Tuesday, December 22, 2009

'Tis the Season + Giveaway

It is hard to believe that we are just a few days from the biggest celebration of the year. But what is the point of it all? How did you spend the past 6 weeks preparing? Did you snap at the kids, get very little sleep, spend hours on amazon.com searching for gifts, wake up at 3am to hit sales on Black Friday?
I am not against any of these things, but this year I said the same thing to each of those old traditions I have had for years...


No, I will not fret about gifts!
No, I will not worry if my kids know I love them because I bought them the right things.
No, I will not get up early and deal with grumpy people in order to get the best deal.
No, I will not feel like shopping is the theme of December and do it daily!
No, I don't need to spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars in order to show my family that I love them.

You know what happened?

I got peace instead! I still found deals! We had God's favor as we went shopping, praying beforehand that we would find the right things and not have to stress. My husband and I hit Toys R us one evening for an hour, then we went out to dinner and enjoyed couple time because what we wanted to buy...they had...and it was on sale...so it was easy. We stayed out late just simply because we wanted to and the stores were open and we were arm in arm shopping in relaxed fashion!

I have already baked cookies twice this holiday season. In the next few days I will be making gingersnaps, bourbon street pecan pie, Marshmallow salad, ham, green bean casserole, and I am sure many other requested family favorites!

But even at the grocery store when people glare at me because I am taking too long to park...I smile and my older son says, "It is just a parking spot lady, smile! It is Christmas". We both realize together that so many people put the Chaos in Christmas. There wasn't chaos when Jesus was born. The wisemen weren't fretting over what to get Baby Jesus for fear that he would not be satisfied. (Please note that the wise men came by the time he was 2 years old, so they weren't there that night!) Did you know that the shepherds were outcasts? They were considered unclean and were unable to enter the temples. They were the outcasts of society but yet they were the ones that were told and included on the biggest thing happening! A savior is born and they got firsthand news and were the ones to go see him and tell others!

This year we did new things...
We volunteered at a shelter for Thanksgiving.
We caroled at an independent living home for the elderly.
We bought gifts for 5 boys and gave them away for their parents to give them something on Christmas day.
We also have a Christmas Jar that we will find a home for on someone's porch on Christmas Day. (you can read about the Christmas Jar here)

It just occurred to me after reading a short piece from the website...
I am going to giveaway a copy of the book Christmas Jars.
I will end the giveaway on Monday, December 28th.

This book meant the world to me, a former co-worker referred me to it when we ran into each other in a parking lot 8 months ago. I checked it out from the library and quickly started my own Christmas Jar. I am more like the first family in it, not a lot to add this year, but everything counts when you give from your heart!

In the true spirit of giving, I think giving away this book will give you a warm cozy that you will enjoy sharing with others!

Rules for entering:
1. Leave one comment of what you are doing different this year, something that means a lot to you, or just simply a heart warming thought to share with us.

2. Refer someone and post their website for another entry.

3. Follow my blog for another entry. If you already follow my blog, leave a separate post stating you do.

**Your chances to win are up to you, you can invite as many people as you would like to this giveaway! :)

I will post the winner on Monday.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Giveaway Alert!

Kasey over at Lola' B's is offering an unknown, glorious mystery box of items from her Boutique that she is closing indefinitely...There will be 3 winners! Hurry over and enter, contest ends on December 17th! Click HERE Good luck!!!


Monday, December 14, 2009

In all Honesty...

Okay, it seems like there is a lot of talk "in the atmosphere" I will say about being real, being honest, portraying truth, etc. On a blog as well know there can be the good, the bad, the ugly, we can photoshop our lives to be perfect or we let you see the reflection of us in pj's at 3pm as we take a picture of our newly mounted mirror...whatever the case may be.

So I thought, as we heard preached on Sunday, Christmas is a time for new beginnings, we always believe it is the new year, but there was a new birth on Christmas. So why not take a few days before Christmas (don't freak out, I know it isn't that close yet! But I have NO shopping done yet, so you shouldn't worry...supposedly I should but I just can't seem to freak about any of that this year! Yay!) but back to my point, to take this time and be real about who I am.

I am a real life mom, a step mom, a wife to a fabulous husband but by no means perfect, I always tell him he didn't need to be perfect, he just needed to be perfect for me, which he is! I have two dogs that I love but get annoyed by who eat wonderful grade dog food and admittedly produce foul smells while sleeping..I am not passing the buck here by any means, I mean it!

I am a slightly addictive personality which means I follow a zillion blogs but recognize when I have spent most of a day reading them and have to take a break from reading them for a while...I love home decor and finding goodwill deals, shop deals and other odds and ends to decorate, reuse, etc. I am not completely savvy, I don't have great vision, I painted my bedroom a gorgeous gray, found fabulous bedding on craigslist in another city to buy, had it shipped to me, longing for a chandelier to hang but not sure of who has the expertise to mount it as we have no overhead light, have silver, black, gray and white touches all over to realize I forgot that our trim and doors are all golden brown...see I am not perfect which is why I love following people like nester to realize I don't have to be. I like reading posts like Maisy's because hey I am a goodwill hunter myself! I have found some fabulous things, but I am still at the hoarder part where I find it and keep it, haven't found the good sense yet to sell it...

I have a door in my garage I received off of craigslist for free that I have a vision for but now can't find the link that inspired me of decorating with doors...anyone know what I am talking about? It was a random link from another link from another blog kind of thing and so the history of finding it is lost in cyberspace somewhere..but I have my general idea to go on. But I delayed with the passing of my grandma and put it off so it won't happen until spring next year now...

Is anyone else real? Do you buy things for a project that is awesome and move it from room to room hoping one of them will become the magical room that inspires you to pick it up and do it one day?

I home school two of my 5 kids and when their public schooled brothers quiz them on things based on speed it makes my insides cringe because I didn't test my kids to be ready for a drill, I tested them for knowledge. I can get insecure about my kids and if I am doing the right thing for them. But that is when God chooses to smile on me and give me glimpses...like when my son volunteered at a funeral at our church recently and I had so many people comment to me about how wonderful, thoughtful, compassionate he is as a young man. That is when I am able to remember that all of these things are not about ME. God uses us in people's lives, we are responsible for what we do, how we do it, etc. But still when I see those things in my kids lives, I know that they may not win a spelling bee, but they have a heart. They may not ramble off math facts faster than anyone else, but they absorb truth, they know about God's love and how to show it. They think of others and that to me is bigger than any award that my kids could earn at this age anyways. They have a conscience, it seems those have been randomly going out of style, but I think even if just a handful of parents decide to go retro and bring it all back we can change this nation! We can work together to be honest, we might not be beautiful, we might not be rich, we might be scared to death and think it is easier to hide in our house...I for one have been guilty of that very thing. Someone giving me their phone number and saying let's get the kids together might as well put their number on my desk, that is where it stays...

I am a social person but I don't set things up easily, I don't feel readily accepted usually and I have been told I am too dominant and I intimidate people, oh but no worries it was my old church that said that about me...behind my back...not my friends or anything. I guess my confidence at that point was high and I was willing to do anything for anyone, funny how someone saying you intimidate people can make you go inward and feel like breathing is possibly too much for people around you.
I am slowly creeping back out of my hidden phase. I am great at talking with people once I realize I am not offensive or scary.

I will also share that I deal with acne majority of the time, I have tried a zillion things, eliminated things from my diet and once something seems to work for a while it quits...heaven help me, it is frustrating!

I will add more and aim to get that giveaway going...sorry I have taken a blog-cation but I felt like my depth of heart posts were maybe too much or not "fun enough" to read for some people, so I took a break.

I want to start showing you all some of my projects and inspire but I am not just a decorating woman, homeschool mom, wife, friend, daughter, dog owner, but I am someone with dreams and I want to express them all here. I hope I can keep you here but not just that, I hope we can grow and get onto a fabulous path of trusting in God to bring us into the place of being the new creation he made us to be!