Just a Quicky

Hi folks! This has to be short and sweet on account of me going away for three days and leaving my family to wail and rend their garments. I have a lot of garment mending to do.

No, not really. They did great. Didn’t even NEED me to come back. Didn’t even WANT me to come back!

Okay, so maybe they wanted me a little bit. I tell myself so, anyway.

Mostly this concerns the raffles (posts below). Apparently we were breaking some sort of rule with Paypal by raising money to bring orphans home, since apparently Paypal is against such shenanigans, or against home, or maybe just against orphans in general, or maybe it’s run by a community of busybodies who want to make sure your money is spent on purely self-indulgent things like perfumed body powder and bonbons, or perhaps they are a group of humorless automaton droids who don’t understand the concepts of philanthropy and general magnaminosity and the idea that someone might actually honestly be raising money for a great cause, because their hearts are nothing more than gears and cogs and bits of moldy string.

I’m a little het up, if you couldn’t tell.

So the raffles are over and I’m picking winners now. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO TRUSTED ENOUGH TO THROW YOUR (HIS? HER?) $5 (OR MORE) INTO THE POT WITHOUT DOUBTING THAT IT WAS, INDEED, GOING TO BRING ORPHANS HOME, AND NOT TO FUND AN OCEAN CRUISE TO SOUTH AMERICA OR SOMESUCH.

You’re the cream, is what you are. The creamiest cream. Please be sure to check over at Kate’s adoption blog regularly to see what sort of progress they are making towards bringing the girls home. Right now she has a really cool thang involving a jigsaw puzzle. You’ll have to pop over there to find out more.

Without further ado (are you paying attention, Paypal droids? Affix your glassy robotic eyeballs this way!), I will pick winners for the jewelry and the HOME letters. Ready?

Okay, the way I went about this was to print out the names of all the folks who donated as per what the receipts showed. So someone who donated $25, say, got their name put in the hat (a literal hat, might I add) 5 times. And so forth. I would have taken a movie of the falderall but that would have required me locating my Flip camera, wresting it away from my 9 year old, discovering that there was no room left on it, deleting 50 movies of stuffed animals shrieking and flying through the air, running out of battery juice, and then finding that I have no more batteries and all my rechargeables are dead.

Honestly. I can do without that sort of stress in my life at this point.

SO. The winner of the jewelry is a sweetheart named AMY WERNER. Amy, congratulations!

The winner of the HOME letters is a generous soul called ROBIN BEEM. Congratulations, Robin!

We already know where you live (pretend like that doesn’t sound as creepy as it does), so no worries about sending addresses and all that. Just sit tight and expect your goodies any day!

There’s No Place Like Home

I’ll make this short and sweet. I made these letters in honor of Kate and Charley and their two new daughters, Vivienne (new name Bethany) and Laura. They spell out HOME, which is where we want to get them VERY SOON! If you would like a chance to have them for your very own, simply donate $5 dollars to Kate and Charley’s adoption fund via the Chip In button below. Every $5 entry will garner your name in the hat.

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The letters are made out of paper mache and covered with just about the cutest scrapbook paper I’ve ever seen.

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They’ve had little accents decoupaged on them, and some of my own doodles to boot!

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Seriously. I think these are the cutest letters I’ve ever constructed. Each one is about 8 x 5 inches high, and about an inch thick. Perfectly happy to stand upon a shelf or just about anywhere you need a little bright cheeriness.

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Oh, the cuteness. Each letter has been hand-inked around the edges to give it a little extra pop. And each one has been covered with mod-podge for protection from wayward sticky fingers and sudden sneezes. I wouldn’t recommend submerging them, but you can wipe them clean with a damp cloth.

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I cannot even BEGIN to think of a more perfect quote than this one as it relates to adoption. How blessed we are, who have warmth of home and love of family to comfort us. How much the same is needed for so many sweet children around the world.

Each letter has painted sides that have then been sanded to give it a perfectly imperfect appearance. Because we all know perfection is way overrated.

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 This raffle will end in one week, on the 3rd of March. Winners will be chosen from each $5 contribution (donate more, get more chances to win)!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Ways to Help Two Sweet Girls

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Today for Top Ten Tuesday I’m outlining the top ten ways you can help bring two lovely Ukrainian girls home to their new family.

10. Make a straight-up donation to the Parker family adoption fund here via paypal.

9. Buy some coffee.

8. Send a check or money order to Reece’s Rainbow, PO Box 4024, Gaithersburg, MD 20885. Please specify that your gift is for “Vivienne/Laura for the Parker Family”.

7. Bookmark or subscribe to Kate’s adoption blog so you can check in regularly and find out new ways to help!

6. Come back HERE tomorrow (here, as in, right here, my ownty-own blog, the one you’re currently staring at) to find another way to donate, and possibly win a great prize!

5. Buy something from my shop! I’m donating 50% of all my sales to the Parker family until their babies are home. OR, buy something from my friend Sarah’s shop! She’s donating 100% of her sales to the Parkers!

4. Remember that you CAN make a difference, no matter how small you think your gift might be. Remember Luke 21:1-3, and also John 6:9-13. God is pleased with even the smallest effort, and He is the King of Multiplication!

3. Pray for the Parker family. Pray for their adoption fund, but also pray that the Lord prepares Kate, Charley, and their 7 children for the arrival of their new sisters!

2. Pray for Vivienne and Laura. Pray for their health and safety, and for the quick slicing of governmental red tape and a facilitation of the adoption process!

1.  Purchase a chance to win this jewelry!

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This beautiful jewelry was handmade by my dear friend and soul sister, Sarah. It has been made ‘specially for this event! The jewelry is made from sterling silver and swarovski crystals in the colors of the sea. A stamped “Blessed” charm centers the bracelet and is a perfect reminder of our status as children of God.

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For just $5 you can purchase a chance to win the set (bracelet and earrings); ALL money will go directly to Kate and Charley’s adoption fund via Paypal. Just click the “chip-in” button to make your donation and then leave me a comment to tell me that you did so! If you donate $10, or $15, or so on, your entries into the giveaway will also multiply by the same 1:5 ratio.

I’m sorry I just tried to do math in front of you. You shouldn’t have had to see that.

 The winner will be picked from all contributors in one week, on the 2nd of March! And be sure to come back tomorrow to take part in another fun giveaway! 

(by way of explanation, the Chipin button takes you to a paypal site, which lists MY email beneath the fundraiser name. That is simply because I’m using my own Chip-in account for the fundraiser; Kate’s paypal account is the one all donations are going into, which is listed just below that! I thought that might look a little strange to some…)

Christian Writers and Writers who are Christian

Let me begin by saying that I had entirely TOO much fun writing those fake-book-blurbs. And it was even more delightful to find that so many of you got a kick out of it as well. But how many of you guessed the correct fakes?

 

Just five!

 

I think I missed my calling.  

 

To be fair, I think much of the fault lies in the CBD blurb writer. I don’t know who this person is, but I have a sneaking suspicion they could take any book, quality be damned, and make it sound absurd. It’s a unique gift. Many of you believed number 2, A Widow’s Hope, to be fake. I don’t blame you. The way it is written is borderline perverted. Is the gentle farmer interested in Hannah or her sheep?  I think Leviticus has a thing or two to say about that.

 

Sadly, though, this book is very real. I can only hope that the actual story is not as insipid as its summary. And a question, just out of curiosity: why are the Amish women on these book covers supermodel-flawless?

 

Then we had #3, Sweet Charity. Will the Lord cause Kent to choose between his daughter and his heart? His affection for his daughter dwells outside of his heart, presumably? His liver, perhaps? Apparently for this poor man there is no room in his heart for more than one sort of love at a time. Again, I will be gracious to the beleaguered author and lay the blame upon the summary-writer. This book is real.

 

Finally, we had #5, Pasadena Promises. I think I picked this one because the beginning was too delightfully sappy: Love blooms like a rose from the thorns of war. Pardon me while I swoon upon my fainting couch. Oh, and it’s “for three strong-willed women”. Of course they’re strong-willed. They must be. But what, exactly, does that mean? You’ll never know unless you read the book…you do want to, don’t you? Well then, you’re in luck…it’s real too.

 

So that leaves 1, 4, and 6 as fakes. Spurred by Love was written close to midnight and I was getting a little punchy. I giggled all the way through it. Nevertheless, it is nowhere near absurd, when you compare it to this or this or this.

 

Blue Skye was a pretty clever play on words if I do say so myself. Given that the current trend is towards psychological thriller-type novels with a twist of the paranormal thrown in, I thought it was pretty believable. I may have overplayed my hand with the name Skye Cerule, though.

 

Hourglass, though, is my favorite fake. I’m surprised it hasn’t already been written. I would totally read it!

 

The five of you who picked the correct fakes were Mary, Ruth, Fuzzytop, Amy, and Sheila. I put all your names into a little box and had Cowboy X pick one out…and the winner is Fuzzytop!

 

And what does she get, prithee? A $20 gift certificate to Amazon, where she can pick amongst innumerable and morally-upright Christian novels (A Widow’s Hope notwithstanding). Or she could pick a horrid old secular novel like To Kill A Mockingbird or A Tale of Two Cities. God forbid!

 

While I may have something of a prejudice against Christian fiction as a genre, that does not mean that I never read it or think it is all hopeless piffle. I *did* say, after all, that for every ONE quality Christian author there were 100 who were not, which implies that there are those “ones” out there!

 

In my opinion, one of the gems is Francine Rivers, whose Mark of the Lion Trilogy I thoroughly enjoyed (well, minus the final installment…the first two are amazing, though). I also loved her series on the women in Jesus’ geneology.  I have also been a fan of Frank Peretti in the past, most specifically these three books and The Oath, which I found brilliantly metaphorical.

 

Mostly, though, I have to give a hearty hear! hear! to Gretchen’s quote from C.S.Lewis who, when asked if the world needed more “Christian writers”, replied “No. The world needs more writers who are Christian.” If you are a Christian who is also a writer, won’t your values and worldview necessarily be woven throughout your novel by default? Is it essential to insert a scene of someone “getting saved” in order to make a book “Christian”? Must the gospel message be spelled out in order to be present?

 

These questions are rhetorical.

 

In order to prolong the fun, I’d like to extend an open invitation to any of you who’d like a chance to try your own hand at CBD-style novel summarizations. Leave me a blurb to an imaginary book in the comments, or a link to your own blog where you’ve come up with something absurd. As a token for spreading the joy, feel free to take Mr. You Tickle Me Octopus for your sidebar or whatnot! And thanks, as always, for making me smile.

 

The **Winners** Post!

Tarantara! Tarantara!

 

That’s my attempt at a trumpet noise. As taken from The Pirates of Penzance, if you must know. Mmmm…Kevin Kline……………………………..

 

Hm? Oh! Sorry! Got a little distracted there…

 

Okay, so I hope everybody had fun this week with my giveaways; I had a lot of fun doing them, and I dearly hope that you will all pop back over to Jody’s and Becca’s regularly to see what new things they have and p’raps give them a little biz!

 

And now, the winnah’s (you’re all winners in my…okay, so you know the drill…) AFTER removing any and all family members’ names (AH-HEM!!! Sorry, fambly, but no)…

 

The $20 gift certificate to Jody’s shop: Comment NUMBER TWO, my dear friend Joanne! W00t, Joanne! I’m so excited for you!

 

The Webkinz Pelican, though I will never look at him in the same light since seeing that disturbing youtube video: Comment NUMBER EIGHT, Katie! I hope you enjoy him (keep him away from any other birds, would you? I won’t be held responsible for their fates otherwise).

 

The artwork by yours truly: Comment NUMBER NINE, DeeDee! Congratulations, DeeDee! May it grace the walls of your home and bring much pleasure to your eyes.

 

Strange how low the numbers are today, isn’t it? Random.org is truly…random sometimes…

 

Okay, so the final giveaway, Becca’s wonderful necklaces: Comment NUMBER ELEVEN, Carrie! W00t! W00t! I thought about splitting them up into two giveaways, but in the end I decided to do just one winner, and that way she can keep one and give one to a friend!

 

Or, you know…not.

 

Which would be my personal choice. Just sayin’.

 

Okay, so that’s it. Thank you again to everybody who played along and checked out websites and drooled right along with me. For all those whose names were not picked, here’s a picture of George Clooney as you’ve never seen him before:

 

 

Just to make you smile.

Technical Difficulties

Due to certain acts of God lately, today’s grand-finale giveaway will be slightly delayed. For anyone just now tuning in, be sure to enter the last three giveaway posts by leaving me a comment, and I’ll probably be picking winners on Saturday rather than Friday.

 

Be SURE to check back in later today, when the fabulously fantastic final giveaway will commence…I don’t want to reveal too much, but suffice to say it involves my delightfully talented SIL Becca.

 

Meanwhile, enjoy this little interview with my 3 year old, Toby, in which he looks every bit like trailer trash and talks about his home state.

 

Please excuse the shrieks of my 16 year old son in the background, playing a video game. As Pioneer Woman is fond of saying, I’m just keeping it real…

 

Wednesday Giveaway…

Some of you might remember how I entered this photo in a photo contest about summer last year…

 

 

I didn’t win. I don’t actually remember where I entered it, either; anyone? Anyone? Bueller? It was some Mom site. That’s very helpful and specific, I know. But anyway, I didn’t win, but I still think the photo rocks.

 

Every time I looked at the photo, I thought of the scripture about sprouting wings and flying away, and so one day I ordered it in an extra-large size, got out my canvas, and tried to replicate what I was seeing in my mind’s eye.

 

It turned out something like this:

 

 

Amazing what you can do with paint, marker, mod-podge, and a printer. It’s not actually crooked, by the way. That’s just my own inability to properly align something in my camera viewfinder. It’s actually straight, and about 14″ x 18″.

 

I happen to love it. I hope at least a few of you guys do, too, because I’m giving it away today. Rest assured I’m ordering another print in order to make myself another one, oh yessiree, but this one’s up for grabs. Just leave a comment with your info. And check back on Friday! That’s when I’ll pick the winners for the week.

Day Two Giveaway…

I am not fond of Tuesdays. They annoy me. Not the beginning, not the end, not the middle…nothing. It is my opinion that we could have done without Tuesday altogether and been none the worse for wear because of it. Shorter week, no problem.

 

Think of all the twice-a-week problems that would be solved by eliminating Tuesday! I mean, really! As it stands, we have to pick two days that are three days apart on one side and two days apart on the other. I try to shop twice a week, but it’s a real pain in the arse to always be compensating for that one bit where there’s an extra day. Eliminate Tuesday, and you have a nice clean split.

 

These are the thoughts that keep me up at night.

 

However. Today  you definitely should be glad it’s Tuesday. Because Tuesday has a little something extra today. Tuesday has this:

 

 

Tuesday just got a whole lot cuter, friends.

 

Yes, in honor of my enduring love for all things beachy, I am giving away Mr. Webkinz Pelican. I mentioned about a year ago that The Webkinz, They Were Taking Over, and I can assure you that at the time, I had no idea.

 

Like Abraham’s descendants, the Webkinz in my house rival the stars in the sky in number. I honestly have not tried to count them lately, but given that six of my children own a collection, it’s a little scary.

 

and I may have one or two six myself.

 

I can’t help it. When they began to come out with underwater pets, it was over for me. Each one came with an underwater room. It’s positively therapeutic to go visit them in their shimmery watery havens!

 

look at the reflection! it’s so soothing!

 

Mr. Pelican does not come with an underwater room (he’d need a helmet for that), but he does have a treetop room option, which is Pretty Nifty, I think.

 

I can see my house from here!

 

Mr. Pelican is honestly a lot cuter than real pelicans, which I discovered just the other day, are capable of doing this.

 

But I’m going to give one of you Mr. Pelican today, simply for leaving me a comment saying that you do indeed wish to receive him, with the solemn promise that in Webkinz World, pelicans are not allowed to devour their winged brethren.

 

Because that would be just plain disturbing.

And the winner is…**REVISED EDITION**

First of all, thanks to everyone who participated in my giveaway! Y’all say the sweetest thangs…*blush, blush*

 

Random.org has picked number 195 to be DA WINNAH this go-round, so congratulations to Jessica at Don’t Give Him Crackers! I hope you enjoy my craftyliciousness this winter season.

 

Sadly, it would appear that *I*, personally, have not won a stinkin’ thing this time at the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival. This is in spite of many dedicated hours of neglecting my family and personal hygiene as I clicked, glassy-eyed at the hundreds of links submitted. Ah, well. There’s always next time.

 

Did you win anything? Do tell!

 

**I lied! I DID win something! I won a pair of adorable shoes from the Smaller company for my sweet Cowboy X. I picked these.

 

Are they not the most squealerific shoes? I thought so. I won them from CanCan over at Mom Most Travelled. Thanks, CanCan!