Thursday, November 27, 2008

Black Friday Weekend & Beyond - Fabulous Giveaways

I discovered a few giveaways that are going on right now that are too good not to share.

Alyce at At Home With Books is a stay-at-home mom who used to work for a publishing company. Now lucky Alyce gets to take care of her little ones and read, read, read. Fortunately, for those of us who are bookworms, she is giving away a gently used copy of Jenford by Hendrik E. Sadi. Visit her website (click on Jenford, under the heading "Current Giveaways on left sidebar) for details about the book and if you like what your read, sign up for the giveaway! Leave your comment and you're entered. Simple as that! Continues through Sunday, November 30th.

There's a delightful little snowman in a globe up for grabs at
Paddywack Designs. Simple to enter. Drawing is Tuesday, December 2nd.

How about a gorgeous Lands End Cashmere sweater with lots of colors to choose from. Visit Mom Fuse for a chance to win. Chances for extra entries. This giveaway ends Friday, December 5th.

If you know someone who is about to have or just had a little one, check out My Three Sons Designs. This giveaway lasts through Friday and is for a Bib, Two Burb Cloths and a Blankie in really cute fabric.

If you're in the market for a fabulous bag, Everything Up Close is giving away two Tom Bihn bags. This giveaway continues through Monday, December 1st.

Last but not least is the opportunity to win a lovely little poncho from Po Po's Ponchos. To enter go to Babies Gotta Have It and follow the instructions. This giveaway is good through Thursday, December 4th.

Well, that's all I have for now. I'll add any new ones that I happen to find. In the meantime, I'm going to be thinking about my own giveaway. This is fun!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thinking about Gratitude

Thanksgiving Day is almost here and I've been counting my blessings. These are difficult times and there is a great deal of uncertainty even for those who aren't facing homelessness or job loss. How easy it is to be grateful when things are going well and there is food on the table and money in the bank. We have to dig a little deeper to have a grateful heart during times of financial hardship, grief, sorrow or fear. Even in the darkest of times there are blessings if we can only allow ourselves to find them and to recognize them. It is when the times are the hardest that we should be our most grateful. Thankfulness and gratitude increase our faith and our faith sustains us in our times of need. This Thanksgiving it may be necessary to look a little deeper to find our blessings but your heart will be happier if you do.

With that in mind, I thought I would do a series of posts of lyrics, scripture and quotations that remind us to be thankful...especially when times are the worst!

A few years ago during a bad drought and a difficult financial time for our family, this Nichole Nordeman song, "Gratitude" gave me a much needed attitude adjustment. It made me realize that there are lessons to be learned and an increase in faith to be gained in all of the difficult times we face.

Send some rain, would You send some rain?
'Cause the earth is dry and needs to drink again
And the sun is high and we are sinking in the shade
Would You send a cloud, thunder long and loud?
Let the sky grow black and send some mercy down
Surely You can see that we are thirsty and afraid
But maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to thirst for You
How to bless the very sun that warms our face
If You never send us rain

Daily bread, give us daily bread
Bless our bodies, keep our children fed
Fill our cups, then fill them up again tonight
Wrap us up and warm us through
Tucked away beneath our sturdy roofs
Let us slumber safe from danger's view this time
Or maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
A lesson learned to hunger after You
That a starry sky offers a better view if no roof is overhead And if we never taste that bread

Oh, the differences that often are between
What we want and what we really need

So grant us peace, Jesus, grant us peace
Move our hearts to hear a single beat
Between alibis and enemies tonight
Or maybe not, not today
Peace might be another world away
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to trust in You
That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need
And if You never grant us peace

But Jesus, would You please . . .

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quilt Giveaway at the Old Red Barn Company

You could be the lucky winner of one of three gorgeous quilts. Of course, so could I and that is precisely why I am blogging about this contest. If I plug it on my blog, I get more chances to win. Also, if I put this little button on here to direct you to the sponsor of the contest, I get extra,extra chances. You can do the same thing which will, of course, actually reduce my chances of winning but I'm a nice person so go ahead and push the button and find out about how you can win one of these beautiful quilts...but you don't have to blog and do all that other stuff to get extra chances because that wouldn't be fair because then you would be reducing my chances even more and then there wouldn't be any point to me doing this and okay, I'm confusing myself just push the button, okay? Okay.

Button (Link)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day and Remembering My Mom

I wanted to take a few minutes to thank all of those who are serving and have served our nation in the armed services. My dad was a Marine and my uncle was an Air Force pilot (WWII) and my nephew is currently serving in the Army. There were quite a number of other military men and two women in my family's history.

My mother was very patriotic. She loved movies about WWII. I think she watched Kelly's Heroes about a hundred times. She was raising two little girls while my dad was off serving our country. She was only about 24 at the time. Times were tough but she scrimped and saved and did her part to help the war effort. Mom was a song writer and in 1945 she sang one of her songs on a radio show called "That's My Tune" on WGST in Atlanta. The song she chose was "My Bill, USMC." Part of it goes like this, "My Bill, USMC, though he gets his mail as Sgt. William. He's Bill, sweet as can be, the year that he's been gone seems like a million. He writes me every night...." Sounds kind of corny but a lot of what they were writing in the 40's sounds corny to us now. Anyway, it has a beautiful melody and I'm partial to it since it was about my dad. He literally did write her every night. I have all of the letters. They are tied up in ribbons and stashed in my dad's "foot locker" that was issued by the Marine Corps. It holds all of my mom's poetry, her songs and other odds and ends of hers and my dad's that came to me as the official family historian.

Anyway, I guess you wonder why I'm spending so much time writing about my mother, who was not a veteran, on a day that is set aside to honor veterans. Veteran's Day was always special to my mom. When I was a little girl, we would watch old patriotic movies together and she would tell me about how she felt when she heard the news about Pearl Harbor being attacked, about all the things that were rationed, how difficult it was to have her husband so far away for so long, the different projects to support the troops and buying war bonds. It was a time when women had to step up to the plate and do things they were not accustomed to doing. She taught me that serving this country and protecting our freedom is an honor and a duty.

So, for me Veteran's Day is not only about the brave veterans who have died serving our country and those who were willing to put their lives on the line for our freedom, but also the women and men who supported them back home and especially my mom.

Veteran's Day holds an even more important place in my heart because ironically and appropriately Veteran's Day, 2006, was the day my mom left this world. Mom, thanks for teaching me how important it is to care about our country and the men and women who serve it.

My Dad, Marine WWII

Cousin Dot, Waves WWII

Uncle George, Air Force Pilot, WWII

Grandfather George, Georgia National Guard, Border Patrol, Fort Bliss, TX 1916

Great Uncle John, Navy, WWI

Last But Not Least, My Mom circa 1944

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fingerprint Friday

We have the most beautiful sunsets here on our farm. There are so many nights when the sky is full of fire and it's hard to believe it is simply the sunset. Like there's really anything simple about a sunset. Science tells us it's the dust particles in the atmosphere and the refraction of light through those particles that cause the intense colors of a sunset. One way to look at it is that pollution in the lower atmosphere causes magnificent sunsets. I don't know about you, but I believe only God could be so creative as to turn our ugly pollution into something as magnificent as this sunset! Sort of like the way that Jesus can take the ugliest life imaginable and transform it into something of beauty. Yep! God's fingerprint is all over sunsets and transformed lives!

To participate in Fingerprint Friday, please visit PamperingBeki and sign up by leaving your name and commenting on Beki's post.