Thursday, November 18, 2010

Shutterfly's 2010 Holiday Card collection

Am I the last person in the blogosphere to realize that Shutterfly carries holiday cards? I knew that they printed photos and had stationary, but I had no idea they have holiday cards! I came across a link on another blog and decided to look and see what Shutterfly offers. They have many, many cards from which to choose. I really feel like I’ve missed out over the years by not ordering cards from Shutterfly. There are so many designs and they are very reasonably priced. I plan on ordering this Christmas card for my family this year. I love the colors and simplicity of it. With life being really crazy and busy with our newest addition this year, I am loving simplicity! They have photo Christmas cards. The cool gray is my favorite photo Christmas card. They also have many birthday card invitations This is a super cute birthday invitation! Shutterfly also has many different invitations for any occasion! I love this simple holiday invitation. Shutterfly is a wonderful place to order any of your stationary or picture needs!

The Gratitude Project Days 17 & 18

This week I am very thankful for good doctors and medical insurance. I am thankful that we have doctors that will fit us in when we are sick or in pain. I am also thakful we have insurance & don't have to pay full price for visits and prescriptions. Ernie's trying to pass a kidney stone and had to go to the urologist yesterday for an xray. For a little while, we didn't know if he'd be coming home or if he'd be admitted into the hospital. When he called me at co-op and said I'd have to come pick him up because they were about to give him an iv to keep him from getting sick due to the pain, I was worried. I didn't know what to expect when I got there. The nurse decided to give him a shot and not an iv. When he got up to leave, I thought he was going to pass out. The nurse was helping him to the door to leave and he nearly passed out. She had me grab an office chair for him to sit in and called the doctor to see if he needed to go to the hospital. We left with orders to call the office on the way to the hospital, if he decided he needed to go and the doctor would admit him. I have never seen him in so much pain. I did more praying than I've done in a long time. For him and for me! Ha! Then last night Bella started coughing a ton and ended up vomitting because of mucus. When it rains, it pours! She started running fever today, so we went to our favorite pediatrician. She's got an upper respiratory infection again. She's had enough of them this fall! Every weather change seems to make her sick. Dr. Stanley said it's supposed to warm up again this weekend and then cool off again. Maybe since she'll already be on medicine, it won't get worse. He's trying her on a cough syrup with codeine this time. She's never been on that before. So far, she's not coughing much at all. I don't think she'll be able to take it during the day, though. It knocked her out in about 15 minutes and when she did wake up, she was so out of it. She's got to get well and Ernie does, too! We're having a big Thanksgiving meal at our house Saturday!

Searching For God Knows What by Donald Miller

This book encourages you to examine your life and what it really means to be a Christian. He talks about how christianity should be a relationship and not a formula.

A lot of people I follow on Twitter have read a couple of books by Donald Miller and have loved them. There was so much expectation when I ordered this book. I could not wait to read it when it arrived. I love reading Donald Miller's blog posts from time to time and there were high expectations. I was very disappointed. I had to force myself to read every page of this book. It was a fight until the end. I just could not "get" this book. I think if I was to listen to it and not read it, I might be able to understand it better. I have never read a book that was written the way Donald Miller writes. I am sure if I could get past the fact that it is very different, I might be able to enjoy it. I wish I could say I loved it. I really do, but I cannot honestly say I did. If a friend asked if I'd recommend it, I would probably suggest checking it out of the library before buying the book.

I received this book free from Booksneeze as part of their book review bloggers program. I did not have to submit a positive review. The opinions expressed here are my own. Thanks Thomas Nelson!

Permission to Speak Freely by Anne Jackson

Anne Jackson posted a question on her blog "What is one thing you feel you can't say in the church?". Tons of responses are included in this book. It is full of confessions, art and Anne's story.

She speaks about her fight with depression. I had a hard time reading this book, because the fight with depression hit a little close to home. I have fought with depresion off and on for years. When she started talking about depression, I had to sit the book down for a little while. It was so good for me to read something so transparent. By the time I got to the end of the book, I felt like I had sat down with a cup of coffee and listened to Anne tell her story. I felt like I knew her. The art and the answers people shared were nice, but it was Anne's story that made the book for me. The book felt so honest and real. You could almost sense Anne's pain when she talks about the hurts she has been through. Reading this book made me feel like no secret is too horrible or too shameless to confess. I am glad I read this book and I imagine I will read it again one day. I need some time to digest it first. I would recommend this book to any of my friends. If you want to read a book that is real, open & honest, this book would be a great choice. It is a very challenging read that makes you examine your life.

I received this book free from the publisher through the Booksneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Gratitude Project - Day 16

I'm blogging two days in a row! Can you believe it?! On day 16, the night before we go to our homeschool co-op for the last day of the fall semester, I am so very grateful for a group of homeschool families that get together once a week for some classes. When we seriously started considering homeschooling, I knew that I needed to meet and be around other homeschoolers. I knew that if I was going to be successful homeschooling our children, I needed to know some people that are going through the same things in life. I found a local homeschool group and they have been one of the biggest blessings in my life. I am extremely thankful for them. I am thankful that we have the opportunity to meet once a week for 10 weeks in the fall and 10 weeks in the spring. I am thankful that we are surrounded by such loving, amazing people. People that I probably would have never met if we weren't on this homeschooling journey together. These are people I laugh with, cry with, pray with and enjoy this thing called life together. To have people that when I say "I am going to pull my hair out! or I don't know why I am doing this homeschooling thing." and for them to truly understand what I am saying is definitely something I am very grateful to have. I love it when I can post on facebook "What am I thinking homeschooling two children with a toddler and newborn?" and have almost an immediate response from someone who has literally been there and knows exactly what I'm feeling. These people are gifts. Each and every one of them. I cannot express how thankful I am for them and for the relationships our kids have formed with the kids in our group. All I can think is that my Father must really love me to put these people into our life.

Days 5-15 of The Gratitude Project

So, I really stink at updating my blog daily or even weekly. I try! But even though my intentions are good, it just doesn't happen.

So, days 5-15. 10 things or people I am grateful for. Yes, I ended that sentence in a preposition.

Alrighty, number 5 is my Daddy. He was a wonderful man that taught me to always look for the good in people. He taught me to not judge people. He taught me that spending time with your loved ones playing and just enjoying them is something you should do. He always, always, always put me first. He showed me unconditional love. I lost him when I was 13, but I am forever grateful that I had those years with him.

Number 6 is Ernie's Dad. He was my 2nd Daddy. He loved his family more than almost anyone I've ever known. His wife, kids and grandkids were his life. He accepted me and loved me like I was his daughter, not a daughter in law. We lost him last year, but he will forever live in our hearts.

Number 7 is Ernie's grandmother. That woman taught me so much about life. We lost her last year and I would give anything to have her back, just for one more hug. She was amazing.

Number 8 is my grandparents. I was blessed to have great grandparents. They are no longer with me, but they loved me and prayed for me and my brother and cousins.

Number 9 is my church. We made a move this year and started going to another church. I loved our old church when we left, but felt like God was telling us it was no longer where He wanted us. We have found a place that we believe is right where He wants us. Feeling at home every time we step in those doors is such a great thing.

Number 10 is our Pastor. Having a Pastor I respect is such a good thing. Knowing that every message is going to be one that God uses to speak to me in some area of my life is something I am definitely thankful for.

The 11th thing or person in which I am thankful is our worship band. They are so talented and giving of their time and talents to make sure that every worship experience is a great one. I love anticipating feeling the Holy Spirit every single worship service.

Number 12 is our wonderful kids ministry team. I love knowing that my kids are having a great time in kids church every week. I love knowing they are making friends and that they are going to ask to be involved with these kids outside of church. I love that these people truly want to be involved with the kids and aren't just doing it to keep the kids out of the church service. It is a huge blessing to many parents and for that I am truly grateful.

Number 13 are our youth pastors. They are so very involved in our preteen and all of the other preteens and teens in our church. They are great influences for them. They take extra time, not just once a week, but many other times of the month to invest in these kids lives. It is so wonderful to see. God is really moving and changing lives.

Number 14 is hot tea. This weather change we're having down here in the south has my throat hurting and hot tea has been such a blessing this week. I love my ginger peach tea.

Number 15 is rain. We have not had much rain at all lately, at least not until the past week or two. I am really enjoying the dreariness of it right now, since I can stay home and not be out in it. I've really enjoyed listening to it tonight.

For these things I am truly grateful. Each and every one of them are gifts from my Father, who loves to give gifts to those who love Him.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Graditude Project Day 4!

Today I am grateful for my Mom. She is such a wonderful, good hearted person. She would give the shirt off of her back to someone, if she knew they needed it. We have not always had the best relationship, but I believe that sometimes we need rocky patches to make us appreciate someone more. She was a single mom for about 6-7 years of my life. Now that I am a mom, I cannot imagine how hard that must have been. I am so grateful that in spite of it all, she put my brother and me above her needs and made sure we were always cared for. I do not know of a single time in my life that my needs failed to be met. She is always looking for ways to help other people. She is such a great person. Being raised by such a wonderful person has helped mold me into the person I am today. I am thankful my Father chose to give me to my mother to raise here on earth. I am thankful for the family He placed me in. I am thankful for the wonderful grandmother my Mom is to my kids.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Gratitude Project Days 2 & 3

I should have done day 2 yesterday, but y'all, I am a slacker. I really, really am. I do not know where yesterday went. Anyway!

The next thing(or person, as it may be) I am thankful for is my husband. This man is one of the best men that has ever entered my life. He is the best man for me. I am so thankful that God picked him out for me. I cannot imagine my Father caring about me so much that He would pick out the perfect soulmate for me and place him in my path, but He does care that much for me. Ernie and I married 14 years ago and it has been the happiest 14 years of my life. It has not always been perfect or easy, but I am so grateful for each and every day I have with this man. He loves me and the kids so much and I believe the love he shows me helps me to be a better person. I am very thankful for the lessons he has taught me just by loving me. There are times I am most definitely unlovable and he chooses to love me anyway. That commandment Love your neighbor as yourself?, yeah, this man does it. I am so thankful we are raising these children together. He is a wonderful husband, daddy & friend. I am so very blessed.

The third thing(or people) I am thankful for are my 4 children. I am so thankful that God picked me to be their mother. They are so much fun and such a joy. I am so thankful to spend every day with them. I am so thankful for the privilege of learning with them every day. I am so thankful to be guiding them along their journey in life. I am amazed and so grateful that I get to be their earthly mother. I am thankful that my kids enjoy being with me, their daddy and each other.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Gratitude Project

My friend posted a challenge on her blog to make November a month of being intentionally thankful. She started with a beautiful post.

I also want to start this month of gratitude with thanking my Heavenly Father. I am so thankful He created me. I am thankful that He guides and directs every step I make. I am thankful that He knows every thought I have and everything I am going to do and say and loves me anyway. How reassuring it is to know that no matter what I do or say, He loves me anyway. I am thankful for His grace that covers every mistake I make. I am thankful that every trial I face must first pass through His hands. I am thankful that Jesus Christ is the one thing that will always be a constant in my life. I am thankful that the relationship I have with Him is the one thing that I absolutely cannot mess up. I am thankful He chose to bless me with a wonderful man to be my helpmeet and four fantastic children. I am thankful He created them to live with me on this side of Heaven.

Our worship leader said yesterday that we serve a "motion sensitive" God. He took the first step by loving us first, but He's waiting on us now. I am thankful I serve a God that is there to meet me and all I have to do is reach out for Him. I am thankful I serve a God that meets all of our needs. I am thankful I live in a country where we can freely and openly worship our Creator. I am thankful I do not have to worry, because He is watching over us constantly. I am thankful He directs us and speaks to us when we listen. I am thankful we have so much more to look forward to than just this world. I am thankful He is making a place for us in Heaven where there will be no tears and no heartache. I am thankful He cares about the little things in our lives. I am thankful I belong to someone and am loved unconditionally. I am thankful He created us to need relationship and placed people in our lives to meet the need of relationship. I am thankful He directed us to a wonderful faith family that is helping us grow and is challenging our thinking.

All I can do is say thank you, Father. Thank you for first loving us. Thank you for giving us an instruction book to live by. Thank you for placing such wonderful and loving people in our lives.