterious ingredients are absorbed right into your bloodstream. These ingredients are predominantly made from chemicals and are just outright toxic for your health in so many ways.”

Did you know that the FDA does not even require fragrance and cosmetic makers to disclose exactly what they are using to scent their products?

If companies are using truly natural ingredients, then why be shy?

Wonder why companies would continue to use synthetic scents if they’re so bad for our health?

The answer is straightforward – money.

Synthetic scents can be an extremely cheap way to give everything from shampoo to lotion to candles a desirable scent. Unfortunately, just because you enjoy a scent, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. There is a better way though!

Instead of candles this season, try diffusing some Fall blends, to help your home get that pumpkin-nutmeg-cinnamon smell that most of us love!

Need to get your hands on some oils?

You can contact me via, instagram with any questions.

To purchase your kit: visit my website. select your starter kit, pick items for your next month’s wellness box (min of 50 pv=$50) which you can edit, skip or cancel anytime. Then, enter you shipping + payment information.

When you sign up:

you receive a goodie bag from me, join an AMAZING oil community not to mention the ease of mind that your home environment is helping your wellness.

5 Ingredient Recipes

Did you know you can make a gourmet meal with just five ingredients?

When I learned about the brilliant idea, I quickly got on board and began trying some the recipes. My sweet husband discovered one of Jamie Oliver’s cooking shows and each episode was mouth watering. We ordered the cookbook and the rest was history…. Okay not really, but you get the point we made several of the recipes thus far and hopefully will be trying more soon to review for you.

Best combination: Quick+ Easy+ Simple+ 5 ingredients

Seared Sesame Tuna: For the recipe, details go here.

This was SOO good, but we might have slightly undercooked it. You live and learn.

We adapted this recipe to fit with my allergies. I can’t eat any beans typically, but garbanzo beans are what we used instead of kidney beans.

Epic Ribeye Steak: For the recipe, go here.

I always love mushrooms, so this always was a hit for me.

Want to try more of these recipes? You can find them here on Jamie’s Website.

Here I am

Wow, it has been a whirlwind.

I feel like I blinked and we were living in a new city.

In case, you missed my post on Friday, we officially sold our first home. Bittersweet is the only way to sum it up. I mean leaving family, friends and an amazing community to start over. It is a fresh start, financially as we pay off all of our debt that was lingering over us. It is an adventure that we had been longing for as a married couple.

My advice after all this is don’t try to sell your home in less than a month. Although God was gracious providing us with a buyer quickly, it was extremely stressful moving things out of our home and of course underestimated the junk that we needed to get rid of. Just a small piece of advice, lesson learned. God showed up that is for sure, Cameron left Sierra Nevada again and now is working for Amazon. My new family has been amazing and the transition seems to be going really well.

It feels like a really long time since I’ve started typing. My hope is to bring you content that helps with the hustle and bustle of the school year. All the distant learning is stressful and everyone is learning how to navigate it. As we adjust to this craziness, lets at least eat well and work on our wellness.

Stay Tuned ✨ this week on the blog…

  • Two 5 ingredient recipes that are absolutely delicious
  • Candles: Why we no longer use candles in our home…
  • How to make your own Thieves Wipes

Adoption Update

This update is short and sweet. Mainly because my brain is all over the place right now.

Covid negatively has impacted our fundraising efforts for our adoption, but we see it as a really good time to hit pause on this journey. We are seeking direction of where to adoption and how to pursue our adoption path. We want Covid stuff to blow over/ be gone before we feel comfortable allowing people into our homes. We want social distancing and numbers to lower so we feel a tad more comfortable embarking on this journey full throttle.

We are completing our home study once we relocate to Winston Salem. ( missed the announcement, head to my instagram page). We have decided to take time to get adjusted to our new place, new job and really allow us to focus more on what we have and take a break from longing for a little one. God has been so gracious and providing so much peace.

Hendersonville, Asheville and Brevard have served us with with family and friends. We will miss everyone here and will be back to visit.

We have chosen to prioritize our marriage, navigate community more richly, and become great stewards of our finances. Our move is a fresh start for all of these areas.

Here is to new adventures!🥂

You may not hear from me as much as we transition and try to sell our home.

I will be back soon friends✨

c o m m u n i t y

“For the body does not consist of one member but of many. “

1 Corinthians 12:14

When the pandemic hit, I feel like I had a skewd view of community. I thought that you could only find community in certain places, if you had common interests and only if you lived near each other. I have learned that it doesn’t matter where or how your community starts its about whether or not you are all intentional with it.

God is using this pandemic to gently restructure everything that I am doing and driving me toward something way better than I thought. When life demands you to reflect on how you are living your life and where you prioritize your time, you really do not have a choice, but to sit in it and process.

Let’s talk about community:

” We each need to live in intentionally intrusive, Christ centered, grace driven redemptive community”

Paul David Tripp

Our sin blinds us from our true need for community to be structured in this way. There is a mountain of excuses that can easily overtake our thoughts and distract us from the way God desires for us to commune together. Add a pandemic and the unnatural distance really takes a toll on us. Our mental + spiritual health really get stirred up.

where are we prioritizing our time?

what makes a rich community?

how are we supporting one another?

who and what are we praying for ?

Envision a community that encourages, restores, protects, instills hope, confronts, rebukes, guides, warns, rescues, motivates us to push ourselves toward the cross. Can you imagine the richness of being part of a community like this? It makes me wonder if our society that pushes us to rush, fill our schedules and take on the world is influencing us too much.

We go to church, we volunteer, we give our time, we rest for an hour, we sit in front of screens over and over again. We really use the business as a filler, its filling our days and time with things that seem holy, but the question is are we all called to be doing the exact same thing.

Take a moment, look at your community and perhaps you need to help reshape the community into a rich, full and intentional one.

Lament

“…my heart fails me.”

Psalm 40: 12b

Before I get far in this post, please note, this is about recent events. If this is for some reason a trigger or you have strong opinions or views on them, this might not be the space for you. I am solely sharing my soul searching perspective and experiences that I have faced and how I am using the word of God and other supportive resources to talk about Lamenting.

There has been a mighty wave of troubling events that have happened across our nation. I will be honest, I had to disconnect myself from the news. When events happen the news often fixates on one perspective or jumps to conclusions. I am a processor, I have to sit in things, think them out, and see where it takes me. I like to analyze facts and utilize scripture to guide my processing. I haven’t mastered it, but it is an area where God has been working drastically and I cannot deny that.

Lament

What: raw, honest emotions, not to be hidden or ashamed of

When: the pain is too much, prayers don’t get answered they way we had hoped

We can make it a priority to allow ourselves and others space to express our pains. We are so quick to judge everyone’s feelings and thoughts toward the pandemic, health and political things. Our need is to meet with Jesus and give grace to people who are looking and searching for answers.

We know the truth and answers are found in God, but some of us are investigators, some of us process through talking, some us run toward extremes and later retract. Our processing isn’t meant to be judged, we all were made uniquely by God and our purposes are each vastly different.

Let’s continue to encourage each other and support each other where we are. There is no reason to rush us toward certain perspectives for we still are seeking the heavenly one.

Friends, let’s not forget to give the abundance of grace that we have been given.

a prayer

There is so much going on and it seems like I can’t process events quick enough before something else happens. I try my best to disengage political things, but it is really hard for me to disengage things that are centered around justice. That is something I am passionate about however lately feel like my ideal justice is skewed. I am still processing all the things, so I continue to process and you probably are continuing to process.

Let’s pray together, friends.

Lord Almighty,

we draw near to you, our refuge, our protector.

we seek your truth, you are just.

we lift up to you circumstances in our country, you have a plan, you have a will.

we run to you. you are our helper.

we pray for the families impacted by the events that continue to cover the news.

we pray over the news channels and the politicians that are making challenging decisions.

remind us of the hope.

remind us that you are near.

remind us you are caring.

remind us you comfort the weary and brokenhearted.

we can cry out to you.

America

✨ Come back Thursday as I share the things I am learning about lamenting.

  • Courtney