It was so much to to connect with my good friend Casey and talk all things oily with her!  We’ve been friends for over a decade and it’s been the sweetest to get to walk this journey with her.  As you’ll hear, it really was Casey who helped me jump into this oily journey!  I’ll stop giving it all away….join in our little 12 min chat HERE!

 simply click HERE and enter your name + email.  

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just goes to show AGAIN, how you have to speak your dreams out loud!  and better yet – tell them to a friend!  So so glad I got to chat with Casey.  I am such a visual person AND verbal processor, that I think hearing/seeing someone talking about something can be way easier and more effective than typing it all up!

++Stay tuned, I have some other fun friends lined up to talk about other things I am passionate about + that I get emails frequently about!

 To learn more about our oily team, check out my info here.

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join our team! 

 

 

  • Ashley Danielle Flores - Loved this!ReplyCancel

  • start the journey. » Gloriously Ruined - […] with essential oils.    SO!  I’m sharing that story here with you! Last week I posted a quick chat I had with my oil mentor, Casey, but here’s some more in depth resources, books, and info for […]ReplyCancel

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Yall, I can’t believe it’s been 6 months since I got on a plane and traveled half a world away to my beloved Rwanda, on a dream of a trip with Noonday Collection + International Justice Mission.  Just this very week last year, I was surprised with the news that I would get to join these incredible women/bloggers/writers/artists on this trip and the thought of that makes me want to start bawling in front of 130 people again.  no, not really.  I still feel like I haven’t fully processed the hugeness of the #styleforjustice trip.  It was huge on so many levels – going back to Rwanda after being there years ago with Jessica as they met their son Jack + being in the room as the dream of this sewing co-op was started.  Being back with the two women who fearlessly and courageously spoke their dreams out loud and then got to watch those dreams COME TRUE.  [speak your dreams out loud people!]

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While in Rwanda, I feel more in love with my Noonday family knowing that these are in fact “my people”.  I was empowered by our artisans, encouraged by my fellow ambassadors, and rejuvenated to go home and continue to tell their stories [while styling my friends] and changing the world.  I fell in love with my sweet friend Grace all over again, as I heard once again the story of empowerment and courage she is living in Kigali.  Taking care of her family, providing for them, and despite all odds living a life of hope!  

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The thing that maybe surprised me the most, was what I learned about true FREEDOM.  

Every morning when we got to the co-op, sweet Mary Sunshine would welcome us with the words “be free”.  Every single morning she would say this in her beautiful accent and perfect english.  All these months later that phrase has stuck with me, the opportunity and choice we have everyday to chose freedom.  The freedom to be me, the freedom to own my gifts and my challenges, freedom to be the mom and wife I was meant to be, freedom to run with my dreams with wild abandon.  It’s for freedom that Christ set us free.

The sad truth is, there are millions around the globe who do not have the choice to be free on a daily basis.  That’s why the work that IJM does to rescue thousands, protect millions, and prove that justice for the poor is possible is SO IMPORTANT.  It’s #humantrafficking awareness month and it’s my hope that we would chose to not look away.  Read more about how you can get involved, and become a freedom partner with IJM here.  You will fall in love with them and the work they are doing to eradicate the everyday violence that is relentlessly threatening the poor.

I’m so proud of this #styleforjsutice line.  I’m so proud to have been part of the creative process, but mostly I’m proud of these women.  I’m proud of the opportunity they have through Noonday, I’m proud of the opportunity for freedom, I’m proud of them.  Their hands were on every single vibrant tote and fierce clutch that will leave our home office in Austin, Texas and travel across the country to your home.  So when you grab that tote on the way out the door to the store, or you pack that clutch up with lipstick for a fun night out – think about these women.  Think about the opportunity you have then given THEM through simply adding another beautiful item to your bag collection. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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SFJ Products - Simple Flyer

 

click the link to shop + support #styleforjustice! 

  • Paige Leverette Knudsen - in my top favorite memories bank!! love you and loved being there with my wynnie girl xoReplyCancel

  • Allison Ramsing - This is so lovely! It’s my dream to go to Africa one day!ReplyCancel

As we approach the first few weeks of 2015, I’m still thinking back to 2014.  Accessing what went well, what went wrong, the set backs and celebrations.  I’m looking forward to 2015, and remembering all that God did the 365 days of 2014.  Our word/theme for 2014 was “living alive“. I wrote in a blog post last January,

“I want to live alive this year.  I want to be completely and utterly exhausted at the end of the year.  Not in a way that I didin’t take care of myself, or didn’t make time for rest: because I want that too.  What I mean is I want to LIVE ALIVE.  I want to take risks, I want to go “all in”, I want to DO things even when I’m tired and would rather lay on the couch and watch TV.   I want to take the chance.  I want to dream my big dreams out loud and think deep thoughts.  I want to go to the places that make me feel ALIVE, and FREE and allow me to think and dream.  I want to live brave.  2014 is not the year for excuses, but for living alive.

For me, living alive also means being who I really am, and being confident in my identiy as a daughter of christ.  I don’t want to be who or what the world says but what Christ says: I want to live unapologetically to who HE made me to be.

I want to be able to look back at the end of 2014, and see a life that was truly LIVED.” 

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I can say, y’all.  we totally lived alive last year.  It was the year to throw out the planner, and do things ON THE FLY!  We had the time of our lives in 2014.  Two trips to Africa for me, one for my man, a last minute 17 day road trip, two last minute disney trips…and we had to finish the year with a last minute trip to the mountains.  I lived brave and bold in 2014, dreaming dreams that came to fruition and doing it afraid most of the time.  Not to mention the everyday #livingalive2014 moments [that we documented on instagram with that hashtag].  It’s amazing looking back at 2014 and seeing this word of ours come to life.

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Moving into 2015 I’ve been praying a lot about what the word/theme will be and God keeps revealing to me the word RECEIVE.  It seems like a selfish or odd word, but what I hear him saying is receive all I have for you.  Receive mercy, receive grace, receive my love.  I think so for so long I’ve believed God was ABLE to do crazy things like heal my body, but I haven’t believed truly in my heart He would do it for ME.  Cue all the lies: I’m not good enough, he doesn’t love me that much, I haven’t earned it, and the list goes on…. I’m still unpacking this, and will be writing more about it on the Carry Camp blog later this month – but for now I’ll just document this saying I believe this year is the year to RECEIVE all God has for me [and my people].  Because He loves me [us!].

I love my instagram community, if y’all aren’t on IG what are you waiting for?  and if you are, come say hi!  @wynneelder we’ve been sharing our words for the year this weekend and it makes me so happy to connect with y’all!

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what’s your WORD or theme for the year?  do share!

  • Sarah Goldstein Roney - My theme for this year is to live in the Sacred Light of Christ. In the year to come there are many things that tempt me to be fearful. But instead of choosing fear or anxiety, I want to rest in His light, His holiness and His hope. Sacred Light is a theme that I feel I need to study more and choose to base my year on. I love your word as well Wynne!ReplyCancel

  • Kailey Birkeland - HOPE! In the unseen and the seen…. I want it to have nothing to do with changing circumstances! My HOPE is in Him alone!ReplyCancel

  • Valerie Brown - FaithReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Hi, I discovered you when I did an image search on Google for the word “receive” which is the word God spoke to me as my one word for 2015. Honestly, I was pretty surprised since I had chosen “fearless” and then changed it to “change”. But…God has something different in mind and I’m all ears! I’m so excited to see someone else with this word as I’ve seen it nowhere else. I thought I was a tribe of 1! :) It’s nice to meet you. I’ll be checking back.ReplyCancel

WHY

As we approach the new year, I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions.  Dreaming, planning, goal setting, and trying to decide where it is the Lord wants me to focus my time, energy and creativity next year.

I’ve found it very helpful to ask the simple question…WHY.

I was perusing twitter this week and Mary DeMuth had some great blogging advice: “Pray first, don’t just blog because you’re supposed to.  There needs to be a compelling why”.

While I was compiling my look back at 2014 list, I was reminded WHY I love blogging so much.

First, I absolutely love to document and share our story.  I think it’s so easy to get caught up with how many people are reading, or commenting, but the truth is- even if no one reads, I will ALWAYS have these words.  My KIDS will always have these words!  Do you know what I’d give to read my mom’s journals from when I was a kid?  To know what they were going through, what struggles and joys they had.  To read in chronological order what their year looked like?

Our pictures and words tell the story of our family for generations to come.

That’s not my only why – but as I’m sitting up in the mountains with my family this week I realize that even if it’s just for them – it’s worth it.

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It’s hard to believe that I started this  a blog almost 7 years ago as I way to keep friends and family in the loop after we moved from central Texas.  Though I’ve always been a journaler, I never considered myself a writer.  I didn’t even share links online with anyone for years!  That changed when we started our adoption process and the blog became Elder Adventurers”.  All of a sudden I realized there was a huge community of people out on the world wide web I could connect with.  I started to connect with other families that were adopting, and since at the time I had no real life friends who were adopting, this was super important for me.

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My sweet Lauren was one of my very first “blog friends”.  Here we are 4+ years later, having been together when they met their girl in Ethiopia, having spent a weekend together every year at created for care, and now starting a ministry together!  I never would have thought this could be my reality.  Blogging through our adoption was what really started to grow this community and connect me to likeminded people around the world.

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I will never forget my dear Chloe throwing down a challenge to me right before the kids came home – she asked me what I was going to do with this space once I was knee deep in life as a stay at home mom It was through that challenge that my “anybody” series was born.  And another huge WHY of my blog is getting a chance to share others stories!  To encourage and inspire you to live a great story.  To introduce you to missionaries, and adoptive families, and organizations that are truly changing the world.  I hope this space broadens your world view and gets you thinking about the story you could be living.

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I’m extremely humbled that my blog this year allowed me to travel to Uganda + Rwanda to advocate for organizations and ministries that I absolutely love!  I am forever grateful for Sole Hope, Noonday Collection, and International Justice Mission for allowing me to bring YOU [my readers!] along with me across the world.  To bring you stories of hope, and empowerment, and justice.  To again, show you that this world is so much bigger and opportunities to love and serve are endless.  You can find those stories here: #bloghope #styleforjustice 

and lastly, I blog because I love to write.

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Writing is free therapy.  Writing is how I put words to what’s going on inside my heart and mind.  Writing is how I preserve memories, tell stories, and express feelings.  Writing is my art.  Writing is what I would do if I had an hour all to myself on a Saturday.

I want to remind myself of WHY I keep this space going, year after year.  

  • document and share our families story
  • connect with likeminded people around the world
  • share others stories + broaden my readers worldview
  • avenue to advocate for organizations and ministries i love
  • an opportunity to write

I want to challenge you….that thing YOU do?  

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feel free to share in the comments!

  • Molly - Hey Wynne! Thank you so much for sharing your heart and this challenge! I have been asking myself the same question and it has caused me to take some time away from blogging and let God show me what He wants me to do with S&W and find out what my “why” is….beyond, I’m a blogger this is what I’m “Supposed to do”…. thanks for letting me know once again that I’m not alone and for being real with us!ReplyCancel

    • Wynne - molly, you are so welcome! you are not alone my friend! can’t wait to see what god reveals for your blog – you are always inspiring!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren Casper - love you!!! SO grateful for our friendship… all started through blogging! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Allison Ramsing - Thank you so much for sharing your story. Such an important thing to remember WHY we truly blog. Hope you have a marvelous day!ReplyCancel

  • erika - I love this and I think “why” is such a good question to ask ourselves, no matter what we do!
    love to you, friend.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda Herdina - My “why” is because if given the opportunity to share a beacon of light to even ONE person, then I know I’m walking the right path. God has written my story to relate, but maybe even impact another person going through the same thing. And in the end, it gives me Hope and keeps me going… Whether through blogging, or stepping out on a faith adventure, or simply being present with one another, the Why I Do what I do is to Shine light….ReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ AmateurNester - My WHY is because I hope that my infertility story helps other women feel less alone. My other WHY is because writing helps me process it and is cheaper than therapy!ReplyCancel

  • Kailey Birkeland - I love telling my story of how Jesus called us to adoption thought not-so-fun circumstances, but then out of it comes this beautiful story of restoration, adoption, and love!!! Two families becoming one!! I also LOVE the adoption and infertility community in blog world. I have made friendships I believe will last forever. I AM SO GRATEFUL!!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Danielle Flores - Because I have a passion in my heart so strong to share my testimony with other women and encourage them. God has allowed me to fall and stumble and fall so many times while I was still searching for happiness everywhere but with Him, and now I desire to be a voice in the wilderness for His glory! I write for Him. I raise these children for Him. i serve my husband for Him. xoxoReplyCancel

2014 was quite the year.

a year marked by both seasons of opportunity and preparation.

a year of truly #livingalive.

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we rung in 2014 in one of my most favorite places on earth – the cayman islands, on the beach.  I don’t know how a year could start any better than spending down time with your family on the water.

a few weeks later, I was surprised at our annual Noonday Ambassador conference with the opportunity of a lifetime to go to Rwanda with a group of incredible story tellers representing my beloved Noonday, and soon to be beloved IJM.  #styleforjustice 

camp + asher turned 2 and we celebrated micky + minnie style on a perfect surprise “spring” Valentines day.  such a sweet day to gather with our people.

after an amazing refreshing weekend at my adoptive moms [Created for Care] retreat outside Atlanta, I walked into another incredible opportunity to lead an excitingly talented group of 9 women to Jinja, Uganda on my very first “blogger” trip with Sole Hope. #bloghope 

almost immediately after getting my feet back on US soil, I road tripped to Dallas to share my “story of the unexpected” with a group of women at the first annual Hope Spoken conference.

if I wasn’t already completely exhausted enough,  I went straight into our first IVF cycle and spent a month tearing up I-35 between Waco and Austin away from home + my husband.

Easter Sunday ushered in a new decade for me, and also was the day we transferred and implanted one of our precious embryos.  I was certain just like Easter represents, that new life would be resurrected in my body and we would be celebrating new life in my womb.

my 30th birthday was sweet with surprises from my friends!  A surprise party pulled off by my Midland people, and an incredible video with messages from friends all over made my man.  I felt so loved and known.

a week or so after my birthday, we mourned the loss of what could have been with our IVF cycle.   no pregnancy meant no new life forming inside me.

like we do, we turned our disappointment into dreaming and spent one night over dinner planning my 3k mile road trip across the country we called #WACtour 

June meant Stephen went to Djubuti + Ethiopia and no week before an Africa trip would be complete without a family road trip across a few states to take kids to Disney for the first time.  After a family friend wedding in NC, we sent him on his way and me + kids started our tour of the south visiting friends in 5 states in 11 days. an truly incredible trip filled with connection.

July brought on my dream trip with IJM + Noonday to Rwanda.  I praised God that I still got to go on this trip [sans pregnancy] and ate up every bit of wisdom I could glean from the women I got to travel with.

two back to back trips to Africa made my entire year in itself.  

in Rwanda God started to impress on my heart that the time was now for ministering to women also going through the infertility struggle.  during a prayer session at IJM, I knew that we were to “carry” each others burdens.  and in August The Carry Camp was born!

September brought new excitement as we began to believe that God was indeed [like I thought 6 months prior] calling us to be apart of a new church forming in Bryan, Texas.  step by step we walked through the doors that lead us to visit 6 times from October-December to look for homes.

In October, I decided to write everyday for 31 days!  It was fun, exhausting, and a good challenge.  almost 31 days of voice memos in a series I called note to self.    #write31days

we wouldn’t be truly #livingalive if we didn’t book and plan a last minute trip to Disney with the kids the week before Thanksgiving.  it truly is the most magical place on earth.  we celebrated the financial freedom that 2014 brought.  #elderdisneydream

right before Christmas we closed on our dream house [built in 1941] in my most favorite neighborhood in Bryan.  charming and cozy, it’s the perfect place for our family.

I knew the fall would be quieter, and I was to stay home most weekends and skip on amazing opportunities to gather with women at conferences and retreats around the country and now I know why!  Our upcoming move from Midland is reason enough – this season God has us in, has been one of preparation.  and I don’t want to miss a single second of it.  I want to walk boldly and confidently into the next season of opportunity and obedience that He has for us.

I have no idea what he’s going to do in 2015 – I know He’s moving, and we are saying YES one step at a time. so now we just wait and trust.

 

Happy New Year everyone! 

  • Caroline - What a fabulous year you had!!!! So many good things happened! Happy NYE – Cheers to 2015!!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Chilton - WHAT A YEAR! I’m just excited that the LORD has called you to Bryan, TX and that I get to do 2015 with you! Then I can see all the things the Lord has for you with my eyes instead of reading it! Love you friend! HURRY. UP. AND. GET. HERE.ReplyCancel

  • what’s your WHY? - […] I was compiling my look back at 2014 list, I was reminded WHY I love blogging so […]ReplyCancel