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I’m currently in love with this tiny nativity set! I just wish they were a smidge bigger. So cute and unique!

Just thought I would share!

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I like to think of myself as someone who loves to find the perfect gift. I will search until I find something that I think is a true gift that will make someone genuinely smile when they receive it. I have issue with buying a gift just to buy it. Remember the days of receiving bottle upon bottle of bath and body works products? That was the “go-to” gift for the women of my generation. I say we rebel against conventional gifts, and find something unique!

As always, you can find me scouring etsy at some point during the day. Below I have found a few gifts that are a great price and would really shine.

These necklaces are just too creative!

And nothing says “truly thought about it” gift like a personalized item. They take time, especially during the holidays.

And I am in love with these beautiful, dainty earrings.

There is something about that teal blue and pink that just warms my heart. And they are a great price, and look like you bought them at anthropologie!

This chick is extremely talented and creative with her paper cut art.

I have been checking out her necklaces and cards for awhile now. I think this is the season to finally buy something!

A felt bowl? Yes. I love felt, and a bowl made of felt could go anywhere.

And while I completely believe that this could be a DIY project, if you don’t have time – these are inexpensive and adorable.

I would love to hear any suggestions you have for great gifts under $50!

anticipation


This season stirs me up in the ways of wonder, excitement, hope, and peace. I am one who starts listening to Christmas music very early because it begins ushering in the nostalgia of childhood and being home with my family in our old house. Christmas has always been special in the Crawford home – it was magical. My family made it that way. And I have every intention of doing the same thing for our children.

But I want to give the magic an extra twist – a more Jesus-centered twist.

Every Christmas season wouild begin with my dad’s mother, Mimi, sending us an advent calendar which immediately was taped to the fridge. It is really amazing how I probably ate chocolate every single day of my life, yet still was beyond thrilled to open up that tiny paper door on the advent calender to see what chocolate character would be waiting for me to devour. I actually laugh about how the anticipation of seeing what character would be revealed, overcame me. A snowman? Candy cane? Ornament? Santa? And then, there was always those magical DOUBLE DOORS that had the little number “25” on them. This was the ultimate gift of chocolate – the big cool piece that was saved special for Christmas Day. I don’t know how many of you experienced the advent calendar tradition, but it was one of my favorites from the season. Partly because it was fun, partly because it was from my mimi, and partly because it was chocolate.

Coming into Christmas season 2010, it seems like the word “advent” has been in the air. Advent actually means “the coming of Christ.” And as Rob Bell said in an article I recently read in Relevant Magazine “Advent is about anticipating the birth of Christ. It’s about longing, desire, that which is yet to come. That which isn’t here yet. And so we wait, expectantly. Together. With an ache. Because all is not right. Something is missing.” This, friends, is what the Christmas season is about. This is what that magical chocolate calendar is a symbol of. That excitement over each day getting closer and closer to those double doors – that big, fantastic, better than all others, Gift on the 25th. Every day leading up to that glorious, powerful day when Christ was born on earth, should be full of growing anticipation for Christ’s coming and what His birth meant for us.

I get so excited about Christmas. Really, ridiculously excited. I relish every detail about this season: hot cocoa, caramel apple cider, cold weather, twinkling white lights, candles in the window, watching claymation movies with my sister, putting the christmas tree up and letting it be the only light in the room as I snuggle with my husband, shopping for the perfect gift, wrapping presents, spending time with family, cookie baking, my mother still making sure Santa still comes on Christmas morning (she must write a special letter!), and this year and from now on – creating traditions with my daughter. And in all of this, we are building to Christmas day. This is all done in preparation and anticipation for that day when we eat till our bellies literally hurt (more chocolate pie, please?) and rip open presents and do our best just to let our family know how much we appreciate their special gifts. We are pros at this season, aren’t we? We have it down pat. We make special savings account, create lists of gifts, plan events, address christmas cards, wrap gifts, travel long distances.

This year, let’s become pros at something else. Let’s plan to involve Jesus in our Christmas season daily planning. Let’s set aside time to anticipate getting the greatest gift anyone could possibly ever give, never to be topped. If we can make time for all of these other Christmas traditions, let’s add “anticipate Christ’s birth” to the list. Let’s make sure that our hearts are being prepared as well as our house and kitchen.

I’m not sure exactly what all i’m going to do yet, but since the Advent season starts today, I think I might start by reading the story of Chirst birth to Adeline from her baby bible. What better way to start the anticipation than reminding ourselves of what this time was like many years ago.

If you have any good ideas for the Advent season, I would love to hear them!

After much discussion with one of my dearest friends, I have decided it would be healthy for me to start blogging again – and not just my daughter’s baby book.

To start this blog out, I’m going to address my Shauna Niequist-inspired “things i don’t do” list.  During the women’s night at our church, Shauna encouraged us to create this list.  As she read hers from her latest book “Bittersweet” I almost teared up at how freeing it seemed to write down all of the things i “don’t do.”  I find that being honest with myself about who I really am can be a daunting task.  What do you mean I can’t do it all?  Do you know me?  Do you know how stubborn I am and how I will persevere if anyone questions my abilities to meet everyone’s expectations of me?   Yes – those are my frequent thoughts, but I’m getting overtired from trying to be so much, or at least pretending like i’m able to be so much.

So here is my list.  Enjoy and please feel free to let me know a few of yours.  I feel that God will bring freedom to us by declaring that we CAN’T do it all, and we don’t have to.  Let’s just stick to doing what we CAN do.

1.  I don’t camp.  I would love to say that i’m one of those people who love sleeping under the stars all snuggled up in my super cool hooded sleeping bag from REI, waking up and cooking breakfast over coals in the ground, not showering or caring about using an actual toilet – but I’m not.  Not even close.  I enjoy sitting outside and roasting marshmallows, smelling the fresh air, walking trails, fishing, boating – as long as I can head on back to my three-star minimum hotel, take a shower, turn on the air/heat, and crawl my clean self into a warm bed and watch Friends reruns before sleeping.

2.  I don’t do manicures/pedicures.  Now, after my somewhat diva-ish statement above, you might think this is strange, but I’m not girly about my nails.  I keep them short and functional.  Nail polish starts chipping and I make it my goal to chip it all away before the end of the day is up.  This just isn’t my thing.

3.  I don’t do tv shows/movies that don’t have happy, funny, loving endings.  I only allow myself to watch a few tv shows, and those are going to make me laugh and feel incredibly happy the entire way through.  I don’t enjoy watching things that make me nervous – I’m nervous enough as it is.

4.  I don’t do high-heels.  At work, i’m endlessly teased for the way I refuse to conform to the Devil Wears Prada way of wearing ridiculously high, pretty shoes.  I love my flats.  I have old lady feet and I like to keep them happy and comfortable.  Or else, I would sit at my desk all day and never attend meetings in person.

5.  I don’t clean much.  I just don’t care enough.  I once cared if my house looked like a model home, but after having a daughter, when I get home the last thing I want to do is spend and hour or two picking up when I haven’t seen my child since putting her to bed the night before.  This is a priorities thing for me.  A clean house isn’t going to matter to my kids and husband when I have no relationship with them later on.  And yes, I realize that there are some “do it all” women out there, but I’m just not capable.  I will concur with the magnet I saw in a store once that read “women with immaculate homes live boring lives.”

6.  I don’t do half-effort friends.  I have done this in the past, and it’s just hurtful.  I believe that God intended friendships to have such powerful meaning.  After all, He created us for fellowship.   When I commit to being someone’s friend, I make sure that I am committing to making that relationship have substance, quality.  I don’t do friends that only come around when it’s convenient for their schedule.

7.  I don’t sew.  I would love to know how to do this, and I once had great aspirations about making my own children’s clothes and being a stay-at-home mom.  Then I took a few intense sewing classes and realized that I just wasn’t cut out for it.  Mall please!

8.  I don’t do sushi or most asian foods.  This is such a cool trend that people love.  Sushi, Thai, Mongolian, Ethiopian – no thanks!  I like japanese hibachi and chinese, but that’s it.  I’m just not running with the cool kids on this one.  I would prefer a steak, burrito, or ravioli dish any day.

9.  I don’t do sports.  Sometimes I try to pretend that I care, but I can tell no one is falling for my lackluster effort.  They just don’t really appeal to me – and I was an athlete for years!  Last year I got into watching the Yankees with my die-hard fan of a husband, but only because I had a crush on Johnny Damon.  However, I do enjoy the food and social aspect of game parties.

10.  I don’t do quiet.  After reading a great section in “Eat Pray Love” where Gilbert confesses that she desires to be that quiet girl who seems to be so introspective and wise, but when Gilbert decides to be that person, she finds out that it’s not only who she does NOT really want to be – but it’s not how God wants her to be.  I’m loud, I laugh a lot, I say sometimes inappropriate confrontational things, I’m not afraid to be bold in opinions.  Now, saying this, I would consider myself tactful and sensitive.

There are so many more things that I’m “not”, but this is a good start.  I feel a little lighter just confessing these.  How about you?  What would you like to confess to ease your load today?