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FAMILY/ Love/ Sponsored

On Father’s Day My Heart Broke For The Children

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of IKEA Foundation for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

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Today is Father’s Day, and although I sit here feeling so very blessed with the amazing men in my life whom I get to call Dad, Dad-in-Law, & Husband, my mind is also somewhere else.

I’m thinking of a story of a boy named Tejas that I recently read about.  Tejas is a 10 year old boy who was forced to leave school and work in the cotton fields in India alongside his parents to supplement the family’s US $1.67 a day earnings.

With today being Father’s Day,  wonder what it is like to be Tejas Dad.  I wonder how it would feel to watch your own child labor all day, to sacrifice your son’s childhood to put food on the table, food that is barely sustaining the family, and to feel like you have no choice.  I wonder what kind of relationship this precious 10 year old boy could possibly have had with his Father, when his days were spent laboring in the sweltering heat, enduring the unending chore in the cotton fields.

Tejas is not alone. India has largest number of child laborers in the world, with 13 million boys and girls, ages 5 – 14, relegated to fields, farms and factories.

This morning I just put my 11 year old daughter on a big bus headed to camp I saw her in the bus window, wiping her face, knowing her tears were streaming as she was about to head hours away from home to an amazing week of camp fun!  She is super excited, but the tears were nervous tears, as she is attending camp this year without the company of her older sister.  My husband and I stood waving until the bus drove away, both of us feeling like a little piece of our heart drove away with it.  No parent wants to see their kid sad.  We naturally all want to do whatever we can to make them feel safe, protected and find their smiles again.

My girl was wiping tears that I know will very soon disappear as she has lots of fun, smiles and laughter.  I think of Tajas, and can imagine the little one wiping his face, too, wiping sweat from his brow as he worked along side his Father, and I wonder if tears mix with that sweat, or if he just accepted the work as a way of life.  Either way, my heart breaks for him, and not just for him, but for over 13 million boys and girls, ages 5-14, relegated to fields, farms and factories. 

My 3 girls are in that age range, and I can’t even bring myself to imagine them in the place of those sweet kids. Right this minute, while I sit here drinking my coffee in my air conditioned home, in this very day and age, so many, many children are laboring.

Something must be done.

June 12 was World Day Against Child Labor, and I am honored to use this space to get the word out about the IKEA Foundation and its partner Save the Children. They unveiled a $7 million program to protect 790,000 children living in cotton communities in India.

The effort is the second phase of a long-term program which aims to keep children out of cotton fields, and in classrooms where they can learn, play, grow and develop and be children. Phase I of the program reached more than 600,000 children in India!  That is amazing.

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The above picture of Tajas family is exactly why I wanted to help spread the word.  Today, thanks to a Child Protection Committee established in his village through Save the Children and the IKEA Foundation Child Labor initiative, Tejas goes to school regularly and he aspires to become a police officer. Even Tejas’s mother joined a program-instituted self-help group in the village, where she learned why it’s important for children to go to school and how to save money for Tejas’s schoolbooks.

Why specifically the IKEA Foundation?

~ their approach is holistic. They aim to improve opportunities for children and youth in the world’s poorest communities but funding long-term programs that can creates long-lasting change.

~they work strategically with strong IKEA Foundation Partners, and use an innovative approach for huge results in 4 key areas of a child’s life:

     *a place to call home

     *a healthy start in life

     *a quality education

     *a sustainable family income

~currently funded programs are benefiting an estimated 100 million children.

~more than 10,000 migrant children moved back into their home communities thanks to the IKEA Foundation

~nearly 2,000 teachers trained & improved school enrollment rates in participating villages

~1,866 Anganwadi (health, education) workers trained in teaching practices, giving each village in the program a skilled community worker

IKEA Foundation video

Will you help me spread the word?  You can like the IKEA Foundation Facebook to keep in touch with all that they are doing and easily spread awareness to your friends and family. Social channels is a GREAT way to quickly spread the word, but we need your help to do that. Join me!

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5 Minute Fridays/ Emotional Health/ Love/ Spiritual

My Hands In His Hands


{participating in 5 Minute Friday-write for 5 minutes, with a prompt.  Unscripted. Unedited. Real.}




I look at my hands and  see my mom’s hands.  I smile, I always thought she had the most beautiful of hands.

I think of all that has touched my hands…the things my hands have touched.

My little girl hands, holding a favorite Holly Hobby doll

My big sister hands, taking care of my little brother and little sisters, playing real house  while Mom has an outing.

My teenage hands, holding on to a boy’s for the first time & the thrill.

Hands in hair, I learn cosmetology.

Hands in chemicals everyday, I wonder if it contributed to my cancer.

Both my hands, holding his while dressed in white, saying vows.

The way his suit felt under my hand during our first dance as newlyweds. I’ll never forget that feeling of bliss.

His face, my hands feel the 5 o’clock shadow forming, I love this handsome husband of mine.

Her hands, our first-born, so premature tiny & perfect…attached to all 5 pounds of her.

My middle girl, her hands blue, shows the trauma of her birth.

The birth of my Avery, my Grandma Thelma’s soft hands on my arm while in active labor, her most precious prayer “May God be gracious to you, may His face shine upon you, and give you peace.”

Baby Avery hands, held by mine through an incubator,  fear – filled moments, yet peace.

My hands balled in fists, doing battle with God, leaning that pain grows me.

Hands lifted in praise to my Savior, how can I keep from singing and shouting His name?

Wringing in anxiety, these hands.

Hands making and serving food, my favorite way to love my family.

Fingers moving, typing, this dream job of mine called a blog.

Hands numb from the shock of a cancer diagnosis.

Tissues in hands, wiping away tears.

Hands can’t move, chemo lays heavy.

Top of hands bruised from multiple I.V. tries. It is surgery time.

Feeling for lumps and bumps, fingers roaming, wondering often if it is really over.

Date nights, always holding hands, high heels make me the perfect height to hold comfortably.

Her hands now anxious, mine learned and is learning release.  I work again to keep them open, for she belongs to Him.

Lying in bed, the heat of his body next to mine,my hand reaches out and find familiar.  Flesh of my flesh.

These life moments my hands have touched– have touched my hands– all the while in God’s.

His hands?  He’s got it all….  for He’s got the whole world in His hands!




FAMILY/ Kids/Family/ Love/ Marriage

Staying Connected In Your Marriage Through Changes

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by Cassie Celestain | Marriage Contributor

Staying Connected through Changes

My husband, Ryan, over the past few months has had his responsibilities change at work. He is now overseeing more projects and stepping up into a leadership role. We also just passed our 32 week mark on our first pregnancy. With these two things going on I have started to feel some changes taking place in our life. And I know when baby comes that will be a big change too!

Through this change with Ryan’s work and our pregnancy we have been trying very hard to make sure we stay connected. We believe we are each other’s support system and no matter what adjustments our life begins to make we must have a solid foundation at home and with each other. Having that stable base between us allows us to go into the world and conquer so much more than we could without it!

“Changes” can be anything from career moves to physical moves, from sickness to regained health, from family issues to big family monuments. All of these things can create a large amount of change in our lives.

Here are four ways to stay connected with your husband through these changes: 

Accept the Change– These alterations in our life can be hard to get used to. We can even have negative feelings about how it is effecting our life. The first thing we must do as a couple is accept the changes (assuming they cannot be helped or the couple has decided that the changes are the best choice). Being on the same team about the changes taking place is the best way to stay connected through them.

Daily Interactions When our life is starting to be modified it often takes time to get into a new routine. We must make an effort to have daily interactions with our husband even through this phase. Finding time to  connect when busy can be difficult, but it needs to be done! Some can have daily interactions together with a cup of coffee in the morning or some at dinner. Some even get their daily connection at the very end of the day as they are in bed next to each other. This daily interaction leads to our next point of having real conversations.

Real Conversations Having these real conversations allow you both to know how the other is feeling or coping with the differences taking place.  Communication about tough topics may need to happen as well. Just know these real conversations continue to draw you closer together!

Discuss Needs– This one is personally hard for me. Sometimes it is necessary to let our husband know our needs. No beating around the bush or giving hints, but flat out saying what we need. Sometimes this includes me saying I feel that I need more of his focused attention when he is at home or even a task I can’t complete on my own. Other times it is the need for a date night or cuddles. We must be open and honest about our needs through these changes taking place.

Although life events can seem as if they are drawing us away from our husbands there are ways for us to help ease through those transition times. With a commitment to stay connected with our husbands we can do just that by keeping the four above things in mind. Remember staying connected does take time, energy and effort. But it is completely worth it!

What changes have you and your husband gone through where you had to focus on staying connected?

“Marriage is Not a Destination, But Rather a Life Long Journey”

FAMILY/ Marriage

Investing Properly In Our Marriages

From our Monthly Contributor, Cassie at True Agape:
With the busy lives that many of us lead we want to make sure that our time and energy is used in the best possible way. This includes in our marriages as well. We want to ensure that what we are doing for our marriages are beneficial and helpful, rather than just something we do in hopes of bettering our relationship.
I believe if we focus our time and energy to these three areas it will indeed grow our marriages and be mutually beneficial to us and our spouses’.
1.) Know your man’s Love Language- In my previous post “5 Love Languages to Create a Successful Marriage” I explained the philosophy behind the Love Languages and the importance of speaking your spouse’s. In short, your husband may feel loved in different ways than you are showing him love. If you are not speaking his Love Language, he may still appreciate your effort, but sadly you are not getting the most out of your efforts. Knowing and speaking his Love Language is more effective and will draw you two closer together.
2.) Nurture your relationship- Nurture means “to encourage growth.” As couples we have weaknesses. For some couples that might be communication, finances, amount of quality time or lack of spontaneity. Spend time encouraging growth in those areas. Developing strength in our weak areas helps us feel stronger and more well balanced as a couple.
3.) Work on a goal together- Have you ever set a goal for yourself, worked extremely hard to succeed and then reaped the benefits afterwards? If so, you know all the pride and accomplishment you felt and the growth that took place during the process. Just think how much it would change your relationship if you got to go through that process with your significant other! While working on goals as one unit we can encourage each other, challenge one another and provide accountability. Through the process we become closer, but we also draw on our success for things we want to work on in the future. You start to realize the power of two people!
In our marriages there are a lot of things that we can attempt to put time, energy and effort into. But sometimes we need to reevaluate to see if that time, energy and effort are truly serving our marriages in a positive way. I truly believe that if we spend time ensuring the three above things our relationships with our husbands will grow tremendously. Often in ways we never imagined!
Share with us in the comments if doing any of these three things has already enhanced your marriage!

“Marriage is Not a Destination, But Rather a Life Long Journey”

You can also find & follow Cassie & True Agape Here:
FAMILY/ Marriage

Ensuring Quality Time During Long Distance

From our Monthly Contributor, Cassie at True Agape:

If Quality Time is your spouse’s or your own primary Love Language long distance can be hard to endure through. In this day and age there are many reasons why couples may have to deal with stints of long distance during their marriages including work or treatments for illnesses. Good news is there are ways to stay connected and have Quality Time even though physically you are far apart!
Ensuring Quality Time with long distance is still done the same way as if you were in person as far as having dedicated attention, focused conversation and good activities. It just takes a bit more creativity and imagination! 
If you and your spouse are long distance for any amount of time try these ideas: 
1) Phone and Internet– Extend these times longer than you would normally spend. Quality 
conversations can still take place. Make sure to stay focused on the person on the other end 
rather than multitasking.

2) Write Letters– If there is distance for extended periods of time this is an option. In the letter let the person know you were thinking of them. When writing to someone or reading words from 
someone there is a connection that is a lot like face to face time.

3) Do Something Together– Even though you are not physically together there are still ways to 
connect. Read to each other on the phone, have dinner together over Skype, send a funny video link to share, or each of you take a picture that represents your day and send it to the other. These things can help you feel like you are still close and spending time together.

4) Make Plans– Together make some plans for when they arrive back home. This could be plans of a weekend at home, a date night idea or an up and coming vacation. Spend time talking about 
being together, what it will feel like and what you will enjoy about it.
Although long distance can create a hardship on marriage if one of your Love Languages are Quality Time it can be minimized by these creative ideas. Continuing to have Quality Time in different ways is a must to make sure both of your love tanks are full during this time. 
What are some ways you ensure Quality Time during long distance?

“Marriage is Not a Destination, But Rather a Life Long Journey”

You can also find & follow Cassie & True Agape Here:

Beauty/ FAMILY/ HEALTH/ Marriage/ Natural Products

16 Easy Ways To Get Ready For A Hot Date

I have a hot date with my man tonight.  He asked me out via email this week which was pretty cute.

We are going out to dinner.  I am not sure where yet.  We have a few gift certificates to chose from thanks to my sweet Cali friend Karen and her hubs.  When I was sick and healing, they sent the most amazing love gift through the mail to our family.  It was a stack of gift cards, some to use as a family, some to use just for Todd and I.  It was an amazing gift and it has been so fun using them!

I have the afternoon free, and I thought it would be fun after a busy work week to just spend some time on me!  I want to look nice for my sweet husband, and I love a chance to get dolled up.  I am a licensed cosmetologist and have not worked in the field for over 13 years, but that doesn’t keep me from wanting to use my skills every once in awhile!

Here are some of the things I am planning on doing.  I got all of the ideas from my Beauty Tips & Inspiration Boards at Pinterest.  The first few have been shared here at New Nostalgia, and the rest of them are great ideas found on Pinterest.  All links lead you to the pin, then the link. Make sure to repin if you are interested, and if you love them, follow the board!

You don’t have to be a professional to do any of these things, and many of them I do on a regular basis–like the 2 ingredient lemon scrub.

So here is what I plan on doing this afternoon:

(1) I will wash my face using the oil cleansing method, but first I will use my (2) 2 ingredient lemon scrub.  While that is on I will get out my go-to coconut oil and put it to work by putting it in my dry hair.  This is my (3) favorite moisturizing hair treatment using coconut oil.

While that is in, I will get out my blue mouth guard, and (4) whiten teeth for cheap.  This works and it has been way too long since I have done it.  I am a coffee and tea drinker, so I need to keep up on this to keep my pearly whites.

After I let the coconut oil sit in my hair awhile, before I get in the shower I will quickly (5) dry brush my skin–click through for why.  On my way into the shower I will grab my absolute favorite (6) coconut-lime sugar scrub, and use the shaving technique that I rave about in that post.  Before turning off the water and exiting the shower, I will use (7) coconut oil as a moisturizer.  I quick slather it on, then rinse it off.  It is so great to towel off and know my skin is already moisturized and there is no need for lotion.  Boom!  Big time- saver.

I will get out of the shower, comb and dry my hair, and (8) try this braided half-up half-down tutorial.  I want to (9) bobby pins that are brought to life with nail polish, for a bit of fun color and sparkle.  If the braided tutorial bombs, will fall back on my favorite (10) tutorial for a messy bun.

I’m going to (11) darken my eyebrows, I could not believe the before and after pics on the tutorial. I will use an eyebrow pencil, not dye.

I plan on wearing skinny jeans with heels, but if they are dirty–I’m so behind in laundry right now– I might try out this (12) tip for tucking non-skinny jeans into boots.  I have a pair of high heeled boots that I save for date nights.

I want to try and (13) tie my scarf like this, I have a grey sparkly, striped scarf that I think would work well. If I resort to the messy bun, I may ditch the neck (14) scarf and tie one around my bun like this.

I will (15) layer on my rings to pack a punch and (16) layer on bracelets for a bit of sparkle.  I have these in black & grey.

It sound like a lot, but I’m pretty good at getting ready fast, so it shouldn’t take too long.  Even if it does, we ladies need to spend some time for ourselves, and this is one way I like to do that!

What are your favorite ways to get ready for a date?
What are your favorite beauty tips?

FAMILY/ Love/ Marriage

Ensuring Your Man Knows Your Love Language

From our new Monthly Contributor, Cassie from True Agape:
Over the past few weeks I have been talking with a group of ladies about what their biggest frustrations are in marriage. This helps guide me in what kind of resources I provide on True Agape. Through talking with these women I started seeing a pattern. Ladies often listed their frustrations as either their husbands not helping enough around the house or not spending enough quality time together. 
This automatically made me think about the 5 Love Languages
I then asked each of them: 
1) If their Love Language was Acts of Service or Quality Time (whichever one corresponded with their frustration) 
2) If so, did their husband know that was their Love Language. Almost all the women responded that yes indeed their Love Language was the one correlated to their frustration. However, the response was varied on if their husband knew it was their Love Language. 
This got me thinking…

We all want our love tank to be full! When it is not getting filled on a regular basis we can feel down about our relationship, it can cause frustrations and even resentment. That is why we are going to talk about a few important things. Today we will look at how to make sure your husband knows your Love Language. Next week we discuss what you can do about it if he knows your Love Language, yet you feel like he isn’t speaking it. 
First let’s start by making sure your husband knows your Love Language. Here are a few ways to ensure this. 
1) Take The  quiz together- You both will find out each other’s Love Language. (You should know your husband’s as well!) You can tell him you heard about the 5 Love Languages and are interested to see what the quiz comes up with for the both if you. 
2) Create a list- Tell your man you are wanting to be a better wife. You really want to know the things that you do for him that he appreciates the most. Ask him to write the top ten things that make him feel loved. You create a list as well. When he gives you his list, give him yours. Chat about the things on the list and the commonalities you see. If a lot of your things are acts of service sum up the conversation with something like, “When I made my list I noticed I listed many things like you helping around the house and with the kids. I really feel loved when you do those things.” Through this activity you have given your guy prime examples of what fills your love tank, but also the broader area so that he may choose to do other things not on the list. You also find out what fills his love tank! 

3) Plain good ol’ communication- At the end of the day or week when you have your check in time bring up the 5 Love Languages. When he asks how your day/week was tell him you were reading a book/blog about this concept. Tell him about the 5 Love Languages. Ask him what he thinks his is, tell him what yours is. This can even lead to completing number 1 or 2.
I do realize however some couples do not have this open of communication. Therefore, you may want to try something like above that may seem less intrusive.

It is really hard for your husband to speak your Love Language if he does not know anything about the concept and/or he doesn’t know yours. Do you and your man a favor by taking a little bit of time to find out what both of your languages are! This will make a difference in your marriage! 
Next week we will look at what if you are sure your husband knows your Love Language, yet you feel like he doesn’t speak it.
-Cassie {Marriage Contributor}

“Marriage is Not a Destination, But Rather a Life Long Journey”

You can also find & follow Cassie & True Agape Here:

Cassie has put together an amazing resource on this marriage.  The Secret to Making Your Husband Feel Loved: 75 Ideas Using His Love Language.  She has made this FREE for us and you can download it by clicking HERE.