words for bergen hawkeye

 

Recently I had an opportunity to watch my son interact with a bunch of other fellas in a group setting.  I was able to sit along the side, unobserved, and just watch all of the boys and the group leaders work together.

It was funny, for sure, to sit quietly in a room exploding with boy and to watch the conversations and the awkward and the regular.

Of course, I had to write down words, which led to other words, which led to this poem of sorts.

 

__________

 

Oh, these boys.

The hair choices they are making.

The both wanting to fit in and the wanting to stand out; simultaneously.

The wanting to be heard and the wanting to disappear.

The wanting to have a leader and to BE a leader.

To follow the right man and to BE the right man.

It almost hurts my heart to see my own son’s youthful enthusiasm.

 

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Those eyes of his, this Boy Man who shoots his BB rifle and still cuddles.  Who memorizes the herbs in his field guide and laughs at Calvin and Hobbes over his Honey Nut Cheerios.

I love him.

I love his clever mind.  The part of his boy-ness that still shares jokes with me and gets excited about marshmallows in his hot cocoa.  The parts of his brain that processes Big Ideas abut the periodic table and campfires.

He grins rapid fire and he wrestles with his younger brother and he tries to run from math and bedtime and showers but not from affection or fun.

This boy.

He’s fantastic.

 

_____________________________

 

 

 

Uncle Sam and You: A Timberdoodle Review

 

I’ve always enjoyed our Ambleside and Charlotte Mason inspired history “curriculum”, which is actually not a traditional curriculum at all, but a guided list of non text book readings about history and historical characters.

The past two years we have enjoyed the whole family approach of the Simply Charlotte Mason history guides.

I admit, I did find myself a little nervous when I found myself staring at the trio of middle schoolers and wondering if we had studied history “enough”.

Pretty sure this is a common homeschooling parent’s fear and, although it plagues me from time to time, it is not one that rests too heavily for too long on my shoulders.  I do know, however, that we had yet to truly delve into social studies in the form of our government’s system.  When Timberdoodle featured the Notgrass Company’s Uncle Sam and You, I felt this was a great opportunity to have my eighth grader try out this book and get an overview of knowledge.

 

 

Honestly, this guide is targeted at middle school in general so all three of my older kids could be using it, but I wanted this guide to be entirely independent and I did not want to deal wth book sharing, so I am tackling it student by student this time.

I  am pretty anti-textbook and what I like about Notgrass is that the book doesn’t reek of textbook at all.  In fact, I think it’s pretty fair to say it is almost anti-textbook really.  It’s written by a husband and wife who are passionate about education and about history.  (And, if you’re checking, that’s the basic definition of what Charlotte Mason homeschoolers would call a “living book”.  A book written by a passionate expert author, not a committee.)

At some point in homeschooling I used anther Notgrass material guide with Riley but I cannot recall for the life of me what topic it covered.  (By the way, the authors’ last name is Notgrass, hence the unusual name.)

The book IS hefty.  Actually – it is so hefty that there are two of them.  You can buy additional guides and supplements to go along with the text but I opted for the book itself because it’s where our real focus is this year.

London, my eight grader, has independently been reading chapters and answering select questions and completing select assignments at the end of each chapter.  I think she’s learned a lot and has a much better working vocabulary about our government and its basic workings than she had before she started this guide.

As she finishes the first section, I will pass the book along to Mosely and then down to Bergen.  (Which helps a homeschooling book budget.)

 

______________________

 

 

 

what I learned at the parade

 

The people watching at a well attended event is pretty much as interesting as the event itself.

I mean, sometimes.

Somehow, despite living in this area for nine years now I think, we have never made it to the “big city” Christmas parade.  (We are faithful attendees of our small town version.)  This year the timing was right, we had hot cocoa and marshmallows to put into a thermos, we had no plans; so parade watching it was.

I was reminded, however, that I am not a gigantic fan of gigantic crowds.

We arrived early, enjoyed our refreshments on the sidewalk and waited for the parade.  People arrived later, pushed and shoved and inserted their very tall selves right in front of my averaged height younger children.  One middle aged couple (Is that what I am? Middle aged?  Whatever.  Middle age doesn’t care about its middle aged-ness.)  were obviously at some level of disagreement about where to stand, how to get there and where the best viewing spot was located.

 

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I wasn’t eavesdropping, we were nearly shoulder to shoulder and they weren’t whispering.

She wanted to step down in front of a few people, he felt like that was rude.  She was attempting to stand where she wasn’t in the way, but closer to the street.  He refused to join her and insisted that he was staying back and she could basically do as she pleased but he wouldn’t be moving.  His manner, his voice and his body language let her, and me too, clearly see that he felt that not only was she wrong, she was pretty stupid for proceeding along the path she had chosen.

It was actually painful to witness.

He leaned against a street railing.  She stood a few feet ahead.

And for the entire length of the evening – it was a rather full parade line up – they spent the time apart.  Her giving steady, nearly every two seconds, backwards glances to him.  She was all smiles and pointing out the intricacies of the floats.  “Look – it’s a Great Dane.” Glance back. “Oh – my.  Smurfs, honey.”  Glance.  Glance.  “I think this is the Shriner’s float.”  Smiles.  Glance.  “Oh, a tandem bike.”  Smile.  Glance.  Glance.  Smile.

His response was steadfast.  It never changed.  Not for float number one.  Not for float number one hundred and one.  Not for a single in between float.

Irritation.  Really, I’d call it straight up disgust.  That’s what his face registered with her every glance, smile and hopeful attempt at engaging.

And that lady.  All.  Parade.  Long.  Glance, glance, glance.  Smile, smile, smile.  Attempt to engage.  Attempt to connect.  Attempt. Attempt.  Attempt.

I have no idea who these people are.  I don’t know their struggles.

I could have just witnessed one rotten night in a really lovely life.  That’s totally possible.

Or she could be the worst human ever, deserving of every snide sneer his curled up lip could muster all night long.  She could have killed his dog minutes before they arrived, told him she didn’t love him, asked him to quit his job, scratched his mustang.  I don’t know.

I wanted so desperately to catch his eye.  To say, in the kindest voice, “Hey, buddy.  Whatever is going on, I’m going to bet there’ll come a day you’re going to regret the way you are treating this human right now.”

To tap that lady’s arm and look into her eyes and say, “Hey.  Relax.  Dude is not worth the neck cramps and the emotional fatigue you are putting yourself through right now.  You can’t win here tonight.  Just, you know, enjoy your parade because this guy is not playing along.”

I almost opened the conversation several times.  But – I don’t know – I’ll call it propriety, but maybe it was just fear that stopped my words from leaving my mouth.

So I guess I am stuck with this – telling you.  Because that doesn’t hurt at all.  There’s no fear just sitting on my sofa and sharing my thoughts with the internet.

Life is short, people.

Life is unpredictable.

Life is too fleeting to be a jerk to someone you are watching a parade with.

Life is too short to try to convince someone you are watching a parade with that they are having fun.

 

________________________

 

 

Five Finds Friday (picking out a Christmas tree and eating Chinese food)

 

It sort of didn’t feel like Friday last week because I didn’t do one of these routine little posts.  Funny how small habits keep you on schedule.

But I’m all on track this week and there’s no holiday pushing at our backs so here we go …..

 

 

FUNNY

 

I mean, I think my kids are funny.

They think they are hilarious.

It’s a daily something or other.  From London adding to her school list: Be Awesome.  (Oh wait.  I’ve already conquered that.)  To Bergen entering a room and telling us to forget we ever saw him taking whatever item he just took and then waving his hand in a dreamy way and saying “forget” as if it will be legitimately effective.

But also to decorating the tree tonight.

This newspaper clipping keeps finding its way on to the tree, despite my removing it.

 

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It has zero emotional attachment or meaning of any variety.  Someone at my house just thinks it’s hysterically funny.

Welcome to my life.

 

FASHIONABLE

 

You guys.  I should stop allowing the Title Nine magazine to come into my home.

Or I should work out some sort of deal with them to test all of their products.  Hmm.  Is that a real thing?  I’m adding it to my pitch list.  (You think I’m joking?  I’m not joking.)

These boots.

Called Sinatra boots.  (Get it?)

 

 

Photo from TitleNine.com

 

They are asking to be my friends.  Just politely requesting to come live in my closet and accompany me on excursions.

 

 

FLAVORFUL

 

This week the kids and I wanted Chinese food.  And we wanted to make it ourselves.

We went a little overboard.  We did buy already made spring rolls but we made fried rice and honey sesame chicken in the instant pot and homemade sweet and sour sauce.  And Chinese donuts.

It was a very good dinner.

This is the Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken Recipe we used.

 

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Total success and shockingly simple to make.  And – it’s always a happy chaotic kind of fun when all six of us try to cook together in the kitchen.  Things get messy, but it’s almost always worth the effort.

 

 

FAITHFUL

 

During our family prayers before bed this evening I suggested that we all just say one or two thankful sentences instead of our regular prayers.  I know Thanksgiving was so last week, but sometimes our house needs steady reminding that our lives are loaded up with things to be grateful for.

As I was praying I couldn’t help but thank God for my heritage – the heritage of growing up in a home and in a house with two parents who I knew loved me deeply and cherished me.  And for the heritage my parents received from their own parents that trickled on down to me.  And for the heritage that is flowing from my family memories into the memories my children and I are creating every day as we all grow older each day in the same space together.

Heritage that sometimes looks like this old tattered box filled with ripped up newspapers and tied together with my grandmother’s bathrobe belt.  (No joke.  It’s the tie from one of my grandmother’s housecoats.  Back when people wore housecoats.  Well.  Back when my grandma wore housecoats.)

 

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Inside the box (the box that somehow survives and boasts my grandmother’s handwriting as well) is a handmade nativity set that isn’t entirely beautiful but is so full of sentiment that I dare not refuse to pull it out and display it in my home Christmas after Christmas.

The ceramic nativity hand crafted by my aunt and passed around most of the women of the family and now – my mom and her sister and her brother and both of her parents – one entire family unit – have all passed from this earth and there’s just this ratty box and crumpled newspapers and the story of hands upon hands that held the baby Jesus and the cow with the broken ear and the random solitary shepherd and his homely little sheep.

 

FEELS

 

This week our Christmas tree shifted our living room into a crowded square of togetherness and we hung all the memories and doodads on its branches.

Jane accompanied us to pick out the tree and I should probably only share a single photo here.

But I can’t.

There’s so much to love in these photos – I mean, Jane makes us look good.  But also – there’s Jane herself.  It’s been so personally motivating and refreshing to watch Jane grow professionally.  She decided she wanted to pursue photography professionally and she has diligently and patiently made that happen.  She’s taken classes.  Forced herself to branch out, reach out, work hard and put herself out there.

And it shows in her pictures!

We are so honored to be a subject of her lens.

 

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Photo by Jane Howard Photography

 

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Photo by Jane Howard Photography

 

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Photo by Jane Howard Photography

 

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Photo by Jane Howard Photography

 

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Photo by Jane Howard Photography

 

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Photo by Jane Howard Photography

__________________________

 

 

 

 

The Fallacy Detective: A Timberdoodle Review

 

I can’t believe my year working with Timberdoodle is drawing to a close.

A year?  I mean, we aren’t quite there yet – but almost!

Every item I’ve received from Timberdoodle has been a new-to-me choice.  Until this review.

 

 

The Fallacy Detective was a logic book that I purchased and worked through wth Riley back in the day.

I held on to that book actually – when I let most of her curriculum go as I quickly morphed into primarily using exclusively Charlotte Mason methods with the younger kids.

My copy is an older version and this edition from Timberdoodle has a workbook inside the book itself, which is very convenient.

I am using it this time with the three older kids – all middle schoolers.  There are thirty-eight lessons and I am doing the lessons basically daily  so this obviously isn’t a class to last all year.  You could easily complete only two or three lessons each week and work through this at a slower rate.  If you are using this guide for a credit-needed class, it would certainly equal a course in logic.

 

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And – you guys – logic.

Don’t all of our children NEED more logic?  Don’t we?

I like that the three big kids and I are working through this book together.  The chapters and the guide are absolutely self-teaching.  Your child could certainly progress independently through this book.  They would benefit from the reading and the guidance.  But it’s also beneficial to work through with other kids or with an adult – to talk through the questions and to discuss the fallacies in logic.

My son likes it because Calvin and Hobbes comic strips appear throughout the text.  (As well as Dilbert and Peanuts.)  Also – because he’s Bergen and he likes words more than numbers, he had actually already read this entire book – maybe twice – just for fun.  (Without doing any of the exercises, of course.)

I want my kids to grow up as thinkers, good communicators, reasonably logical humans.  Books like these help facilitate that growth, I  believe.

I am going to create gaps in their education; life is going to create gaps in their education.  This is true regardless of whether my children learn at the kitchen table or at classroom school desk.

I hope logical thinking, understanding fallacies in reasoning and arguments, basically creating humans who think (or attempting to create them, anyway) will go a long way toward creating adults who educate themselves throughout their lives, who look for the meaning behind the words people use, who recognize when words are being used to challenge them or question their beliefs.  Humans who are able to evaluate communication and then employ a quality skill set themselves will be more beneficial humans, to themselves and to their families and to society at large.

The Fallacy Detectives is just a book.  But it’s good place to start.

_______________________

 

 

not according to plan, but maybe exactly according to plan

 

This week has not gone as planned.

Pretty much not one part of it.

The meals were planned ahead of time – written on the board and everything.  But we haven’t followed too many of them just yet.

I know it’s only mid-week, on the front side of that, even.

But it’s still been a messy week.  

I’m taking a bit of advice from my friends tonight and I’m going to turn in early.  (I mean, early for me, you know.)

My list will be sitting tidily waiting for me in the morning.

Despite an unpredictable start all around to this week, it’s not been entirely awful.

 

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So here’s to a good night’s rest.

To brothers who hug sisters when they cry.

 

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To a crock pot concoction that turned out to be a surprisingly delicious dinner.

To friends who listen and talk theology before the stuff hits the fan and so that as the stuff is hitting the fan you can still find your way.

To unexpected vet bills.

To friends who happen to be doctors who handle the bloody details.

To rain, after more than a month without.

To brothers who call and feel all the feelings for you.

To Monopoly games played on the floor and seven year olds who beg for “just one more chapter”.

To meeting a jolly old St. Nick in Target.

To knowing that all the little injustices are seen by a loving and capable God who takes care of each one.

To new t-shirts arriving in the mail because when you’re a grown up, Christmas is whatever day you want it to be.

To a pile of dirty and a pile of clean laundry that never seems to come to an end.

To mercies made new every morning.

 

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___________________________

 

 

 

Beautiful, Wearable Art : The People Who Make It & A Code For You To Buy It On Sale

 

I first noticed her because of her arm warmers.

It’s true.  

I was signing my Piper into the three-year-old nursery at our church and I didn’t know many people there yet and I loved those arm warmers.  Also, Piper Finn liked Melanie too.  That was a big deal.  Piper dreaded Sundays because the transition from hanging out with me to crossing the threshold to stay at nursery had been a battle her whole tiny life.

Melanie was all regular smiles and beautiful tattoos.  And she treated not only Piper as if she was important, but Eagle too.  Yep.  Life weary old Eagle, Piper’s faithful sidekick and bosom companion, the ratty old stuffed and battered Eagle.  (I miss that guy more than Piper does, I’m nearly confident of this truth.)

No embellishment at all here, I literally went home that very week and ordered myself a pair of arm warmers and I’ve since bought several styles.  I’m certain I’ve never looked as cool as Melanie does while wearing mine, but I love them nonetheless.

Piper is nine now, Melanie has more gorgeous tattoos and neither of us are dropping off little ones at a church nursery these Sundays.

Eagle is still around, though not toted hither and yon any longer.  But I can imagine that good old beloved Eagle might be a piece of the puzzle in the story I am sharing with you today.

Maybe it was Instagram.  Maybe it was Facebook.  Maybe it was a real live breathing human.  But somehow, some way, I heard or saw or discovered that Melanie and her husband had started a business together.  A business combining words of honor and symbols of hope and recognition with bold, stand out jewelry.

Naturally, the first piece I fell in love with was, can you guess, an eagle!

 

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Photo from Death Before Dishonor.com

 

It’s jewelry that feels important.  Does that make sense?  I mean the jewelry’s literal weight feels worthy, feels substantial somehow.

(I know I’ve mentioned them before on my Five Finds Friday posts, but I wanted to highlight their work more directly.  I love opportunities to talk about people and places that matter to me and matter to other people I know and love.  What a gift!)

Melanie’s husband Tim is the artist behind the fantastic designs.  I think he’s a great example of the truth that we all have a vast array of skills inside of us and tucking them away and just plugging away at our “day” jobs only deprives you and the world at large of some really great art.  Tim is a professional house painter by day, an artisan by night (and weekend, and holiday and you know how that goes).

“Painting allows for a lot of time to think,” Tim says.  “The idea for jewelry started with the thought about making something meaningful. My passion isn’t merely jewelry in itself. My passion is to help people see their dignity and worth. So, the idea started brewing there. What could I create for the people around me that would help them see that they are worthy of dignity, love and honor?”

 

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Photo from Death Before Dishonor.com

 

How’s that for a beautiful reason to make anything?

Tim designs each emblem himself and says his inspiration comes from tattoo designs, spirituality, nature, geometry and rock n’ roll.  (See kids?  Rock n’ roll AND math can make you creative.)  You can discover those inspirations all throughout his emblem designs.  I’m partial to the Tree of Life.  (And was incredibly humbled and honored to once receive one as a gift.  I wear it often.)

 

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Photo from Death Before Dishonor.com

 

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with buying yourself jewelry.  Even as a way to honor a victory or an achievement, a personal growth, in your own life.  In fact, I think it’s lovely to recognize a quality or a challenge overcome personally with a visual reminder – better than a trophy, more like an ebenezer.

I also think it’s incredibly meaningful to receive one of these emblems as well.  To hear the recognition from another human that you matter to them.  That you have worth.  It’s the very spirit of what Tim and Melanie create in their jewelry.

“Too often we only look at people’s mistakes and shortcomings rather than the strengths,” Tim shares.  “With every person we meet we can choose to give grace and find grace rather than being judgmental and dismissive. Death Before Dishonor Co. is about living a life of honor and giving honor. Jewelry is the tool I’m using to do that. Jewelry is made to last. Jewelry is made to be treasured. It is an adornment. What better way to say, ‘I see you. I love you. I honor you. Wear this EMBLEM of HONOR around your neck with pride. You are worthy.’ It’s just a great memento to have. When you combine our jewelry with a love note or a just a few words of honor and give that to someone, it’s priceless. I haven’t thought of a better product that I could make that would carry the same value.”

 

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Photo from Death Before Dishonor.com

 

Most of the jewelry is in either red bronze or sterling silver – both such gorgeous choices.  And – because options are good – you can order many of them as a necklace or a bracelet.  I like the leather cord options personally because I like that variety of having various lengths of each necklace, depending upon what I am wearing that day.

I also have a soft spot for couples in business together.  It’s more than just romantic to me, it’s a complimentary relationship (when it’s working well) that allows each person to highlight their individual abilities while allowing their different strengths to really compliment them as a team.  It’s grace, in tandem, in a visible way.

 

Photo from Death Before Dishonor.com

 

“it doesn’t feel like work when it’s going well. It’s really just fun. Like you’re doing what you were made to do,” Tim and Melanie agree.  “And when business is not going well, you hold each other closer through that. So, it’s all pretty fantastic. Not the hardship itself, but the togetherness. Wouldn’t want it any other way.”

I think that sort of united front seeps right into their work.  Makes it all the more meaningful.

If you are local, Melanie and Tim will be selling their emblems at the upcoming Swamp Rabbit Holiday Flea at the Swamp Rabbit Cafe from 11am to 3pm on Saturday, December 3rd and December 17th.  If you are in town, you should really stop by.  (You can buy Jeni’s ice cream at the cafe too, so there’s that.)  At either of the Holiday Flea days all of their jewelry will be 25% off.

 

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Photo from Death Before Dishonor.com

 

And for you out of town readers, well, we wouldn’t to leave you out of the good times.

Any purchase you make between today and this Saturday will receive 25% off if you use the code SOEVERYDAY.  (You know how I feel about special codes.  All warm and fuzzy inside.)

Lots of people love to get and give jewelry – for holidays and for special occasions and for just saying I care about you.  I really think these particular pieces have an enduring quality to them that is remarkable and special.  I’m delighted to be able to spend a post sharing Tim and Melanie’s work with you guys and inviting you to explore their website and to think about who in your life needs that recognition and acknowledgment – maybe you need one for yourself this season.

By the way — I added a little ad to the right that looks like this one below — that way you can order any time you’d like.  But the code for 25% off only lasts until this Saturday!

 

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__________________________

 

 

 

good vs. evil. let the one outshine the other.

 

It’s been Romans all year.  Last school year the Romans were the subject of our history curriculum.  For most of this year, the sermons at my church have focused on a close verse by verse study of the book of Romans.

It’s been on my mind; you can see why.

The last part of Romans 16:19 says   . . . but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

This quote was shared when that chapter was read.

I want to see you experts in good, and not even beginners in evil.   
JB Phillips

When I think about raising my kids in a culture of screens and information overload and pornography beaming down to us from every portal, I keep circling back around to that idea.

Because we’ve got it all wrong somehow, don’t we?

We think we need know about all the bad things – be ahead of the curve.  See every bad movie and every bad show and hear every bad song and know every bad word so we can avoid them all.

Except.  Of course.  We can’t.  We can’t avoid them all.  It seems that there is a constant, endless, with an everlasting kind of strength, bubbling caldron of wicked that seems to be always brewing something new that is horrible and shockingly surprising in its badness.

We could never keep up.

I am starting to think we aren’t meant to.

 

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We want to know good.  I want my children to KNOW good.    I want to know good.

To know good so well that when we see any creative new kind of awful we can quickly know right away that it is bad.  Not because we’ve ever heard of this new bad, but because we know good so intimately.

And I think that the path to knowing good so closely is the path of knowing Jesus so closely.

We can never surround ourselves too fully with the saving and the hope filled words of a Christ who died for us.  We can never become too familiar with the good of God.

My mama’s heart wants to protect, to shield and even to hide away my children from the stacks and the towers of the evil that is actively searching them out.  The wicked that wants to devour them.  The bad that wants to have them for dinner.

But even if I could secure them to the nest for a time, it is a rather painfully limited security.  A shadow of safety.  A farce.

Better to spend our nest living days pouring the good into their hearts.  Allowing the good to appear just as lovely as it truly is.  Just as powerful as it rightfully is in its natural state, minus my aid or my reframing.

With the hope that when the evil seeps in the cracks, when the wicked taps on their shoulders and shows up on the screens of their iPhones, when the awful invites them to stay awhile, perhaps they will see it for what it is – a pale imitation of the good.  A shadow of what their heart actually desires.  A veneer that is nothing like what is real and lasting.

And that in the light of truth, the good will shine brightly because they’ve known it for so long and so fondly.

 

_________________________

 

 

 

And the winner is …….

 

We’ve got a little business to take care of today!

It was fun to interview Rachael at Twinflower Heights and to GIVE AWAY a fun gigantic height ruler!

So – let’s do that now.  You know – the giveaway part.

After a super complicated procedure where my youngest son wrote down all the names on paper and then he cut the pieces of paper and then he drew them from a cup . . . . . . .

The winner is ———-

Vicki Hart!

Congrats winner!

Send an email to me at SoEveryDay@gmail.com and we will connect and I will hand over this cool ruler and then you can decide if it’s a gift to yourself or a gift for a friend!

Thanks for entering, guys – I hope some of you took advantage of that discount code this weekend for $10 off.  And, remember, any future baby showers to which you are invited – this makes a welcomed gift for the new parents to be.

 

______________________

 

 

 

A Little Black Friday Giveaway

 

Thanksgiving was lovely.

Simple and well spent.  Full of far too much food, games of Monopoly that lasted just sightly longer than they should with victory just out of reach for me.  Our table was loaded with friends and family and sweet potato pie and grateful hearts.

I’m not really into whatever comes after Thanksgiving day unless it involves pie for breakfast and one turkey sandwich on white bread with mustard only.  You can count me out of trips to the mall or to Target or to any store at all actually.

I might occasionally partake of an online Black Friday deal here or there if it lands in my inbox at just the right time, otherwise, my Friday after Thanksgiving is about being outdoors and being with my family and taking life as slowly as I can take it.

So today I’m shifting gears and not offering up a Five Finds Friday.  Instead, I’m giving you something for nothing.  I mean, something for mostly nothing.

This is what I’m talking about today.

 

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It’s a giant wooden ruler that makes a perfect gift for a family with young children or a family expecting a baby.

I love writing height hash marks directly on a wall and the nostalgia of those little pencil and Sharpie lines fills my sentimental heart right up to bursting.  But I’ve never owned a home.  We’ve moved a half dozen times at least.  It’s maddening and heart breaking to not be able to take those marks accurately with you to wherever you move.

These rulers are the perfect solution.  Portable!  Take it everywhere and hang it right at your new home – rental or owned.

My friend Rachael makes these.  I’ve purchased two in the past as gifts for family and framily.  At her shop – which you can find on Facebook at Twinflower Heights – you can order giant rulers with custom wording down the side.  A child’s first name, a family’s last name, a sweet phrase.  You can pick!

Today you get a chance to WIN this growth ruler – the one Otto is holding for me here – for your very own.

 

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I asked Rachael, who is married to the youth leader at our church, a couple of questions so that you could get to know her a little better.  I love supporting local, small businesses run by people I actually know and like.  Of course, sometimes I send my money to Target or Gap, but I really like it when I can both buy a gift for a friend AND support another friend at the exact same time.  Because we are all out there together, artists and writers and craftsman and creators, trying to make a living, to care for our families, in all the ways God has gifted us to do so.

This is Rachael and her family – the mom of two sweet young sons.

 

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Picture by Megan Nigh

 

And here’s what she and I talked about:

Rachael, what’s your motivation for creating and crafting?

I struggled with my identity when I first became a mom and began to stay home with my oldest. It’s definitely not as dreamy as I thought it would be! I realized after several failed Pinterest projects that I loved working with my hands. Our house is also fairly small, and I wanted to learn how to make the limited space we had as beautiful and functional as possible. I found that making my own creations was both financially beneficial and also gave me a level of satisfaction I hadn’t experienced before.

Where do you find time to do this with two young sons?

Growing up, I was “that kid” who HAD to have my worksheet done first. I’ve always been an abnormally fast worker, and being strategic is my biggest strength. I’m always thinking ten steps ahead, which helps me get things done in the most efficient way possible. Also, Elmo. My kids have been known to indulge in Sesame Street binges from time to time. But I figure, my oldest knows how to count to 30, and I certainly didn’t teach him that…Elmo did. It’s all good. But with few exceptions, my work gets done in the evenings after the boys go to bed, and I’ve been known to turn down projects if I feel like my plate is too full.

Why is it worth your time as a new and young mom to find time to create?

I would say it’s worth it because the time I spend creating is some of the only time that I feel like my own person. I love my family, and there’s nothing I would rather do than stay home with my babies and support my husband’s ministry by keeping the home fires burning. But I’m sure most moms would agree, by the end of the day, you just need to do something that makes you feel like you’re not a milk-making, diaper-changing, snot-wiping machine. Creating is that thing for me. I turn on the shows I dare not watch in front of my toddler, grab a Diet Dr. Pepper, and go to work. It’s awesome.

Tell me more about your background and other creative endeavors.

I’m a graphic designer by trade, so creating has been an active part of my life for over 7 years. I have an Etsy shop with fun stuff I make, I blog at All Kinds of Yumm, and I have a handful of clients I do design work for on a regular basis. I’ve been making these rulers for less than a year, but I love how they’ve resonated with people. You’re recording memories that you’ll keep forever. I want everyone with young kids to have one.

So now you know al little more about Rachael – and you probably understand precisely what she means about finding something that you enjoy doing purely for the sake of doing it, not because you have to and not because you need to, but because you WANT to.

For this giveaway, because the ruler is leaning against the wall in my bedroom right now and it’s six feet tall, this is a locals-only giveaway.

Here’s how you enter to win this one.  You need to do two things to win this ruler.  (Which you can then use for your own children or gift to one of your friends this holiday season.)  You need to:
1.  Like the Twinflower Heights Facebook page.
2.  Share this post on your own Facebook page.

When you have accomplished these two very tiny tasks, you can comment here and let me know and you will be entered!  (See, I told you, I am giving you something for mostly nothing.)

I’ll draw a winner by Sunday night (or Monday morning – who can predict how the weekend will end exactly?).  If you are the winner, we will email and arrange a meeting place for you to receive your victory prize.

And friends, Rachael has kindly offered a discount for the SoEveryDay readers.  Order a ruler by this Sunday and you receive $10 OFF your order.  (Just let her know when you place your order that you saw this post and you’d like your $10 off!)

Thanks so much to you guys for playing along and thanks so much to Rachael for sharing her skills with us – also for giving us a glimpse into who she is and what she does!

If you have a business or a product and you’d like to participate in a holiday giveaway in December, I’d love to talk to you about it.  Send me an email and let’s make a plan!

 

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