She Does Justice

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One of my new favorite blogs is She Does Justice. It is a site and shop whose mission is to be: 

“an advocate for those who need one. It is a space where organizations who are working for the good of others are recognized. It is a community of people who want to show love to the ‘least of these’. A place where we strive to show those in need that they are known and loved.”

A minimum of 10% of their shop sales are donated to a different cause each month. In February, they donated 10% of their proceeds to a non-profit working to rescue girls from trafficking and in March they donated to an organization working to clean and put shoes on the feet of Ugandan children. She Does Justice also donates to families who are in the process of adoption.

I am so excited and thankful to be an affiliate for She Does Justice! If you’ll notice on the right hand side is their button, you can click on that and it will be sent to our “shop”.  For every item sold using our shop link, 25% of the sale is given to our adoption fund! The founder of this site has a huge heart for adoption as she is also pursuing an adoption in Africa! Her products are quality and they are super fun and cute! Here are a few of my favorites:

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My ‘Heart’ Country and State Canvas ($20 each)

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She Does Justice T-Shirt ($25)

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Bright Aqua Heather Scarf ($20)

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Hearts & Dots Scarf ($20)

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Ethnic Print Scarf ($20)

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Blue, Green, and Orange Swirl Headband ($12)

And those were just a few of my favorites from her site! Check out her shop and find your favorites! When you do purchase an item, make sure to thank Megan for allowing us to partner with them and help us reach our funding goal! (you can also put our names in the note box too, just to double check that it is sent to our “shop fund”)

Homemade Laundry Detergent

laundry detergent

Last night on Instagram I posted a picture of some homemade soap that I had made with a friend over a year ago. Yesterday I finally finished the 5 gallon bucket off! I’m planning on making some more today and thought I’d share the recipe with all of you! So many of you asked for the recipe last night and this morning, so here it is!!

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap
(Front or top load machine-best value)
Ingredients: 

4  Cups – hot tap water
1  Fels-Naptha soap bar*
1 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda**
½ Cup BoraxDirections: -Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)
-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)*Visit the Fels-Naptha website to find a store in your area that carries the product. I found mind at the local Wal-Mart store.
**Arm & Hammer washing soda can be found in most stores. I found it at my local Fry’s grocery store.

(This recipe comes from the Duggar Family blog)
I have a front load washer, so with each load, I used three tablespoons of the detergent. In addition to the detergent, I add Oxy-Clean to keep the whites a little brighter. I also do not use fabric softener anymore because of the toxins it contains. So instead of store-bought fabric softener, I put 3 tablespoons of vinegar in each load!
Some of you may not have room for a 5 gallon bucket near your washer, so I would recommend using a smaller Tupperware container to hold a portion of the bucket and keep the “big guns” out in the garage or in another storage area. I have space for it, so I don’t worry about that. The recipe also says you can add essential oils if you would like, but I didn’t. The scent of the Fels-Naptha bar is a very clean scent and I never noticed that my clothes smelled bad.
I have loved using this as my detergent because it’s cheap and it’s natural! If you have more questions about this detergent or are interested in more of the natural house cleaners I use, just let me know!

5 Reasons I’m Thankful for Social Media

social media

Social Media gets a bad rap these days and rightly so most of the time. It is definitely something that can distract people from the life that surrounds you. BUT today, I am so thankful for social media and the gift that it can be for people! Here are 5 reasons I am thankful for it today:

1. It allows Jason and I to stay connected to our friends and family who live all over the country and the world.

2. Our adoption story has spread to more people than I could have imagined through Facebook & Twitter. It has encouraged and challenged people I don’t even know of to pray for orphans and consider the blessing of adoption for their own family. You can read more about our adoption story here, here, and here.

3. I’ve been able to connect with like-minded ladies via the Influence Network. Which is an online community of women who want to make their online lives mean something for the kingdom of God. The Network has provided me a community of women who know much more about blogging and readership than I do to help me manage my blog more effectively. I’m so excited to continue to learn and allow this little space on the internet be an encouragement to people.

4. I’ve been able to find grants and other means of funding for our adoption through Twitter and blogs. I found the You Caring website that has our online fundraiser through connections on Twitter and that has brought in so much funding for our adoption that I was not anticipating! Click on the link to see how far along we are in our funding for our current need!

5. Similar to #3, I was able to make a connection with a young woman through the Influence Network who has a heart to help families fund their adoption! Today, over on my life (his mission)Kerry is highlighting a few families and encouraging people to check out their stories and help them reach their funding goal! We are one of those families! I have loved the connections we are making via blogging!

For those of you who came here via Kerry’s blog, welcome and thank you for checking out our life on social media!

Now I’m going to get off of social media and enjoy an evening with my husband and some friends! Take advantage of the blessing of social media, but don’t let it rule your days.

Friday Fitness Thoughts

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I wasn’t able to sleep last night, so I stayed up pondering life (sounds deep!). I realized that my blog is an offshoot of my thoughts and passions and one of my favorite things is never discussed here..my passion for fitness!

I workout at our neighborhood YMCA now that I am no longer a personal trainer. I wondered if it would be hard to get into the gym 3-4 times a week once I stopped working at the gym, but it wasn’t. I LOVE to sweat and feel like I’m going to die from a workout. It’s strange…I know 🙂

I know that my love for fitness is unique. There aren’t many woman I know who would choose to do a killer crossfit workout just for the fun of it! The other night, my hubs and I stayed up late watching a video of two of the greatest crossfit women competing in the Crossfit Games Open 13.2 and something inside made me WANT to do that. Now, I don’t want to look like Annie Throisdotter, but I’d like to have a little bit of her strength.

I was using a great crossfit resource for women who are wanting to do crossfit, but not do the heavy lifting. I enjoyed it and I saw some results, but last Friday I did the Crossfit Games 13.1 and about DIED. I knew that if I did want to get serious about crossfit, I’d have to start lifting heavier and working harder. I did that this week…I still can’t walk right or extend my arms fully! But I enjoyed it!

Tomorrow I am planning on trying 13.2. I know that I’m not where I want to be right now, but I feel like I now have a goal that I can reach! I’ll be keeping myself accountable through posting my workouts on my blog. Maybe it will encourage you to get back into the gym too?!

The big thing for me lately has been my eating habits. I am a sugar addict and know that it hinders my health in so many ways. Next week Jason and I are planning on starting the Whole30 challenge to help detox our bodies and get us back on track with our Paleo/Primal eating. Check out Whole30 and join us for this challenge! I will be linking up with a few other ladies in the blogger world who are doing it and sharing our journey on Fridays!

What are some ways that you are improving your health? Have any goals I can help encourage you in?

Joy in the Restoration #shereadstruth

(A few months ago I blogged about an online community that’s sole purpose is to help women read the Bible on a daily basis. You can read my thoughts here from that particular study.)

For the past 10 days I have been walking through the Psalms of Ascent with #shereadsruth. For those of you that don’t know where those Psalms are, check out Psalms 120-134 (I didn’t know that until just ten days ago!). These are the songs that the Israelites would sing as they journeyed back to Jerusalem for the Passover, remembering how God lead them in the desert and brought them to their promised land. It has been incredible for me to be journeying with the Israelites over the past few days. As of late, my life has been a slow, steady journey forward to the hope of including more children in our family. Reading these Psalms has opened my eyes to see what God is doing in my heart and it has been painfully beautiful.

When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
(Psalm 126 ESV)

By God’s grace, He has sustained me these past few months of paperwork, waiting, more paperwork, and more waiting. He has been so very good to keep my heart at peace. But there are days when I see a glimpse of anxiety or I see my impatience rise up in other areas of my life. It’s in those moments that I know that my heart needs a lot of kneading and sowing over the next 10 months to a year! On the #shereadstruth blog, I posted some of my thoughts from this passage. I’m going to leave you with that today. I know that not many of you are walking the same path I am of adoption. But many of you are waiting. Many of you are sowing those tears of hurt and fear and uncertainty. It’s in those times, that we can look back and see what God has done for us in the past and rejoice that He will do GREAT things for us again! We are in the desert right now, being refined and being restored, and what a glorious gift that is to know that God is working on our hearts! I pray that today as we go about our busy lives filled with so many things, we can take a moment to rest in the truth that God has done great things for us and WE ARE FILLED WITH JOY!

Psalm 126 is becoming my anthem for this season in life! As my husband & I pursue adopting our two little children from Africa, I have wavered in my belief that God can give me joy in the waiting. I’ve read this passage countless times and I have become struck by the idea of being restored. In order for something to be restored, it often goes through a painful process of being taken apart, throwing broken parts away, being ground down, and THEN finally put back together. The final product is beautiful & better than what it was before. The result is joy & thanksgiving! How much greater joy can I have at the end of the restoring process, if I rejoiced during it too! My prayer for this season is that I would rest in the peace of God and rejoice in the truth that He is working on my heart to transform me more and more like Christ so that the world might have a better picture of the awesome power and grace of our God!

Wood Family Online Fundraiser

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For the next 6 and a half weeks, Jason and I are working on reaching our goal of raising $5,000 for our next step in completing our adoption. First and foremost, we covet your prayers! If you do have the ability or feel called to give, you have two options: you can donate online by clicking the link below to take you to our online fundraising website or if you would like to give directly to us, email me at sarah.amelia.wood@gmail.com and I will send you our mailing address.

Thanks so much for being a part of our journey! We are all called to care for the orphan and the widow in some way (James 1:27), some may take this calling by adopting children. Others may help by giving to those who are adopting (there are a million other ways to be apart of this call too, these are just two options)

Wood Family Online Adoption Fundraiser