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Friday, November 30, 2012

Wonder


It’s the last Five Minute Friday of the 2012.  I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo and hundreds of other amazing faith sisters (and maybe a brother or two) today.  We’ll let our fingers fly for five minutes without the pressure of getting it right.  No editing (ok a few spelling goofs), no over thinking – just fun.  Then, because encouragement is a superpower, I’ll go read and comment on the post linked up before mine – and many others. 

Here are my five minutes on:  WONDER


You forget how it can be new every year.  After all, can’t you just sit back in a chair, close your eyes and picture it all lit up – even in August.  But to a small child, it’s right there on their face.  

The first time the lights are plugged in and the hands are pulled down from the eyes.

Wonder!

The mouth is open – to taste the peppermint and sweetness of the holiday that is floating in the air. 

The eyes are two full moons with the darkest black hole centers taking in every twinkle and sparkle and glitter.

The ears are perked.  They are listing for the slightest jingle of sleigh bells – even though it will be weeks.

When does this wonder start to fade?  Is it in the long lines at the stores?

Is it in the traffic that Will. Not. Move!

What about the wonder in the everyday?  Have we become so dulled to the wonderful that we need a spectacle to behold it?

Would we have beheld wonder in a dirty stable and a poor unwed mom’s little baby – or looked on in pity?

Where is my sense of wonder now?

Time.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. 
Luke 2:11-20 – ESV


Tomorrow is the first day of December and we will start going through Truth in the Tinsel by Amanda White of Oh Amanda.  See that cute candle ornament?  That’s from last year.  This year we will be using the new printable ornaments.  Get your own copy of the ebook and printable ornaments just by clicking.  This is an affiliate link and I thank you for your support.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

FREE Printable Ornaments for Truth in the Tinsel

The offer for the free ornaments has expired, but you still have time to get your copies to start your Advent celebration December 1.  All links have been fixed.  Sorry if you had trouble earlier.


So, I know I’ve already written some about how to be prepared for this big shopping weekend and truly, month, that is ahead of us, but I need to give you a little more good information.  I’ve also already mentioned the adorable Advent book for children called Truth in the Tinsel.


This is a bit of Black Friday awesomeness that is anything but dark, harried and overly aggressive.  As a matter of fact it’s a gift that is going to make next month even easier. 

The lovely Amanda, of Oh Amanda, has a treat for you!  If you buy Truth in the Tinsel on FRIDAY ONLY you will receive the printable ornaments FREE!!  Yes, FREE.  The ebook is $7.99 and the ornaments are normally $3.99.  The printable ornaments are new this year.  I admit that there were days last year that I just knew there was no way my little guy who was nearly 3 could make the crafts.  We also travel and that threw everything off, too.  This gets rid of all the crafty messiness and leaves just a little picture on a circle to color, glue together and hang.  EASY!


Folks, this is like getting the book for half price!  You aren’t going to find a lot of 50% off deals Friday unless you show up at 7:45 Thursday night and sit out in the cold in your lawn chair to be first through the door.

This year, Truth in the Tinsel is also available en EspaƱol – La Verdad en el Oropel.  The printable ornaments will work with this edition as well.  What an amazing way to reach a whole huge part of the world!! It is the same price at $7.99 Please spread the word.

When placing your order there is no need to add the ornaments in your cart.   As a matter of fact, if you do add them you will be charged and are nonrefundable.  The link for the ornaments will be in your purchase email.  There will be detailed instructions on the ordering page here:

So remember…  FRIDAY ONLY order your copy of Truth in the Tinsel and get the printable ornaments FREE.  Be ready on December 1st to start counting down to the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior.



Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link and I get a small commission from each purchase.  Thanks.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Come, Sit and Stay


Five Minute Friday

It’s Friday, my day to set aside five minutes for playing with words.  I see what word the lovely Lisa-Jo has for me, set a timer, and run free across the keyboard.   No overthinking, no editing, just free.  When 5 minutes are up I stop.  I try to find a picture and put it on here for the entire world to read.  After that, I link up at her website with amazing women, and occasionally a brave guy or two, and go read.  I read the one who linked up before me and leave some encouragement in the comments.  I can’t stop myself and just keep going like a kid in a candy store.

Now that you know what to do would you like to join me?

Here is my Five Minute Friday offering on: STAY

Photo Credit


This week at my CBS (Community Bible Study) Ellen Vaughn spoke to us for a few minutes.  She has written several books and was telling us about her newest one – Come, Sit, Stay.

This book is an exhortation to Come to the feet of Jesus, Sit at His feet in study, and to Stay – a continual coming back and staying in His presence.

Staying is hard sometimes, especially the staying that requires effort.  I can stay on the couch no problem, but that requires so little of me.

Staying in contact with an old friend – that takes work.

Staying on track with exercise or eating – that takes work.

Staying committed to daily spending time with Jesus – that takes work.

The first two are hard enough, but the third is a target.  We are constantly under attack to keep this one from happening which makes it all the more important.

Time!

P.S. - if you look closely you might just find me on Lisa-Jo's post today.  ;)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Holiday Shopping Preparedness

Photo credit

PREPAREDNESS: it’s a word we’ve heard all too often over the past few weeks.  Generally, this word comes with a sense of some impending doom whether it is a major storm or your financial future.  But what if we could turn this all around?  I want to redeem this word for a more positive use.

I want you to be fully prepared to DO GOOD this holiday season.  How?

SHOPPING!!

Yes, I am telling you to shop.  This from the person who just finished reading 7 by Jen Hatmaker and is trying to figure out how to cut back on almost everything.  However, the one thing we should never cut back on is GOOD.  Generosity is the aspect of good I’m going to prepare you for now.

I’m not going to tell you that you need to triple your budget to be more generous.  In fact, you might even save a little more than expected with this.  Look how I’m being generous with you already.  So here we go.

First, I want you to go to Pure Charity and install their browser plug-in for the computer you will use for shopping.  If you are like me, you may use multiple browsers.  Install all that you need.  If you use Chrome you will find this by searching their Extensions – these seem to be like apps that you would use on a smart phone. (Obviously, this is NOT a techie blog.)

You will want to register on the Pure Charity site and look around.  You will find that there are a number of projects all around the world that you can support. There is specific information about the financial needs of each project, how many others are supporting the project and how 
many lives will be reached.

I chose to support the treatment of child malnutrition in Somalia through Project Peanut Butter as a Ready-to-use-Therapeutic Food with $5 that I was given for registering at the Allume Social conference.  Peanut Butter is a staple in this house.  This was something that held deep personal meaning for me.

PureCharity was a sponsor and where I learned about this amazing opportunity to do good in and for the world by simply shopping.  Now that I have the plug-ins installed I can continue to support projects at over 1000 partner businesses.  I need new windshield wipers for my ride.  I can order them from Auto Zone, use a coupon provided, save some money and help feed a child (or fund a microfinance loan, or pay for a sewing machine…).

Now, you will want to shop. You know you are going to do it anyway.  Why not make an impact at the same time.  Double dip by purchasing from charitable companies, like TOMS shoes that have partnered with Pure Charity. 

It’s all GOOD!

Cyber Monday and Black Friday can be about so much more than pure consumerism. 
It can be PURE CHARITY!!  

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 NIV


Please let me know that you have registered in the comments.  I’d also love to know which project(s) you were interested in.  Thank you so much.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Week Without Words



It feels as if it has been an eternity since my fingers touched these keys.  Nothing of any substance has entered my brain that I can even stretch into a sentence worth sharing.

I have some free time right now and I thought I would do what everyone who writes is encouraged to do – JUST WRITE.

The last three weeks have felt like months.  How could so many things have happened in such a short time?  I’ve been elated, left powerless, and at times been driven.  Although that “driven” refers to the 18 hours of time spent on interstates and doesn’t accomplish much other than getting from one location to another. 

It has all left me a little weary, uninspired, and without words.


At first there was a spark that seemed poised to become a roaring fire that could be tended to and sustained.  Then life happened and even the embers hidden under the ashes grew cold.  At that point, all that can be done is to take out the old ashes, find dry kindling, a match and start over.  The thing is, you have to know when to start the fire.  You can’t start it and walk away again expecting it to just grow.

So here I am with my bucket and shovel trying not to make a mess of it all.  I’ll sweep up, check my schedule and see if it’s a good time to reignite.  There’s nothing better than a good, strong crackling fire.

There’s not much worse than trying to start a fire too quickly and having your house fill up with smoke setting off every alarm.  Who wants to have to open every window and door in the cold just to clear the air?

So I’m going to let the dust settle and take a little trip out to the woodshed.  I’m going to be collecting my thoughts and all of the information I have that I want to share.  There’s lots of really good stuff you need to know about.  I want to do it justice.  The organizations, programs, and people involved deserve the best I have to offer. 

Until then, start rounding up your marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers to enjoy all the goodness out there.  You’re gonna want to be ready.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Being a Jonathan and the Giveaway Winner


Thanks to all of you who entered my Stella & Dot giveaway.  We have a winner: Linda from Tender Allure!!! Check her out and say hello.  I’ll be sending her the lovely Light Bracelet as soon as it arrives.  This was fun and I hope to be able to bless more readers in the future.

Thanks also to those of you who placed an order and helped support my wonderful friend Sharon and also the Stella & Dot foundation.  I hope you are happy with what you found.

I love encouraging my friends in their endeavors.  I know how much your encouragement has meant to me over these past 7 months.

If I haven’t mentioned it lately, I want to be sure that each of you understand how much I appreciate the time you take to read my words and leave your own in the comments.  Community and friendship are so important to me.  I have been blessed beyond imagination with the relationships I have had over my lifetime in real life and online.  I seem to have a knack at attracting some pretty amazing people into my little world.


Photo credit


I have been challenged as of late to become a “Jonathan”, to reach outside of my normal sphere to interact and to cultivate friendships that wouldn’t normally occur, or to interact with those I don’t necessarily agree with on different issues.  Taking Jesus as my example, I want to forfeit my reputation in order to reach out to others.  This is a big step, but one that is worth taking.  I’m not sure how this will all happen, but I’m keeping my eyes and ears open for any opportunity.



How have you been challenged to step out in an unfamiliar way?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Letter C




The letter C plays a huge role in my life.  You might even say that it is Central to who I am as a person.  If you look at my email address you will read amyctilson@gmail.com. My Twitter handle is @ACTilson.  My initials tell me to ACT!  I think that’s pretty cool.  I also don’t think that is by coincidence.

I love to think and plan, but I often forget the most important part.  I leave the follow-through part out of the equation.  I need to be constantly reminded to do something – to act.

I was privileged to meet and hear Darren Rowse speak at the Allume conference at the end of October.  Darren, also known to many as ProBlogger, titled his address “From Little Things Big Things Grow”.  Two of his main points for me were to firstly, be myself and secondly, to watch for my sparks.  Sparks are those things that give me energy, you will gather around, or are promptings from God.  This conference that I planned to attend originally as a spectator has given me so much potentially life-changing information.  But what I need to do is ACT on that information. 

Being the crazy person that I am, these have all seemed to stem from that charming curvaceous consonant that sits contentedly at the center of my name – C!  I think that these things are where I need to focus my energy and my work here in this space.  The easiest way for me to share this with you is in a list.  It may seem long, but there is a lot of overlap in my mind from these.  Bear with me as I put it out there for you:

Christ

Community

Charity

Coffee
Chocolate
Creativity
Care
Communication
Conscious Consumerism (yes, this one took a little bit of thinking to come up with)


Moving forward, I hope that I am able to engage both your mind and heart with all that I share.  I ask for grace to occasionally wander from these – especially on Fridays.  It is also my hope that if you know me you will see the cohesion of this list with my personality.  If you are just getting to know me, I hope that this will give you a clearer idea of who I really am.

As a side note, this also leaves some room for comedy and confession - two things that I love and need as well.

This is a culmination of much thought and prayer since the Allume Social conference.  It’s taken a while to process, and I’m sure there is much to be learned about my true purpose, but it’s a start.  And what I really need to just ACT on it!

What sparks are you noticing in your life that you need to act upon?

Gratefully linking up with Debi at Funki Planet and Mary Beth at New Life Steward




Thankful today for my rights and freedoms in this great nation.




Friday, November 2, 2012

These Roots Run Deep



Five Minute Friday
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3.
 And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
Oh and Ahem, if you would take pity and turn off comment verification, it would make leaving some love on your post that much easier for folks! – Lisa Jo



My roots go down deep, deep to the core of the earth through the limestone and granite and shale of these mountains.  The rough hard stone covered by grass and laurel and tree.  

The wildflowers that spring up and the creeks that run swift are my cousins.
We sing with strings and dance with flat feet across board porches and through cow pastures.  

Crawdads become children’s prey and dandelion fluff our arrows of war.  Grapevines swing us out into the unknown.

The smells of honeysuckle and ham from the smokehouse take me back to my roots.  Any old brushfire with hickory switches will do to transport me to my mountains.  A blue place filled with mist and light and snow in June.

My roots give me the strength and fire of a tent revival preacher to reach up to the heavens.  

High.



Thankful today for my extended family that I can always return to back home.




Thursday, November 1, 2012

Allume Recap: What I've Learned Thus Far


I can’t begin to tell you all that has been going on in my mind since this time last week.  I have driven on new roads, met so many amazing new people, and had so many new thoughts.  All this newness has me spinning and scheming.  I’m trying to make sense of it all and determining how to settle it all down into relationships and words and projects. 

Some of the responsible parties for this space existing! The Better Writers!


I’ve laughed, taken notes, hugged, mugged, and cried.  There may have even been some ugly crying – IN PUBLIC!  Some may have even happened on videotape that might be shown to thousands of others.  I experienced to full range of me last weekend.  I think many others also experienced the full range of me, too.  Bet you weren’t prepared for that if you were the recipient!  I hope though that none of it came as a shock.

I hope that I was exactly who people expected.  

If not, then I need to do some serious self-examination on the places that I am wearing a mask or putting on a show.

I was asked by one speaker, “Am I going to be a learner?”  Would I take everything I’d been given and put it to use?  When I showed her the title of my blog she said, “What a horrible name!  Now you HAVE to do it.”

Here are a few of the things I learned:

Bloggers with more readers are just that.  They aren’t bigger bloggers.  They don’t have stylists or entourages; they stand outside their hotel room at night in pajamas and bare feet.  Their jeans get faded and frayed.  They show the same enthusiasm for seeing the distant, separated friendships shrink to mere inches.  Some may even be as excited to meet you as you are to meet them.  (This was a huge shock and one that had me totally taken aback.)

Only truly good words come when good time is spent in The Word.  I can’t write out of a life that is hanging on by a thread and my own efforts.  That is a poor reflection of a life and will show dimly.  This doesn’t mean that life has to be easy and cheerful, but it does need to be lived out grounded on knees and scripture.

I need to do the hard work before me.  This includes the dishes and laundry, but also includes planning, clarifying my purpose, and being diligent to provide something worthy of your time.  This work will require all of me – mind, body and spirit.  Pray that I am up to the challenge.

There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything that crosses my mind to do, and some of that time needs to be given to those tasks that I don’t want to think about.  Priorities need to be set and followed.  Only then will I have freedom to be flexible.


Many more will take the shape of my words, plans, and daily life and will be known only be me, but will affect all that you see from me.  I have much more to process and this is all I’m really able to share with you now. 

I want to begin November with an offering of daily thanks.  This day I am thankful for having come through a week of extreme highs and lows and still standing with my feet on the firm foundation that is Christ and His love in times of storm and times of refreshing.

What have you learned lately that is changing your life in some way?  What are you giving thanks for today?

Linking up at Debi at FunkiPlanet.com with all the other amazing Allume gals.