Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: 4 Wheeling


I know, my boys don’t have their hats on. Ugh, they were such stinkers & wanted to prove to one of the teen boys they dig how cool they were!

Make sure you check out these other Wordless Wednesday participants: 5 Minutes for Mom, Beautiful Mess, and Two of a Kind.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Loss, There’s Never A Good Time

My 2nd daughter and 2nd son have friends who are siblings in the same grades as them. We have known them since Doodle was a baby.

“MW” has always been this amazingly responsible girl. She’s 17 now, but watching her grow up was a treat. Smooch and MW played basketball for about 4 yrs together. MW never ceased to amaze me in her outlook on life and her sensibilities.

When Smooch went through an extremely emotional time last winter/spring, MW was the one to inform us of the depths Smooch was at.

“LW” has been in the same classes as Doodle for the last 3 yrs. It came in handy once or twice when LW’s mom needed someone to pick her up.

See, L & M’s mom had various forms of cancer over the last 4+ yrs. JW, even being in Stage 4 cancer, completely believed God could heal her and refused to acknowledge anyone who said anything towards the negative.

I hadn’t seen JW for a long time. Summer came and went and then school was back in session. Last Tues I passed her in the elementary school hall during conferences. She had a cough, but said she’s always coughing. I didn’t remember that, but who was I to say anything? She looked good, just didn’t sound so great.

Sunday I got a call telling me she’d been rushed to the hospital. The call had come while I was at church and I didn’t listen to it until around 2pm. An hour later I received the call saying JW had passed away. They couldn’t start her heart again.

I am completely heart broken for JW and her family. JW won’t get to see her daughter graduate this year. She won’t get to watch her youngest daughter grow up into womanhood. She won’t get to watch her grandchildren grow up.

She has 2 grown children as well. Her oldest has 2 little ones. Her son lives with them and is the one who called the ambulance. LW wasn’t home at the time, and I can’t tell if that was a blessing or something she’ll regret. She is only 7 so it’s not as though she had a choice.

As soon as we found out, the boys and I prayed for the family. I have been crying off and on thinking about how it could easily been any of us who is gone in the blink of an eye. None of us knows the day or the hour in which our Savior will call us home.

My hope is that today, you know where your salvation lies. If you died tomorrow and left your loved ones behind, would they have a hope in seeing you again in eternity. If you have an illness that could take you from this world do you know that one day your body will be healed and there will be no more pain?

If not, my prayer is that you will seek Jesus. That you will realize He died for you, on a cross, for such a time as this. He loved you enough to give his life for you. God did not spare even His own Child because of His great love for you.

Dear one, I hope this day you will accept the free gift of salvation that is offered to each one of us before it’s too late. And guaranteed, one day it will be too late. Do not leave this life without knowing where you will spend eternity.

As the saying goes, “Even if you don’t believe in God, He believes in you.”

Thanksgiving With My Kids & Aunt

I wasn’t sure if my girls were going to make it to Thanksgiving dinner this year. With both girls working we had no idea if they’d be making it.

I was ecstatic to find out both girls were heading down to spend the day and night with my Aunt. I’m so thankful we have a family member who makes it back to her MN home for the holidays so we can spend the day with her.

Smooch headed down separately because she was going to spend the night with Baby at her dorm room. Unfortunately, Baby hasn’t been feeling well lately and got there just in time for dinner.

IMG_4522 After the feast Aunt B’s prepared for us (thank you very much), we settled in for a movie, Prince of Persia, and searching through the Day After Thanksgiving (DAT) ads.

Baby didn’t care for the movie (too much gore) and decided to head back to her dorm room. She had to work the next morning. I was sad she was leaving and not going shopping with us in the morning.

Smooch and I finished watch the movie with the boys and then we got some shut eye. Our plan was to wake up at 5:30am to get some shopping done. The two places I wanted to head were Staples and Kohl’s. I needed a new printer (which I still haven’t gotten installed completely) and a new pillow.Smooch at KohlsWe were up and on our way before 6am and visited Caribou, my daughter’s favorite place for coffee. We strolled into a packed Staples, found my printer immediately and got in line. While in line I remembered I need a new computer chair because mine is about 12 yrs old and my hip hurts when I sit in it now.

Because of how far we were in line I decided to forgo the chair because there was NO way I was going to the back of the line! LOL

From there we headed to Brueggers for some breakfast of yummy bagels. I haven’t had a Brueggers bagel in ages. Oh, it was so good!

Then we went to Kohl’s where I have been longing to get a memory foam pillow. I almost got one last year, but they still seemed so hard. Not this year. Smooch was very helpful in testing them out.

Unfortunately, while at Kohl’s I ran into a VERY RUDE employee and she ticked me off so much I nearly left my full cart right at her feet. I did go talk to one of the ladies managing the lines to tell her the situation I had run into.

They had boys clothing on 3 different rows on one rack. The sign on the far right bar didn’t match up with the brand OR price in front of it. I asked the gal if I was reading it wrong. She said, “No, that’s for the middle brand. The other two brands are different.” I told her that it might confuse people because the sign is above a different brand and that maybe the sign should be over the right pants.

She “informed” me that, “The signs can ONLY go on the outside NOT in the middle.” She was such a snot when she told me I stared at her totally shocked and told her she didn’t need to be rude, and that I was just asking her a question because I was confused. She said she wasn’t being rude and, “Have a nice day, goodbye.”

To say I was stunned is BEYOND how I was feeling. I was all about attitude and said, “Are you kidding me? I have a question and this is how you’re going to treat people?” I then walked away before I said anything else.

For the record, even though the sign was with the wrong brand, the price didn’t match the “correct” brand either. It was for $32 Urban Pipeline Jeans and the ones on the MIDDLE row were $36!

Well, with that out of my system, we headed over to Target. The only thing that kept me from walking away from my Kohl’s purchase and spending my money somewhere else was the nice line lady.

My Smooch totally scored with movies at Target. I was happy to have picked out my Christmas present from her: P.S. I Love You for $4! Now I can stop begging Baby to bring her copy home from college.Drive HomeWhere I work everyone has to work the DAT so after I dropped the boys off at home, I headed to work to do the clean up from the morning shopping. When I got there it was slowing down and we were able to get the department pretty well cleaned up.

It was a pretty good day altogether. I had much to be thankful for! How about you? How was your Thanksgiving? Did you go shopping in the wee hours of the morning? Any amazing deals you’re proud of? Run into any crabby people like I did?

National Geographic Kids Atlas of My World

NatGeo Are you looking for a gift for a child that’s personalized and not like the gifts all the other kids are receiving? Check out the National Geographic Kids Atlas of My World!
These are so cool! It was fun to go play with the sample book that allows you to get an idea of what the book will be like. You can go check it out and see for yourself. Here’s what you can get in this book:

  • 48 pages, hardcover
  • Over 200 full-color photographs and maps
  • Custom printed with your child's photo and details NatGeo2 There you can upload your child's/children's photos, see & choose from several different personalization options (ranging from where the child/children go to school, information about their pet, things they love/enjoy & more), write your dedication and then see what the final product would look like!
    I’ve been given discount codes to pass on to you from NatGeo:
  • 50% Discount plus free shipping on Nov 29 & 30 & Dec 1 with "personalized" Woven By Words blog discount code:  wbw50gift
  • 25% Discount plus free shipping on Dec 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 with "personalized" Woven By Words discount code: gift25wbw
    You can also find NatGeo on
    *By sharing this information with you I am eligible to win a Savings Bonds and my own personalized atlas. I have not received any compensation or product for sharing this information.
  • Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Hallmark Recordable Storybooks 2 Giveaways

    Hallmark Logo Last year when I was visiting our local Hallmark for Christmas gifts, I saw the Recordable Storybooks for the first time. I thought they were such a spectacular idea. Having all of my family out-of-state having my parents record a Storybook for my kids is simply priceless.

    Recordable Storybooks feature voice-capture technology that records the reader’s voice, which is then captured within the Recordable Storybook. When a page is turned, the book automatically plays the text on that page in the reader’s voice. It’s a great way to capture a special moment that can be shared with a child over and over again. And since the recording lasts for the life of the book, it can also serve as a teaching tool to help a child overcome obstacles many kids face when learning to read.

    I received All The Ways I Love You for review. I haven’t actually recorded on it because I’m saving it to give to my step-daughter who is due with my 2nd “step”-grandchild. (I only call them “step” in this situation because I’m just not old enough to be a grandma! LOL My step-daughter knows I consider her more than a step-child) If she wants me to record on it, I will be honored, but I let her choose.

    There’s so much I love about the book:

    • The ability for our voice to be captured for a lifetime

    • That my kids, had they been younger, could learn to read by listening to my voice and eventually their own

    • They make wonderful, personal gifts

    • Children can stay connected to family that lives far away

    · On Thanksgiving weekend, Hallmark’s “The Night Before Christmas” Recordable Storybook will be $10 off with ANY purchase. No coupon required. Simply visit any Hallmark Gold Crown store between Nov. 26 and Nov. 28 and receive an instant $10 savings on this title with the purchase of any in-store item!Hallmark2

    · Between now and Dec. 31, enter the code Blogger25 at checkout to receive 25% off of your order of personalized holiday greetings on hallmark.com! Hallmark.com’s personalized holiday greetings collection includes customizable holiday cards, party invitations, plates and thank you cards – all photo-ready and featuring contemporary new designs. And perhaps the best part? No need to visit the post office to send out anything. Just visit Hallmark.com, pick your favorite design, customize it with a favorite photo and a personal message. Hallmark will do the rest! From printing the addresses and adding postage to mailing the cards on any date you choose, Hallmark’s got it all under control.

    What a great gift Hallmark Recordable Storybooks would make for the holidays or any occasion. 2 lucky people will be able to win their choice of Storybook.

    Required: Visit Hallmark and tell me which Recordable Storybook would mean the most to someone in your family and why?

    Giveaway open WORLDWIDE to everyone 18 yrs or older. Please leave your email in the required entry or have it available in your profile. No email/contact = No entry. Giveaway ends 12/4 11:59 PST. Winner has 48 hours to respond.

    Extra Entries:

    Follow Woven by Words (1 entry)

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    Tweet this giveaway (1 entry daily) “RT #Win 1 of 2 Hallmark Recordable Storybooks and share the holidays with loved ones @hallmarkpr #giveaway @bigguysmama “

    Like Hallmark on Facebook (1 entry)

    Enter any of my other current giveaways (1 entry each)

    I’d like to thank Fleishman-Hillard for connecting me with Hallmark and providing both the review and giveaway Storybooks. The opinions expressed are my own.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Wordless Wednesday: Simba N Sammy


    Simba N Sammy

    IMG_8210They don’t usually sit next to each other. Can you tell?

    Please visit these other awesome Wordless Wednesday Participants: 5 Minutes for Mom, Beautiful Mess, and Look What Mom Found…

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    “Flipped” Released on DVD 11/23 & Holiday UPDATE

    Hey there gang! I just wanted to remind you that Flipped comes out on DVD tomorrow! If you’re getting together with family for Thanksgiving and have a movie night, this would be great for the whole family.

    You can also enter to win the DVD by clicking here or here. Yes, that’s 2 opportunities to win this from my sites!
    Now, if you take a look at my holiday gift guide you’ll see that my Christmas Gathering & Gift Guide WAS supposed to end on the 20th. Yah, that was before I was connected with so many great companies! So, we’re still on a roll. Keep your eyes open because they’re still comin’ atcha!
    Have a fun and safe Thanksgiving!
    By posting the information about Flipped I am eligible to win a signed Poster or a DVD! This information was originally posted at Marvelous Mom Reviews.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Harry Potter: Daughter & Friends 1st in Line!

    deathlyhallows_bigposter My daughter and her friends headed out Thursday night to get in line for the newest Harry Potter movie.

    Harry Potter opening Now, the movie wasn’t opening until Midnight and from what I understand all of Smooch’s friends along with herself were at the theater around 6:30-7pm. There was no one in line for the movie.

    We live in the boonies, but the theater they were going to was in a pretty popular town, but waaay outside of the cities which I’m sure was a zoo.

    Inside the theater They went to Culver’s to grab a bite to eat and then I think someone did a Caraboo Coffee run. You have to understand that it’s November in Minne”snow”ta. It’s stinkin’ cold outside! These kids were determined to be in first and get the choice seats.They are 1stWell, they did what they wanted to accomplish and were first inside. Sounds like they all loved the movie and it was worth the wait.Ready 4 the movie

    Back in ‘89-‘90 when Michael Jackson was touring the States I was a late teen/ early 20’s and waited overnight to get some sweet 4th row tickets to his concert. I bought like 4 of them. A month or so later he cancelled. Not sure if it was the entire tour, but he wasn’t visiting Seattle. I was so ticked. I mean, I waited overnight for these tickets and getting so close? Oh well, that’s how it goes sometimes. At least I got my money back!

    Have you ever done something like this?

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    “Flipped” DVD Giveaway

    flipped poster Flipped, by Warner Brothers Studio and DBA West, will be hitting shelves November 23rd, just in time for the holidays.

    “Flipped is a movie that everyone can relate to as it explores the innocence and simplicity of first love. Flipped is a PG movie brought to life by the director of such uplifting films as Stand by Me and The Princess Bride, features a fun-loving story adapted from Wendelin Van Draanen’s bestselling novel Flipped, and stars the up and coming young actress Madeline Carroll (Swing Vote).”

    Not only did I see a commercial about this movie last week, when I was helping out at my son’s Scholastic Book Fair last week, there was the book Flipped on one of the shelves!

    The movie looks like it would be really good to watch with my girls. I have tried to make sure my girls know that dating is for a reason and that it should be a special thing to share with another young man.

    So far, they have taken this to heart and have reserved their emotions and bodies for one man. I think Flipped will be a sweet movie about falling in love at a young age and how precious that can be.

    Here’s your chance to win this DVD!

    Required: Click the link in the widget above and tell me what 1 Date Night Idea sounds fun.

    Giveaway open to US Residents 18 yrs or older. Please leave your email in the required entry or have it available in your profile. No email/contact = No entry. Giveaway ends 12/4 11:59 PST. Winner has 48 hours to respond.

    Extra Entries:

    Follow my Networked Blogs sidebar (1 entry)

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    Tweet this giveaway (1 entry daily) “RT #WIN the “Flipped” DVD to watch as a Mother/Daughter date night! @bigguysmama #giveaway http://bit.ly/9NqnYu“

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    Enter any of my other DVD Giveaway at Marvelous Mom Reviews (1 entry each)

    I was not compensated in any way for this giveaway. This post was originally posted at Marvelous Mom Reviews.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Wordless Wednesday: Smiling Rugby

    Smiling Rugby

    This really isn’t his smile, but part of it. Can you see in the small upper right photo that his nose always goes to HIS right when he starts to smile? This makes me giggle all the time.

    Be sure to check out these other Wordless Wednesday participants: A Beautiful Mess, Mom Spotted, and 5 Minutes for Mom

    Have You Seen My Marvelous Mom Reviews Giveaways?

    As many of you know, back in March I decided to separate out my product reviews from this site as much as possible. That’s when Marvelous Mom Reviews was started.
    This year is my first Christmas Gathering & Gift Guide. I would love to have you check out the giveaways I’m having and enter if you’d like.
    Marvelous Mom Reviews
    I also have 3 giveaways that had started before these holiday giveaways. So check ‘em all out!
    MMR ~ RandomLine Squggle Doodle Pad 11/18
    MMR ~ Dropps Laundry Pacs 11/20
    MMR ~ ...Featuring CD by Norah Jones 11/22

    Christmas Gathering & Gift Guide:
    MMR ~ Crest Pro-Health FOR ME Kit 11/30
    MMR ~ Bridgewater Holiday Diffuser 11/30
    MMR ~ Hasbro Games & Bonus Gifts 11/30
    MMR ~ Wilton Gingerbread Kits 11/30
    MMR ~ TamaTown Tama-Go & Gotchi Figure 11/30
    MMR ~ Ornaments With Love 11/30
    I would love to have you drop by and enter to win any or all of these great giveaways! I have more every day for AT LEAST the next week! Woo Hoo

    Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest

    Christmas is a time for traditions, food, merriment, family, and...horrific seasonal sweaters. It's the only time of year where you can sport apparel with a Rudolph nose that blinks red lights without being teased (too much).

    Share with us a photo of your sorely Christmas sweater and win!
    Email or post on our Facebook page a photo of your tackiest holiday getup.

    One winner will receive a Harry & Davids Christmas basket (ARV$50) and a copy of the new book Everything Christmas.
    What are you waiting for? Spread some holiday cheer today!

    Click here for a complete list of rules.

    Contest ends December 10, 2010.

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Eli the Stable Boy by Keith Ogorek Review

    Eli the Stable Boyby Keith Ogorek
    Illustrated by Eric Walton
    Eli the Stable Boy OverviewEli the Stable Boy tells the story of a young man who longed to be a shepherd like his father, but was given the task of getting the stable ready for the sheep to come down from the hills. Little did he know, all his hard work was actually preparing the place where the Promised Messiah would be born.
    My ReviewThis is a sweet story about a boy wanting to help his father out. By doing so, and being obedient when he has the opportunity to skip out, he makes the right choices and creates a beautiful place for the Savior’s birth.

    You can “Like” Eli the Stable Boy on Facebook. The book is available at all online retailers including Amazon. You can also order online at Author House. And it is available to order at any book store and currently stocked in select Borders locations.

    Keith will be doing book signings. The first is Friday night December 3 at Borders in the Hamilton Town Center in Noblesville, Indiana from 6:00 to 7:30. Also, the Borders at Castleton Mall in Indianapolis, IN on Sat Dec 11 from 1 to 2:30. Others are in the works.

    Keith Ogorek About the AuthorKeith Ogorek is the marketing director for Author Solutions and a huge fan of self-published books. This book was inspired by a story he would tell his daughters at bedtime when they were children. It was their encouragement that prompted him to publish this story.

    About the Illustrator
    Eric Walton is a student at Taylor University majoring in art. He has been painting since high school and wanted to illustrate this book to be challenged in a different way as an artist.
    I was able to view a galley of this book, and received nothing in return for my review.

    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    A Path Less Traveled Giveaway From Author Cathy Bryant

    A path Less Traveled ABOUT THE BOOK:
    Trish James is tired of being rescued. When a spooked horse claims her husband's life, she’s determined to blaze a path for herself and her traumatized son without outside help. But will that mean leaving the place etched on her heart?
    Andy Tyler has had to struggle for everything, and starting a new law practice in Miller's Creek, Texas is no different. Though prepared for business challenges, he's not prepared for falling in love--especially with yet another woman who will probably abandon him for her career.
    Will Andy and Trish be able to see past their limited human understanding to take . . . A Path Less Traveled?
    To read the first chapter: http://wordvessel.blogspot.com/2010/10/enjoy-first-chapter-of-path-less.html

    "This book was totally and completely enjoyable to read.  I received the book on Friday and finished reading it on Sunday.  I could hardly put it down.  The storyline is very well written and grabbed my attention in the first chapter and never let me go....One of my favorite lines in the book is this:  'God doesn't waste any hurt you endure, Trish.  What he allows into your life--even something as painful as Doc's death--He'll use for the days ahead...'  I believe this is so true and have seen it played out in my life.  I love it when I can read a really good fiction book and learn more about my relationship with Christ.  I recommend this book to anyone looking for a good story to read.  I can't wait until Book 3 in the series comes out next year." ~Cathy at Tales of the TCKK Family
    "...Cathy Bryant weaves an amazing story. She has a maturity in her writing skill that astounds me for only having two published novels. A Path Less Traveled is a must read. Cathy realistically captures the struggle of the heart." ~ Linnette at Linnette's Writing Corner 
    Cathy Bryant is a former public school teacher who handed in her chalk for a private music studio and writing career. Her passion is to write heart-stirring stories that show God’s life-changing grace. Cathy is the owner of the popular blog, WordVessel, and has written devotions for The Upper Room magazine, two devotional books, and online devotional sites. She’s the wife of a music minister, the mother of two grown sons and a beautiful daughter-in-love, and the Nana of Harrisen. A Texas gal since birth, she lives in a century-old Texas farmhouse with her husband and a phobia-ridden cat.
    Texas Roads (her debut novel and a 2009 ACFW Genesis finalist) released in March 2010. The second Miller’s Creek novel, A Path Less Traveled, was launched in November 2010. The Way of Grace will be available in 2011. 
    Visit her website at www.CatBryant.com
    Print Edition 
    Print Edition ~ Amazon
    Kindle Edition ~ Amazon
    Other eBook Editions (including online reading, iPad, Nook, Sony reader, & PDF)
    CHECK OUT THE SPECIAL BOOK GIVEAWAY DRAWINGS OF A PATH LESS TRAVELED (a Miller's Creek novel) AT WordVessel (only through November 30, 2010)
    These drawings are for US/Canada only, and will last until November 30, 2010. She will announce the winners here at WordVessel on Friday, December 3, 2010.
    By sharing this information, I will be entered into a blogger giveaway at Cathy’s site for a $25 gift card.

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Little Star by Anthony DeStefano Giveaway

    LIttle Star Little Star
    by Anthony DeStefano
    Illustrated by Mark Elliott
    Publisher: WaterBrook Press
    ISBN-13: 9780307458056

    About the book:

    Little Star is ignored by his fellow luminaries in the sky, but he knows a secret...the child of a lowly carpenter is really the Son of God. As his heart blazes forth with light and love, he gives himself to the newborn king. A delightful story about the star of Bethlehem!

    My Review:

    This is a precious story about the star that has a special job to do even though he doesn’t realize it for a very long time. It will be a great way for kids and families to use the star they place on the top of the Christmas tree as a reminder of Jesus’ birth.

    I also think it will be a good read for those kids who might be smaller than some of the other kids their age. Sometimes, like my oldest son, they feel like they can’t keep up or that they’re looked down on by the bigger kids. It also reminds us that we’re significant in the plans God has for us.

    The story is charming and the illustrations are beautiful. I think this would make a wonderful addition to your children’s Christmas library.

    About the Author:

    ANTHONY DESTEFANO is the best-selling author of A Travel Guide to Heaven, Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To, and This Little Prayer of Mine. He has received prestigious awards from religious organizations worldwide for his efforts to advance Christian beliefs in modern culture.

    About the Illustrator:

    Mark Elliott’s brilliant illustrations have appeared in many picture books and novels for young readers, including Gail Carson Levine’s ever-popular Princess Tales series. His acclaimed artwork delivers inspiration, wonder, and timeless beauty on every page.

    Now is your chance to win this beautiful book.

    Required: Leave me a comment letting me know if there is a special book you read at Christmas.

    Giveaway open to US Residents 18 yrs or older. Please leave your email in the required entry or have it available in your profile. No email/contact = No entry. Giveaway ends 11/30 midnight PDT. Winner has 48 hours to respond.

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    The Mend Mark Review & Giveaway

    Mend logo I know it’s been a long time since I’ve done a giveaway here, but I have an amazing piece of jewelry that I can’t wait to share with you. First check out the press release and then I’ll share my reaction to wearing this for the first time!

    The Mark of LoveThe Mend Mark tells a powerful story in two words

    Mend Mark Have you been “Marked?” The Mend Mark is a mission, a movement, an entire revolution. It is a bracelet meant to remind its wearers of Christ’s love and sacrifice, and its message is the passion of its creator, Hunter Harrison.

    The Mend Mark is an innovative and distinctive bracelet that is designed to reflect the scars and nail holes of Jesus. When worn, the band resembles the deep holes of the nail driven into the wrists of Jesus during his crucifixion. By bringing the story of Jesus’ life and death to constant awareness by wearing a bracelet, Mend Mark is meant to powerfully remind wearers of the ultimate act of love Jesus made for all of humankind.

    Harrison’s mission is to remind all to remember Christ’s love in both his life and death. But more than only a poignant recollection, the Mend Mark is meant to inspire and motivate wearers to live a life of service. Harrison strives to bring people together around the simplicity and power of love as lived by Jesus. But this is no example of passive love. The Mend Mark calls individuals in all walks of life to love with a profound sincerity and commitment great enough to change a neighborhood, a community, a world.

    Harrison leads this call to love and sacrifice by example and joins hands with each Mend Mark bracelet purchaser to take the first step in global change. A portion of each bracelet sold goes to support Living Water International, an organization combating the clean water crisis victimizing over one billion people worldwide. Each $5,000 given will result in one well drilled, providing a community with clean water.

    Mend Mark out of box But wearers should be prepared to be seen. Unique in its design, the Mend Mark is sure to be noticed and gives wearers an opportunity to share the story of the profound love of Jesus for each and every person. “It was important to me that the design was simple and generic enough that the observer had to ask about it to know what it meant. But I also wanted it to appear distinctive enough that it sparked curiosity,” reveals creator Hunter Harrison. “I wanted it to require the wearer of the product to engage in conversation about the love of Christ (and hopefully show that love to others) instead of just letting the product talk for them.”

    Launched in late 2009 after a year and a half of packaging, material, and design development by Harrison, the bracelet has been sold across the United States, Canada, and the UK and has been featured in retail stores as well. The Mend Mark bracelet movement has grown to further fame after being worn during performances by American Idol winner Lee Dewyze, Idol runner up Siobhan Magnus, Decifer Down, Israel Houghton & New Breed, Pillar, and Finding Favour, to name a few. Says Harrison, “I want it to be more than just another bracelet; I want it to represent a movement.” Based on the way things are going, a movement is exactly what it is becoming.

    Order online for $9.99 at http://www.mendmark.com/.

    IMG_4092 When I received the bracelets I took one out of the box. Ok, let’s stop there for a moment. I had quite the time trying to open the box. If you win or purchase one, realize that the ends slide in different directions at the same time to reveal the bracelet!

    I put the bracelet on and had a very powerful emotional reaction. I mean, I was wearing a piece of jewelry that reminds me of the nails in Jesus’ hands and feet. I could barely look at it because it was such a powerful reminder.

    IMG_4093 A reminder of my sin, but mostly of my Savior.

    I knew who I was going to give this to the moment I learned about the Mend Mark – Smooch. She loves to wear things that show people that she loves God. This bracelet is the perfect thing for her because she’s not super girly and it’s so highly significant.

    Now, as we head to Christmas, I was given a 2nd bracelet to giveaway.

    Required: Visit Mend Mark (where you can click on the photos for close-ups) and tell me who you’d give this bracelet to.

    Giveaway open to US Residents 18 yrs or older. Please leave your email in the required entry or have it available in your profile. No email/contact = No entry. Giveaway ends 11/30 midnight PDT. Winner has 48 hours to respond.


    Follow Marvelous Mom Reviews (2 entries, comment 2x)

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    Tweet the giveaway (1 entry daily) “#WIN a Mend Mark bracelet N be a reminded of Jesus’s sacrifice. Makes a beautiful gift @mendmark @bigguysmama #giveaway http://bit.ly/aMxPy6“

    “Like” Mend Mark on Facebook (2 entries, comment 2x)

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    Enter any of my other current giveaways (1 entry each)

    Purchase a Mend Mark bracelet (10 entries, comment 10x) will be verified

    Q&A With Hunter Harrison,
    Creator of the Mend Mark

    Q: How did you arrive at the idea for the Mend Mark? Why a bracelet?
    A: I always thought about getting a tattoo. I still haven’t, but tattoo designs frequently cross my mind, and if I ever got one I would want it to be meaningful. On one particular day, I had the idea of getting two circles tattooed on my wrist to resemble a hole. But not just any hole—the hole that killed a king. The more and more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that nowadays EVERYONE has a tattoo and it would almost be rebellious NOT to get one. (I guess you could consider me a reverse rebel.) So I decided to do something a little different, something that would reach many more people than just some ink on my wrist. I took the idea and designed a bracelet instead, and consequently, the Mend Mark idea was born.

    Q: At first glance Mend Mark seems like a nebulous name. What does it mean?
    A: I’ve always liked the word “mend” and I feel like it’s underused. So it was an easy decision to incorporate that into the name. It fit the product purpose, and since it was representing one of the marks of Jesus, Mend Mark was an obvious choice. Plus it had a nice ring to it and with tattoo roots it seemed natural to call it that. I wanted it to be more than just another bracelet or wristband. I wanted it to represent a movement. So the “Mend Mark” it became.

    Q: What are you hoping will be accomplished through the wearing of the Mend Mark bracelet and through the Mend Mark movement?
    A: There are three main things I want to be accomplished. First is that I wanted people to remember the sacrifice. I wanted to unite people—Christians (no matter the denomination) and even people of other worldviews—on one common message: LOVE. The love that Christ preached in particular. With so many books out there and theological debates on who’s right and who’s wrong, sometimes we forget the simplicity of Christ’s main message: LOVE. I figured that no matter what one believes, they can’t deny that selfless love can change the world… and sometimes we need a reminder of that. So I coined the phrase “Remember Love” to be printed on the bracelet. The second thing is that I wanted people to emulate the emotion. I wanted it to require the wearer of the product to engage in conversation about the love of Christ (and hopefully show that love to others) instead of just letting the product talk for them. I felt that if this was done properly it could force people into intentional situations where they were able to demonstrate their faith. If I was a non-believer and I saw someone wearing an obvious Christian product, I doubt I would ask that person about it because I would already know what they were going to say. But, if I saw this, I would want to know what it was. It sparks curiosity… and in turn that curiosity may open some doors for people to share the love of Christ with others. Finally, I wanted it to inspire people to change the world around them. I decided to find a cause to support through the sales of the bracelet. There was no reason for me to keep all the profits for myself. I wanted to be able to give back and share the proceeds somehow. I researched and prayed and petitioned God on what ministry to support and God led me to Living Water International. I knew I wanted to help fight malnourishment in one way or another and providing “Living Water” seemed to fit the purpose of the product—using “love” to mend. That’s what it’s all about and this product allows that to happen on a global scale.

    Q: Where did the inspiration to create the Mend Mark come from?
    A: My mother was the most influential person in my life. She raised me on her own, even homeschooled me in high school, and I think that extra time with her really impacted me. She passed away from cancer in 2007, but she always told me I would do great things. My wife, Morgan, has been extremely instrumental in encouraging me to take those words from my mom to heart and make them a reality. Morgan motivates me like no one else can and has been a tremendous source of love and support throughout the entire process.

    Then my work in banking inspired me. All day long I am helping people achieve their dreams getting businesses and ideas started. I wanted to get out there and start doing something myself. But I wanted it to be meaningful. Since my son was born two years ago, he’s given me an added motivation to do something bigger than myself, something that will somehow leave a legacy behind.

    Q: The Mend Mark is certainly growing as a movement. It’s even been worn by celebrities. What’s next for the Mend Mark?
    A: The Mend Mark isn’t the first idea I’ve tried to get off the ground. It definitely won’t be the last either. By far, it’s been the most fun and the most successful, and the one I’ve been most passionate about. I’m currently working on additional product designs as well as T-shirts that will go along with the original Mend Mark purpose. The future is bright and I can’t wait to see where God takes it.

    I was sent 2 Mend Mark bracelets: 1 to keep, 1 to giveaway. The opinion expressed is completely my own. I’d like to thank Audra for connecting me with Mend Mark

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Wordless Wednesday: First Time Mower



    Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to check out these other Wordless Wednesday participants: A Beautiful Mess, Two of A Kind Working On A Full House, and 5 Minutes for Mom.

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Dear Boys…and Rugby

    It’s the weekend. You know, the days where you don’t have to go to school. Rugby, it’s the days we’re all home ALL DAY together.

    Guess what I like to do on these two glorious day boys (and yes, this includes you Rugby)? I like to sleep in.

    Unlike Monday-Friday where I’m calling out your name at 7 am. I know you 3 like to wake up at the crack of dawn. All by yourselves. Regardless of my continuing efforts to keep you up late so that maybe, just maybe you’ll sleep in, too.

    So far, no such luck.

    Let’s get a few things straight since I’ve been working on this since, well, forever it seems:

    1. Yes, if there are donuts, you may have one. I will let you know the night before if we have them so you don’t have to come ask me.
    2. Yes, you can play on the computer, watch tv, play PS2 or run around the house in your boxers.
    3. No you may not go to the neighbors, they’re probably still sleeping like good little angels
    4. Rugby, if you’ve got to pee, why not go ask one of the kids who are up? Why come down and bump my bed over and over so I have to get out of bed just to let you out? Sticking your face in mine not only freaks me out when I open my eyes, but it’s a tad bit annoying.
    5. Boys, could ya feed the dog? We’ve had him for 2 yrs. Is this too much to ask?

    Yes, I know that sleeping in is a luxury and some people think sleeping in would be moseying out of bed at 7 am. Well, if you stay up until 1-2am that’s only 5-6 hours of sleep.

    I’m not a morning person. Never have been, never will be. You and I will probably get the same amount of sleep. It’s just a matter of when we get that sleep. Just sayin’.

    Ok boys (the three of yous) Sunday is here. Yes, we’re going to church. Yes, you need to take a shower. Yes, you can and can’t do all of the above. What I’d most like for you to do is let me sleep in. No interruptions. Just some glorious deep REM sleep.


    Your Half Conscious Mom

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Pour Your Heart Out: Put My Dog To Sleep?

    Today is my first time participating in PYHO. Came at an inopportune time, but a heart breaking one. Let me start off by apologizing for the length of it. I’m kind of an emotional wreck.

    2 years ago my estranged husband gave me a puppy who was supposed to become our “protection”. If anyone would’ve seen this puppy, they would’ve known he wasn’t going to be very good at protecting anything or anyone. He was a bundle of nerves and afraid of his own shadow.

    I remember when I tried taking photos of him when we first brought him home. He would slink away. He was afraid of the camera, or maybe the flash.IMG_8415

    Oh, I forgot to mention, Rugby is a Border Collie mix. He was bought from a farm on my oldest daughter’s bday.

    Anyhow, he did what all puppies do: eating library books, eating shoes, chewing up the stair carpet, etc.

    But we knew he was cool. He was so gentle when he took his treats. Attentive to where I was. Rugby became my shadow. He slept on my side of the bed every night. He gives me hugs. He smiles like nobody’s business whenever I come home.

    In May, a week before he turned 2, Rugby had his first seizure. I hoped it was some fluke and wouldn’t happen again. As it is with my luck, it wasn’t to be the case. By the end of May he was having one every couple weeks. The vet decided he needed to get on meds.

    They’d help for a month and then thIMG_1355 e seizures would start happening again. The vet upped the meds. Rugby had started off on a super low dose and had lots of room to finagle.

    A couple weeks ago he woke me up at 5:30am with a double seizure. His first that I knew of. I ran to get him his valium. Before it set into his system he had another double seizure. It was terrible.

    Well, Saturday was THE WORST! He had 6 seizures in one hour. SIX! It was so traumatic to watch. Of course my boys were here. I gave Rugby his valium after his 2nd seizure.

    Usually it works right away, but not this time. The poor dog just couldn’t get out of the seizures. I truly thought he was going to die. I had to tell my boys. I also had to tell them it was possible they’d come home one day from school and he might be dead if he’d had seizures.

    Living in the country, our local vet is closed by noon. The seizures started around 12:30pm!

    IMG_2628 By the last 2 seizures, his body was responding big time. You know when a fish is taken out of the water and put on the ground and it flops slapping it’s head and tail? That was our Rugby. Instead of just shaking, his entire body was coming up and slamming down.

    I thought he was dying because all of a sudden I saw blood. He must’ve bitten his tongue, which of course mouths are big bleeders.

    Talked to the vet on Monday and she suggested adding potassium bromide. I was happy to do whatever to help my puppy. Then on Tuesday I went and picked up the meds. The new meds are $28. That’s on top of his 2 other meds which are about $18/month. I can’t afford $46 a month for meds. I’m a single mom.

    In fact, yesterday when I went to get my 11yo’s Concerta for the first time, it was $50! We have crappy insurance. I told them I couldn’t get it and would have to call his doctor. Tuesday I went back with a Ritalin prescription.

    How can I spend $50/mo on my dog when I can’t do it for my son? My paycheck only adds up to about $800/month.

    Boys with Rugby So, here’s my quandry. What do I do about my puppy? He’s only 2 and a half. He’s supposed to have a full life ahead of him. We were supposed to enjoy this awesome dog for at least 8 more years. I’m not supposed to be contemplating killing my dog because of some stupid seizures.

    And for heaven’s sake, seizures aren’t common in Border Collies.

    It has to be me.

    I had a horse 6 years ago. My mom finally helped my life long dream come true of owning my own horse. Winston was beautiful. We had a friend to board him at and my daughters wanted to ride, too. But it was too hard to go out there with a 1 yr old baby.

    My now 17 year old daughter ended up enjoying him the most. THEN a year after we had him I noticed some lumps on him. He had tumors. TUMORS? For real? And they were right where his bridle would lay and where the saddle would rub.

    I swear, only me.

    Yesterday I came home from work and there was my baby. Waiting for me to call him to me. Then he comes a waggin’ and smilin’ at me, so happy I’m home. And I have to look into his beautiful brown eyes and know I will have to kill my own dog.

    My boys are in the living room playing with a neighbor boy and I’m burying my face in my dog’s fur, wondering how I’m supposed to walk this road.

    Rugby N KD Sure, he’s a dog, but I get emotionally attached. He’s so devoted to me, and so amazing with my boys and other kids. Do you know that this dog has NEVER bit anybody even when playing? Rugby loves to play, but he knows we are his people.

    Want a dog that loves to play fetch and not run away? Rugby is your dog. He brings the ball back every time. It’s just the way he is!

    How about a “Lassie” moment? When I’m home, I let Rugby out to go meet the bus. He knows the sound of the bus and runs to the window. It’s so precious.

    When I give him his meds, all I have to do is call him upstairs and he comes running to me, sits down and lets me pop them right in. No struggle. No rubbing the throat while clamping his mouth shut.

    Ever tried clipping a dogs nails? Usually a nightmare, right? Not with Rugby. I call him to me and he comes over and lays down between my legs and rolls on his side.

    How cool is my dog? And I’m supposed to kill him because of these


    It’s not fair.

    It’s not fair to him. Those seizures take a lot out of him while he’s in the midst of them. When he’s not having a seizure you’d NEVER in a million years know he had them. He’s as normal as any other dog you’d run into.

    I just want them to stop. Is that too much to ask? I just want my puppy to be healthy. I just want my Rugby to live to the ripe age of 10 or so. He was supposed to be our family dog. Grow up with my boys.

    It makes me sad that we’ve only been able to have him for 2 yrs. I’m going to call the vet today and ask her if there are any other options to keep the costs down. If we could do that, this post would be nul and void and my tears would be for naught.

    I want my puppy for years to come, but truly love him enough not to keep him here for selfish reasons.

    I just love my Rugby!

    PS I can’t stop crying. I’m glad my boys are gone for the day.

    PPS Talked to the vet this afternoon and she said we’d know by the end of the month what direction to take.

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Wordless Wednesday: Me and Then My Girl

    A couple of photos for you today:

    Me before our women’s dinner at church (you won’t see me like this again for a LONG time! Give me my Levi’s! I’ve been going to my church for 10 years. I had people looking at me saying, “You’re wearing MAKE-UP!” Yah, I know and it’s killing me! LOLIMG_4187 IMG_4180How my oldest daughter spent getting ready for Halloween with her college roomies. How adorable are they?


    Brie N pumpkins  Marie Brie Carly

    Do you see the ladybug design in her pumpkin on the right?

    Bries ladybug pumpkin

    Check out these other awesome WW participants: Look What Mom Found, A Beautiful Mess, 5 Minutes for Mom, and Two of a Kind

    Facebook Launch Party For "A Path Less Traveled" - Nov. 4, 2010

    A path Less TraveledDATE: November 4, 2010, Thursday

    TIME: 6:00-9:00 p.m. (Central time)

    LOCATION: Cathy's Facebook Author Page
    Under the Notes Tab
    (I'll be adding updates to this Note on Facebook, so check back often for more details)

    PRIZES: ~1 Grand Prize - a Kindle!
    ~Autographed copies of "A Path Less Traveled" 
    (Number of prizes depends on number of entries)
    ~eBook copies of "A Path Less Traveled" 
    (Number depends on number of entries)
    ~bundles of both books in the Miller's Creek novels
    (Texas Roads & A Path Less Traveled)
    ~eBook bundles of both books
    ~Box of Books giveaway
    (for "Heart For Home" newsletter subscribers and WordVessel e-mail subscribers)

    FUN: Online Scavenger Hunt, Miller's Creek Trivia Contest, Q&A Chat, The Story Behind the Story, and much more!

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    A Halloween Parade Of My Cute Boys

    I have to be honest with you. I had no desire to do anything yesterday. I was so amazingly lazy! I should’ve taken one of my Adderall’s. It was really tempting to ask the boys if they’d rather hang out at home.

    Ugh, at 5:30pm I rolled out of bed, I had been reading my bible study info, not sleeping. I did put jeans on. I figured if I ran into anyone I knew I should be out of my jammies. Then again, I could’ve just said I was in costume. Darn, if I’d have had bon bons I could’ve gone as a misconceived SAHM.

    IMG_4243 My boys threw their costumes on and off we went. We live outside of town so we have to drive in to the big neighborhood to trick or treat.

    It took about 2 hours to go through the whole neighborhood and then we did a quick jog over to my friend, LP’s house to take what we could of her candy stash. I always bring my boys over. Doodle ran up and since he was dressed as Black Spiderman and his face was covered we knew they wouldn’t recognize him right off.

    Always the instigator, I told him to say, “Give me all your candy!” which he was more than happy to do. The next thing I knew he’s running towards our van with LP on his heels. He jumps in and she jumps in and starts going through their candy searching for her beloved blue Tootsie Rolls. Buddy found 2 after we left her house. Her daughter snagged one of my Butterfingers, the stinker!

    I have 2 very attentive boys. They know the candy I Iove and as soon as they come back from a house, if they’ve gotten one of my favorite candies they hand it over to me. And to think they could’ve asked for something different, but don’t. I never would’ve considered my parents when I was a kid.

    Have I mentioned how much I love my boys?

    IMG_4244 I’m also proud of the fact that even though we only trick or treat once a year, they remember EVERY year not to walk on people’s lawns. I realize by the 3rd house to be paying attention to where they’re walking, and for them this is old hat. They don’t take the short cut through people’s yards. They go all the way around the sidewalk to get to the next house.

    I taught them when they were little that it was important to consider the people who own the yard. Maybe they put a lot of work into their yard and don’t want lots of people running through it on one night. Some houses have really nice landscaping and for us to be disrespectful of their time and work would not be okay for us or for the owners.

    My boys have taken it to heart and been good stewards of their trick or treating time. Oh, and I had to make sure they were saying, “Thank you,” and not just running off the moment the candy hit the bag. I didn’t really need to ask because they both confirmed they were giving their thanks!

    IMG_4242 All in all, it was a good night. Can’t wait to go through their loot tomorrow after they get home from school.

    Oh, and how could I forget? Right after we left LP’s house and ran to the grocery store to grab Lunchables, Buddy’s eyes were hurting for some odd reason. As soon as we got home he said he felt like he was going to puke. Sure enough, he gave up whatever he’d had in his belly. He’d only had 1 piece of candy in the two hours they were out trick or treating. So, I have no idea what happened.

    When he woke up this morning, he was just fine. Can an 11 year old have a migraine? I think I had my one and only when I was 13 or 14. Yikes!

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    Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.