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Monday, December 17, 2012

Wrapping It Up

Just a couple things I need to tie up here at the end of this year.  This is that last time I'll be posting anything until 2013!!!

I finished my two knit dishcloths that I was making for my mom and mother in law.  They aren't perfect, but they are finished - and filled with love!!

Congratulations to Jennifer Peterson for winning the copy of "Bennie's Forever Gift"!!  It will go out tomorrow.

I'm heading out of town for the rest of the year to spend time with our families.  I hope that you have a most blessed Christmas!!

I will see you next year.  Lots of exciting things going on over the next few months.  I do hope you will join me here then!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS  and Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Dear Little Boy

Yesterday was such a tough day, wasn’t it?  We’ve had lots of those days.  Let’s face it, we’ve had a few tough years.  This learning to be momma and little boy becoming a big boy is the hard stuff.  You learned how to ride a bike much faster.  You even carried your pedal car up the basement stairs all by yourself last night – much to my amazement.

My amazement – it’s there nearly constantly.  You amaze me at every turn.  Sadly, I don’t always see my amazement as a good thing, as a God-thing.

How is it that you see straight through all my layers and complexities to my most basic defects?  You are my refiner’s fire that focuses like a laser on my weakest points.  Not only are you refining, but you are my welder.  You take your metal and fuse it into the cracks and make me stronger than the whole that was already there. Oh, but how the sparks fly and we need protection.

The burning makes me wonder how I will survive.  It drops me to my knees, face in hands, crying out for mercy with tears streaming to a loving God who knew this would all happen beforehand.  I come to the end of me and you are still going strong.  I’m dumbfounded and spent entirely, left with no answers.  I am left with hope for sleep and that I can be refilled with new, with better than what I had this day to offer.  It was a poor offering, indeed.

I woke this morning praising God that you have again blessed us with your presence and a full night’s sleep.  That makes three this week alone.  I can’t think of a better Christmas gift I’d put on any list.  I thank you profusely, offer you a high five and can’t get enough kisses on those cheeks as you sit on my lap in the midst of dressing for the day.  You have on your reindeer shirt that asks “Who needs mistletoe?”  Who, indeed?  I steal sweet sugar from my baby and 
prepare to send you off for the day.

These days I look forward to, shamefully at times, where we are apart.  I know that they are better for both of us.  Absence makes my heart grow fonder as it gets much needed maintenance.  Those welds need to be ground down and the sharp burrs removed.

Thank you for the hard and for the soft, for the tearing down and the putting back together.  I have a feeling I’m doing the same to you and hope that we both come out of this purer and stronger each day.

Love always and forever; to the moon and back,

How do you handle your hard days?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bennie’s Forever Gift {Book Review and Giveaway}

Lynne Farrell was introduced to my Community Bible Study large group gathering last week.  We happen to attend the same church where she teaches.  Given the size of our church, we had never crossed paths.  What intrigued me about Lynne was the journey surrounding this book.  The contents of 40 pages had taken years to complete and had ultimately become a lesson in obedience to God.  The obedience, more than being published, had become the focal point.  Motives were constantly evaluated and self erased from the pages at every appearance.  As a reward for the obedience Lynne’s father’s initials form the name of a main character.  One could also say that the publishing of the book is also a reward for obedience and diligence.

Through circumstances that could not have been orchestrated by man, Lynne mentioned to her friend Kathy Dache’ that she needed to find someone to do the pictures to make the book come alive.  Kathy then replied that she was, in fact, an artist.  The collaboration resulted in the charming and beautifully illustrated Bennie’s Forever Gift.

Bennie and his grandfather, Eldee (L.D. being Lynne’s father’s initial), are bikes in the town of Spokesville.  Bennie tells the story as a loving memorial to the knowledge he gained from the relationship with his beloved grandfather who was “the wisest bike I ever knew.”  Eldee is described as smart, kind and generous.  He was the Mr. Fix-it for the whole town.  His dream had been to be a parade bike, but his talents where for making things and others better.  This was all the design of The Great One who had made each bike unique.

On a ride through the forest Eldee marvels at the wildflowers he picks.  These are gifts!  The world all-around showed the ways The Great One offers gifts.  Gifts are given freely as a sign of love.  But there is a better gift - The Great One wants to be your friend.

Bennie’s 8th birthday and the gifts he received become the analogy for grace and the forever gift – accepting a friendship freely offered.  All Bennie needs to do is choose to accept this gift.  The forever gift is not just for this lifetime and Eldee explains that as he wears out he has nothing to fear.  When his time in this world is over he will get to live with The Great One in His home.

My almost 4 year old son who loves his bike and loves books was entranced.  And so begins the conversation with your child all from the story of a tricycle and his loving grandfather.  The message is simple, yet so clear. Included in the message from the author is a website to learn more about The Forever Gift -

I want to leave you with Lynne’s own words:  I encourage you to consider your own calling.  What is the Lord asking you to do to further His Kingdom? If you are saying, "I can't do that!", ask Him to soften your heart so that you can be part of His work.  You will truly be blessed by your obedience.  

Just in time for Christmas, you can also purchase the book from this website.  The print and e-book versions of Bennie's Forever Gift are also available at Amazon.comThis is an affiliate link if you feel like helping a sister out a little. J

BUT…. Lynne has graciously offered a signed copy of her book to one of my readers.  “Offered” seems a little innocent.  I actually went over to her, told her that I loved her story and wanted to share it with you.  I asked outright if she would give me a copy to review and pass along. It’s a win-win in my book.  So here’s the deal.  Just leave me a comment so I know you were here and that you want a chance to win. 
All comments must be received by 9PM Eastern Time on Friday, December 14.  Unfortunately, this is open to the US only.   Good Luck.

All images are courtesy of Lynne Farrell

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It’s Not Too Late for Operation Christmas Child

Did you have dreams back in October about filling up a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child? 
Did November roll around and you were getting excited about buying all those little goodies for a boy or girl?

Did the busy-ness of life come at you like all those Black Friday commercials and fliers and you missed the drop-off dates, or never got your purchases made?

Here is your chance to still participate and reach across the globe and spread Christmas cheer to a child in need.

If you want to still fill a box, there are 6 regional drop-off locations with dates as late as December 31, or the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, NC which accept boxes year-round (I didn’t know that!!).  You can personally deliver your box or ship it to the addresses listed by clicking the highlighted words above.   Here are some photos from Boone, courtesy of my friend Kristan, whose husband works for Samritan's Purse.  These boxes are on their way to Africa.

There is also another amazing and fun option: 

For $30 you can go online and customize your box.  Begin by selecting either a boy or girl and the age range for your particular shoe box.  Select one of two featured toys, then four more toys to go in the box.  You can choose two personal items that will be added to a bevy of essential s.  Finally, upload a photograph and a personal note to your child.  Pay and you are done.  It’s that easy and doesn’t even require to change out of those yoga pants or brush your hair.

Are you looking for a gift that makes a difference.  You can gift this option to another person and let them Build-A-Box.

Of course, there is always the Samaritan’s Purse GiftCatalog.  You can buy anything from animals, to medicines, to a fishing boat and change a life – or many lives.  

Many thanks to Samaritan’s Purse for giving me this opportunity to partner with them this Christmas season.  I also want to thank them for the beautiful Christmas ornament I received at the Allume Social Conference in October.  They were a generous and gracious sponsor of this event.  Go show them some love.

How are you making a difference this Christmas season?  Please tell me in the comments.