With Good Friday being today and Easter Sunday just around the bend, our hearts are feeling the weight of Jesus’ sacrifice for us and we feel called to share a little Holy Week message with ya’ll.
When we say the weight of His sacrifice, it encompasses the unimaginable suffering that He went through on our behalf, as well as the complete faithfulness of God toward us, the endless love Jesus has for us, and the outstanding gift of grace that we’ve been given as children of God.
It takes my breath away in a God-fearing way every Easter, since it is a very intentional time to focus on this sacrifice. Easter calls us to remember that Jesus died so we could be free! May we live life daily with this truth on our hearts and in our minds, living freely and loving others like He loves us.
Time is a precious gift and Easter reminds us to make the most of the days He has given us out of his love and mercy. He died so we could live for Him (2 Corinthians 5;15), which is more than enough reason to wake up praising him and live to glory of God each and every day. Thank you, Jesus, for loving us sacrificially, unconditionally, and faithfully. We love you!
I am so excited to have a dear friend of mine, Audrey Roloff, featured on LSK today. Auj and her husband, Jeremy, have written a book that everyone should read ASAP! Married, engaged, dating, or single, A Love Letter Life is a read that will speak to everyone’s heart, encouraging all to pursue creatively, date intentionally, and love faithfully. Relationships are such a precious gift from the Lord and we are called to love others as Jesus loves us. We promise you that Audrey and Jeremy’s love story will display God’s love for His children and inspire you to love well, thanks to Jesus’ love for us and how He equips us in relationship.
*Let’s chat about the inspiration behind this book. Was it something that had been on your and Jeremy’s hearts for a while?
AR: I’ve always wanted to write a book, it’s definitely a big God dream for me. I’ve always loved writing, journaling, blogging and am so passionate about relationships, from dating to marriage. Jeremy and I definitely have a similar heartbeat for relationships and the idea of writing a book as a way to walk alongside others in relationship by encouraging creativity, intentionality, and faithfulness felt really natural and made us both really excited.
*I love the book’s description of “Pursue Creatively, Date Intentionally, and Love Faithfully.” This captures the journey of meeting someone, getting to know them, and loving them like Jesus loves us. From your experience, what would you say is the most important purpose of this process?
AR: To us, pursuit, dating, and loving aren’t so much a process (as in one stops and the other starts), but more so a package deal where all three things are part of the whole love story, from the beginning until forever. Jeremy is still doing all three of these things: pursuing me, dating me, and loving me. Just because we are married, doesn’t mean the pursuing and dating stops! That is what we really hope to convey to couples and individuals, that pursuing creatively, dating intentionally, and loving faithfully are core healthy aspects for a wonderful relationship. As Jeremy says, they are beautiful ingredients for a beautiful love story. The adjectives there are super important, too: creatively, intentionally, and faithfully. This is how our God loves us, so we are to love others in the same way.
*Let’s talk faith! Can you explain your point of view in the importance of being with someone who loves the Lord with all their heart? How big of a part did Jeremy’s love for God have in your attraction, interest, and love for Jeremy?
AR: Huge part! I had a very high standard for who the person I was going to be with would be. Loving the Lord with their whole heart was a must when it came to a potential relationship. I met Jeremy at a time when he was in a slight season of spiritual complacency, so friendship first for us was definitely the Lord preparing us and protecting us to love one another better. There was no pressure when we were friends before dating and we are both so thankful for that season, because the season of friendship allowed us to follow Jesus so strongly individually, and then come together in a romantic sense and love one another intentionally and purposefully.
*You two discuss friendship as the basis for a love relationship a lot in this book which is so amazing. Jeremy puts it so beautifully in the book: “We were careful with one another because we didn’t want to mess it up. The friendship we were nurturing allowed us to build the foundation for a love story without getting lost in a cloud of emotions from physical intimacy.” Yes and amen to that! Can you elaborate on why you and Jeremy felt called to be careful with one another and why you believe this truth to be so key when dating? Immediately it makes me think of Proverbs 4:23- “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.”
AR: This goes back to the question above and just how important the friendship season was for us. As I said, it was definitely preparation and protection from God which I am so thankful for. We were careful with one another and took it slow because we didn’t want to mess it up. We both messed up before with previous relationships and we didn’t want to go there. Friendship truly was our solid foundation for our relationship and allowed us to stay grounded and patient as our love story took root and then unfolded.
*When I think of your and Jeremy’s love story, I think of a seed being steadily nourished, growing into a delicate sapling, then strengthening into a blooming, healthy plant; one that is thriving and flourishing as you are nurtured through each other by the fruits of the Holy Spirit. How would you describe thriving and flourishing in marriage?
AR: Oh man, great question. I would say thriving and flourishing in marriage for Jeremy and I looks like us pursuing one another constantly, pushing one another to follow Jesus steadfastly, connecting with one another regularly, communicating well, and believing that there are always more ways to love and serve one another. Back to your plant reference, plants need different things at different times of the year, so knowing that thriving and flourishing for us is going to look different at different times of the year really brings us peace and keeps us going.
*Last but not least, we gotta hear what it is like to work and write a book with your husband!
AR: I absolutely love working together with Jeremy and wouldn’t trade it for the world. We get to do life together, completely, and we both love that. Of course we have challenges to work through together and we do that, but it might look different compared to couples who don’t work together. It definitely puts us in a place where we can’t avoid conflict, so we are quick to address it and quick to resolve it! It is such a blessing though to be on mission together and working toward the same goal, it is the best thing for us as a husband and wife team and keeps pushing us to grow, both individually and as a union.
Thanks, Auj! xo
Shop their book, here:
To read more faith posts on LSK, click here, and for more interviews, click here.
If you follow me on The Clean Stuff, you probably saw this post featuring a quote from Dr. Cole: “Stress is the sugar of the soul. It wrecks your health from the inside out.” As I said on Instagram, TRUTH.
I think sometimes we forget how stress truly can wreck havoc on our health. I thought of this recently when I was feeling a little off: sometimes it isn’t a matter of something I ate that might not be sitting right with me, or a supplement I need to take. Sometimes that “off” feeling is simply stress. Stress is powerful, yes, but there is good news; it doesn’t have to hold power over us.
Instead of being scared of stress, I am practicing the act of acknowledging it and riding the wave through it. I am finding that this is a better approach than panicking and then fighting against it, which takes up too much energy and normally just causes more stress! Kind of funny how that works 🙂
To me, riding the wave of a stressful season is giving myself grace when things slip through the cracks, calling out to God when I need the extra boost of strength and encouragement, sharing with loved ones how I am feeling so they can speak truth over me, and always remembering that my worth is not found in what I get done in a day; my worth is found in the fact that I am a daughter of the most high God and completely loved by Him forever.
A little over a year ago, we put this post up on the blog about 10 ways to relieve stress and it is a good one to always come back to. This line is especially worth sharing again: One thing that always gives me peace during a time of stress is remembering that it is temporary. God doesn’t want us to be trapped in stress.
Take a deep breath, fill up a bath, turn on worship music, get a good laugh (and sometimes a good cry), and know that everything is okay. Even if it takes you a little longer than expected to get unstuck from stress, keep taking one day at a time, finding refuge in Him. He’s got you!
Alright, clean beauty lovers, today is a BIG day. We have no other than the founder of Follain, Tara Foley, with us to chat all about clean beauty and skincare. Specifically, Tara is going to be covering the transition from toxic to toxin-free; a journey that is so important but can feel overwhelming. Don’t fret though, Tara’s approach to the transition is practical, achievable, and so worth it.
One of the many things that I love about Follain is their belief that clean products aren’t to only be praised for the ingredients they don’t include (i.e. toxic ones!), but celebrated for the nourishing, nutrient-rich ingredients they do include. It isn’t enough to only eliminate the bad stuff; the replacement ingredients must be of utmost quality because those minerals and vitamins are what your skin is really wanting to soak up. With that in mind, we are going to hand it over to Tara to talk more about the clean beauty journey.
5 Steps for Kick-Starting Your Clean Beauty Journeywith Tara Foley, founder & ceo of Follain
When I first met Lauren Scruggs Kennedy, I was immediately impressed by her deep knowledge and passion for clean living. We share this passion and also love promoting the importance of clean living to as many women (and men!) as possible. I was beyond honored when Lauren suggested that you’d like to hear from me about how to switch over to a clean beauty routine!
To begin, I want to put it out there that I know how hard it can be to know where to start, when switching to cleaner beauty products—and it can be even harder to decode product labels that contain buzzwords like “natural,” “organic,” and “non-toxic.”
I opened Follain in 2013 to create a destination for beautiful, high-performing, and truly clean skincare products. When you shop with us, you don’t have to worry about confusing labels, because we’ve vetted every single product long before it makes it onto our shelves and our website. In fact, we have an always evolving restricted ingredient list that we maintain with input from scientists, dermatologists, and other experts. We also put all products through a rigorous approval process, meaning the team and I test them out over several weeks to make sure they live up to their promises and will work wonders for your skin.
If you’re like me, you use A LOT of products, and it would be overwhelming to swap them all at once. That’s why I always recommend thinking about what you use most often and the most of. Those are the best products you should switch out first. Here are 5 categories to consider switching early on, as you start your clean beauty journey.
Conventional deodorants are usually antiperspirants, designed to clog pores and block sweat, rather than allow your body do what it was designed to when your temperature rises: sweat! Clean deodorants won’t stop you from sweating (which is a good thing), but they typically include essential oils to kill odor-causing bacteria and moisture-absorbers such as baking soda or cornstarch.
Many conventional cleansers contain SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), an additive that makes products foam up; however, it’s thought to contribute to a bunch of health problems. I don’t think the foam is worth the risk—and it’s definitely not doing anything for skin. In fact, SLS can be irritating and trigger allergies. Natural and non-toxic cleansers opt for clays, oils, and plant extracts to get you squeaky clean while nourishing your skin, too. If you need help finding the best cleanser for your skin, try our matchmaker tool!
Hand & Body Soap
Since you use soap and body wash all over, this is an important swap to make. I’m partial to our Follain Hand & Body Soap, which is gentle enough to be used for just about everything. If you’re a fan of bar soap, though, there are a bunch of clean options that take your dad’s old-fashioned bar to the next level. With the beautiful essential oils and a soft lather of non-toxic soaps, you’ll never want to go back to your old shower routine.
Since you probably use your facial moisturizer twice a day, this is a good candidate for a clean swap. Traditional formulas can contain fillers, preservatives, and chemically derived emulsifiers. The best thing about their clean counterparts—and clean skincare in general—is that they replace those fillers with ingredients that actually make a difference for your skin and can help you target your skincare concerns. It can be hard to figure out which moisturizer is right for you, but at Follain, we created a our skin quiz to solve this problem. By answering a few questions, you’ll get recommendations for a personalized routine from our selection of high-performing favorites.
Conventional moisturizers often include petroleum derivatives, which are touted for their ability to seal in moisture. But there are plenty of safe and wholesome alternatives that will feed your skin. I’m personally a big fan of body oils, which is why I’m so excited about Follain’s new Instant Glow Body Oil. We crafted it from 10 oils and it comes in a spray bottle, so it’s easy to apply. But if oil isn’t for you, there are plenty of lotions, butters, and balms that will do the trick, without any of the nasty stuff!
In my personal opinion, the best part about making the switch to cleaner beauty is that these products are so much more enjoyable to use than conventional products! Their beautiful nourishing ingredients make you feel like you’re doing something super healthy for yourself–because you are!
As you have more questions when making the switch to cleaner products, we’re here and happy to help! Thanks for reading and enjoy the journey!
Let’s talk water. First off, having clean drinking water is such a blessing and my prayer is that clean drinking water becomes more available in developing countries where it is not as accessible as it is here in the States. The Water Project is a great charity on the mission of making clean drinking a reality in African countries. If you are passionate about this cause, definitely check them out and prayerfully consider a monetary contribution.
Water is essential to wellness. Drinking enough water allows us to thrive, function and feel our best. When it comes to my personal water intake, I drink at a minimum 120 oz a day. If I have a particularly hard workout and sweat a lot, that amount will be more. Investing in a quality water filtering system is a good idea to ensure water purity, so we use the Kangen filter at home. It is definitely an investment but one of the most important ones you can make. Not to mention, it gives options for different alkaline levels, supplies beauty water for washing your hair and face, and offers acidic water for cleaning dishes and disinfecting countertops!
For water on the go, I love using a glass water bottle that I can refill with filtered water. When I don’t have a glass bottle with me, the bottled water brand that I always reach for is Essentia. Essentia water is supercharged ionized alkaline water that is proven to hydrate more effectively. As you can tell from the images above, it’s my go-to! #notsponsored
As we all know, this past Friday was International Women’s Day. It was such a special day on social media, seeing everyone celebrate women in their life! Of course every single day is a day to celebrate those in our lives, but having a specific day to celebrate women is so awesome.
I woke up on Friday feeling so compelled to not only celebrate women, but also the men who walk alongside us, encourage our femininity and passions, and who help us become the best version of ourselves: the women God created us to be! As women, there are always men in our lives (dads, brothers, husbands, significant others…) who are cheering us on and loving us, which is a support system that I am so thankful for.
I was challenged from a friend a few months ago with the idea that it is part of our role as women to encourage men and support them, too. We often feel that chivalry is dead, but what can we as women do to help keep it alive? Chivalry is a beautiful, instinctual truth and should be encouraged.
As women, we should ask ourselves if we shut men down because we don’t want to accept help, are wanting to prove that we are capable of being independent, and are potentially bitter toward past hurts or resentments. Something as little as accepting help from a man to carry our bags out to our car at the grocery store empowers men to be gentlemen and simultaneously empowers our femininity. It is such a beautiful interaction of God’s creation in everyday life!
A day dedicated to celebrating women is a reminder for me to take seriously my responsibility to fully celebrate other women in my life who I admire, love, and respect, as well as celebrate the men in my life who I also admire, love, and respect. It is so important that we all strive for unity, pray diligently for each other, and show grace toward ourselves and others through our thoughts, words, and actions.
To conclude, I am just feeling so thankful this week. Thankful for the beautiful, inspiring women in my life who I am constantly learning so much from, and thankful for the solid men in my life who have supported and empowered me in the most beautiful of ways.