Category Archives: Gifts

Valentine’s Day Part 2: Hunting for Treasure

It’s probably the hibernating teacher within that brings me round to setting up riddles and scavenger hunts for my kids. Yes, after all these years of standing in slippers wiping butts and noses, there are moments when that alter-ego is … Continue reading

Posted in Contest, CRAZY kids, Education, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, Gifts, God, Holidays, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Play, Random Fun, Seasons of Life, Silly Lists, Things I Love!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Family Friday: Compassion Project

I don’t know about where you live, but the past few weeks have blasted West Michigan with painfully icy wind and record-breaking snowfall. I wish I could say that I’m loving it, but in truth, I’m counting the days until … Continue reading

Posted in Compassion, CRAZY kids, Education, Faith, Family, Family Friday, Following Jesus, Gifts, gratitude, Home, Kids, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Neighbors, Random Fun, Seasons of Life, Social Justice, Things I Love! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take Care of Your ‘Neighbs With Some Simple Compassion

Today, one of our local news reporters delivered his thoughts on this record-breaking weather while stationed up to his thighs in snow on a fake deck. Nice touch, I thought. One leg was in a “normal” section of the snow … Continue reading

Posted in Art/Beautiful Things, Book Review, Compassion, Contest, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, FREE BOOK, Friends, Gifts, Giveaway!, God, gratitude, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Prayer, Seasons of Life, Things I Love!, writing/work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

More Exciting Than A Blizzard? A FREE BOOK!

It seems that nothing has the power to transform meteorologists into giddy children like a rollicking storm. Weathermen and women posted outdoors in the bluster seem thrilled to be at the center of such epic developments, their stern admonitions to skedaddle … Continue reading

Posted in Book Review, Contest, Discoveries, Faith, Family, FREE BOOK, Gifts, Giveaway!, God, Growing Pains, Heartbreak, Holidays, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Seasons of Life, Things I Love!, Uncategorized, writing/work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Book Giveaway Week!

This past week while huffing through a morning deathmatch with our eliptical machine, my gaze fell on the nearby spines of several books have been given to me over the years to review. Having gotten them with the intention of … Continue reading

Posted in Book Review, Contest, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, FREE BOOK, Gifts, Giveaway!, God, Heartbreak, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Prayer, Things I Love!, writing/work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Good, The Bad, and The [very] Ugly

Standard.  Bad and [very] ugly wrapped in bread crumbs.  And absolutely obliterated. Reaching for the Raisin Bran now…   In better news, THE GOOD: What I lack in front of the stove I’m hoping to make up for behind wrapping … Continue reading

Posted in Art/Beautiful Things, crafts, Decor/Organizing, Family, Gifts, Home, Kids, Kitchen/Culinary Woes, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Random Fun, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

New Year’s Eve Traditions

Contrary to the throngs of Time-Square-pounding, diamond-clad, smoky-eyed, horn-blowing ladies waving their champagne flutes to the thumping beat of the Black Eyed Peas, I was at home this New Year’s Eve wearing hoops and yoga pants, sporting mascara-free lashes and … Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, Food, Friends, Gifts, gratitude, Holidays, Home, Kitchen/Culinary Woes, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Neighbors, Recipe/Kitchen Success!, Seasons of Life, Thngs I Love!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bittersweet, by Shauna Niequist

What a delight to have been offered the opportunity to review Shauna Niequist’s latest book, Bittersweet, released last month by Zondervan.  Stitched together with threads of the poetic and honest writing we devoured in Cold Tangerines, Shauna’s voice again rings … Continue reading

Posted in Contest, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, FREE BOOK, Friends, Gifts, God, gratitude, Heartbreak, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Nature/Outdoors, Play, Seasons of Life, Things I Love! | 7 Comments

The Gift of Sand and Water

Anyone who knows me well can attest to the hold that the beach seems to have on me.  The sound of pounding water, birds overhead, toes in sand, sun on shoulders, salty air — it’s almost too much.   Living … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Education, Gifts, gratitude, Kids, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Nature/Outdoors, Play, Things I Love!, Vacation | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

A Lovely and Thankful Wreck

I’ve been a wreck lately. My emotions on have been arching between profound gratitude to God and utter disbelief and, on the far spectrum, sadness that our kids are growing up so fast.  It seems I’ve been waiting for years … Continue reading

Posted in Decor/Organizing, Faith, Gifts, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Practicing Silence

“Sometimes we need silence.  Not always, but definitely sometimes.  If we will comply, if we will receive the moments of quiet contemplation and rest, we might be surprised by what emerges.  As much as I didn’t want to engage in … Continue reading

Posted in Chores/Duties/Jobs, CRAZY kids, Discipline Issues, Faith, Following Jesus, Gifts, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Nature/Outdoors, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Hallmark Sends Its Very Best

I’ve already told you bits and pieces of my now-exposed [obsessive] affair with Hallmark Gold Crown Stores. It’s thorny territory for me to write about something so intimate and special, but at last I’m able to admit that sneaking away … Continue reading

Posted in crafts, Discoveries, Family, Gifts, Holidays, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Random Fun, Thngs I Love!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Drumroll, please!

Congratulations to Kamarah S!  As the person who referred the most folks to this contest, Kamarah will be the recipient Gary Thomas’ latest book, Pure Pleasure: Why Do Christians Feel So Bad About Feeling Good?, courtesy of Zondervan Publishers. Thanks … Continue reading

Posted in FREE BOOK, Gifts, Giveaway! | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

WIN THIS BOOK!

Zondervan was gracious enough to provide me with a second copy of this book to pass along to my masses of spellbound and excited readers [cough]; to that end I am happy to launch a spiderweb contest to determine the … Continue reading

Posted in Contest, Discoveries, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, Food, Gifts, Giveaway!, God, gratitude, Home, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Random Fun | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Pure Pleasure, by Gary Thomas

Check back tomorrow to see how you can win a copy of this book, courtesy of Zondervan Publishers! Little did I know when I tore into the envelope that I was the lucky recipient of something I never knew I … Continue reading

Posted in Discipline Issues, Discoveries, Faith, Fitness, Following Jesus, Friends, Gifts, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Home, Kids, Literature/Books, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Thngs I Love!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

All Hail Hallmark!

When the “rewards” coupon comes in the mail, I’m the sucker who can’t wait to race out the door to Betty’s–Hallmark, that is.  I love walking into the dreamy ambiance full of pretty bags and holiday decorations, and hearing the … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Family, Finances, Friends, Gifts, gratitude, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Random Fun, Thngs I Love!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

An Apple At Dawn

It is before 5 am as I sit here with my apple. People who know me will realize that something is strangely amiss that I would be pulled from the warmth of the bed I love to descend to a … Continue reading

Posted in Discipline Issues, Faith, Fitness, Following Jesus, Food, Gifts, God, gratitude, Home, Kitchen/Culinary Woes, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Seasons of Life, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

BNE: Best Neighbors Ever

I first crossed over the asphalt divide six years ago with a plate of monster cookies and a welcome note, hoping that the new people across the street would be, at the very least, pleasant.  What I never even considered … Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, Finances, Following Jesus, Friends, Gifts, God, gratitude, Heartbreak, Home, Illness, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Neighbors, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quote, Unquote

Tonight I walked my oldest son to his room to spend a little time with him before bed.  He treasures these moments–almost longs for them in the way that I long for chocolate desserts and the pleasure of new slippers.  … Continue reading

Posted in Family, Gifts, gratitude, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

From “Pure Pleasure”

This coming February I will be taking part in a blog tour for Gary Thomas’ latest book, the phenomenal Pure Pleasure.  When I was invited to do the review, the title intrigued me [subtitled: Why  Do Christians Feel So Bad About … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Faith, Family, Finances, Fitness, Following Jesus, Food, Friends, Gifts, God, gratitude, Home, Literature/Books, Marriage, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Music, Nature/Outdoors, Neighbors, Play, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hello, My Name is Jane, and I Have ICD: Part 2

Welcome to my crazy brain, part two.  Come on in, have a look around, grab a cookie and put your feet up.  Ignore the wild ponies and flashbacks of college. I first revealed to you in August that I have … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Gifts, Random Fun, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Christmas Meditation

One of my husband’s favorite Christmas songs was written a few decades ago by singer-songwriters Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene.  Mary, Did You Know? is a thought-provoking song that wonders aloud whether Mary fully knew the entirety of who her … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Faith, Family, Following Jesus, Gifts, God, gratitude, Holidays, Kids, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

After-Hours Shopping = JOY

Friends, I have to say:  If you’ve never ventured to the mall during the week of Christmas to enjoy Macy’s “open ’till 10” schedule, or Kohl’s “open ’till midnight” promise, take advantage of it! Sunday night I managed to peel … Continue reading

Posted in Chores/Duties/Jobs, Discoveries, Food, Friends, Gifts, gratitude, Holidays, Home, Kids, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Music, Random Fun | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

[We Are] Overlooked: final thoughts

Matthew 25:37-40 (The Message) “When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?? Then the King will say, … Continue reading

Posted in Discoveries, Faith, Family, Finances, Following Jesus, Friends, Gifts, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Heartbreak, Holidays, Home, Illness, Kids, Literature/Books, Matters of the Heart, Social Justice, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No School!

Ah, the childlike joy of having school canceled–what thrill can compare in the mind of a 6 or 7 year old? Yesterday our kids had an unexpected day off due to a power-outage in their elementary building, followed up [with … Continue reading

Posted in Family, Food, Gifts, Holidays, Home, Kids, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Random Fun, Recipe/Kitchen Success!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

It Must Be Raindrops…

I grew up listening to Oldies, and to this day I still enjoy a sugary doo-wop song or something that emerged from Motown at the height of its glory.   I love The Platters, The Fleetwoods, Martha & the Vandellas…pretty much … Continue reading

Posted in Faith, Family, Following Jesus, Food, Gifts, God, gratitude, Growing Pains, Heartbreak, Holidays, Home, Kids, Matters of the Heart, Motherhood/Mommy Duties, Seasons of Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Small Moments

My oldest often comes home from school with catch phrases that describe what he’s learning.  Last year his teacher helped him work on “grabber-hooks and gotcha’s” to make the beginning and end of a story more interesting.  They illustrate, edit, … Continue reading

Posted in Family, Gifts, God, gratitude, Home, Kids, Motherhood/Mommy Duties | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sick House

Our two boys came home with some kind of bug this week, leading to a couple days home from school and confined to our sick house.   A visit to the doctor yielded a “deep chest cold” diagnosis, for which … Continue reading

Posted in Family, Food, Gifts, God, gratitude, Heartbreak, Home, Illness, Kids, Marriage, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Things I Don’t Understand Thursday: Toy Packaging

Last week my daughter decided to use her long-saved-up birthday money to buy a new doll at Costco.  Maybe you’ve seen them?  They’re adorable American Girl look-alikes at about a quarter of the cost…which only makes them more adorable. Of … Continue reading

Posted in Chores/Duties/Jobs, Family, Gifts, Holidays, Kids, Rants, Things I Don't Understand Thursday, Things that are STUPID | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Joys

1.  I found these adorable earrings right after I wrote “Little Sparrows” and fell in love with them immediately.  Being a girl with short hair, earrings are an essential to getting dressed.  Without them, I feel totally boyish and naked.  … Continue reading

Posted in Chores/Duties/Jobs, Discipline Issues, Family, Food, Gifts, gratitude, Home, Kids, Kitchen/Culinary Woes, Motherhood/Mommy Duties | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments