Friday, April 24, 2015

Blog Stuff, Giveaways, Running, and a Conference! {SQT}

It's Friday! This morning I spent some much needed time with my sister-in-law and four of her ten children, and a dear friend of ours. We had coffee, donuts, danish, and lots of great conversation. I meant to have my quick takes up before they arrived, but I was very slow moving this morning. So here I am writing them in the afternoon instead of running like I should be (more about running below)! 

On to the takes! 

1. Many weeks ago I won a blog consultation with Bonnie. She is so smart and gives great advice. She is to the point and very kind. 

2. I am still in the process of making changes, following many of her suggestions. I rewrote my About page and updated most of the tabs. I changed my social media buttons and added a blogroll to my sidebar. And I changed my header. It is not exactly what I want, but it works for now. 

3. I had such a great experience with Bonnie that I decided I would give a consultation away as part of my new series of giveaways. I plan on giving away the consultation in June. 

4. The first giveaway in the series is live. I am giving away two bars of all natural soap and two hand knit wash cloths. It will close on Sunday night so if you want to enter you better do it asap! 

5. The next item that I will giveaway in the series is the journal from Blessed is She. I have wanted one for a while, so finally, I bought two. One for myself and one for a lucky winner! Look for that giveaway in the next several weeks! 

6. A quick update on #4 from my list of things that I want to do before I turn 40. I am training for a half marathon. I am not signed up to run in a race. It is more of a personal goal. I am using this training schedule, and I am enjoying it. A friend of mine is training too, and we plan on running 13.1 miles together around town. I like setting goals and working towards them. It is great for my self-esteem

7.  I am attending a Catholic women's blogging conference next Saturday. I am very excited! I am going to spend the day with so many great ladies, such as Julie, Rita, Rosie, Cristina, Mary, Abigail, and Abbey (just to name a few). There will be many more lovely ladies there, as well. I promise to write a recap, so look for that in the coming weeks! 

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Linking up with Kelly for Seven Quick Takes

Monday, April 20, 2015

From Me to You {Giveaway Series}

A couple months ago I won three giveaways in ten days! I can not tell you how shocked and happy I was to win and winning the giveaways gave me an idea. My birthday was coming up, and I thought it would be a lot of fun to offer a giveaway to celebrate my birthday with all of you. But life kept me busy, my birthday came and went, and I never got to do the giveaway. 

Boy, am I happy it happened that way because one giveaway has now turned into a series. Over the next few months, I will be giving away items that I love and enjoy using, or that have made my life easier, or that I have handmade. 

Now on to the first giveaway in the series! 

I originally found Lisa's blog years ago because we were both participating in a weekly knitting link-up at another blog. I enjoyed seeing her beautifully knit items and reading little updates about her family. It wasn't until this year though that I purchased her handmade soap from her shop, Happy In Dole Valley. I have sensitive skin, and her soap is very soothing to my dry, itchy skin. I liked it so much that I bought a couple extra bars to give away!

I am giving away two bars of Lisa's all natural Oats and Honey soap. Lisa uses quality ingredients such as sweet almond oil, raw honey, and organic oats in her all natural soaps. Her soaps are free of artificial colors, fragrances, and additives. I am also giving away two hand knit washcloths that I knit especially for this giveaway. I knit them with Nature's Choice Organic Cotton yarn from Lion Brand in a broken rib pattern. They are extra soft.

When Lisa found out I was giving away her soap, she was kind enough to offer a discount to my readers. Make a purchase at Happy In Dole Valley from now through the end of May and receive 10% off your purchase.
Use the discount code ThankYouErica to get your discount!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is for US residents only, please. Thank you! This giveaway is open through Sunday, April 26, 2015. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

More Etsy Love {Five Favorites}

Hi! Family commitments have kept me busy. There are so many things I want to say, but no time to write them all down. 

Back in February, I wrote about some of my favorite Etsy purchases. I have a few minutes today, so I will share a few (or five) more of the new, fun items that I have recently gotten from Etsy shops. 

1. I recently purchased these reusable sandwich and snack bags from Hustle Mama. I think they are great! The are are made of nylon that is moisture resistant and food safe. They can be washed with hot soapy water or in the washer and dryer. 

2. I just love this fabric wallet that I got from The Blue Bobbin. It is well made, and the colors make me happy. 

3. This bag from the Barefoot Bag Shop is the perfect purse for spring. It is a nice size for me as it fits all my necessities, plus a book or a small knitting project. I have my eye on another bag in a lovely black, gray, and yellow bird print. 

4. I wrote about this yarn before in a Yarn Along post, but I had to mention it again because I am waiting for the arrival of another lovely yarn from Ewe Fluffy Ewe. I visited the shop earlier today and saw a lovely lace weight yarn in the Mr. Rochester colorway. I had to purchase it! I better finish the scarf in the above picture so I can start knitting with Mr. Rochester as soon as I get it!  

5. I mentioned the Happy In Dole Valley shop before, but I have to mention it again because this Lavender spray smells wonderful! I just love it! The scent gives me a calm and happy feeling. 

Come back next week when I will be offering a coupon code that is 10% off of a purchase and a giveaway that includes handcrafted natural soap from Happy In Dole Valley! 

Linking up with Jenna at Call Her Happy

Monday, April 6, 2015

Out of Darkness

When I was little, I used to hide. I would find the darkest places in my grandparents' home, crawl inside, and stay there. One of my favorite places, when I was very little, were side tables that my grandmother had in the living room. They were of ornate, dark wood. They had swinging doors. I would climb in one, close the door, and just sit inside. 

Once I outgrew the side tables, I hid in the center part of two connecting closets. My grandparents' closets connected but had separate entrances (I guess you could call it a Jack and Jill closet). My grandfather's closet was in the family room, and my grandmother's closet was in their bedroom, and they connected in the middle. I would enter into one door (usually my grandfather's) and crawl to the center where it was dark and empty.

When I was eleven, I was given the basement bedroom. It did not have windows, so when the door closed it was pitch black. It became my sanctuary, my safe place in my home. I spent hours in my basement room, lights off, radio on, just alone with my thoughts, waiting to be old enough to move out of the house.

But what is in the darkness. Evil? Nothing good.The light is where life begins. I don't hide in darkness anymore. I long for the light.

God called me out of the darkness. Once I was ready to shed the pain and insecurities of my youth, there was more room inside me for God to enter and transform me. He placed people in my life that helped me along the way, people that shined with Christ's light. 

I am not a perfect lamp for Christ's light. Some days I burn bright and other days my lamp is dim, but I continue to seek Him and His ways and pray for grace and mercy. It is only through His presence in me that I can encourage and love others as I should, to be a light in their life. 

Has Christ brought you out of darkness? How is He shining through you to bring hope and love to the people around you? 

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