Tag Archives: dayspring

Redeemed by DaySpring

30 Apr

When I signed up to to review one of DaySpring’s (in)spired deals for April, I didn’t plan on posting my review on the very last day of the month, a week later than requested by the powers that be.  I didn’t know that my foot would be rockin’ a cam boot or that my heart would be shattered by the re-homing of an adorable puppy.  In fact, I expected April to be a unusually warm and wonderful–the best it’s been in years. And in some ways, I was right.

See, this past Easter (April 8) was the first I spent at a church I could call my home in seven years!  Maybe that’s why the message of April’s (in)spired products–REDEEMED–resonated so deeply with me.  Redeemed means to be bought back from slavery or captivity, and that’s the story of my life.  I was bought at a great price by the blood of Jesus Christ, and even now, I spent foolish years wandering from the Truth I knew only to find myself wholly redeemed again.

When I slip on my Redeemed necklace, I’m part of the message I’m wearing.  Even though it’s costume jewelry, I love the necklace’s classy antiqued gold finish and pretty charms–a bird, the letter “R”, and a round patina which says “redeemed.”  Based on 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (NCV), this necklace is a reminder that I have been set free.  I am redeemed.

I also received the “Beautiful In Its Time” jewelry tabletop mirror, which is also part of the Redeemed collection.  While the mirror, which has a brass tone, could be used as a make-up mirror or a cute accent piece in a bedroom, my mirror has fits right in with my coffee table decor.  Inscribed on the mirror is a message I so desperately need to hear, especially right now: “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) 

I feel anything but beautiful with a giant black boot on my right foot, a walker at my side, and having to be assisted in many tasks right now.  Then I remember that God’s time isn’t always in sync with my time, yet He patiently makes beauty even from my messes, even when I look like a mess.

Whether making cards or jewelry or decor, DaySpring’s well-made products always seem to resonate with my spirit–lightening my heart or the heart of others.  Check out April’s (in)spired deals for great gift ideas for Mother’s Day and more!

*To my dearest FTC, I selected and was provided with these prodcuts from DaySpring, free of charge for review. These opinions are my own and do not reflect those of Dayspring in any way.*

Book Review:: You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth

15 Mar

Since Holley Gerth writes for DaySpring cards (and co-founded (in)courage) it seems cliché to say that her book, You’re Already Amazing, is like receiving an unexpected greeting card saturated with wisdom and thoughtfulness only a dear friend could write. But that’s exactly what reading You’re Already Amazing is like!  Gerth engaged me with her girlfriend language, stunning insights into the heart of God, and helpful exercises that encouraged me to learn more about who I am and what I mean to my Creator.

What I appreciated most about You’re Already Amazing were the exercises that Gerth, also a trained counselor, included at the end of each chapter.  Instead of just telling me how great I am because I was created by God and proving her point with Scripture, Gerth’s tools helped me discover my strengths (and weaknesses) and how I can best use them for the glory of God!  Not only am I already amazing, I am also already uniquely gifted!  It’s nice to get a pep talk, but even better to take that encouraging energy to the next level—to actually live it out.

In some ways this book is similar to Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge, but Holley Gerth’s work is more reader-friendly, and her charm is enticing, page-turning, and life-changing.  This is a book for the weak and the strong, the lost and the found, the hopeless and the hopeful.  Really, You’re Already Amazing is a book for every woman in every walk, on every journey to discover who she is, what she was created to be, and how she is desperately loved by her Father.  Stop striving to be “enough” and discover how amazing you really are to the One who loves you more than you can fathom.

*Thanks to Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for providing me a review copy of this book.*

Friday Faves: The Civil War(s) Edition

1 Jul

It’s July 1!  Who’s ready for a three-day weekend?  That is, if you didn’t take off already.  Did you know that today marks the 148th anniversary of the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg? (Do you even care?)  Right now, there are thousands of people descending upon the small town of Gettysburg, PA to re-enact the epic three-day battle (July 1-2, 1863), which marked the turning point of the Civil War.  I’ve found the Battle of Gettysburg fascinating since my eighth grade history teacher had my class read the book, The Killer Angels by Michael Sharaa (it’s historical fiction about the Battle of Gettysburg).  Now that I’ve been to Gettysburg several times, I’m something of a sightseeing expert.  For example, I know where all the best (“funniest”) statues are, how to find Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s battle line (I read the signs), and can sometimes distinguish Little Round Top and Big Round Top.  But at least my tours are free, so if you want to do Gettysburg the fun way, come with me.  We can even  stop at the Boyd’s Bear Country and get a giant baked potato slathered with cheese and butter, too. (This old blog post details one of my Gettysburg trips: “My Trip to Gettysburg” with some awesome photography.)

Click here to see more of my Gettysburg pics.

Know what else I like?  A band named “The Civil Wars.” I’ve mentioned them before, but since they fit in with this week’s edition, I thought I’d mention them again.  If you haven’t purchased Barton Hollow, then you are really missing out on the joy this music could provide for your life.  Even my mom likes The Civil Wars, which makes them Mom-approved.

And if you like The Civil Wars, then you’ll just love SHIROCK (OK, maybe you won’t, but I love SHIROCK and it seemed like a good segue.)  Check out their latest video for the song, “Still Young,” which just so happens to be my favorite SHIROCK song.  I’ve had the joy of meeting and hanging out with SHIROCK and I’m sure that if my mom did the same, she’d love them, too. Check out SHIROCK.net whatever for more information on the band, including information on how to purchase their music.

Here what else is going on around the webosphere…

*Giveaways galore!  Today is the VERY LAST DAY to enter to win a $35 gift code to DaySpring’s online store.  I really want you to enter because I really want you win.  GO ENTER, please!  And today is the VERY FIRST [official] DAY  to enter my giveaway to win a $10 Amazon gift card or a book of your choice up to $10 from The Book Depository.  It’s all part of the Freedom Giveaway Hop, which features over 200 blogs giving away bookish delights.  Enter here (after you’re done reading this fabulous blog post, of course) and then check out the other giveaways going on.  You can win some really cool prizes.

*Sarah Cunningham, author of Picking Dandelions (read review), is a funny lady, especially when blogging about son, Justus.  The toddler is affectionately referred to as “The Emperor” and this week Sarah talks about how the Emperor locked himself in the bathroom and played in the toilet.  Check out this highly amusing post, “The Emperor’s Summer Rule.”

Photo Credit: (DENISE SANCHEZ, THE MORNING CALL / June 28, 2011)

*My former young adult Sunday School teachers, Al and Linda Iezzi, were featured in The Morning Call (local paper).  As you may remember, Al was featured on the show “Undercover Boss” and talked about his two grandkids who suffer Sanfilippo syndrome, which will cause them to die in their teen’s.  I’m praying for a cure for Waverly and Oliver, their parents, and the Iezzi’s.  Read more about Al and his family here.  It’s a wonderful article on a great family.

*Over at AOL Video, you can watch a clip of Joanne Rogers, wife of the infamous “Mr. (Fred) Rogers.”  If you’re like me, you watched “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” like a fiend.  The clip is a cute remembrance of a childhood legend…and you can finally learn who made those cardigan sweaters. Watch the video.

*Some of you know about my ongoing battle with Sallie Mae over my graduate loans.  Therefore, I was sad to read about others who were having trouble paying their student loans as well.  Check out CNN Money’s, “My Degree Isn’t Worth the Debt.”  Click through the article to read various stories about student debut issues. (Related article: “Cancel student debt to stimulate the economy“).

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

This weekend’s discussion questions–What do you think Chuck Shirock is lugging around in that suitcase in the “Still Young” video?  Do you have student loan debt?  What is your favorite memory of Mr. Rogers and his neighborhood?  Didn’t I have the best Sunday School teacher (Al Iezzi)? Have you ever been to Gettysburg?  Do you like giant potatoes?  Did you ever my giveaways?  Anything else you’d like to add?

Product Review:: I’m (In)Courage’d by Cards + {$35 Gift Code Giveaway Closed}

27 Jun

I used to think greeting cards were a scam.  How could an overpriced piece of paper with a picture on the front really make a difference?  While I always appreciated a nice card given to me by a loved one (especially when it contained cash), I questioned why I would spend money on a card that would most likely end up in the recycling bin.  Plus, back then, I was in college, so I usually didn’t have money for what I deemed non-essentials anyway.

During the spring semester of my junior year of college, I was hospitalized twice in the span of a month for 17 days (whole story).  It was the scariest time of my life.  At night, when all the visitors left and the halls of the hospital wing grew silent, I would read my cards over and over again.  Many of these cards were from friends at church so they contained Bible verses that encouraged me.  One morning, a nurse woke me up to find cards scattered all around my bed.  She smiled at the mass of paper as she gave me my morning pills.

“You’ve got a lot of caring friends,” she said as she piled the cards onto my bedside table.

I nodded as I swallowed my pill.  Of course, I received cards from people I didn’t even know, who wanted to reach out to tel me they were praying for me.  These cards were like little paper hugs from far and wide.  To this day, I treasure those cards.  Encouragement truly is a powerful thing.

Now I try to send cards all the time and whenever I find a cute card, I add it to my stockpile.  I’ve come to think of myself as sort of a card connoisseur.  I am one of *those* people who will clog up the card aisle until I find the “right” card.  But buying cards can be expensive, so I tried making my own cards, which proved to be more difficult than I imagined.

Therefore, I was thrilled to receive the Sassy & Sophisticated card pack from DaySpring to review.  Not only will these cards be a wonderful addition to my arsenal of paper encouragement, but DaySpring has convinced me that their product is one of the best (and more affordable) available.   My Sassy &  Sophisticated pack features cards that are geared towards women and includes four birthday cards, two encouragement cards, two “praying for you” cards, and two friendship cards (perfect for women’s Bible studies and and gal pals alike!)

Here’s a picture of my favorite card (and I don’t just like it because it features three of my favorite things—a tree, a girl writing, and the color green.)  It reads, “In hard times she had learned three things—she was stronger than she ever imagined, Jesus was closer than she ever realized, and she was loved more than she ever knew.”  On the inside the card simply says, “Praying for you,” and includes the verse Philemon 1:4 (NIV): “I remember you in my prayers.”  There is plenty of space for a personal message, but not so much that a long message is necessary if you’re a person of few words.

As I thought about who to send this card to, I realized I need this card, so I’m going to frame it and put it on my desk because I am stronger than I imagine.  Jesus is closer than I realize.  And I am loved more than I ever know

I am so impressed with DaySpring cards, that I signed up for their Heart Connection Club, which means every month I can receive a packet of 10 of DaySpring’s bestselling cards for only $12.99 (plus $3 shipping for U.S. orders).  It’s free to sign up, I can skip a month if I’m low on funds or have too many cards, and if I don’t like the set of cards offered, I can swap ‘em out for a set I prefer.  Right now, there’s a great offer to receive a FREE set of cards and along with a card organizer.

You might want to check out the cards and other the great deals awaiting you at  DaySpring’s Online Store or to get some ideas on how to spend that $35 gift card I’m giving away.

What?!?!  A giveaway!?

That’s right!  A GIVEAWAY!!!  All you have to do is fill out the form below to enter to win a $35 gift code to DaySpring’s Online Store. (The code will be sent via email to the confirmed winner.) This code must be used by July 31, 2011 and cannot be used to pay for shipping (but if you spend $50 or more, you get free shipping!) If DaySpring ships to you, then you can enter!

CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT THE FORM.

Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on July 1.  The winner will be notified by email and announced via Twitter, Facebook, and on this blog post once he or she is confirmed.

Congrats to our winner, Tammie!!!

 

*My Dearest FTC, I was provided with the Sassy & Sophisticated card pack from DaySpring  for review.  My opinions on this awesome product are my own.  In fact, no one even told me I had to use the word “awesome” in this disclaimer, but I did anyway.  Love, Amy*

Comments won’t get you any extra entries into this giveaway, but they sure do make me happy.  So, let’s hear it, how have you been encouraged by a greeting card?  How is encouragement a power thing?

Friday Faves: I Survived My Wal-Mart Shopping Experience Edition

24 Jun

On Wednesday, I accompanied my mom on a shopping excursion to the scourge of all giant retail chains–Wal-Mart.  Not just any Wal-Mart, but a SUPER Wal-Mart (though it’s not the biggest, nor super-est Wal-Mart I’ve ever visited.  It’s certainly the most unpleasant.)  Since she’s developed an ulcer on the bottom of her foot, she has been forced to wear a boot which makes driving (and walking) difficult.  While Mom loaded herself into a motorized cart, she gave me the task of following her with a shopping cart and dubbed me “Lady Amy, Keeper of the Cane.” (That’s a fancy way of saying, “My mom shoved her cane into the shopping cart and told me to push it.”)

Now, in general, it is hard to keep up with my mom in stores.  She starts pushing her shopping cart haphazardly–rushing ahead one moment, stopping the next  )without informing her fellow shoppers, who continue on).  All this is made worse with an electric cart.  My mom was flying through Wal-Mart like she would get a $10,000 prize for “Fastest Disabled Shopper in an Electric Cart.”

Forget trying to look at anything.  It was a work-out trying to keep up with Speedy McSpeedster.  So I lost my mom.  Multiple times.  I hate being alone in congested stores like Wal-Mart on busy afternoons, especially when I’m crabby because of the heat and humidity oppressing our region, the screaming kids running up and down and around the aisles, and the ever-changing product locations.  Wal-Mart, would it really be too difficult to keep “Seasonal” items in the same place every time I shop at your store?

After yelling at some kids who were screaming like howler monkeys as they flicked each other with Martha Stewart brand towels, I sought refuge in the book and magazine section of the store.  While perusing luscious literature, I discovered this hilarious product placement (see photo below.) Photo caption contest, anyone?

Shopping at Wal-Mart feels like "23 minutes in hell."

Finally, it was time to check out.  Despite having 100 cashier counters, approximately five of them were open—four of which were for 20 items or less.  Therefore, I instructed Mom to speed over to the self-check-out.  We were about to do what I hated other people doing—buying a multitude of groceries at self-check-out.  And I did it—only slightly shamed—and disrupting the system a total of seven times (the cashier didn’t even have to come over.  She just pressed a button from her kiosk.)

I loaded Mom’s items in my vehicle, backed out of my space, and silently prayed I would make it out of the Wal-Mart parking lot without getting into an accident or hitting a pedestrian.  The Wal-Mart parking lot is a Wild West of its very own, and I, friends, am not brave enough to pioneer it on a regular basis.  Those are the sordid details of my grumpy Wal-Mart adventure—some of which I’m proud of (like telling those annoying kids to stop acting like howler monkeys) and some of which I’m not-so-proud (telling my mom to stop acting like a howler monkey.)  All-in-all, I think I learned some valuable lessons here:

1. Electric riding carts should come with a GPS unit that allows daughters to keep track of their free-wheeling mothers.

2. When yelling at other people’s children, expect a confrontation with Momma Bear.  Or in this case, “I-Don’t-Care” Momma.

Me: “Your kids are running around screaming.  You need to some something.

IDC Momma: “So?  They’re my kids.  What does it matter to you?”  Far off look, as though she sees pink bunnies hopping down the aisle.

Me: “It matters to me because they’re annoying me.” Walk away in a huff.  Not the best exemplification of Christ.

3.  There is a plentiful selection of Oreos available at Wal-Mart, including the much sought after Mint Oreos, which can be used to make this delicious recipe.  My “Oreo Buddies” on Twitter will be overjoyed at this discovery.

4. It is less stressful to drive in New York City at rush hour on a Friday than it is to drive in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

5.  Finally, Wal-Mart’s underwear prices really are unbeatable.

I hope that my story will help you have a more pleasurable Wal-Mart shopping experience.  But I doubt it.  You know what I don’t doubt?  That you will enjoy the smattering of excitement awaiting you in some of the best stuff I found around the web this week…

*The brand new OWL CITY album is out!  All Things Bright And Beautiful released June 14, but I purchased it on iTunes this week with a gift card.  So far, “Alligator Sky” (without the rapper) is my fave song, but “Honey and the Bee” is flirting with my affections. Review forthcoming.  If you’re an extreme Owl City fan, you might want to buy the album on iTunes for the bonus song, “How I Became the Sea” for $9.99.  On Amazon, it’s $7.99 to download and $11.88 for a hard copy (plus shipping, of course).  Plus, if you don’t have Owl City’s first album, Ocean Eyes, you can download it for $5.99 on Amazon. Ocean Eyes contains the hit song “Fireflies” and lots of other awesome.  I highly recommend both albums.

*My friend, Shari, is doing a giveaway on her blog for a $20 gift code to DaySpring’s Online Store.  You can read her story about how all things are possible and leave a comment to enter. Enter now because her giveaway ends TODAY!!! (My DaySpring review and giveaway is coming up on Monday.)

*Over at The High Calling, Gordon Atkinson wrote a beautiful post called “A Letter to My Doubting Daughter.”  Sometimes I’m the doubting daughter and sometimes I’m a “father” who wants someone I love to understand and cling to my faith.  Prepare to tear up. (Amy’s personal note: I think I find this so emotional because I wish my own father wrote a letter like this to me when I was wrestling with my doubts.  I wish he wasn’t wrestling with his own doubts.  Father/daughter situations always make me sad.)

*This is my dog, Maddy the Shih Tzu, attacking those airbags that cushion mail packages.  She seems to think ripping them apart is hilarious.  Now my friends and family are saving these little treasures so the world can have more videos like the one you see above starring Madddy with a special appearance by Cassie the Peekapoo, my hand, my voice, and Shari talking in the background.

*Shannon over at Books Devoured (yes, the same chick who made the Kindle vs. Nook Color video from last week) wrote a great post this week called “Burning the Pretty Candles.”   She writes about how she saves eagerly anticipates book releases, buys books, but saves them for later.  Oh, Shannon, I am the same way!  There’s always another book to review or something to write and I find I’m not enjoying myself.  I forget about the music I really want to listen to and the books I really want to read.  It’s a great post, so check it out!

*Finally, I want to tell you about the exciting new ketchup packaging available at Chick-fil-a.  Gone are the days where you have to squeeze your ketchup out of a little packet or pump it into a mini-cup.  Now  you can do both–dip or squeeze!  Are these not the best ketchup packages available?!  I just want to get an order of waffle fries so I can squeeze and dip to my little heart’s content.

Stop back next Friday when I disclose information about a top-secret project I’m working on called “Amymore.”  It is going to be just like “Pottermore,” except completely different.  I may or may not make this a video announcement, but if I do, I promise I’ll wear make-up and probably brush my hair (maybe even my teeth!)  There you have it, I’m announcing my announcement.

Of course, I know that you’ll be back way before next Friday because I’m kicking off a special contest on Monday in conjunction with DaySpring and (in)courage to win $35 gift code to DaySpring’s online store. Next Friday is also the start of the Freedom Giveaway Hop, which runs from July 1-7 and I’ll be giving away something special.  Trust me; you don’t want to miss it!

Now it’s your turn, answer one or all of the following questions–what are your shopping trips to Wal-Mart like?  Did you check out the new Owl City album?  Did you enter Shari’s giveaway?  Are you gonna enter my giveaway? Do you put ketchup on your chicken sandwiches?  Are you a squeezer or dipper when it comes to your waffle fries?  What do you think about the launch of Amymore?  Do you burn your pretty candles?  Aren’t my dogs the cutest ever?  What do you say to your doubting loved ones?

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