Lovely LaBella Jewels {Giveaway}

*Updated* Congrats to random winners: Tammy of A Glimpse of the Taylor Tribe and reader (no blog) Alli (northssclub at yahoo dot com)

My long time sponsor and friend, LaBella Jewels makes stunning creations!

A couple of my favorites:

See? I told you. I’m right about these things. One of the number one Google searches that leads people to my blog day -after-day is hand stamped jewelry. Even GOOGLE agrees that I know good stuff when I see it.

LaBella Jewels is offering TWO $40 gift certificates to TWO readers today! Click over to LaBella Jewels. Tell me what you’d love to wear or give.

Please note: the last day for ordering for guaranteed Christmas delivery will be November 24.

Did I just use the word Christmas in a post?

Where does the time go?

Someone make it stop.

Because Sometimes You Just Need to Be Carried

Life can be hard.

The road can be long.

The burden can weigh you down.

You’re never too big to be carried.

By someone bigger than you.

“Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders— he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out,” -Psalm 55:22 (The Message Translation)

Links I Love:

P.S. This is what 215 pairs of shoes look like! We’re taking them to the Samaritan’s Feet drop-off location today. Thanks to everyone who participated in the Back-To-School Do It For Others project!

African Beauty

Wanna win this?

Click here to enter and read about the single largest donation to The Mercy House so far….

Teaching Your Kids to Pray Without Them Knowing It

Night after night, gathered round the table, it was the same: NO!

We begged, pleaded and implored our 3 year old to take her turn to pray for one of the countries in the book, Window On The World , a nightly ritual we value. After defiance and non-participation, we just worked our way around her. Ignoring the protests and the attitude. When couldn’t make her pray, after all, and trying to talk her into it was just distracting our older kids and frustrating to us.

So, we did nothing. Except continue to take turns praying aloud, around her.

Then something amazing happened around our dinner table.

One night, after my hubby had stated the country statistics and needs, he asked who wanted to pray the quick prayer for the country of the night. Our toddler stood up, “Me! Me!”

She mumbled something that didn’t make much sense and ended it with a loud, “Amen!”

We all smiled under our napkins at the significance of the moment.

Her desire wasn’t born from force. She simply watched and decided on her own that she wanted to be like her example, her family.

Our 3 year begs to lead our family in prayer nearly every night. And, of course, she often throws in attitude and strong-will just for effect.

I didn’t realize we were teaching her to pray.

But it makes me think about all the other character traits we are teaching our children, even when we don’t know it.

*Updated: last week my parents dropped off their dogs for us to watch for a few days, so they could go out of town and my little girl grabbed their hands to form a circle and said a quick prayer that they would have a safe trip! It was so sweet.

(darling headbands for sale in The Mercy Shop)

Not My Finest Moment

So. I’m not one to dress up in costumes. It’s not my thing.

But I’m in a Bunco group with mostly older ladies from my church (and my mom and sister) and they are bossy.

My sister hosted our October Bunco and she loves to dress up. You should hear her witch laugh. It scares me.

Anywho, it was decided that our Bunco meeting would be a costume party.

And since I’m such an advanced planner, I waited until the last minute, hoping for a quick stomach bug.

But those nasty bugs wait to show up at the least opportune time, ya know?

On Sunday (the day before said par-tay), I was making a quick grocery run to The WalMarts and I wandered down the Halloween aisle. Sidenote: I do not like this aisle or all the ridiculous amount of home decor and accessories. Really, America?

Of course, I contributed to the problem by buying a $3 pair of fake tattooed sleeves. Don’t ask my why, but I had a sudden burst of “I could go as a biker slash thug.”


As I was completing my shopping, I saw a $3 clearance rack in the middle of the grocery section. There were leather-look-alike leggings. For three dollars. Only the brand was Miley Cyrus. Sidenote: Um, excuse me, why does she have a clothes line of leather-look-alike hot pants? Since they were marked down to $3, perhaps she was wondering the same thing.

So, I bought a pair, of course.  Extra large. Sidenote: No, I do not wear girl’s sizes. I was thinking I could wear a long t-shirt from home and plus I was in the frozen food section and not thinking clearly.

My family helped dress me the next night at 6pm (party started at 6:30). My daughter brought down an old pair of gloves and a bandana. I found a forgotten shirt I bought at Lifeway for $1.99 last year that had “Sin Kills” splashed across the front. My hubby brought in a jump ring from the jewelry supplies in the garage: instant nose hoop.

I donned my black boots and here you have it:

and apparently Miley Cyrus pants run a little small:

(That’s my tough look).

Oh and the highlight of my night was not tying for the most buncos and winning $10….

It was stopping by the grocery store for something I had to have for first thing the next morning and getting asked out on a date by a balding, middle-aged Kroger employee.

I’m so not kidding.

WFMW: Entertaining Even When You’re Reluctant

*Updated with Winners* random linky #’s 57, Mary the Kay, 152, This Sweet Country Life and 244, A Whisk and a Prayer

I’m reluctant about entertaining. My living areas are tiny and my kitchen is small. Plus, there’s the eating part.

I love food, but my cooking is not an art form.

My love for connecting with people forces me to put all that aside and entertain anyway!

That’s why I love Sandy Coughlin’s blog and new book (!) The Reluctant Entertainer. It gives people like me, hope.

She blows every excuse out of the water and encourages and equips you to connect and grow with the people around you. My favorite part of the book (besides all the AMAZING and easy recipes) is Sandy’s 10 Commandments of Hospitality:

Commandment 1

Hospitality is not about you. It’s about making others feel warm and welcome.

Commandment 2

Plan ahead, be organized, and know your recipe. Learn to delegate.

Commandment 3

Set the mood. Keep ambience and the five senses in mind.

Commandment 4

Avoid perfectionism. Put fear aside-it’s a robber of anything good.

Commandment 5

Share conversation. Foster friendships by keeping things real.

Commandment 6

Demonstrated thriftiness. Buying things at cost or learning to pinch pennies makes entertaining affordable on a budget.

Commandment 7

Don’t apologize. It’s okay to make mistakes. Learn to not bring them to light in from of your guests; it robs your guests of relaxation.

Commandment 8

Be creative. Use what you have. Keep things simple.

Commandment 9

Learn from others. Find mentors and learn to find a healthy balance and keep things real.

Commandment 10

Life impact is everything. Experience intimacy and meaning in sharing a meal and gleaning from other’s lives.

Today, just for WFMW participants, I’m giving away three copies of Sandy’s awesome book! She sent me copy and I love it. If you can’t wait, you can buy it here.

Entertaining (even when it’s reluctant), works for me!

What works for you?

Matthew West Music {Giveaway}

*Congrats to random winner: reader Kate (no blog)

Since I’m in a worship music love affair, I thought I’d share one of my favorites: Matthew West.

And guess what? His much-anticipated The Story of Your Life Album is released today! I listened to the pre-release digitally last week and I’m telling y’all, it’s so good. Deep, rich, meaningful.

Matthew spent two months locked up in a Tennessee cabin reading letters and writing the beautiful songs on this album:

“I’m not sure I fully understood just what I was asking for when I reached out to all of you and with the opportunity to send me the story of your lives. And perhaps God intended for me NOT to see the whole picture beforehand because I may have been too scared to follow through with his plan for this new record. As stories began to pour in by the thousands, I could quickly sense that not only was something special taking place, but that my life was about change.”

Every song is based upon the true life stories of the letters he received:

“It was as if a veil had been lifted, allowing me a rare look into the lives of everyday people. I read joyful stories about adoption and cancer survivors. I read heart-breaking stories of abuse and broken homes. And with every look into someone’s life, something began to stir in my own.”

I love a good story. And Matthew West doesn’t let me down. But these songs are more than a story. It’s a life. And it’s beautiful.

Go. Listen. Soak it in.

What’s your favorite? Your comment is your entry to win:

ALL FOUR of MATTHEW’S ALBUMS!! Plus an Exclusive Book highlighting the making of The Story of Your Life” created just for this giveaway!

This giveaway ends Thursday.