Veterans Day

thank you veterans

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

John 15:13

I don’t normally do a full post in honor Veterans Day on here, but since I am a military wife it’s becoming more evident to me that my devotionals focus a lot on our life as a military family.

It’s also occurred to me that I don’t know how many veterans and military families I am truly reaching because this is not a devoted military website– as always, we encourage everyone all over the globe!

However, in honor of Veterans Day here in the US, I’d like to take some time thank everyone who has served their country.

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Breakthrough

Divas, I couldn’t not share this with you.

This is kind of a #littledivathings post.

I’ve been struggling with my husband’s deployments (yes, he’s been away from us again!) and at night, I’ve been watching Oprah’s OWN Youtube Channel. It’s really inspirational and has a ton of content.

I’ve been doing a lot of running to God, a lot of praying, a lot of listening for the Holy Spirit’s whispers. And there’s been a lot of people in real life that have made a difference for me, too — a breakthrough.

I’m doing better.

Some of my favorites to watch?

Pastor John Gray! Here’s a great video: Joy disarms the broken heart

Dr. Brene Brown! Joy: it’s Terrifying

Pretty much all of the SuperSoul Sunday videos have something to bring to the table!

I hope this can be an encouragement to you today 🙂

PS, there will be no new posts next week.

 

 

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Tips for Traveling with Kids – The Journey (Part 1)

tips for traveling with kids the journey part 1

 

tips for traveling with kids the journey part 1

I know many of us are traveling right now, and one question I get asked a lot is “How do you travel with a 2 year old?!” I thought I’d put together a travel series this summer with some of my tips for traveling with kids.

There is one affiliate link in this article — Devotional Diva’s affiliate policy is at the bottom of every page of Devotional Diva in hot pink font. Thank you for your support of Devotional Diva!

My husband is in the US Navy and so we have traveled a lot to move, we have traveled a lot to visit family, and we have traveled a lot because we live in Europe and we want to take advantage of it! I probably cannot count the number of flights my 2 year old has been on because so many of them are short little ones between countries! I can tell you how many countries he has been to – Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, France, Germany, Austria, and Hungary. 7!

He hasn’t been to as many US states unless you count the cross-country road trip we took when I was pregnant!

But, he is well-travelled and my husband and I are well-seasoned travellin’ parents. We’ve gone back to the states twice now to visit and let me tell you, preparation is needed to get a toddler through a 10-hour flight.

But you will get through it!

Tips for Traveling with Kids Part 1 – Getting There

  1. Bassinet: If your child is small enough (under 22 lbs or 10 kg) and you have a long flight, try to book a bassinet! These are only available on certain airlines and certain planes (big ones for the long haul flights), but it was awesome for our first trip back to the states with little O. You need to call to book these, and there are only a few per plane. Beware that if there is a lot of turbulence or your pilot is extra careful about putting on the “fasten seatbelt” light, the flight attendants will make you take your child out.
  2. Travel with a backpack carry on: A lot of flights I travel alone. I did the last international flight alone and my only carry-on was a big backpack. I baby-wore little O in my Lillebaby* (affiliate link, thank you for your support!) carrier in the airport and wore my backpack. I do this most flights to be hands-free.
  3. Instead of a car seat, try Kids Fly Safe Harness: In the same vein of traveling light, I bought this Kids Fly Safe harness (not sponsored or an affiliate link, seriously just wanted to travel light and I wanted to provide the link) for little O on the most recent international flight in March. He was not sure about it. He sat in it kind of sometimes? And then wriggled out of it other times. He fell asleep in it once but was woken up by the captain. Then couldn’t fall asleep in it again. It wasn’t his normal car seat seatbelts, it was a strange place, he wasn’t happy. I may have to try it again when we go back to Europe though. I know many people have had success with it, but O wasn’t
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    In the Fly Safe harness

    entirely sure. But it helps you travel light, and for take off and landing it’s very safe.

  4. Bring little packets of powdered Toddler Drink to help them sleep: Some kids like to have milk to go to sleep, but on long haul flights, how will you have milk for them? (I couldn’t find a reliable link for these, sorry.)  Flight attendants aren’t always able or willing to give it. I discovered small packets of Toddler drink for our first long haul flight last year, and it seemed to relax O and help him sleep. It was kind of a treat. If you have a child that still needs that, or even if they don’t, Toddler drink might be a good option. If you need real formula, I know they sell little packets of formula too, just not everywhere. This is good, too, because if you’re on a plane, when it takes off and lands it helps with their ears popping.
  5. In a car or plane — a variety of small toys: Try to look through their toys and bring a variety of different ones, that do different things. Bring a stuffed friend, bring something that their little hands need to work on, bring something that lights up, bring something to chew on (if teething).
  6. For road trips — Get out of the car for a little while: We do drive with O a lot, actually. He does pretty well. We set him up with a movie usually and have toys back there for him. We try to drive for a while and then get out of the car at a gas station for a bit for some food. European gas stations usually have pretty good restaurants in them! A break seems to reinvigorate O if he is getting restless.
  7. Bring as many snacks as you can regardless of your travel method. Always have them. One little pretzel stick may just do the trick!

 

STAY TUNED FOR PART 2

Blog comments are closed. Join the discussion on social media: You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime.

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Happy Indepedence Day

happy independence

happy independence

Happy Independence Day, USA Divas!

I didn’t want to ignore the regular posting schedule, but I didn’t want to have an exciting post today either. (Because I hope, if you’re in the USA, you’re celebrating and spending time with family and friends!)

International readers, sorry, we’ll be back Thursday!

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Marriage Honesty

Marriage Honesty

[Editor’s Note: I had the awesome opportunity to do a Q&A with Molly Reed of the husband/wife music duo Grayson|Reed. They are honest in their songs and have a strong marriage message that I love. Here is some backstory on Grayson|Reed before we dive into the interview…cover-artwork-gr

Mike and Molly met their first week of college as entering freshman at Nashville’s Belmont University. Over the next 10 years, the aspiring artists floated in and out of one another’s social circles, gradually building a unique friendship that eventually became a strong relational foundation when they started dating in 2012. The following year, they said “I do,” and two years later, they welcomed their daughter, Grailey. 

Whether writing about the Christian journey, marriage or redemption, Grayson|Reed simply desires to craft music from an intensely honest place—even if their vulnerability shines a light on the messy parts of life.]

MW: Do you feel like you have a mission with your songwriting?

MR: Absolutely! I believe that The Lord gave me such a special gift and has called me to use it. I’m so thankful for songwriting. Music is the universal language and to be able to communicate to people through song is so cool. I love the idea of being able to encourage people and share Jesus through music.

MW: Could you tell us about your Christian walk?

MR: My personal journey with Jesus really became real during my senior year of high school. I was on a mission trip and just got to see the world in a whole new way. It really opened my eyes and Jesus showed up in a way I hadn’t seen Him do before. It’s a daily choice to put Him first. What’s been super fun lately is praying with my daughter and teaching her about Jesus. I love seeing Him through her eyes.

MW: How important was it for you to be able to eventually work together?

MR: It was always a dream for my husband Mike and I to be able to do music together, and the fact that we are living that dream is amazing. Once we had our daughter Grailey, we knew we didn’t want to be touring apart and always leaving each other. We would rather be playing in front of 10 people together then 1,000 apart.

MW: What is your songwriting process like?

MR: It’s the same yet different for each song. I usually start with some kind of melody or groove and feel out the music, from there the idea or title is born. BUT, some days I come with a concept or title and write the music around it. Songwriting is much like playing a sport, it’s almost like a muscle that you have to use regularly to get better and better. It’s important for me to hone my craft as often as I can, so I try to write around 3-4 days a week when we are not on the road.

MW: What do you feel are the biggest reasons people give up on their marriages?

MR: Lack of communication or as we call it “writing stories.” From day one, Mike and I made a promise to try and NOT write stories or fill in the blanks with what the other was saying. So often, people live out and believe what they “think” someone meant by what they said rather than asking for clarification. I will say “Mike I’m writing a story that when you said XYZ you meant “this,” is that true?” It gives the other person a chance to speak to the lies we created in our head and call out the heart and truth.

MW: How has your faith grown during your marriage?

MR: Much like becoming a parent, I have had to learn how to surrender and trust in a whole new way. It’s easy for me to want to try to control the other person, or to live in fear of something tragic happening. But I’m choosing to give it all to God and TRUST Him with my family.

MW: What do you think is next for Grayson|Reed?

MR: Honestly, I love cooking and baking so one day I hope to be able to write a cookbook! Maybe I’ll call it “What’s Molly Making?” haha!  

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Galentine’s Day Gift Ideas

img_8102Galentine’s Gift Ideas

Hey Divas.

Have you heard of Galentine’s Day?

It falls on February 13th, and it is a holiday to celebrate your female friendships!

If you google it, you’re going to probably see a lot of information about the episode of Parks & Recreation called “Galentine’s Day.” I won’t lie. This is where I heard about it. If you’ll recall, Parks and Recreation was also the inspiration for the Devotional Diva tagline “Devote Yourself!” (From the famous “Treat Yo’ Self” episode.)

I wanted to inspire you to celebrate sisterhood this Valentine’s season, so I’ve put together a cute little gift guide. These are all products I use and can recommend.

This is not sponsored, but these are affiliate links. My full affiliate link disclosure is at the bottom of every Devotional Diva page in hot pink font!

The phone case is the phone case I’ve been using for awhile, and I love Sonix phone cases!
This is so heavy on the L’occitane because my hands have been so dry this winter, so we have been using a lot of their hand creams! I highly reccomend them! L’occitane has the best lotions. I also got this oil on sale after Christmas, and the sales lady said I could add it to a neutral lotion, too. I didn’t think about that! The oil just smells so good!
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How I Plan + Blog Planning

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This is my Diva Planner. Isn’t that cat fabulous?

How I Plan + Blog Planning Tips

In today’s lifestyle post, I thought I’d share my current planner set-up with you and some blog planning tips. I thought it might be interesting, since I know there are quite a few planner enthusiasts out there!

 

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I’m currently using an A5 Aqua Patent Domino Filofax and Month on 2 Pages inserts from the Etsy shop DearPlanner. In February, I will be using stickers from the Etsy shop MareBareCrafts — these little dewdrops are a lot smaller than the Martha Stewart comparables but are very similar and actually removable, too.

My system for blog planning is fairly streamlined at this point. I have to have a month on two pages for my editorial calendar. Since Devotional Diva has a lot of guest bloggers, I keep track of those on the side. I also keep track of my ideas for posts there. When they are finalized, I write them down on the sticker. I place the sticker ahead of time (usually at the beginning of the month) on the days I plan to blog.

Now, you may be asking…is the sticker necessary…?

The answer is that stickers are ALWAYS necessary.

Also, I do keep track of other appointments in this planner so it keeps the layout neater.

how-i-plan

I choose what kind of sticker or label to use based on what color scheme I want. I used to always use aqua blue, as you can see, those are all gone in the Martha Stewart pages! Now I switch it up month to month.
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Here’s my little pouch of planner supplies. It’s actually a makeup bag from Tarte, but I really like it and it’s the perfect size.how-i-plan4

I also use the weekly cleaning sheets from DearPlanner. I’m still trying out how to make them best work for me.how-i-plan8

Also from DearPlanner, here are my daily OR weekly sheets. Some days I do I have enough to fill up a whole page, or I end up using a page for a whole week. Since they are undated, it works for me. Breakfast/lunch/dinner ends up not meaning the same thing, but that’s okay.
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My lovely charm on the planner is from Coach – I’ve had it for years and basically always kept it on my planner because it just makes me happy! I was able to find a similar one here.* I also always use colored Filofax paper refills because they, too, just make me happier! I do a lot of journaling in these back sections and also take notes and make lists there (ex: Christmas planning).

*Affiliate Link–Please see my disclosure on the bottom of every page of Devotional Diva in hot pink font, of course.how-i-plan6

My favorite pens and highlighters are the Frixion pens by Pilot and have been for a looooong time. They are erasable — The only truly erasable pens I have encountered.

I hope this little look at my planning system was interesting!

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My Beautiful Iowa

We are back from our trip to the states! I’m so sorry it’s taken me awhile to get back in the swing of things here on Devotional Diva. Today I wanted to share with you some pictures from our adventures in Iowa (where I am from!) There’s more to come, because it was a long trip and I have a lot to share.

iowa-babies
O, his daddy and his first cousin! We were so blessed to meet him for the first time. Also pictured in the distance is a cat stroller containing our kitties Brigit and Zero! They LOVE walks. I will take no flack from anyone about having a cat stroller. In fact this is my second cat stroller.
iowa-bouquets
The main reason we went to Iowa was so I could be a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding. Here is O arranging some of the bouquets.
iowa-coraliville
So beautiful, right?
iowa-playgrounds
The weather was so great when we were there. We spent a lot of time at playgrounds! O was in heaven.
iowa-lake
Iowa is really a gorgeous state. Sadly, not long after we left our area ended up terribly flooded! The wedding reception venue included.

iowa-womens-club

iowa-carrot wedding
When a carrot crashes your wedding photoshoot.

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5 Fresh Fall Resolutions

Devotional Diva

Devotional Diva

5 Fresh Fall Resolutions

To me, September means fall. Even though it doesn’t always feel like fall immediately! I’m not in school anymore, but fall represents a fresh start for me still. So today, I’m posting five fall resolutions that I’m attempting to enact this fall.

1.Put more effort into my outfits

I have really gotten stuck in a rut with my daily outfit inspiration. I’m finding that I’m wearing the same things over and over again out of laziness and boredom. There’s no fun in that. This fall, I want to try to put more effort into what I’m wearing and have more fun with it!

2. Take my vitamins 🙁

I’m really blessed to have good healthcare. I struggle with migraines and saw a neurologist while we were still stationed in San Diego. He recommended several different vitamins to take to help deal with the migraines. I’ve kind of been slacking on taking all of the supplements because there are just so many pills to take it gets tiresome! I should do it, though. I need to get back on track!

3. Continue “write every day habit”

After reading The 8-Minute Writing Habit, I decided to start implementing some of its ideas this fall. I’ve already started with writing just 8 minutes a day every day (which is really not scary at all and really effective at getting writing done every single day!). There’s other strategies in the book that I hope to add on so that I can write more consistently again.

4. Up my skincare game

So I think I take pretty good care of my skin and I don’t have much trouble with it. But I’d like to take even better care of it. Namely, at night. From what I’ve read, that’s when your skin does a lot of its regenerating and it really soaks up moisture (I’m no scientist, here is an article I found explaining that (LINK). I’m also not affiliated with Dr. Gross, I just think he probably can do a better job explaining than I can!)

5. Use Instagram Stories more

I’ve started using it a little bit…on the Devotional Diva instagram (@Devotional_Diva) I shared the Italian Ferragusto fireworks I could see from my balcony. I’d like to try to get into it more, and I hope that when I do, you’ll watch and hopefully like it!

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Inspiration Lately

Italian Ferragusto Fireworks

Italian Ferragusto Fireworks

Hey Divas,

Devotional Diva’s mission is all about inspiring women and spurring them forward, so I thought I’d share what has been inspiring me lately! I hope this can be an encouragement to you today, wherever you are!

  1. While perusing Instagram, I stumbled upon this blog post (link) by Erica Jacobs of What’s Eating Erica Jacobs. I don’t go through “High-Functioning Low-Level Panic” like Erica does, but reading her story was definitely something I could relate to. A great, inspiring read!
  2. Ferragusto fireworks! The photo above was taken from the comfort of my own li’l bed as I watched Italian Ferragusto fireworks. Ferragusto celebrates the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and is a pretty big deal. There were little fireworks shows going on all night! It was pretty cool that I could just sit back and watch. So cool that it inspired me to share my first Instagram story! (@Devotional_Diva) My Italian neighbors caught me talking to my phone on my balcony and thought I was pretty weird I think.
  3. I’ve been finding old music I used to listen to and bringing back the memories! I highly recommend this. It’s been so fun! I really like to listen to music at night when I’m reading, or just listen to the music alone. Thinking about a different time in my life is inspiring to me. It gives me perspective!

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