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If you aren’t following along on instagram, I share almost daily on @wynnesessentials about our journey with essential oils and young living.  [follow along here]  well, this month is our teams #naturalbeautymonth!  If you don’t know this about me yet, I am a RESEARCHER!  I love to find all the info I can and could spend hours on end googling things in bed on my laptop.  Like I literally googled “what are petro chemicals“..but hey, there are no stupid questions and I’ve learned so much.   So, after I downloaded the “think dirty” app and realized SO MANY of the products in my bathroom were “dirty” it was time to start cleaning out and finding cleaner products.  here’s what I’ve found!

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have I mentioned how much I love thieves?  not only the hand soap + cleaner, but thieves has taken over my oral routine.  toothpaste, mouth wash, and floss rounds out my teeth cleaning each day!  At first it was sort of weird that it didn’t “foam”, but my teeth feel sparkly and clean and I can’t go back.

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my shave gel was for sure “dirty”.  but Dr. Bronners to the rescue!  I love this spearmint/peppermint organic and fair trade shave gel!  I’m just got everything I need to make this DIY body wash with essential oils! I’ll let y’all know how I like it soon!

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as I was researching I realized how harmful dryer sheets were, and so I hopped on amazon and ordered these wool dryer balls.  I put a few drops of joy, lemon, lavender, or purification on them and put 2-3 in the dryer for fresh smelling and SOFT feeling clean laundry! (I’m still working on a laundry detergent…more to come!)

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so I keep hearing my “crunchy friends” [newsflash: i have become that friend too] talk about how deodorant can cause cancer…but I learned that it’s because of the aluminum in it.  so I’m on the hunt for the best natural deodorant and honestly, it’s still sorta weird.  but I’m between using young livings meadow mist + this cream my friend Alison got me off etsy.

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I absolutely LOVE my young living ART skin care line.  The face wash, toner + light moisturizer are perfect for daily use.  Plus, at night I have my coconut oil+ lavender mix in a mason jar for eye make up removal.  then my coconut oil + frankincense in mason jar for night time moisturizer.  This month I also added the wolf berry eye cream and I’m loving it for my dark circles.

IMG_6952makeup:: tarte bb cream/ tarte concealer / tarte eyeliner / beauty counter blush / root pretty mascara   / beauty counter lip sheer / burts bees lip shine / 100% pure cocoa bronzer

I’m still looking for powder + eye shadow;) let me know if you have something you love! I’m also waiting on a few more hair things to come in – so there will be another post!

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I have something fun for you just this month!  For the first THREE people to sign up as a wholesale distributor on my young living team – I’ll send you a root pretty mascara!

 If you have any questions, or want to talk oils – email me!  wynne.elder@gmail.com or click here to learn more about getting your very own young living products!

  • Danielle D. - Loved reading this, Wynne! I started on this same “adventure” 4ish years ago. (As a bonus, many of the chemicals in personal care products that cause the most concern are related to potential hormonal issues and damage to the endocrine system… I have thyroid problems so am particularly keen to avoid that junk!)

    Just a couple recommendations for you– deodorant: I’m currently using the lavender scented Primal Pit Paste and am really happy with it. (My understanding is that there is no such thing as a “natural” antiperspirant because perspiring is a natural form of detoxification and anything that forces your body to not sweat is bad news… BUT… you can totally avoid the stink with natural products.) For eyeshadow: I love Alima, Kjaer Weis (an expensive investment but once you buy any of her make-up, you can keep the beautiful packaging and just buy the replacements which are cheaper), and W3ll People. For mascara and eyeliner I have been super happy with Zuzu Luxe which is very affordable and which I can easily get at Whole Foods. I dig the pencil liner; my little sister is a fan of the liquid liner. I am not a powder girl but know my sister has loved W3ll People’s powders. Favorite blemish-zapper (most effective blemish treatment I have ever found): Osmia Organics Spot Treatment. Favorite very simple, gentle, effective face lotion: CV Skinlabs (which I can buy from amazon – yay! It’s spendy but lasts me a really long time and is the best thing I have found for my skin; CV Skinlabs was founded by a cancer survivor who was totally dismayed that cancer patients with very sensitive skin were forced to use products chock-full of chemicals). Favorite shampoo and conditioner: Acure Organics.

    Other resources: Spirit Beauty Lounge (online store) is my fav for buying make-up and skincare products. You can also check out Eco Diva and Pemberley Jones. A few of my favorite natural beauty blogs: No More Dirty Looks (they also have a great book you should check out!), Genuine Glow, The Green Product Junkie, and Beauty by Britanie.

    Anyway – this is such a long comment but hope some of these suggestions are helpful. :) The natural product world is a fun one– it is growing a lot as people become more concerned about what they are putting on their bodies (our skin is our largest organ and absorbs some amount of anything we put on it!) and also realize that “natural” does not mean “ineffective.” Fun fact: J. Crew’s signature move for giving their models a dewy glow is RMS Living Luminizer, one of my own personal fav products. Have fun!!ReplyCancel

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Easter has always been of of my favorite “holidays”.  Not because when I was little I got to dress up in a matching easter dresses with my sisters, or go hunt for eggs after church…but I vividly remember in high school a ministry I was involved with did a outdoor live easter demonstration.  They had all the characters in the story present and dressed accordingly. They each shared their part in the story and it made Jesus resurrection come to life!  Ever since that humid April night, I have truly understood why we celebrate easter.

Every year it’s a reminder of new life, resurrection of new dreams, new mercy, new grace, NEW LIFE.

“remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I am doing a new thing, now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” – Isaiah 43:18-19

Why “bunnies” come to mind when we think of Easter really baffles me, but I’m excited to bring you a NEW way you can have bunnies be a part of your kiddos easter celebration.  I hope to bring you something new and fresh the Sara Jane Project seeks to “put a redemptive spin on the bunny obsession that Easter brings.”

Camp + Asher LOVE their bunnies.  Camp loves his “blue bunnie” Silas and Asher’s sweet Lily in her favorite color.  y’all, are these not the cutest?
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When you purchase one of these adorable bunnies, you can rest assured knowing that a woman in Jinja, Uganda [at Tukula!]  made them with her own hands.  She was not only paid a fair wage but also empowered to be all God has called her to be.  Work is so purposeful, and I just delight in thinking about the precious women who made each of these bunnies that now live in my kids room.

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Not only that, but the money you spent purchasing this bunny for your little one will go to help place vulnerable children in safe and loving homes!  20% of every purchase goes back to placing children in families by resettlement and adoption.  How awesome is that?  Each year they chose a family to really bless their socks off and this year it’s the Siegman family adopting domestically.   They are bringing home FIVE precious kiddos NEXT MONTH and y’all, I think we can really bless their socks off.

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so there you have it friends.  a beautiful redemption story.  if you have 3 minutes, watch the sara jane story here.   this is a story that must be told.  such redemption.

buy a bunny.  bless a child.  build a family.

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  http://thesarajaneproject.bigcartel.com

you have until April 24th to order in time for easter, so order one today!

  • Haley - Love the cute pictures of Camp & Asher in front of the amazing brick wall in the new office space! :) xxReplyCancel

wow, just wow.  I am constantly amazed at God and how he works.  I have loved reading and responding to your comments from my post last week . thank you for taking time to say hi and tell me a little bit about yourself.  Sometimes it’s easy in the internet-land to sort of forget that people are actually reading my thoughts turned into words.  You are real people, with real life experiences, real stories, and real struggles.  Thank you for opening up your hearts and stories to me.  and thank you for reading along this crazy story God is writing for our lives.

I was listening to a podcast a friend sent me this weekend about hope in the face of hopelessness and I was reminded that GOD IS REAL.  Yes, reminded.  sometimes I’m talking, praying, worshiping, journaling to God and sometimes I just blow right past the fact that HE IS REAL.  He really sent his son to live a blameless life on this earth.  Jesus really died on a cross for MY sin.  He really rose from the grave!  He really is making all things new.

even when I can’t feel him, hear him, see him working..He is there.  Not only is GOD real, but my RELATIONSHIP with him is real.  He really is my heavenly father.  and He really is good.  He is merciful, gracious, compassionate, and more concerned with my soul than my circumstances.  in my waiting, in my desert season I have to REMEMBER constantly that God is real.  I have to get in his word.  even if I have to fight to believe, fight to hope…I will fight.

I know I’m not the only one in a season of waiting.  I know that God has more for me than I could ever imagine.  I know He’s asking me to submit to his full authority and TRUST him.  God is working in my waiting, sanctifying me.  he’s teaching me to trust! in the words of one of my new favorite worship songs “sovereign over us” by Aaron Keys…

 

“your plans are still to prosper / you have not forgotten us

you are with us in the fire and in the flood 

faithful forever, perfect in love

you are sovereign over us.

even what the enemy means for evil, you turn it for our good,

you turn it for our good, and your glory

even in the valley you are faithful

you’re working for our good + for your glory” 

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friends, thank you for your grace.

and your patience we me.  I’ve so missed this space.  and you.

I really would love to know who all is out there reading?  

what stage of life are you in?  what season?  what is your biggest obstacle?  what’s your greatest dream?

what do you come to this space to find? //  encouragement? stories? new places to shop? to know you aren’t alone in adoption or infertility?

I want this space to be a place where you are filled up and I also want it to be a place that gives me LIFE.  and writing does just that.  but before we go on….what would you like to hear about?

this place will still remain a place for me to share my thoughts, my heart, my fears and desires.  a place to record the highs and lows of life.  and the pieces that I share my heart have become my most favorite posts to go back to.  so I’m about to get real.

but please, comment [through wordpress or Facebook!] and tell me who you are and what brings you here.  I really do want to know you!

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the first few weeks here have been hard.  really hard.  like my sweet son Camp, I too apparently really struggle with transitions.  I don’t know if I just was so much of a dreamer that I assumed everything would play out perfectly here.  maybe i have really high expectations.  well, I know I have high expectations.  i look back to our move from austin to midland that was completely different.  then we were just married, no kids, and knew hardly anyone.  that was such a time to find my own identity.

I learned so much those first few years who I was apart from my family and those who knew and loved me.  it was painful, but it was worth it.  we formed amazing relationships in midland, and built an amazing community.  we were serving in local ministries and the church and by the time we left, were pretty connected.  i guess i just assumed in my head that that same thing would happen here overnight.  while last time we didn’t know anyone -this time we’ve been majorly connected to a community.

the people at our church have totally taken us in and for that, we are forever grateful.  we are forming these friendships on a rock.  it might take a while to build the history, but are headed in that direction.

i feel like i haven’t really gotten into any sort of rhythm.  i have no routine.  i want to get back into work, but it seems like i have no motivation.  have all these great ideas and goals but something is holding me back from really going for them.  is it time? am i too tired?  fear? my kids really are taking every ounce of me.  and it’s overwhelming.  but i know that god will give me only what i can handle and there is grace enough for THAT DAY!  

as I’m “wandering in the desert” I can trust that God is with me, He will never leave me and He will give me enough manna for each day.  he’s asking me to TRUST him, and trust him I will.

“you keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” Isaiah 26:3

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  • jen - hi there,

    i so get this. we moved from austin to florida in september and it still feels hard some days. i have no doubt this was the right move for us and i like our new home/city (having the beach down the road doesn’t hurt!) but i miss our friends/family and that familiar “home” feeling SO much. (also, mexican food. i miss mexican food) we have found a church and i am slowly making connections with friends but it just takes time. i am so wanting to have that instant community that we left in austin but i have to keep remembering that it took years to build that community. i really been asking God to keep my patient and waiting on Him to put people in my path and then give me the boldness to love them well and intentionally as i pursue a new community here. it’s hard sometimes but i feel like on those days when i am especially discouraged, God shows me something encouraging in a new relationship. i will be praying for you as i pray for my own situation too :)ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne - I read along! Would love to hear more about adoption because we are halfway through our home study and/or about infertility because we have been trying {again} for two years and 13 months of fertility treatments + surgery = still so tough! We also move cities about every two years so I resonate with that aspect of your blog too (and also the aspect of seeing the body of Christ totally embrace you and love you immediately!!)
    Bottom line: keep doing what you’re doing! You are an encouragement in my faith journey!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - ive been reading along for awhile. I too have two little ones from Ethiopia, both toddlers. I would love to hear more about how you are handling these toddler years. what’s working and what’s not. I have no close friends or family who have adopted, so those around me don’t quite get it. They don’t seem to understand that my kids come from hard places, and may not always react as people feel they should. So I like to hear how others are handling things!ReplyCancel

  • Tracey - I have been following your blog for about 6 months, & I can’t remember how I first found it! But I do remember why I came back: your honesty & your cute kids. I have had a heart for adoption since I was 7 years old & I attended a “Gotcha Day” party for twins adopted from Eastern Europe celebrating their first year in their forever family! I’m single & I pray the Lord will bring me a husband with a heart for adoption as well.

    My season of life right now? I’m 23 years old & I live in Southeast Asia (but I’m American, from Georgia) where I’m learning language & culture. I’m just following the Lord wherever He sets my steps… which happens to be on the other side of the world! Read more about the day-to-day on my blog, http://traceyeliz.blogspot.com

    & by the way, I love your ombre-blue hair!ReplyCancel

  • Caroline - I am so sorry it’s been a hard transition, but I love that you were so obedient to the Lord’s calling! I’m so glad you have felt so welcomed!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - I am a long time reader! Currentely a month or two out from a move to Texas actually! My husband and I work at the same company and both of our jobs are relocating. We are also in the midst of a private newborn adoption. We would be further along, but the agency asked us to go on hold until we get settled in our new home. We have no kiddos now, just pups. So much change and transition coming for us soon! I enjoy reading your posts and have been praying for you guys!ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - Oh, change is so hard! I always admire your transparency and bravery. We are preparing to move to Austin from Memphis for no other reason than God leading us there. I’m thankful others (like you) can relate to this life of crazy faith that we are ALL called to live. It gives me courage when I feel afraid. Also, your honesty re: infertility has made me braver as I share my story with others. The truth drives away the shame! Thankful for you!ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea - Hi,
    Thank you so much for your refreshing honesty and sweet words on your blog. I stumbled onto your blog not long ago and am in the middle of a hard season of waiting. My husband and I are currently on the infant domestic adoption waiting list in the state of Michigan and man, it is difficult to simply “wait around” for an e-mail or phone call that could change your life. Through prayer and blogs like yours though, I am still encouraged and hopeful. Please keep writing and sharing your heart!
    ~ ChelseaReplyCancel

  • Suzi E - Hi sweet one,
    I found your blog through follow Fridays on Instagram I think. It clicked with me as one of my daughters, so dear to my heart, lives in College Station! She has so struggled to find a church, community and fellowship. Struggling with infertility has isolated her in most fellowship activities which are focuses for those her age. Unfortunately it seems infertility is a silent struggle especially in many church situations. Anyway they are attending #declarationbcs and are liking it so far …
    Prayers for you as you settle in – SuziReplyCancel

  • paige - always love to see how you pen your heart here in this space…
    you are loved dearly
    i know there are highs & lows right now. you guys have had ALOT on your plate over the last couple years. a LOT. give yourself some grace my friend. this years its so easy to feel like you want to do so much….and YOU do…i encourage you to also enjoy the time that you are taking roots and digging deep…give yourself grace to not do all & be all right now. you are a giver and an encourager…i pray you enjoy being given to & filled up by your new family there!
    see YOU SOON!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Shannon - i’ve followed your blog and IG for about 6 months, I think? Adoptive mama here, with one of my girls from Ethiopia. We moved from TX to NC almost 2 years ago, and I can relate to so much of what you are posting these days. It took awhile for us to find a rhythm as well. It will come, and I’m glad you can see the beginnings of deep friendships forming now. Our church community was a rock for us. I appreciate your honesty and willingness to say that it’s hard. Keep being vulnerable and reaching out. Your people are there and you will find them.ReplyCancel

  • Joanne LaBuda - I read your blog because I love your sweet heart and am inspired by how you walk out your faith. I am a single mom of three who raised my kids in one town. My two oldest kids went to the same state university, but the LORD led my youngest daughter and I to a new state and a new life when it was time for her to go to college. I found a great church and joined a small group that would later become so incredibly precious to me. Four months after we moved here, the LORD brought my oldest daughter home. During those early months of grief, I sensed that He had brought me here, so that He could heal me in the way He intended, because I didn’t know that many people and family and old friends were far away. It was there that I met Him in a BIG way that has changed everything for me. Ever since I “met” you through your blog, I began praying daily for the LORD’s will for you to become pregnant. I also pray every day for your husband. You love BIG and brave and you inspire me to live and love that way, too. Am believing that the LORD has you right where He wants you and that He is doing things during this time that you will look back on and be, oh, so grateful for!!ReplyCancel

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words really do fail me to completely express to you the feeling and atmosphere at IF:Austin.  2,000 women gathered from all over the country in one room.  it truly feels like one body…like the church, and we HAD church here last night as Melinda Dolittle led us in “break every chain”.  The spirit was tangible, like we could reach out and feel the living God among us.

We are at war, and chains were beginning to fall last night.  there is indeed an ARMY rising up, and it starts with us.  with you, and with me.

“We are at war and the prize is faith.” -Jennie Allen 

this is my personal biggest take away:  faith is something I’ve struggled to understand this year.  amidst hard things in my own life.  what is my faith really in?  what is faith?  how do I get more faith? how do I make sure my faith is built on something real?

I’ve been trying to muster up enough faith to receive the promises of God.

I’ve had somewhat of a “crisis of faith” this year time and time again – waiting on the promises of God, believing and hoping IN HIM, but also in what he can give me.  if I’m being honest.

Last night when Jen said “faith is not the formula to get the good stuff, it IS the good stuff” it wrecked me.  FAITH IS THE PRIZE.  Even if I go through this whole life journey and never reach the “other side” of healing or the things I’m believing for….HE IS ENOUGH.  the journey to grow my faith IS ENOUGH.  it’s worth it.

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so faith, it “doesn’t demand that God explains himself”.

There have been times this weekend that we pause, turn to our neighbors and go through some great discussion questions.  one of those questions for our little tribe last night was “what is faith mean to you” and as I was unpacking my friend Emily said something that also wrecked me.  She asked, “so what happens if God does what you want him to, then what?”

quite honestly, I’ve thought through what happens if He doesn’t…He’s taken me on this journey the past 5+ years, but beyond thinking that He would get all the glory in my story, I hadn’t thought through what happens to my faith IF God decides to heal my body this side of heaven.  

It makes me think about faith being the prize even more.  It makes me want to know the character of God more.  It makes me want HIM more, and not the “stuff” He can give me.

I’ve done a lot of confessing this weekend, and I know it was going on around the world last night with women dropping to our knees, raising our hands, and giving ourselves fully to the one who created us, the good father who loves us, and is sovereign over it all. 

infertility may always be a part my story.  I didn’t choose this path, and at times (like last night) I grieve it, and how it’s made my life look so different than I would have ever imagined.  but God….BUT GOD!  His plans for me are good, He is a good good father.  my faith is becoming stronger, and that is my prize.

what about you?  what is faith to you?  

 some other amazing nuggets I’ve taken away from this weekend:

“surround yourself with the people who speak what they see in you” – Bob Goff

“the broken place is also the breaking free place”- Ann Voskamp 

“Somebody is looking at you – and someone needs to see you walk this journey of following God’s calling.”- Shauna Niequist

“Being faithful doesn’t mean you are fearless. It just means that your faith is greater than your fear.” – Christine Caine 

“The call of God IS inconvenient” – Christine Caine 

#ifgathering [follow the hashtag for more amazing nuggets]

 

  • Allison h. - I’ve been watching the conference from my computer screen at home a little lonely if I’m honest but love seeing everyone’s experiences lived out on instagram/twitter/blogs. Hope you are feeling energized and filled to the brim!!!ReplyCancel

    • Courtney L. - I, too, am watching from home! So many awesome women sharing such powerful words and truth… I can literally feel the energy through the computer screen. Would love to experience IF:Gathering in person one day! :)ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Yes, yes, and yes! I felt so compelled to pray for you and all the other infertility girls this weekend. What a powerful weekend! God was with us in a big way all over the world! I’m still processing.ReplyCancel

  • Allison Ramsing - I’m watching the conference online and I love reading how God’s growing your faith through it as well! Praying for you beautiful friend!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah Bunker - I’m slowly processing this weekend hoping to stream some words together in a blog post soon about all the feels. IF truly facilitated a raw encounter with God and I’m so thankful for that in this season.

    Would love a chance to sit and talk someday but glad we got the opportunity to exchange quick hellos. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kiersten - I started watching the livestream on Saturday night and then ended up buying the session downloads because I didn’t get through them all before they expired. I had gotten through seesion 1 and half of session 2. I took a break just before Ann Voskamp started speaking (had to head to youthgroup). And let me tell you I haven’t had that many goosebumps or cried that much in a long time. I am still processing and JEN’s words were ones that I so needed to hear and need to write on my heart. I hope I can make it to one of the Gatherings in person in the next year or two. Would love to be able to sit with this community of women and soak in God’s Spirit as one body.ReplyCancel

  • Paige Leverette Knudsen - it’s been so special for me to be your big sis ( not yo mama, hear that? i’m not yo mama. wink) these last couple years and see all that HE is doing in and through you wynnie. your heart for people. your heart for the world. your heart for stephen asher & camp. i love you & love watching you become all that he has for you <3ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - Oh I do wish I could have been there. Our family is moving to Austin this summer (God willing..), so next year I am so there!!ReplyCancel

  • Natalie - ” faith doesn’t demand that God explains himself”. – So true! Thanks for sharing this post!ReplyCancel

  • Libby Wendland - Wynne this post WRECKED me to my soul…. Thank you!!!ReplyCancel