Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mother's Day {Shutterfly}

Mother's Day is sneaking up on us! 

Whenever I ask my mom what she wants for Mother's Day she gives me the same answer.

"I want pictures of my grandchildren."

Ergo, I head to Shutterfly for photo gift ideas.

Shutterfly has great Mother's Day Cards and Stationary. 

I simply love these personalized notebooks and notepads.  They are super cute and, hello, UBER practical!  Who wouldn't feel a little bit better looking at the grocery list if it had the faces of beloved little kids on it?

Of course Shutterfly offers other fabulous Mother's Day Gifts, like accessories.

I love accessories.  Whether its a necklace, apron, or bag, I love it!  Am I crazy thinking you can NEVER go wrong giving someone an accessory?  I think not.

If you want to get a photo accessory for your mom, may I urge you to consider this bracelet?  It is darling AND affordable; you can't beat that!
And who can resist a great summer carry-all (especially if it has the grandchildren on it)?

Though I love Shutterfly's selection of stationary and photo accessories, what I'm leaning toward most this year is a Photo Book for Mom.

Shutterfly's Photo books come in five different sizes and can be created totally custom for the mom in your life.  There are extensive background options and there are tools to help crop and rotate photos.  What I like best about this option, however, is how easy it is to sit down and create a custom book of memories to enjoy with loved ones!

I've used Shutterfly from everything from calendars to Christmas cards and I am always impressed by the quality of their products.  Shipping is fast and convenient and the website is very user friendly.

If you are searching for that "Oh so perfect" Mother's Day present, may I suggest you hop on over to Shutterfly and check out their selection of Mother's Day Cards and Stationary, Mother's Day Gifts, and especially check out Photo Books for Mom!

**Disclaimer** I was contacted by Shutterfly about doing a review of their products for Mother's Day.  I will be compensated with a code to receive 50 cards and a photo book.  However, all opinions are my own.  I've used Shutterfly without free promos because I believe in the quality of their products.

“Have a blog? Sign up for a chance at 50 free cards from Shutterfly.” 


Friday, April 22, 2011

Quietly Contemplating

I'm quietly contemplating what today means.

What it holds.

Why it is relevant ... 

                                     today ... 

From palms to passion.

From Hosanna! to Barabbas!

From desperation to desertion.

Oh how fickle the followers who wanted freedom without sacrifice...

...the crown without the cross.

Today I quietly contemplate.

And though I don't understand, You left PEACE for your followers. 

I receive it.

I believe it.

I will live it.
Out of Jesus' affliction came a new sense of God's love and a new basis for love between men, so out of our affliction we may grasp the splendor of God's love and how to love one another. Thus the consummation of the two commandments was on Golgotha; and the Cross is, at once, their image and their fulfillment. ~Malcolm Muggeridge~
Peace be with you.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Things I Love: Water for Elephants

Have you read Water for Elephants?

It is a fabulous book about a vet-school drop out's foray into the circus and his love affair with the showstopper and elephant.  It sounds sketchy but it is so amazing.

Photo Source
Anyhow, Water for Elephants was turned into a movie.  When I read the book I kept envisioning James McAvoy in the male lead role but the movie people cast Rob Pattinson, which will do.  The lead female, however, is Reese Witherspoon, whom I adore.

The movie comes out on April 22 and I'm so excited.

Have you read the book?  Are you excited to see the movie?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What I Think About: Abundant Life

I can't even begin to count the number of times I think, "there isn't enough time!" or "I'll make time."

Isn't time tricky?  It's the commodity we wish we had more of but if you had more time, what would you do with it?

If I had more time, I'd clean the baseboards.  I'd refabricate a navy blue long sleeved T I bought at Gap for $1.97.  I'd read the novel Beth loaned me.  I'd go to bed before 11:30.

Do you hear what I'm saying? Even if I had more time, it wouldn't be enough.  I'd fill it.  Stuff it.  Smother it with things that need doing and caught up on and finished.

It's mind-numbing.  Even if I had more time, it wouldn't be enough.

How do you negotiate that?  Do you just decide that you'll make better use of the time you do have?

"I won't waste time," I think.  I'll multitask constantly; I'll cut down on phone conversations with my sister; I'll be diligent about starting laundry in the morning; I'll manage my time better.

But the more I hyper-manage and finagle my time, the emptier I feel.  Why is that?  How can a life filled to the brim with preschool and work and homework and diaper washing and soccer practice and ballet practice and church and date nights and ... feel so. darn. empty?

How does none of this stuff that I spend my time on fill me with a sense of accomplishment and peace?  Why do I continue to rush and hurry onto the next task or event when I know it will not fulfill?

In One Thousand Gifts Ann Voskamp ponders how the busyness of your life leaves you with little time for the source of you life.

Ouch.  Truth.

I'll plan date nights a year in advance.  I'll plan meals for the next month.  I'll schedule play dates two weeks out.  I have a "to do" list for tomorrow.

Spending time with God is not on it.

Perhaps why I can't grasp time is because I've lost its purpose.  In a panic to "live" life, I've lost the reason to live life.  Jesus said He came so that we would have life and so we could live it to it's fullest (John 10:10).  He came so we can have abundant life.  Life to it's fullest.  Not so I could rush.  Not to hurry.  But to savor and enjoy--a vapor of breath on a winter day.

When I look at my children they've aged over night.  Surely this fair haired girl with the nose slightly turned up isn't the baby I nursed yesterday.  She can't be.  Can't be five.

I think of memories of her.  Learning to walk. Reading books on her potty. Dropping a watermelon off the kitchen table and laughing as it burst all over the kitchen.  I smile. A happy, sad smile.

It goes so quickly, time.

And I can't hold it.  I can't get more.

Desperately I want to say, "STOP!" and just soak in the beauty of the moment.  To not have that delightful girl get older but to hold her and read Charlotte's Web and to snuggle with Bear Bear under a quilt.

I want to just stop and enjoy the moment--this moment. This moment of tantrums and tears and snot and laughter through clenched teeth holding tight to pacifiers.  This time is ours. But it will not last.

I wonder if I did just enjoy now--if I just savored these small things, these simple moments, if I wouldn't mind if time slipped right past me.

If wonder if I just wouldn't notice because time is no match for a life abundantly lived.

Thank you to Shell at Things I Can't Say for letting me Pour My Heart Out!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Days of Play: Resurrection Cookies {Repost}

This is an excellent recipe to teach your children that Jesus rose from the dead!  I cut this recipe out of a Christian book club magazine years ago and love it.  Sadly I can't eat the cookies because of a nut allergy but everyone else seems to like them!

1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
a pinch salt
1 cup sugar
a zipper baggy
1 wooden spoon or rolling pin
scotch tape

Make these on the night before Easter!

Preheat oven to 300'.
  1. Place pecans in zipper baggy and let children beat them with the wooden spoon or rolling pin.  As children break pecans into small pieces, explain that after Jesus was arrested.  He was beaten by the Roman soldiers.  Read: John 19:1-3
  2. Let each child smell the vinegar.  Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink. Read: John 19:28-30
  3. Add egg whites to vinegar.  Eggs represent life.  Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read: John 10:10&11
  4. Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand.  Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl.  Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read: Luke 23:27
  5. So far the ingredients are not very appetizing.  Add 1 cup sugar.  Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us.  He wants us tocknow and belong to Him. Read:  Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16
  6. Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. 
  7. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read: Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3
  8. Fold in broken nuts.  Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper covered cookie sheet.
  9. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.  Read: Matthew 27:57-60
  10. Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.
  11. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.  Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read: Matthew 27:65-66
  12. GO TO BED!  While you tuck your kiddos in, explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight just like Jesus' followers were sad when he died. Read: John 16:20&22
  13. On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie (for breakfast!  You'll be super mom for allowing a cookie for breakfast!).  Notice the cracked surface and take a bite.  The cookies are hollow!  On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read: Matthew 28:1-9
  14. Turn on praise music or sing a song of praise to Jesus.  
  15. Say a prayer with your kids thanking God for sending his Son to redeem the world!

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Feet-Washing Theory

Some people have great, deep thoughts.

I have a theory about people and feet washing.

Brace yourself.

I'm clearly a Type-A personality.  I micro-manage the micro-managing Apps on my IPhone.  I get irritated when the weather doesn't listen to me. 

I would never, and I mean NEVER, get out of the shower without washing my feet.  Not the proverbial "washing" which is actually code for, "I let the water run past it--doesn't that count as clean?" but really washing my feet.  With both hands.  With soap.  I'm not getting out of the shower until I'm convinced my 10 little piggies are squeakly clean.

My husband (the reason for this theory), on the other hand, is content to let the water wash away his foot grime.  {Yes, I did just admit to seeing Matt shower before.  Sorry.  I'd tell you he was in a swimsuit but that would be a lie.  And if I'm admitting to my foot-washing theory, there's no need to lie.}  But seriously, he doesn't bend over to wash his feet.  He doesn't use soap.  He just assumes that the water will do a good enough job (and that no one is looking that closely).

Matt and I approach people the same way we approach our foot washing. 

I don't trust people, like I don't trust water to do the job.  If something needs done, I do it.  Or I at least set it up and manage it to death.

Matt is more trusting.  He gives people leeway.  Time.  He trusts that it'll all work out in the end--whether he gives it effort or not.

I've been on a mission to see if this theory works for others too.  Most of the people I ask line up.  Type A's wash their feet.  More laid-back people trust the water to do it.  One way is not better than the other; they are just different. 

Now I'm convinced that your foot washing preference says a lot about your interactions with people, your trust levels, your personality ...

Does it hold up with you?

Are you a foot washer or a water truster?