The Peculiar Treasure Turns 3 + A Blogiversary Giveaway!

Monday, August 14, 2017 No comments

As I sit here thinking about the fact that my blog is officially 3 years old, I'm amazed at how much things have changed since I started. I went from blogging about everything from the food I ate that day to going to a friend's wedding. I wrote out my prayers, and wrote mini-devotionals.

My first "serious" post was published on July 17th, 2014. I had blogged before, but it had finally hit me that I wanted to start learning more about blogging and become more consistent. Still, my first post was terrible, and I didn't know what the heck I was doing. I wrote in a style emulating the only lifestyle blogger I knew of at the time... read at your own risk 😂😉

But overtime, with a lot of trial and even more error, I started to learn the ins and outs of blogging. The learning-curve was pretty steep since I tend to struggle with coding and the technical side of things. But since my degree was in English and creative writing, that part of blogging evolved far more quickly.

Now, I find myself feeling more proud of my work, more confident in my ability to market myself, and still passionate about the work I want to do. And while there are things I still desperately need to improve upon (photography & technical terminology, namely), I am still so excited to have come as far as I have.

And then when I think about the fact that I am not only a blogger, but a virtual assistant and an admin in my all-time favorite blogging group, I get even more pumped up. I love this crazy thing called blogging and I am so glad that the Lord brought me to a place in life where I discovered that passion. To Him be the glory!

An Awesome Giveaway with Awesome People

To celebrate TPT's 3rd birthday, I decided to put together a giveaway and I am so glad to have seven other amazing people teaming up with me. So if you want to win really cool stuff, keep reading. 

This giveaway includes:

  • A "Jesus & Coffee" mug
  • A beautiful scripture print from Craftivity Designs
  • A gorgeous skeleton key necklace from Love Doing Life
  • A set of lovely, colorful Pura Vida bracelets contributed by Marsha Apsley
  • Two adorable faux succulent plants
  • A wooden, boho stamp with ink pad.

How to Enter

To enter this giveaway, complete the tasks in the Rafflecopter form below. Each task is worth one point. The more you do, the better your chance of winning. Open to the United States and Canada ONLY. Please know that we will be checking to make sure the tasks are completed, so please be honest about who you've followed/what tasks you've done. Thank you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck friends!

Living By Example- When Words Won't Work

Monday, August 7, 2017 No comments

I like to talk. I like to speak my mind. Sometimes that's a good thing. Sometimes that allows me to speak the truth when it needs to be said (lovingly), even when the truth isn't very popular. Sometimes it allows me to avoid lasting drama because I am willing to clear the air right then and there.

But, sometimes my love of talking gets me in trouble. Sometimes I sound ridiculous because I can't stop talking when I am nervous. Sometimes I worry out loud about things that shouldn't even be on my mind, which gets obnoxious for others. And from time-to-time, in an attempt to speak the truth in love, I forget that sometimes, living by example is more effective than talking about it.

There's a fine line. Truth should still be spoken. We shouldn't avoid or hide truth or our personal conviction. We should never be ashamed of them. But there are times that it doesn't matter what we say- people just aren't going to listen. And even more, there are times when saying anything (even when it's the truth) will actually hinder someone from seeing God, seeing truth, and seeing love.

It can often feel impossible to discern the difference between these scenarios. I mean really, how are we supposed to know what will be more effective for every single person we encounter?

Honestly, a lot of the time, I don't know the answer to that. But what I do know is that we should always be living by example. Times to speak will present themselves, but the time to live out the truth is always there.

We are called to live by example, but is that more important than speaking the truth even when it's unpopular? Read more to find out!

Commanded in Scripture

We are told over and over in scripture to live out what we believe.

John 13:35 says:
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

The above verse is 100% true. Jesus calls us to love God and love our neighbors. Those are the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:36-40). So obviously, living by an example of love is huge in the eyes of God.
But likewise, Galatians 6:1-9 shows us a method for both living in love and speaking the truth when it is needed. This isn't a contradiction, but a more detailed look at how to do both well. Take a look:
"Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

But there is something key here: this verse still focuses much more on us living out what we believe in our own lives more than anything else. Does it show that there is a time to speak the truth even when it isn't popular? Absolutely. But the verse seems to suggest that our first priority should be living out the truth- the second, speaking it.

They Will Know Us By Our Love

When my mom was a teen, she had known only of legalistic, judgmental churches. Not churches that stood firm in truth, but churches that gave you the side-eye for having on too much makeup or for listening to rock music.
It wasn't until she was an adult and met a group of people who loved her well exactly as she was that she began to be curious about God.

Did she need to know the truth about the error of her ways (sins), and did she need to turn to God? Of course. But had these people not loved her well, exactly where she was at, she would have had no interest in the truth they would later share with her. It was through Christ's love shining through them that she discovered the love of God, his ways, and the better version of life that he had for her.

They Will Notice And Ask

The awesome thing about all of this is that when we truly live for Jesus and people notice a difference, they will ask about it. Not everyone, of course. But some people will get curious, and they will ask about it in one way or another. And then our "living it out" can naturally segway into a moment of speaking the truth. And God says that we should "always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15).

It always makes me so happy when people notice and ask. I love talking about it, and I love knowing that they saw something different in me. 

Obviously, sometimes we just have to be brave and speak the truth even when no one asked for it or wanted it. There are times where that is appropriate. But there are also clearly times when it's not. And as a general rule, people should be able to see that there is something different about us before we've ever spoken directly about our faith.

People should know that we love them with all of our hearts even if we disagree with their lifestyle. And people should see that we live differently. They should be able to see that we don't do the things that the world does to find happiness. And they should see that we live this way with humility. No one wants to be preached to by an arrogant Christian about the way in which they are living. No bueno.

So speak the truth when it's necessary, and of course also when it is asked of you. But even when you are silent, be constantly living out the truth that is alive in you. It's a process, and I am on this journey with you!

Even though speaking the truth (in love) is a good thing, living out the truth can often be more effective. Read more at The Peculiar Treasure!

Decorating A Home To Create An Encouraging + Personalized Atmosphere

Friday, August 4, 2017 No comments

I received free product in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.

Have you ever visited someone's house and just gotten an immediate sense of welcome and calm? Or felt like their home was yours?

Growing up, I heard a lot of that from my friends. They loved the smell of my house, the look of my house, and they loved getting to visit with my family and eat dinner with us. 
That was all my mom. She decorated beautifully, kept candles going, and always had something yummy in the oven. She welcomed people in and made them feel at home. And sure, my friends mostly loved us (not our stuff),  but there is still something to be said for home decor that creates a peaceful, encouraging, and pleasant environment.

As the granddaughter of an interior designer, I have really come to appreciate the art of choosing home decor that radiates the vibe I want to put off in my home. For me, I want to choose things that are personal, that are close to my heart, and that encourage me in my faith each day.

So today, I'm sharing a few ways I like to make my house feel inviting, peaceful, and like a reflection of who I am.

Decorating a home is not always easy, but creating an inviting, encouraging, and personalized touch makes all the difference.

Handmade Pieces From Others

Many of my closest friends and some family members are very creative. We often give each other handmade gifts for birthday's and Christmas, and I love that about us! This year I have received a hand-painted coffee sign made from reclaimed wood, a hand-painted, framed, hymn art piece, and a distressed, wrought-iron cross. All of these gifts are gorgeous and things that I love having in my home. Not only are they lovely, but they also add a smile to my day when I think about the person who took the time to create each piece.

My Own Handmade Pieces

I can't paint or draw by any stretch of the imagination (it's bad, you guys!), but I do well with other crafts like making wreathes and candles. I have made a wreath for my front door for every season, and I love switching them out as the seasons change.

I love having a wreath on the door because it gives off a homey vibe before people ever step foot into the house. It gives an added touch of beauty and care, and sets a good first-impression.

I also love handmade wreaths because they tell a story. They are unique and show off pieces of the maker's personality that wouldn't be seen if they hadn't made it themselves.

Personal Touches

One thing that really makes a house feel like a home is pictures of loved-ones scattered throughout. Not only does it add a personalized touch, but I also find it encouraging to be able to look around and see photos of the people who love me well and support me.

Scripture Reminders

Just as an FYI, we did not paint our house. The people who lived here before us did 😂

One thing that is really important to me is to have scripture and Christ-centered messages around my home. Seeing them throughout the day serves as a great reminder and helps me stay focused.

I love scripture art. Having bible verses around my home can be a huge encouragement. I also love old hymns. Sometimes the lyrics are just so encouraging and perfect reminders of God's love and my desire to live for him.
So, when I was contacted by Aimee of Aimee Weaver Designs, I was thrilled!

Aimee and her husband make handmade, hand painted signs out of reclaimed barn wood. They make personalized pieces based on the customers request, and they also have pre-made signs with scripture, hymn lyrics, and encouraging quotes.

"We are passionate about creating beauty from yesterday’s treasures, from pieces of the past lying by the wayside. Our desire to redeem and restore includes using antique hardware, rustic hinges and original nails. Most of our reclaimed wood is found in old barns around the Lancaster County countryside." -Aimee

When I received my sign in the mail, I was immediately impressed. The piece that I chose is huge, very solid, and absolutely gorgeous! The wood is perfectly stained and restored, while still holding onto some of it's original character, and the lettering is beautiful. Even Taylor talked about how much he liked it, and he rarely says anything about home decor.

We absolutely love our sign. It is the perfect statement piece for our living room!

If you are interested in a sign from Aimee, seriously check out her website! The signs she and her hubby make are totally customizable. You can choose your own wording, size, and colors, so it fits into your space perfectly!

I love adding personal touches to my home, and choosing the right pieces can really add an encouraging and calm atmosphere. I love looking around my house and seeing all the awesome pieces that I've made myself, that friends and family have made for me, and that have encouraging and motivational quotes on them. 

Do you agree? How do you decorate your home? Do you like adding a lot of personal touches, or do you prefer to go with more standard, premade pieces? Comment below!

August Goals & Currently Loving

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 No comments

Happy August, my friend! I hope as you read this post you are filled with fun memories from July and exciting plans for the upcoming month. If July was rough, I hope you can put that behind you and enjoy August. And if August is going to hold a lot of challenges, I hope you can still push ahead, do your best, and hold on to joy.

July was a tough one for me. Not because it was bad, but because it was far busier than I am used to. I have had a hard time adjusting and I haven't done nearly as much as I had hoped with my blog this month. But, I am thankful that it was busy instead of bad, and that after one more moth of craziness, there is a potential for things to calm down a bit.

So today, I figured it was time I updated you on how I did with my July goals, and share my August goals and things I have been loving lately. Grab a nice big cup of joe (or beverage of preference), sit back, and enjoy!

August goals and what I loved in July!

July Update

Drink At Least 64oz. of Water Every Day

Not gonna lie- this really didn't even cross my mind. I did drink a decent amount of water, but I know I didn't hit my goal.

Walk At Least 6 Miles Per Week

FAIL- But not exactly...
I did not hit my 6 miles/week goal. I ended up doing between 2-3 miles per week. However, the reason for this was because the heat would have been irresponsible to have Mr. T out in. So in addition to the 2-3 miles, we've been going swimming at least once per week (usually more).

Finish Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I haven't touched the book...

Blogging & Business

Increase All Stats

YES! PASS!I hit my Twitter, Facebook, and Email Newletter goals (and surpassed them).
I fell short on my Instagram, Pinterest, and page view goals (but still saw growth in all of them). However, even though I didn't hit my Pinterest follower goals, I have been getting more page views because of Pinterest than usual and that is at least partially due to my new, long pins! Yay for successes!

Update More Pins


Secure Another Virtual Assistant Client

I haven't landed another client, but I do have someone who seems interested.

Be Consistent

Meh. FAIL.

The month of July was tough. There was a lot to do, but also a lot to love. Today on the blog I'm talking about how my July finished up and sharing my goals for August.

Goals For August

Grow my Blog Stats

Again, I have some numbers I want to hit, but consistent growth is my main focus.

Secure One Virtual Assistant Client

I really, really want to accomplish this so I have a better chance of working from home starting in September.

Contact One Brand For a Collab

I haven't been super brave about this yet, but this month I want to send my media kit to a brand I would like to work with and pitch to them.

Continue My Workouts with Mr. T

3 miles of walking and 2 trips to the pool per week is working out well.

What did I love during the month of August? Lipsense, Elle & Company, the pool, and more. Click the pin to read the full post!

What I'm Currently Loving


I have more coming on this in the future, but I finally tried Lipsense and I am a fan. Want to know more? Join my friend Summer's Facebook page: The Darling Lip Studio.

Hills and Valleys

One of my best friends introduced me to the song Hills and Valleys by Tauren Wells and I love it so much. If you haven't heard it but could use some encouragement, you should definitely check it out!

Pool Time

I mentioned that Mr. T and I have been going to the pool and it has been so nice to have a place to swim. I love it and it makes it feel way more like a true Summer.

Parks and Rec

Taylor and I have been re-watching Parks and Rec on Netflix and between Ron Swanson and Andy Dwyre, we just can't stop laughing.

Tips for Full-time and Side Hustle via Elle & Company

I read "How to Balance a Full-Time Job and a Side-Hustle" by Elle & Company  today and it is so helpful! If you are trying to manage a day-job and a side-hustle like me, this is a great resource!

Happy August, friends! What do you have coming up this August?

What I've Learned From Being A Nanny

Friday, July 28, 2017 No comments

Other than some time spent working in a local coffee shop, I have been a nanny since I graduated college in 2013. I never planned on being a nanny. I always thought I'd work at a newspaper, magazine, or something similar. However, I took a nanny job in August 2013 in an attempt to escape a part-time job I hated, and it ended up being a path I would be on for the following four years.

Nannying is a challenge. It has the ability to bring out my flaws, push my limits, and make me want to pull out my own hair. But it also brings about the sweet hugs and kisses from adorable little people, wonderful opportunities to share the love of Christ, and lots of fun memories.

There's a lot of things I've learned about myself and life from being a nanny, and today I decided to highlight a few of them.

My Patience Needs Work

I'm pretty sure most of you know this by now, but my patience is sub-par at best. I get frustrated by things that probably shouldn't frustrate me, and even though I don't let my anger take over outwardly, I often feel like I am going to blow a gasket on the inside. And there's nothing like taking care of a two year old to test your patience.
I have known for a while now that my patience needs some work, but as a nanny I am very aware that it needs a lot more work.

Sometimes the Little Things Are Big Things

On a more positive note, one thing being a nanny has taught me is that sometimes the little things end up being the big things. The willingness to run through the sprinklers even though I don't have a change of clothes. The choice to sing his favorite song for the 12,000th time. Or the kindness to growl like a dinosaur with him even though we've already been growling for 10 minutes. Those little things make Mr. T feel loved and let him know that he is cared for. When we've had a bad day the day before, when I come in the next morning he is usually glad to see me. He typically has forgotten the bad day and instead, he remembers the care I have chosen to give him.

When we take the time to participate and show kindness in the little things- to listen, pay attention, and play with them- we are investing in bigger ways than we know.

Sometimes I Just Want My Mommy Too

I'd be lying if I said that it was never frustrating for a kid to constantly ask where their mama is, but at the end of the day I totally understand. I want my mommy too, kid. Maybe if we both lay on the floor and cry together both of our moms will show up at the same time 😋

Eating Healthy Doesn't Have To Be Hard

Mr. T and his mom are vegan (minus eggs). This means that snacks and meals consist of things like hummus and carrots, edamame, and lots of fruit in order to get the nutrients that he needs.

Even though I am a big believer in meat remaining in a persons diet if it can be helped, I will totally admit that their lifestyle keeps junk food at bay and Mr. T doesn't feel like he is missing a thing. He loves the foods that his mom buys him and he eats it right up.

It just goes to show you, if there's no junk food in the house to eat, then you are bound to eat healthier options (and like it).

Everyone Is Different

Being a nanny to different kids over the years has allowed me to see that no one child is the same. Just because I am caring for a boy doesn't mean he will be anything like the last boy I cared for, and just because two little girls are the same age doesn't mean they will function at the same level.

I think most of us understand this when it comes to kids. But for whatever reason, when it comes to adults we expect everyone to be just like us, think just like us, agree with all of our quirks and preferences, and function on the exact same level that we do. But if kids don't work that way, then why do we expect adults to? Why do we adjust the way we do things depending on the kid, but when it comes to adults we ditch the grace that we would give to a child?

I'm not saying that adults should be allowed to act like a child without being confronted, but what I am saying is that if someone struggles in a particular area that we don't, or if we function differently than someone we work with, we should remember that just as every child needs the grace to grow and learn, so do adults. This is something that I struggle to remember, but it's certainly an important lesson.

Being a nanny is challenging, but it is also rewarding. It's nothing something that I want to do for the rest of my life (or for very much longer, for that matter), but it is a job that teaches me important lessons and that allows me to be a witness in the lives of little, impressionable people. It doesn't always feel like a blessing, but it is, and I am thankful for the lessons being a nanny has taught me.

Why I Love Being A Virtual Assistant

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 No comments

When I have a day off from my nanny job, most of the time I am still working for part of it. There's always blog work to be done for myself, but as a part-time virtual assistant, I also have clients to tend to and make sure everything is in order for them.

Sometimes it feels like all I do is sleep, work, eat, and work some more when I get home. But since I am working towards growing my client base and going full-time as a VA, I have to stay on top of things and be diligent in the pursuit of that goal. And I am totally fine with that. I know that I have to hustle hard now, if I want my goals to come true. And ultimately, once those goals are accomplished, I will have more freedom in the way that I work, where I work, and how I structure my workday.

Being a blogger is not easy and neither is being a virtual assistant. It's still hard work and can be very time-consuming. However, both are rewarding to me and I really enjoy both tasks.

I've explained why I love blogging, but today I would like to share with you why I love being a VA, and why I think it's a great job. Keep reading to learn more.

I love being a virtual assistant! It can be hard work but there are some prime benefits to being in this field. Read the full post to find out what they are!

I Set My Hours

Even though I check to make sure my clients don't need me to work at certain times of the day or certain days of the week, my job as a VA usually allows me to work at any time that I chose, as long as my work gets done. This frees me up to do the fun things I want to do and choose my hours for the day accordingly. I love that, and I look forward to going full-time as a VA so I can work within that freedom more fully.

I Help People Achieve Their Dreams

I love helping people. I tend to have a "fix it" mentality and always want to fix people's problems for them. And while that isn't always a good thing when it comes to relationships with friends and family, it can be very good when dealing with a business.

The ability to help people reach their biz and blog dreams is such a wonderful thing. Being able to use my skills to help them get to where they want to go is a big and exciting task!

I Grow In My Abilities That Help My Own Blog

As I schedule and manage my clients' social media accounts, help them edit their ebooks, and whatever else they may need, I am simultaneously growing my own social media and editing skills. When I learn new things for my VA work, it will usually carry straight over to my own blog.

Being able to learn things that will also prepare me to reach my own blog and biz goals while helping someone else do the same is incredibly helpful!

Being a virtual assistant is hard work. It's not rainbows and unicorns all the time and it can get frustrating occasionally (just like any other job). There are always some tasks that are more challenging than others, and there is always room for improvement.

And just to be clear, being a virtual assistant is still a real job. You can't just decide to be a VA, half-do everything, and expect to make oodles of money. Like anything else, being a VA requires time, energy, and perseverance.

However, being a virtual assistant is something that I enjoy, learn from, and that allows me to make a difference. Other than blogging, it's my favorite way to earn money, and I am thankful that I have some really amazing clients to work with.

Need a virtual assistant? I am taking on part-time clients now with the ability to go full-time starting in September. I would love to help you with your blog, business, and social media needs.
Let me use my skills and passions to help you best utilize yours!

Being a Virtual Assistant is hard work, but it's also rewarding! Read the full post to find out why I love it and the benefits of being a virtual assistant.

A Place Prepared: Praise God In The Hallway

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 No comments
***This Post Contains Affiliate Links. All opinions are my own***

When all is well in life, it's much easier for a Christian to praise God. We are thankful for finances that are in order, a blessed marriage, good kids, a good job, etc. But when we lose our job, our house is repossessed, our loved ones get sick or disappoint us, or our children turn to destructive habits, it's not as easy.

As a kid, I never realized how blessed I was- not really anyway. No, things weren't perfect, but I really didn't have too much to worry about. My parents were together, supported me, took care of me, and taught me important things. I was also supported by my grandparents, and extended family. I had good friends and mostly positive life experiences.

And while all of that is really still true, I have learned more about what it means to struggle- and I have become more aware of the struggles of others too.
It's hard when you hit that point in life when you realize that you truly can't fix anything. I want to fix my own problems and the problems of others too. But at the end of the day all I can do is work hard, do my best, and leave the rest to God.

I wish I could tell you that this comforted me, because it should. But since I tend to have a controlling and "fix it" nature, I have a hard time remembering that I can only do so much. But what's amazing is that God has a plan and purpose for everything.

Even when I have to wait. Even when I can't fix it (whatever it is), and even when the wait feels far too long, God has a plan. And that is a comforting truth.

About a month ago, my sweet friend Julie of The Hallway Initiative published an ebook on this very subject. I had the pleasure of doing some of the editing for it and I am so thankful for her, for that experience, and for her book. She truly knows what it means to have to wait. To not be able to fix the problems she desperately wants to fix. To learn what it means to praise God in the hallway when no doors are opening.

Julie wasn't expecting all the trials she would have to face, but each one prepared her well for the next, and God has had a perfect plan for it all. The same is true for every follower of Jesus. The wait and the trial is not fun, but there is a purpose. So today I want to share a few truths and quotes from A Place Prepared  (Julie's Book) with you. I hope they will encourage you to keep on praising God no matter what life has looked like for you lately.

A Place Prepared: Finding Peace in God's Perfect Plan

By: Julie More

"I hadn’t yet learned that there can be a kind of beauty in learning to wait well."

"Most of all, I know from God’s Word that everything He does is for our good and His glory.  I’ve had to learn to be content in knowing that God is working all things for my good, whether or not He answers my “why.” 

"Without even being asked, Pastor came over with a damp towel and began cleaning my hand, removing all traces of the blood and the mess. His quiet, unassuming manner and the way in which he simply served where needed gave me a powerful picture of Christ washing His disciples’ feet.

Washing my bloody hand wasn’t a pleasant job; I’m not sure I could have done it for someone else in my place. But it was, once again, a clear reminder that no matter how yucky life is, the Lord is there, revealing Himself in ways I’d never dream of."

"Here on Earth, it doesn’t matter whether or not we learn the answers to our questions.  What matters is that we keep our eyes on Christ, that we trust Him to hold whatever answers we seek, and that we wait with patience when He chooses not to immediately reveal those answers." 

Friends, I don't know what you are going through, and I am not going to pretend I have all the answers. Neither does Julie. But God does. And I firmly believe that God blessed Julie's writing of this book, and I believe it will be (and has already been) a blessing to others.

God really does have a plan, even when we cannot see it. God really does offer His peace to us no matter what we are going through- we just need to reach out and grab it. God really does prepare us in advance for all that will come at us. And there is always reason to praise God in the hallway!

If you are interested in Julie's book, A Place Prepared, you can click this link to get your copy. She is awesome, her book is awesome, and you won't regret buying it!

God is worthy of praise always. He prepares us for everything that happens to us in life and he has a plan even when we don't understand.