a bit of Christmas Spirit!

I know, I know – it is not even Thanksgiving and we are already talking about Christmas.   I have actually already started purchasing gifts, but for me thats a budget thing – I spread it out September-December and its better on my budget.  However, I’m not actually talking about getting into the Christmas spirit, I’m talking about Christmas spirit the wonderfully scented essential oil from Young Living.   This month, you can get a free bottle of Christmas Spirit oil when you purchase your premium starter kit (PSK).  There is no obligation to sell – EVER.   The kit is the easiest and most cost effective way to get a diffuser AND 11 amazing oils.   When you purchase your PSK in November, I will also send you a bottle of oil of your choice (up to $20) AND a welcome package containing some fun goodies to get you started.   In addition to all those goodies, you also get access to education and leaders who want to help you learn to use your oils, and fall in love with them like we did!


I started with oils because I wanted a healthier alternative for traditional medicines.  We have found relief from allergies, without the side effects of traditional allergy medicine.  My kids love oils for helping them fall asleep, for taking care of “itchies” (bug bites), and so much more.  We use oils, and oil infused products everyday and I cannot imagine my life without them.

Let’s talk about how oils can be used in your home!  Just send me a note, or find me on facebook!



favorite tunes

I know I am always posting about how I am obsessed with a new song that has come out – but this one y’all – this one is amazing.  It is a compilation of three songs of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again,” and Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.”   It was recorded for the 50th anniversary of the CMA awards.   Thirty country artists from newcomers Kacey Musgraves up to legends like Dolly Parton, Charlie Pride and Ronnie Milsaps all were chosen to participate, and all those who did are CMA award winners.   Even Randy Travis, who could not sing due to complications from a stroke was seen sitting at a cafe, because he is such a legendary country singer.   The song went to #1 on country charts, which gave each artist a #1 hit to their name.  How cool is that?

The video was shot in front of a green screen in Nashville, and is just incredible.  I love seeing how they blended it all together!   Enjoy!


envy & substance

Scrolling through facebook the other day, I glanced at Jake and said “so and so is going up to the mountains”.  He rolled his eyes and said “I hate them sometimes.”   I nodded and kept scrolling.   Was I jealous – absolutely.  We had wanted to go up to the mountains, and just hadn’t been able to make it work this summer.  We wanted a romantic weekend away one weekend. Another weekend we wanted to go apple picking with the kids – like I got to do last fall.  But the money wasn’t there, and we just stayed home.

I think sometimes we get too focused on the “wants” and less focused on what’s right in front of us.  We had a bye weekend from football 2 weeks ago. We had looked and planned for a weekend away, Charleston, Asheville – anywhere but here.  Hotels were outrageous, and well – a hurricane happened to stroll on through the weekend prior.  We stayed home, we did housework, and watched way too many episodes of Quantico and we just enjoyed each other.   We had family dinners with the kids, and played.  We did things with substance – things that really, really matter.  We spent time together as a family.  I’m not saying that being frivolous and running off for a weekend away isn’t substance – but…..

The bible tells us in James 3:15: Wherever there is jealousy and rivalry, there is disorder and every kind of evil.   We were jealous of what another was getting to do, and it was creating disorder in our hearts.  I don’t wish evil on them and I sure as heck don’t wish evil on ourselves.  It does also make me wonder, are those folks truly happy?  They put out this great image all the time all over social media, going here and there – and sometimes it seems like bragging.   I am all for bragging on Jake when he does something great, because I think he does deserve the credit.  However, maybe I need to do less of the public bragging – and more telling him how much I appreciate him.

Sometimes that green-eyed monster pops up and we wallow a bit in the “why can’t we…” mess.  We vent a little, and go about our lives.  Because in reality at the end of the day – what others do and don’t do in their own lives doesn’t matter.  What matters is how we are living each and every day.





Swagbucks & Target

If you shop at Target a lot, you can get $6 in gift cards (paid out in SB points) when you get approved for the Target REDCard. When you use that card, you also get 5% off, free shipping & 30 extra days for returns when you shop with your REDCard.

The 600 SB points will credit immediately!  This is a limited time offer – to get the $6 bonus, you need to complete the offer before Saturday, October 22nd!  Click here to get started.

If you’re already a Swagbucks member, be sure to use the same info that you have in your Swagbucks account when you apply. If you’re not a member yet, sign up for Swagbucks using the link above and when you complete the offer, you’ll earn a $3 (300 SB) bonus that will be applied to your account in the beginning of November.

That means you’ll have at least $9 worth of SB points!Haven’t heard of Swagbucks? It’s a site where you earn points (called SB) for doing things you already do online, like shopping, watching videos, and discovering deals like this one. Then you turn those points into PayPal cash or gift cards from places like Target, Amazon, Walmart, Starbucks, and more!

I have written a few posts about Swagbucks, check them out here:




Seed to Seal

I have had a few people ask me lately why I chose to use Young Living Essential oils versus other brands or “just buy something off Amazon”.  Well, when you are going to be putting something into your system, whether its topically or breathing it in, I want to know where it comes from.  Are their pesticides used when they cultivate the plants?  How much control does the oil company have over the process, to ensure that only quality items go into the oils?    When I found Young LIving, I had many friends who were on the business side of it.  I had been using their products for about 6 months before I fully jumped and went “all in”.  I have been on the “biz side” now for a little over a year and I love it.  It gives me the ability to help people in so many ways, and I love to see the things my team has been doing.  I love how Young Living operates, with total transparency.  You want to see how an oil is made?  They will show you start to finish.  Their quality is top notch, without fillers or other low-quality oils added in.  You can believe and know that you are getting 100% PURE, non adulterated products from them!

Here is an info-graphic on how Young Living ensures that their products are the highest quality, and how they oversee their process from “Seed to Seal”



If you have questions about essential oils, or would like to just chat about how they have helped my family – I am more than happy to talk with you!  Just shoot me an email at:  vannfamily4@gmail.com

Moved to tears

Have you ever been moved to tears by a song?   I will happily raise my hand and say “yes I have” to anyone who ever asks this question.  Our praise band at church is phenomenal, and they are one of the biggest reasons we love our church!   One of the singers (I think her name is Bailey or Blakelee) is just – there are times I don’t even have words – she just has this voice that speaks to your soul when she sings.

Last weekend she sang “Spirit Move” and it wasn’t the first time she had sung it, I think it was the 2nd.  First time, you could tell she was nervous and a little shakey, but this time – this time she blew me away.  The lyrics, combined with the storm we had just experience with Hurricane Matthew, and then it being the one year anniversary of the flood that devastated our city – they spoke to me and I couldn’t help but let the tears fall.

I wish I had a video of our worship team singing, but this one by the original artist will have to do.  Enjoy.

Whatcha Watching?

So I thought I would do a little recap of the shows that Jake and I started watching this fall.  I know some of them haven’t started yet, and one we are still catching up on from last season, BUT – there is 1 that we agree we will never miss!



I started watching this during the “hurricane break” we had last week.  I went through 17 episodes in 3 days and I think I have 5 left in season 1.  Then we can start watching this season.  It is so good!  You have to pay attention, but not in a “if you miss 2 seconds you will be lost”  (like Scandal is).  It keeps you thinking, and just when you think you have it figured out – boom (literally boom, there are alot of bombs in this).

The characters are interesting and there is some eye candy (both for the ladies and the gents!).





p12900254_b_v8_aaThis is Us

If you guys are not watching this, stop right now and go find it.  This is so, so good.  Jake and I recorded it, and didnt end up watching it for 2 weeks after the pilot aired.  It is sweet, and there have been a few times I have teared up.

Many people are comparing it to Parenthood.  I never watched Parenthood, but I have heard wonderful things about it. Mandy Moore does an amazing job, and I have loved Sterling K. Brown since he was in Army Wives.  He is a wonderfully talented actor.

This airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. – its amazing, watch it now – just do it!

Other Shows

Kevin Can Wait – Jake started watching this and wasn’t too impressed.  He said he would give it one more episode, and then if it didn’t improve he was done.

American Housewife – I love Katy Mixon from when she was the ditzy sister in Mike & Molly.  She is even better in this, and its funny.  I kept nodding my head thinking “yep, that’s real life” and “oh damn, did she just say that?”.    I haven’t heard much positive about this though, but we thought it was hysterical.

Designated Survivor – I think we have this recording, but since the cable box decided to take a crap on us – not sure if any were saved.  We plan on watching the first few episodes this weekend when we have some extra free time.

Good Witch – I have loved this series on Hallmark Channel since it was just a movie series.  I watched the first season on my lunch breaks over the last few months, and I have been catching up on season 2 in the evenings after the kids go to bed.  Unfortunately, season 2 isn’t on Netflix yet, so I have resorted to watching the episodes on youtube.  Not the best quality, but it works.

Happiness Is…


The other morning I sent Jake a text that said:

Happiness is remembering you have a free entree item on the chickfila app.

I think one little “happy” moment like that every morning has the power to change your day for the better.   Seriously, try it sometime.

Other “happy” notes like this for me in the last few weeks have included:

Happiness is hearing your children giggle as they “fight” over cereal in the morning.

Happiness is hearing a favorite song come on the radio after you haven’t heard it in awhile.

Happiness is Tyler scaring the hell out of me even when it makes me mad in the moment.

What’s your happy this week?