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Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas Advent Resources for Your Family

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is THIS THURSDAY and that December starts on Sunday??  Whaaa??  I'm sure that there will be much eating, planning and shopping done over the next few day.  Many of you are probably thinking about Advent and I want to help you out a little.  Below are three ways I want to share with you as your prepare for CHRISTMAS!!!

I've written before about Truth In The Tinsel.  You can read that post here if it's new to you.  More importantly just click and go get yourself a copy for you and your kids.  No time to do all the crafty goodness?  Not a problem, get the printable ornaments and go for it.  No stress and no shame there, sister!  I have them myself!

Click here to visit Truth in the Tinsel.

Wondering about the tree and stockings and Santa and what in the world it all has to do with the Baby Jesus in a Manger anyway???  Phil Vischer has the answers with "Buck Denver asks... Why Do We Call it Christmas?". You may or may not be familiar with What's in the Bible?   I LOVE these videos and have learned so much myself.  Check them out by clicking on that cute pic.  If you look just over to the right you will find a handy dandy coupon code good through December 2.  Use it!  :)

Finally, a little something for the whole family - as if the first two aren't!  Ann Voskamp has released a book just in time for Advent that uses the Jesse Tree.  It is a journey to Christmas beginning in Genesis and following the family tree of Jesus.  There's also a special treat included with the book that you will find out about as you read the instructions.  Trust me, you'll like it.  I've included a link to that below as well.

Based on my dear friend Becky Daye's recommendation I am adding The Advent Book as well.

These should get you going on your way to getting more out of the season than torn paper and stray remnants of scotch tape stuck to the carpet.  These are also affiliate links so thanks in advance if you use them.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!  I am thankful for YOU!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Stopping to See the Beautiful - {Guest Posting at No Maybe Baby}

Today I'm writing over at No Maybe Baby, the home of the wonderful Marcy Hanson.  Oh, this gal's heart is beautiful!  All this month she is sharing adoption stories.  Won't you come on over and read a little bit of my own story.  Just follow this little link and I'll see you there.

No Maybe Baby

Friday, November 15, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Tree

It’s been a while, but I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo and her merry band of writers today for Five Minute Friday.  She gives us the One Word and we will attempt to capture those first thoughts and pull out what lies beneath all the filters and clutter of life.

We are brave, as my friend Jessica says, by showing grace through encouragement to others and to ourselves when we let those words stand- raw, unedited, as they are, not as we wish they were.  Grace is sprinkled across the blogosphere as we begin with the one who linked up just before to read and leave encouragement in their comments.  There are so many amazing and divergent writers that I must travel on.

Join me on this journey today?  Write for 5 minutes of your own and follow the yellow brick below to our Oz.  Here we go:

Five Minute Friday 


Tree almost rhymes with screen, that’s what I imagined in my head would make a good word for FMF.  Aw, shoot, I forgot to set the timer.  Done.  I do that.  Not forget the timer, but yes that, too.  I predict what is going to happen – in this universe I create inside my own head.  Then I run with that nonexistent phantom through every possible scenario of interaction.

I think we have a word for this – imagination.  I think it’s more likely expectation.  Oddly enough – it’s like a tree.  See how I brought that back around.  My crazy mind is always looking for a connection – no matter how obscure.

Expectations are very much like trees.  They start as a very small seed.  See an acorn that fits in your little boy’s pocket.  Actually, a good 15 or 20 will fit in the pockets of 3T denim.  They are best used to feed squirrels.  We can watch as a creature that will get some benefit gobbles them up.

A lot of the time it ends up buried in the middle of your manicured life, sprouts, reaches down deep with roots and high with branches.  Then it’s all you can do to maneuver around this obstacle in the middle of your life with so many unintended consequences and regret.  Yep, that sounds a lot like expectations to me.

Am I alone here, do you let expectations come in and ruin the party?  What trees do you deal with?

I'm giving away a copy of A Million Little Ways and a matching journal.  I'd love for you to enter.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Million Little Ways: Review and Giveaway

**Disclosure:  I was given a copy of this book for review.  Any and all opinions or disjointed thoughts are entirely my own.  This post contains affiliate links, proceeds from you using that link will also be my own.  Thanks! :)

Emily Freeman’s latest book, A Million Little Ways, is a work of art.  Rather, she declares that YOU are a work of art, a poem breathed out by our Creator to live as that masterpiece everyday.  Throughout, the reader is encouraged to examine self and “uncover the art you were made to live”.  Notice that she does not implore us to find the art we were meant to make.

Book and matching journal with pen
By looking within, back, up around and beneath we begin to discover our art so that we may release it into the world for the benefit of others, and ourselves but ultimately to reflect the glory of the One who made us.  Just as a tree grows up strong, with deep roots and reaching branches, it does not shy away from its form, coloring or changes through seasons.  It is always what it was meant to be and eventually becomes more than just a tree.

I wasn’t sure if I would finish the book for stopping every sentence to ponder or pray.  Once I did make it to the end, I immediately turned back to the beginning to start again.  I think you may be inclined to do the same.

Emily Freeman shares A Million Little Ways at Allume
This morning on the radio I heard a new-to-me song by Josh Wilson titled Pushing Back the Darkness.  Just as God’s glory and work may be expressed in a million little ways, we are able to come up with a million little excuses to hold it back.  Give a listen then keep going to find out how you can win a copy of A Million Little Ways and a matching journal.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Available November 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Allume Lost and Found – Part 2

What I Found at Allume     

I wrote about things that I lost at Allume.  I’m sure there were other items that went missing that I’ll discover over time.  I’ll react differently the next time I come upon a familiar situation and it will be due to Allume.  I’ll approach a task without a past attitude and it will be due to Allume. 

I’m sure that life with be different in grand and subtle ways from now on, this may be due to some of the things I FOUND in Greenville, too.  I would like to share some of those things now.

1) Strength and endurance – If you know me well, you know I’m not an early bird.  I’m not a night owl either.  I think I mentioned the sleep I lost.  I also found that I was able to go long past any reasonable limit that I would’ve put on myself.  There were moments that I fully felt as if I was only supplying the material body to move and speak and think, but the power moving through me was certainly not my own.  I think I got a small taste of the dunamis we are giving by the Holy Spirit.  As JJ Evans would say, it was “Dyn-O-Mite!!!”   (Please tell me that you got this reference.)

2) Discomfort – I’m not really a fan of attention.  I should clarify.  I am pretty uncomfortable getting attention, from a large group anyway.  If you were at Allume you may remember that the whole team had to come up no stage at one point during the first dinner.  Two things about that: first, I had no idea that was going to happen, hence me wearing tennis shoes; second, that was one of the ickiest moments of the weekend for me.  I’m much more a behind-the-scenes kind of gal.

Use your wonderful imagination to picture me being uncomfortable onstage. :)

2) Sensitive hearing and listening – one of the strangest things I found was audibly hearing my name behind me on several occasions.  I would stop and turn, see no one that I recognized, continue on my way to cross paths with someone I NEEDED to see for one reason or another.  It may have been a speaker I needed to locate, another team member, or a lone attendee staring at their feet while waiting for the elevator.  I was stopped long enough for the perfect timing.  I was also able to work on my listening with some great friends.  I’m not a great listener at times.  Granted, I didn’t get many opportunities, but it was so unlike me.  Thankfully!

3) Guidance – the few sessions that I was able to attend were PERFECT for me.  I plan to get the recordings of the others when they are available, but I ended up where I needed to be.  From Holley Gerth to Jones Design Company to the (in)Courage Panel I was given words that dovetailed with the keynotes.  I was given the image of the sessions forming a tank that would be filled with the fuel from the keynotes to propel me in the right direction.  Don’t you just love how God will direct our steps when we let Him!  Of course, now it’s up to me to follow through and that just isn’t my strongest attribute.  Hold me accountable for that, won’t you?

4) Passion – this one has several components.  I felt a renewed commitment to spreading the word about charitable organizations that are doing amazing work, doing my own work that makes me fill alive and is in a sense art (link), and confirming what I’ve always sensed about myself and how I want to interact with others.  You’ll hear more about this in the near future.

5)Goodies – Oh, I would be remiss if I didn’t give great thanks to the amazing sponsors (link) that have filled my home with words, art, ornaments, videos, resources, information, and plans for the future.  I was blessed by my friends Janelle and Kathi in an unexpected way that make my hear smile.  So much Goodness!!

6)Friends – YOU!!!  New and old: co-laborers for the good work that I’d never met in person, online friends that I just knew I would entangle with in person, those I hadn’t seen in a year, neighbors (nearly), and those with whom the relationship has just begun.  You are the true treasure that I brought back with me.  Can I keep you forever?

Like the lost items, I expect over time to discover more that I FOUND at Allume.  I’ll be digging around in my life and not know that there was another trinket of great worth that I had carried home in my suitcase – or more likely my soul. 

Thanks to you all for being the most amazing Lost & Found ever made available.

What have you found recently, either from Allume or your time with The LORD that you weren’t looking for?