Get Your Groove On {Giveaway}

UPDATE: Racquel, Kristene and Tess have been randomly selected as the winners of Toby Mac’s new CD. And comment 10, Amy, is the winner of the brick of Toby Mac CD’s. Congratulaitons!

I was going to post a video of me dancing to Toby Mac’s new album.

But I didn’t want to give y’all The Motion Sickness.

Or make you jealous.

Instead, you’ll have to listen and imagine me all gangster rap in my Ann Taylor Capri’s. Yo. (I’ve learned that by randomly throwing Yo out in a sentence, my kids turn beet red. I have no idea why).

Word.

Today, I’m super excited to give away some Toby Mac loot!

He just happens to be on tour in my town and we are hoping to go to his concert! Today, one lucky winner will get a brick of Toby Mac’s CD’s (which includes all 8 of his albums, plus a signed single of Me Without You). Plus, three winners will receive his new CD Eye On It.

Listen here.

Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite TobyMac song it as your entry.

This giveaway ends Tuesday.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by EMI Music. They don’t tell me what to say. Yo.

WFMW: Five Ways to Make a New School Year Rock

Well.

My nest is empty. All my chickadees are back to school this week. The house was a bundle of nerves and excitement early Monday morning. And my kids also had some feelings.

This mom gig is hard. I’m self-medicating with sweet tea.

Here are 5 ways we are planning on making our new school year rock:

  1. Give it Time: Getting back into the swing of a schedule and coming out of the summer fog takes time. It takes a few weeks to get into a new habit, for bodies to adjust to earlier hours, more to do, etc. All three of my kids are in a new school/district this year and my best advice to them: it takes time to learn something new. It takes time to make friends and feel comfortable. According to a parenting article I read, it takes about 6 weeks to completely acclimate to a new situation.
  2. Celebrate the Small Steps: We followed our annual tradition of visiting The Candy House, run by a grumpy old man (whom I love) after the first day of school. It was a long drive, but worth the celebration. If your child studies hard and gets the grade, celebrate with ice cream. Reward your kids for their hard work, even or especially if it’s small.
  3. Don’t Major on the Minors: As parents, we tend to make a big deal out of the little things. Or is that just me? I’m working this year on keeping the small things small. I’ve never been a stickler for perfect grades, as long as my kids try their best. But I’m trying to be less rigid in other areas (like rooms, laundry, etc).
  4. Build Community Outside of School: Last year, this was huge for us. Whether you homeschool, send to private or public, I think we can all encourage our kids to develop friendships outside of school. We work hard to make time for church friends because this is where my kids feel the most comfortable.
  5. Don’t Over Commit Your Kids: I know this is the going trend and I don’t like it one bit. There is so much pressure and competition aimed at our children. We have one week day for extracurricular outside of school things and that’s plenty for us. Whatever you choose to do, just remember to let your kids be kids.

And I couldn’t end this post without the obligatory first day of school pictures of my babies:



This is Worship {Toby Mac Release Today}

We were cleaning and cooking and jamming.

Music blaring, Toby Mac’s music,  good for the soul and cardio.

It’s why he’s our favorite, from our 5 year old to the oldest 41 year old in the house (my hubby), his music makes us dance.

And dancing is good. Especially if you’re doing chores…

My little one was spinning around, hands in the air, and she stopped mid-turn and said, “Momma?”

With one hand on the broom, the other lifting the rug, “Uh, huh?” I answered.

“Is this how you worship?” she asked with her hands reaching, foot tapping, swaying.

I straightened to see her arms raised. My heart in my throat. “Yes. It is.”

“Good. Because I really like to worship God,” and then she started spinning again.

I could hardly choke out the words, “He likes it too, honey.”

As Toby’s “Me Without You” blared, at that exact moment, I wanted to bow down and worship. It’s just like a child to lead us, isn’t it? Watching her spin felt like a worship tutorial. The stress and “to do list” suddenly didn’t exist and I was at complete peace.

Worship looks different for all of us, but whether we dance, stand, bow, jump, spin, sing, we need to keep our eye on Him. It makes everything else okay.

I’m excited to share Eye On It, Toby Mac’s brand new album releasing today! It’s fabulous. It has a little bit of everything and you will love it! Check it out here.

And stay tuned this week for an super awesome giveaway!!

EMI Music sponsored this post, but all the opinions and dance moves are completely mine.

Mercy Shop Grand Re-Opening Sale {Giveaway}

UPDATE: The following comments have been randomly selected as winners of this giveaway: 30, 57, 78, 89, and 95. Congratulations Lisa, Melody, Deb, Andrea P. and Hannah – an email has been sent your way.

16 miracles.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the heavy responsibility of helping to provide for these beautiful young moms of Mercy House. It’s an honor. It’s also scary. When I was in Kenya this summer, the girls came to me, one-by-one, asking, “When I leave here, how will I provide for my baby?” I didn’t have all the answers, but I promised we would do everything we could to help.

While Maureen and I work diligently on a tailored long-term plan for each of our girls, they work hard on their studies, take care of their babies, and learn skills. Each girl can cook, clean, sew, make jewelry and a host of other items. They will soon be  choosing either a higher education academic or vocational tract to help them develop interests and talents.

Our girls spend a couple of hours a day making beautiful items we export to America and sell at The Mercy Shop.

Today we are celebrating reopening our Shop by introducing new items! We are having a big sale and putting some of last year’s items on clearance. This is a tangible way to bring a bit of Africa to your home and life and also help provide for our young families. It’s a great because when you purchase an item to give or keep, you bless twice.

Check out some of our new items:

Beautiful bangle bracelets made from recycled magazines and wood. $12 each:

Beautiful and unique Love Mercy Sari Bags (in partnership with Freeset): $22 each (4 designs)

Our super cool Heart& Wings new women’s fit, v-neck comfy tee, $20:

Mercy Made This Happen” Unisex shirt (made by Freeset): $20

Handcrafted Greeting Cards (sets of 3) $10:

Plus, many more items on sale and clearance!

100% of the proceeds from the Mercy Shop are returned to Kenya. We put the money towards paying the (high) monthly rent on our property and house, as well as set aside a portion of every sale in an account for each of our girl’s future.

Today, FIVE lucky readers will win their choice of t-shirt and Sari bag.

To be entered, please share this post on Facebook, tweet it on Twitter, Pin or email it to a friend. We are trying to get the word out about Mercy Shop reopening! Leave a comment with how you shared it to be entered.

Plus, for a short period, use this code: REGRAND to get 20% off your order!

This giveaway ends on Friday.

photos by my friend of Suzanne Box Photography

Last Day of Summer: Go Out With a Bang!

Supplies Needed:

2 Liter of Diet Soda (regular soda is sticky)

A package of Mentos Candy

A Geyser Tube (to control spray and for safety)

An adult (this is a fun experiment, but please supervise)

And then we celebrated our last day of summer by taking turns doing tricks on the trampoline. My hubby went for the kill.

My trick was jumping without peeing.

Y’all have a happy weekend!

 

Why We Have to Try {Free Printable}

If you ever wonder if the impossible is possible, this story is for you.

If you ever wonder if your yes matters and how powerful your no might be, lean in.

If you ever wonder if God still cares for the sparrow and works miracles, keep reading.

It’s been exactly five months since Mercy House found Edith with her 3 day old starving baby, whom she was feeding water from a rag. She named her Hawi (God’s favor in Swahili). We had a house full of girls, were short-staffed and overwhelmed, but we couldn’t say no.

We had an empty bed, support from donors and we had to try.

Maureen, Executive Director of Mercy House, saved their lives that day with her quick response.

This remarkable miracle story is still being talked about at the hospital where she and her baby spent several weeks.

These pictures were taken the day we brought them home to Mercy House:

 

Maureen realized just how sick this tiny 3 pound premature newborn was after she snapped this picture and rushed them to the hospital.

And yesterday, exactly 5 months later, when this picture hit my inbox, I burst into tears.

Our God is so big.

They are thriving. Edith wants to be a doctor one day. Baby Hawi is healthy and happy and meeting milestones, despite her prematurity.

Two years ago when Maureen and I set out on this wild and scary journey, we had no idea what we were doing. There were no promises of success.

But God didn’t ask us to be successful. He just asked us to try.

And when people see this beautiful picture, they will look past our inadequacies and see WHAT GOD HAS DONE.

And when our fear and doubt surface and the brokenness of our girls overwhelms us, we will remember:

We just have to try. He will do the rest.

And that big frightening mountain looming in front of you? He isn’t asking you to conquer it. He’s just asking you to take that first step.
Why We Have to Try :: FREE 8×10 Printable

WFMW: DIY Lava Lamps

This is the last week of summer for us.

Boo.

I’m going to miss these care-free, lazy days. A lot.

But I’m also going to enjoy the structure that schedule brings. My kids are all starting new schools and the  excitement and jitters are setting in. My oldest is starting Junior High and my baby is heading to Kindergarten. Hold me.

We’ve been trying to knock a few things off our summer bucket list lately. One of those is DIY Lava Lamps we found on Pinterest.

Oh, so fun and super easy, it’s food science and it got two thumbs up in our house:

Supplies Needed:

empty bottle

cooking oil

water

food coloring

a couple of alka seltzer tablets

Simply fill a bottle 3/4 of the way full with oil, fill the rest with water, leaving about an inch at the top:

Add about a dozen drops of food coloring to the bottle:

Drop in pieces an alka seltzer tablet and watch the lava begin!

Even though the bubbles don’t last forever, we duct taped our lids on and have a fun “science experiment” to play with.

Playing with food (and learning) works for us!

Be a Part of Something Beautiful {Giveaway}

UPDATE: Liz (comment 18) & Kirsten (comment 32) have been randomly selected as the winners of this giveaway.

I don’t believe every Christian in the world is supposed to adopt.

But I believe we are all called to do something to care for the poor and defend orphans.

One amazing way to do that is by giving financially or shopping a worthy cause.

The Adopt Shoppe has been a long-time advertiser on my blog, with the purpose of the shop to help bring one little baby boy home.

I’m happy to announce that is happening very soon! The Adopt Shoppe will be closing soon, so here’s your last chance to help support a great cause.

From The Adopt Shoppe FB page: With our impending travel to Taiwan to pick up Maddox, I’ve decided to shut down my shop for an indefinite period of time on Saturday, August 25, 2012. We are still $2,000 short and I will still be taking orders in my shop through next Friday. They will be shipped out within 14 days of placing your order.

In celebration of one more orphan finding his forever home, today I’m giving away two $25 gift certificates to The Adopt Shoppe.

Beautiful freshwater pearl and hemp bracelets:

I love this inspirational print in the Shoppe:

Step into someone’s story and make a difference today. Welcome Max home in the comments and that will be your entry!

This giveaway ends on Thursday.