Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Celtic Woman Giveaway

I'm just going to skip right over the "I haven't dropped off the planet" explanation for now (I promise to come back to it, there's some fun stuff there) and get right to the best part! I was contacted by Sneak Attack Media (get that, I was contacted by them!) about hosting a giveaway right here on my blog. This is a major big deal to me and I'm really excited to pair up with them and make this happen. I mean, let's just call it what it is, my little space of the blogosphere is pretty small. But they want me! I feel like Sally Field in that famous acceptance like me! But enough rambling about me and my needs, on to the good part ;)

If you're not familiar with them, Celtic Woman is an all-female singing sensation featuring vocalists Chloë Agnew, Lisa Kelly, Lisa Lambe and Celtic violinist Máiréad Nesbitt. Their newest member, Susan McFadden, will be joining Chloë, Máiréad, and Lisa Lambe on the Believe tour starting February 3, 2012, in Nashville, Tennessee. Their songs range from Classic Irish songs to well-known inspirational songs. 

You can listen to their song Teir Abhaile Riu at this link and watch a trailer for the Believe DVD. 

Both the Believe cd and dvd are available for purchase at

You can find their 2012 North American Tour Dates here

I have received my own copies of both the cd and dvd and will be posting my review later this week. In the meantime, I am giving away a signed copy of the cd to one lucky reader and a signed copy of the dvd to another lucky reader. To enter, you *must* comment on this post. You can earn extra entries by following me on Twitter (once) and tweeting about the giveaway (once a day). The giveaway will run until February 8, 2012. Winners will be chosen and notified by email. You will have 48 hours to respond to the email before I choose another winner. Good luck!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Like A Child

Before I had kids, I had all the answers. I'm a smart girl--how hard could it be to raise a child? Keep them clean, fed and happy. Anyone can do that. Right? 

For the first few months after our oldest was born, I was convinced that I had earned the Mother of the Year Award, complete with the trophy and tiara. She was clean, fed and (for the most part) happy. This parenting thing was easy. Next time, I'll take twins. And then her personality began to emerge. It was a personality that I wasn't expecting. She was high-strung and demanding. We butted heads. My husband said she was just like me. I plead the 5th. The more demanding she became, the more determined I was that she was not going to be a brat. And then her sister arrived, and then a brother. We (finally) began to think about who we wanted them to be and the characteristics we wanted to emphasize in them. The bratty bit had to go. But how do you convince your kids that the world does not revolve around them? 

For so long we had focused on giving our kids the very best of everything, making sure they had everything they wanted. We had fed their desires for bigger, better and more. What did we have to show for that? Boxes and boxes of toys and games that they never played with, designer jeans that they outgrew too fast, too many things they didn't appreciate. Something had to change and my husband and I knew that change had to start with us. We began to emphasize giving of ourselves instead of giving to ourselves. 

And then it happened. It wasn't a sudden, conscious change, but a gradual shift that came from inside. Things were changing so I decided to rock the boat in a drastic way...

Several weeks ago I announced that for Christmas this year, Santa would still visit but there would be no gifts from Mom and Dad. Instead, they would each be able to pick out something from the World Vision catalog and we would give to others instead of buying gifts for them. I expected that they would eventually embrace this idea after some initial protest. I was wrong. They argued over who got to look at the catalog first! After much discussion, they settled on seeds, fishing kits, and medicine. Hannah (the 9 year old) started asking questions about sponsoring a child instead of one-time giving. Do we get to pick the child? Where will he/she live? Can we get one my age? We went online to the World Vision site and began to search for a child to sponsor. We found a little boy from the Dominican Republic who shared her exact birthday. She made the decision to sponsor him and convinced her siblings to go along with her plan. They are truly excited to be giving instead of receiving this year.

In her letter to Santa, Hannah wrote "All I really want for Christmas is to spend time with my family." She has a generous and beautiful spirit. We introduced her to the greatest gift of all and she has taken what we have taught her and multiplied it. Her love of Jesus radiates to everyone she knows. I have a lot to learn from her.

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. Matthew 18:2-5 NKJV

Friday, December 16, 2011

Goalsetting 101: What Not to Do

I'm a bit of a 3 in 30 failure this month. Okay well that's not entirely true.

I am a *complete* 3 in 30 failure this month.

I have tons of excuses why but really, they're not good ones. I got a little off kilter at the end of November and actually had a couple of goals in mind for December but I never shared them and didn't feel sufficiently motivated to act on them. Big mistake...huge. {Quick, name that movie}

I have participated in the challenge for only 2 months. I knew that I was making progress but I didn't realize the goals were preserving my sanity. I'm slowly coming to understand that I need reachable, short-term goals if I ever want to escape the natural chaos that follows me. 

Saving you the trouble of learning this the hard way, here is the easy button version of what not to do...{In quotes, because I'm feeling random and inspired today. Mostly random.}

1. Never, never, never, never give up. (Winston Churchill)
2. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

3. If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
4. Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another. (Walter Elliot)
5. Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with  
    courageous patience. (Admiral Hyman Rickover)
6. If I can't be a good example, I will just have to be a terrible warning.

Something else that definitely warrants mentioning...I've missed the fellowship of the other 3 in 30 participants. I didn't realize how much I thrived on the community part of it--encouraging others and being encouraged. I can't do it alone, and I'm not going to try!

Even though it's the middle of the month, I'm going to jump in and participate. I'm lost without it. But since I'm late, I'm going to make just 1 goal... 

This stack of magazines doesn't look 2 feet tall but it is. And there's a box full to go along with it. I have all these old magazines that I either haven't read or I have read and didn't recycle. By the end of December, my goal is to annihilate this huge pile of magazines. Doesn't that sound like fun?! Remind me next month to organize all the recipes and ideas I pull out of these magazines!

Thanks for stopping by! How is your month going? (Hopefully better than mine!)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Funky Cold December

I am completely in a funk. Here we are a full week into December and I can't get motivated to do anything. Anything! My to-do list is several pages long and the longer it gets, the more I avoid it! My laundry is piled up, there are dishes in the sink and boxes in the living room. I have bought exactly 2 gifts and I don't even want to buy the rest! All I really want to do is take a nice long nap! I have allowed myself to get too far behind with everything and when that happens, I usually ignore it and shrink into a pile of emotions. It's a character flaw. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? 

Well, it's definitely a problem and it's starting to bother the rest of the family too. I yelled at Meg this morning for putting on the same sweater she wore yesterday. Then we had a heated discussion about how looking like a hobo reflects poorly on me, not her. Her explanation of "it's not a shirt, it's a sweater, I can wear it again today" wasn't sitting well with me and I snapped. I will feel guilty and miserable all day because I probably ruined her day. Ethan was supposed to write a letter to Santa last night to be published in the paper next week. It had to be done last night. He didn't want to. He whined and complained and had a mini-meltdown. Then I had a mini-meltdown and told him that I didn't want to be the only 1st grade parent whose kid refused to cooperate. Ugh, I'm going to have to give back my "mother of the year" tiara.

It has been an emotional week to say the least. Meg performed in her 1st community play this weekend, 4 times. She won a role in "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" about 6 weeks ago and we have been shuttling her to rehearsals ever since. Did I mention practice was an hour away? We debated on even letting her tryout for it because of the distance but I really wanted her to have the experience and to channel her natural drama into something productive. Rehearsals were for 5 weeks so I decided that we could do anything for 5 weeks. Most of the time it wasn't bad. Last week she rehearsed 4 nights and then had 4 performances over the weekend. Thankfully, we never felt burdened by it (at least I didn't). The show was great. I even helped backstage once and found it to be very rewarding and fun. Groups of kids never fail to amuse me. On Saturday, as I was getting ready to head to the play, our dear landlady wanted to move some of her stuff (she had some things left in the house when we moved in and we have been living around them). My husband was expecting to help her most of the day but we didn't expect her to bring additional help, in the form of several people from church, who paraded through the house most of the day. My house that wasn't very presentable. I felt like I was being judged because it was painfully obvious that I am not a very good juggler. Really, I should just let it go. I'm working on that. 

Over the weekend, I learned that a lifelong friend had died under suspicious circumstances. There were many questions on top of the grief. We have some answers now and it is a very sad story (that's not mine to tell) and it has really weighed heavily on my heart. As adults, we haven't been close but our families have been friends forever. It is different dealing with the death of someone who really hasn't been in my life for a while but had been such a big part of it before. I know there isn't a *wrong* way to deal with someone's death but I feel like I'm not doing it right. And I know that makes absolutely no sense to anyone else. It doesn't really make sense to me either, it's just a strange emotion. 

On a completely different and much more cheerful note, it has actually snowed here already. In case you're not from the South, December hardly ever means snow. Usually it's more like February before we see any, if at all. And loosely quoting my oh so lovely friend, I'm living in another dimension. Strangeness...


Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 3 in 30 Wrapup

November is winding down and Christmas will be here soon. Traditionally, this is the hardest time of the year for me to set and keep goals. I think I just get bogged down with the busyness of the holidays and I lose track of me. I think I have been doing pretty well the past couple of months and I hope that December is just as good. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!
The goals I set for November were…
Make something from Pinterest—I did that the very 1st week (not sure if I was motivated by making something or just crossing it off my list!) It really was fun and I would like to make more things that I have pinned. Right now, it doesn’t really make sense unless I plan to give them away when I’m done. We are crowded in our little house and I must give away tons of stuff so we will be comfortable.
3in30 ChallengeGet out and sort through winter clothes—Done! We worked on this over the long holiday weekend and now have 2 giant bags full of giveaway clothes. I finally decided to part with some of my clothes that don’t fit. I was holding on to them hoping that I would magically drop 2 sizes and they would fit again. Reality finally hit me and I caved. I don’t have room to hang on to the “someday” stuff. Besides, maybe it’s like maternity clothes and baby stuff—when you get rid of everything, another baby comes along! Maybe it works the same with outgrown clothes. I’m not holding my breath.
Keep up with Bible in 90 Days reading—I’m a little behind I think. I know I am behind with the Old Testament but I took a Jesus break and skipped to the New Testament. I felt like it was what I needed to do. Of course, that puts my schedule a little out of whack but I am crossing off what I have read in the NT so once I make it there, I will be ahead of myself (how do you like that logic?!)
So that’s how it went in November. If you need accountability or help keeping up with your goals, please join the 3 in 30 Challenge and linkup with us each week. It has helped me tremendously and I am very thankful that I have been able to do this.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Week 3 Already?

3in30 ChallengeIt's already the 3rd Friday in November?!  Aaaaaahhhhh!!! The month has gone by so fast and I haven't really made a dent in the things I need to make a dent in. At some point, I'm sure the stress will catch up with me but right now, I denying the fact that I have way too much to do. 

My 3 in 30 momentum has slowed a bit but I'm still hanging in there. 

Drag out, sort through and organize winter clothes--Still not yet. We spent last weekend moving and organizing some things, mainly moving clothes from the laundry room into closets and dressers. By the time we were through, I couldn't imagine sorting through stuff. The good news is that the boy has all his winter stuff out and the girls have a few long sleeve shirts and coats. Most of their winter gear is still in bags and boxes. Ugh, I really need to get on this one. 

Continue with Bible in 90 Days--I'm doing great with this. I spent most of the week in the Psalms and have moved into Proverbs. I have read many of the Psalms before but never in order and straight through. I was surprised at how dark and angry it sounded in several places. That confused me a bit and I asked my husband to help me understand the anger (he's a bigger Bible scholar than me). His comment was that I was reading them with a New Testament perspective. Jesus forgave all our sins and we should forgive each other. These were written before Jesus though--forgiveness isn't much of a theme there. 

Make something crafty that I have pinned on Pinterest--Done. I do get to be crafty again tonight, although not because of Pinterest. My oldest daughter is in a play and the costume director recruited my middle child to help make 10 halos out of pipe cleaners and garland. What this really means is that I will make 9 and she will make 1. It will be a great time of stress bonding for us.

My First Guest Post

PhotobucketDuring the month of November, Melissa at Beautiful Mommy Feet is celebrating the wonderful works of God by featuring a different blogger each day who will share a testimony of praise. I am honored to be featured post is titled He Knows the Plans. I hope that you are blessed by it.