A Compelling {Giveaway}


Congrats to random commenters #287 Kimberly, you won the $25 certificate and  #66 Krista, you won the fundraising giveaway! 

Last September I attended Together for Adoption on behalf of Mercy House. I set up a booth with the help of a couple of friends and we told the story over and over again.

One of the best things that came from the trip was meeting Rebekah from Compelled Designs. The minute I saw her gorgeous pottery jewelry, I knew she was a gifted artisan.

Not only are she and her husband talented, they have a huge heart for adoption, missions and the world.

You might remember this gorgeous cross she created and we sold to help pay for Violet’s surgery in November 2012? Rebekah made it.


She also created the Mother’s Day jewelry we had a hard time keeping in stock.


Her company is called Compelled Designs. Not only are her designs compelling, she and her family are compelled to help others raise money. Check out her beautiful jewelry here.

I was amazed at the conference watching her talk to adoptive families. Adoption is expensive and many families do fundraisers to help bring their child home. Compelled Designs helps families do that by offering assorted bags of pottery jewelry at a discounted rate to be resold. It’s a creative and successful idea!

Today, Compelled Designs is giving away a $25 gift certificate to a random commenter.


She is also giving away 10 assorted necklaces to an adoptive family to resale ($240 value)! Awesome, huh?

I absolutely love how we can all use our skills to bless others. It creates something beautiful when we do!

To be entered to win the $25 gift certificate, please leave a comment with your favorite piece. To be entered to win the necklace fundraiser set, please leave a comment with where you’re adopting from. This giveaway ends Friday.

For Girls Like You {Giveaway}


Congrats to JHollyhock (aka Jennifer H.) and Jen Robinson

When my kids were 6, 4 and a premature newborn, I thought my hands were full.

Motherhood was so physical. My tired body was in high demand and I needed another arm or two and a super nanny.

Now that my kids are 13, 11 and 6, the physical demand has turned to an emotional one and it’s a different kind of hard.

Lately, I’ve spent a lot of my time focusing on my older children. They need my ear and shoulder, a warm hug (not in public, please) and $10 constantly.

The baby of the family is hardly a baby any more. She’s lost a tooth, can blow a bubblegum bubble and reads books allbyherself. She’s also quite sassy.  I’ve always read good books with my kids and I sensed a need to move past bedtime stories with my youngest and transition into girl time.


Recently, we started reading For Girls Like You Magazine together. I love the mission behind it:

At For Girls Like You Magazine we are dedicated to exposing girls (age 6-11) to all the things they love (travel, positive role models, creative projects, etc.) without the negative imagery and advertising that often appears in mainstream entertainment. Instead we want every article, interview, and photo to support a Christ-centered system for our young girls. Connect with them on Twitter and Facebook.

My little girl loves it! And as a mom, I feel like a resource like this helps me tell her some of the 7 things I want her to know.


Today, I’m giving away 2 packs (two winners) that include The Magabook, A Journal and a copy of the Spring 2013 magazine.
Leave a comment with your daughter’s age(s) if you’d like to be entered.

Moms Loving Moms {Limited Edition Giveaway}

Congrats to random winner, Tracy.
I became a mother thirteen years ago. I spent five years before that longing to be one. Little did I know eighteen-something years ago, I would get to connect moms here with moms in Kenya through my mom blog. It’s one of my greatest honors.

So, motherhood is sort of my thing.

We now have 11 moms, 8 babies and 3 on the way in Kenya and hundreds and hundreds of moms in the USA and Canada and other countries who make their residence at Mercy House possible. It’s mind-boggling, really. And it’s just proof of a great big God.

For a very limited time, you can bless your mom or a m0m in your life, by purchasing one of our unique mother/daughter necklace sets, designed specifically to benefit Mercy House Kenya this Mother’s Day.

Set includes both necklaces for $44  Buy Here.

Ribbet collage













All the proceeds will go to help us help more moms around the globe.


Mother’s Day is fast-approaching and I can’t think of a better gift to give to a special lady in your life that will also bless a mom and child across the ocean.

Perfect for adult daughters to give or receive…






or little girls to wear….


We also have gorgeous matching bracelets:


Every necklace/bracelet order between now and May 1, 2013, will receive a FREE gorgeous photo Mother’s Day card from Mercy House to give along with a necklace/bracelet.

We only have 50 sets of our Mother/Daughter Pottery Bird/Nest Necklace Sets and 75 matching bracelets. And we cannot guarantee more by Mother’s Day, so order soon. 

The set of necklaces is $44 each (2 necklaces).

Mother Nest Necklace is $30 (by itself)

Daughter Bird Necklace is $20 (by itself)

Matching Bracelet is $25

Today, I’m giving away a Mother/Daughter Set and a matching bracelet to one lucky reader. Tomorrow, I’m heading to Kenya to be with our moms and babies. Leave a comment about your mom or daughter as your entry.

[We have listed half of what we have. If we sell out quickly, we will restock. Please note: Jewelry will be shipped week of April 22, 2013]

I Am Loved & Redeemed {Giveaway}

UPDATED with WINNER: Congrats to random comment #77, Merkel Momma. You won and have been emailed.

Merkel Momma

I downloaded a great little family Lent devotional guide and envisioned healthy, spiritual discussions around the table with my husband and children as we prepared our hearts for Easter.

Um, so about that.

We are 9 days behind and the last time I opened it, one of my kids was under the table having a meltdown because two of her veggies were touching something else on her plate.

I slammed down my Kindle and said, “Just forget it.”

Because sometimes I forget the reason behind my intention. I work to create an atmosphere of holiness and happiness in our home and then humanity gets in the way.

We did the dishes and I huffed and puffed my way thru.

I heard the whisper, from the one who is Easter, Risen, a constant reminder when my imperfection ruins my intention, “Kristen, I love you for who you are and not what you do.”

Why do I so often forget these precious, important, healing words? It’s not what I do. And I do a lot. It’s who I am-that’s what He wants during this Holy season and every day before and after. Once again, God shows me it’s my inadequacy that leads me to his feet. It’s my imperfection that my children see and learn from.

I’m here to tell you: HE LOVES YOU FOR WHO YOU ARE AND NOT WHAT YOU DO. [Col. 2:13-14]

So, can I urge you to stop and just receive His love today.

It’s called grace and that’s what Easter is all about.


You are loved and redeemed.

He wore the cruel crown of thorns so we could wear a pure heart.

Put that on today.

If you’d like to win this limited edition beautiful reminder above, created by The Vintage Pearl, leave a comment as your entry.

This giveaway ends on Good Friday.

An Epic Love Story

Congrats to random winner, Kit Jordan.

Three years ago today, I traveled to Kenya for the first time to blog about poverty and found true religion.

I took many of you with me on the life-changing trip.

I’m still amazed at how God took a willing heart and sent it around the world and turned


a small, simple yes into a House of Mercy, brimming with happy babies, healthy girls and expanding every day.




God’s funny that way.

He gives us just enough information and protects us from the big dream we haven’t grown into yet.

Because I didn’t know finding Edith would stir my heart to help her orphaned siblings, living in a rural village so far from their big sister. I didn’t know Edith would mourn them everyday in our house. I didn’t know we’d find them in desperation and we would be able to help.

Update pics Feb 2013 209

I didn’t know rescuing Cindy and baby Nicholas would give us the chance to help her family allowing her mother start a business and give her siblings an opportunity for the future.

Home visitation pics 165

I didn’t know that digging deeper, exposing ourselves to more work and pain, would present more opportunities to love and new chances to see Jesus.

I’m glad I didn’t know.

It makes the discovery so much more powerful.

There are still so many unknowns in my life and yours, but the beauty is in the journey.

God is writing a a great love story there and here. Because I also didn’t know a mom would sacrifice $3 every month faithfully for 13 months and on the 14th month, donate $1000.  I didn’t know He would compel others to do the same over and over to keep this little mission afloat.

I didn’t know He would build Mercy House thru your generosity or give us a thousand miracles to get from there to here.

But He knew.

Love’s like that: a contagious, spreading fire that cannot be snuffed out by our inadequacy or ignorance. You would think the world would overwhelm this heart of mine, but instead it’s just grown bigger for the world.

Three years ago today, I didn’t know the end of my trip was really the beginning of an epic love story.


125x125-h&g-mercy2This month, my favorite art company, Show Offs Art is loving mercy with us. You can join them by showing Christ’s love and compassion by shopping their company this Easter season. Use the word MERCY to get a 10% discount and 25% of your sale will go to Mercy House. If you’d like to win my favorite beautiful canvas, leave the name of  the person who needs a little extra love in the comments as your entry.

Introducing Colton Dixon {Giveaway}

Updated with random winner, comment #185 Ann McCarville

You might remember him from American Idol?

Colton Dixon is a new artist with an old message. He could have probably had any number of record deals, but he’s following his passion and his heart by singing the good news of Jesus. His debut album The Messenger is just that: a message.


And I don’t know about you, but I like these kind of young leaders for my son to look up to.

Colton Dixon is 21 years old, has a stunning voice and some wild hair.

I love this. Powerful.

Today, I’m giving away Colton’s new album, The Messenger, a cool messenger bag, journal and a $25 iTunes gift card to winner.




Leave a comment to win!

For When The Mother In You Is Desperate

UPDATE: Comment numbers 67, 492, 461, 151, and 264 are the randomly selected winners of this giveaway.

“I’ve had enough. I’ve had just about ENOUGH of the arguing and fighting!” I yelled.

My kids stopped the squabbling mid-argument. I took a deep breath. Finally.

And then my daughter whispered one word under her breath, an insult directed at her brother.

A dam broke. I said things I shouldn’t have. I was angry. I left my children standing in the kitchen.

And I closed my bedroom door.

I headed straight for the bathroom and locked it.

That’s when I felt it, desperation clawing it’s way into my heart. I couldn’t breathe.

I’ve been here before. Last week and the one before.


I feel inept as a mother a lot of the time. I try. I try really hard and I connect with my kids, we laugh and talk and I get it right some days. But it’s the days in-between, I wonder if I’m undoing the good I’ve done.

Motherhood turns you inside out. Sometimes you feel overwhelmed by how tired you feel; the days go on and on, and you want to be a “good” mom, but you feel like a failure so much of the time. -Desperate

We don’t have a manual or how-to instructions that come with our children. It’s trial and error. It’s good and bad. It’s hard and easy. It’s heartbreaking and breathtaking.

I take a deep breath and lay my anger, failure and desperation at His feet. In that dark bathroom, I receive grace. Grace to breathe, to mother when I don’t know how.

Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson’s book is like oxygen to a mother’s body. It’s simple, yet often-forgotton permission to accept grace in motherhood. They challenge mommas to lean on God and others who are further down the road during the joyful and challenging days of raising little humans.

If you’ve ever felt desperate as a mom, this book is for you.

Today, I’m giving away FIVE copies of Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe.

We often don’t talk about the desperate moments because we’re ashamed. There is power in sharing them–it frees us and offers encouragement to others.

Please leave a comment if you’ve ever been a desperate momma (as your entry).

We Go Together {Giveaway}

UPDATE: Melissa E., comment #28, is the winner of this giveaway.

I’ve been working on a project for months in the cracks of my time.

My husband has listened patiently and pushed me gently.

And then last week, some pieces fell together and while I was helping my Kindergartner with sight words after school, I moved one step closer to my goal and that made me squeal. Literally.

She just looked at me like I was crazy.

She’s a perceptive child.

But I knew I wouldn’t be able to truly rejoice until I talked with my best friend. I called my husband at work. His response made my joy complete because he has been with me on the journey.

My husband lost his sister and one of his closest friends a month ago this week. His sorrow is great and there is a cloud of sadness that hangs heavy. It’s unchartered waters, this grief that invades every space at the most unexpected moments. It comes in waves and just when you think you can laugh again, you cry. But he isn’t grieving alone.

We don’t always agree.

We don’t always get along.

But we are one.

We go together. His grief is mine. My joy is his. It’s the sacred gift of marriage, this unexplainable, undeniable act of becoming One. It’s the most precious gift we share.

It’s what helps us thru the valleys and the mountaintops, the sheer pleasure of facing them together.

And that’s why I love Union 28‘s new Valentine’s marriage shirts.

Today, I’m giving away a set of these new ONENESS his and hers shirts. Plus, get 10% off with this code U28LoveMH10  (reader gets 10% off AND Mercy House gets 10% of sale) Code is valid thru 2/16/13

Simply enter code at checkout to get 10% off & give 10% to Mercy House!

Leave a comment and tell me your favorite shirt.

Giveaway ends on Tuesday.