a Stress Free Holiday + a Printable

We all know the holiday season is, perhaps, the most stressful time of the year.  It's true!  Between the parties and the shopping and the house cleaning and...the parties the most wonderful time of the year can easily loose all of it's appeal.  In the midst of the chaos there has to be a way to center our minds on the real meaning of Christmas: Jesus.

In all of time, I cannot think of a greater miracle.  God came to earth in the form of a baby.  He was born into a world full of pain and hardship.  He lived in a world full of disappointment and slavery.  He died a gruesome, horrific death.  He rose again to continue to give us the hope of true life.  But in that miracle--the miracle of His life--He alone brought the healing and freedom that humankind ignorantly was desperate to attain.

I have already found myself captive to this holiday culture, but I'm determined to change.  I only want to be captivated with the miracle of Christmas.  Here's a few steps I'm committed to applying to my life this month.

1.  No matter what, remember to take time for Jesus.
This holiday world craves more of our time and attention, but work to control that unquenchable beast by giving attention to Jesus...and not just in passing either.  Really focus on Him each day.

2.  Teach your kids and yourself that the most important thing is people.
Standing in line after line it becomes so easy to ignore the world and just push to the front of the line, but that person stand in front of you or behind you might just need a little kindness.  Oh, and it's ok to let someone else have that parking spot.  There will be another one.  Even it's at the back of the parking lot.  And the people checking you out at the stores are people too.  I know some of them seem dense (because some of them are) but chances are they've worked harder and longer than you have.  It's retail, people!  They clean up the mess that we leave in the floor of the fitting rooms.

3.  Stay grateful.
The turkey has been eaten and the pumpkins put away, but our attitude of thankfulness should follow us.  Everyday is a gift.  Every breath a chance to love and to give more.  Fight that attitude so pervasive in our culture--the attitude that wants more--the attitude that is never satisfied with enough.

4.  Set boundaries on your time and your money.
More is not better.  More is...more.  What is the purpose of having a ton of friends if you don't have one friend that you can share your heart with?  What is the purpose of having beautiful, nice things if they stay on shelfs hidden away?  They're no good.  They're not useful.  How arrogant are we to attain more than we need or more than we can responsibly steward?  (I'm so convicted right now.)




I am convinced that if we dedicate ourselves to experiencing life to the fullest we will.  I don't believe that God wants us to live life rushing from event to event.  I don't believe that God wants us to live a life of wasteful excess.  But I do believe that God created us to love each other and to let our love for each other show the world how good He truly is.  I do believe that God desires to bless us to make us a blessing.  And I believe that His desire is for us to find the peace that only He brings.

Jesus, the Prince of Peace.


click to download
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Pinterest Style + a Giveaway

I remember the first time I heard of Pinterest.  Walking through the halls of my church I overheard to workers in the children's area talking about how much time they spend on this new online cataloging system.  One a college student, one a stay at home mom, these ladies told me how they wasted hours on the web based program.  "I'll send you an invite and you'll see.  You know exactly what we are talking about."

And I did.  I've found out what Pinterest is all about.  And believe me, I too can attest to the awesomeness of this program.  I know many of us who find ourselves caught up in hours of looking and pinning of recipes, crafts, ideas, and just general information that will make our lives better.

Sometime ago I found this picture on Pinterest and decided to make it myself using the Sharpie brand black markers.


Here is an example of what I came up with.  There are so many different things you can do.  Just make sure to bake off the Sharpie at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Let the dishes cool in the oven and then remove them.  When washing, it's best to wash by hand.  Some of the design can wash off in the dishwasher especially at high heat.






I want to give you an opportunity to participate in a giveaway.  We are celebrating with Dawn's Disaster.


YAY!  Dawn's Disaster has gotten over 600 Pinterest followers.  In celebration, we're giving away $100 in PayPal CASH {and a few other prizes}.  Please welcome our hosts:




Available Prizes:
$100.00 PayPal CASH
200x200 the Big One ad on Dawn's Disaster
2 ~ 200x200 Sponsor Spot on Beanie Blogger Opportunities
2 ~ Free Shipping Coupons for #theDisastrousShop on Instagram

Good luck!
**This giveaway was organized by the Beanie Blogger Opportunities.  Giveaway is open November 29 - December 21, 2013.  Winner(s) will be randomly chosen from the Rafflecopter widget.  Prizes will be distributed by the Beanie Blogger Opportunities.  PayPal Cash will be awarded in US dollars and paid from Dawn's Disaster.  Winner of PayPal Cash must have a valid PayPal account.  {Insert your blog name here} is not responsible for the distribution of any prizes.
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Let's Be Friends Blog Hop



Welcome to the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!



A blog hop is a set time frame for current or aspiring bloggers to find new blogs and quality content. It is a great way to make new friends and find inspiration! It is also a fabulous way to promote your own blog and posts.

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 39th Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!

Other than our new look, there are a few changes taking place, for the better. The first change is that the hop will be held every Tuesday at 9am (MST) instead of over the weekend. The reason for this change is that there are already tons of weekend hops, and we wanted to make this hop more accessible to our audience.

The second change is that the hop will focus on content from here on out. I love the idea of blog hopping, but I love the idea of reading posts and quality content on new blogs I've never been to even more. Instead of simply linking up your blog button, you are now able to link up your favorite post you recently wrote. Have a delicious recipe to share, DIY tutorial, or heartfelt post? Share it with us! All hosts and co-hosts put up some unique and fun content from the past week. Make sure to check them out. P.S.- you may still link up your blog button and blog name, but it is encouraged to link up your favorite post instead. You will get more page views and interest if you do so! Some of the most successful blog hops I have participate in focus on content rather than just exchanging follows. You never know who will become a loyal follower or pin that delicious new recipe you posted!

The BEST part of this blog hop? Each week there will be a WINNER! That's right, each week we will choose one lucky blog to feature from the previous week's hop. This hop receives thousands of page views every week, so your blog will have the chance to be center stage for free. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.

The last exciting change is that the co-host spots will now be available to all sponsors of All My Happy Endings or The Dwelling Tree. If you are interested in co-hosting the blog hop, email Tiffany or Mandi about sponsorship opportunities and how to co-host the weekly hop!

Let's Be Friend's Blog Hop Guidelines
1. Link up your favorite post from your week.
2. Follow your hosts and co-hosts.
3. Grab the button and post it on your blog so we can share the love.
4. Visit 3 other blogs and follow them along!
5. Tweet about this blog hop, using #letsbefriends
6. Pin the button on pinterest so we can spread the news!


***Once a week, one lucky winner will be drawn at random to be the featured blogger from the previous blog hop. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.





Meet your hosts:

The Dwelling Tree: Blog, Bloglovin'

All My Happy Endings: Blog, Bloglovin'
  
and your co-hosts:

Danette Dillon: BlogTwitter
Samantha Elizabeth: BlogBloglovin'
Osborne, My Life in Words: BlogTwitter

My Show Amanda: Blog, Facebook
Don't Judge Me: Blog, Facebook

***This Weeks Featured post from last week's hop:

I am a sucker for delicious recipes, and this one totally caught my eye! Diane is the blogger behind Vintage Zest, a blog I love. She loves to bake, sew, organize, and make handmade stationary. Go check her out!  

*Remember YOU can be next weeks winner! :)






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Thanksgiving {Free} Printable



As mentioned in previous posts, I find printables such a wonderful way to brighten a room and especially during the holiday season.  You may remember this printable from a few weeks ago.

No matter what difficulties you experience in your life always remember to give thanks.  Something happens inside of us when we take our attention off of our problems and put them on our God who is all powerful and more than able to meet every need.  Faith begins to rise in our hearts and we all know that "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb. 11:6).

Be encouraged today and "in everything give thanks" (1 Thess. 5:8).


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An Adoption Story


I thought this short trip to my friend's house after church would be uneventful.  I would just go to make her happy.  She was a foster mom for two puppies whose homes had burned leaving their families with no choice.  They were forced to put their dogs up for adoption.  One just happened to be a very cute, puppy schnauzer.

Wiry hair and scraggly, he sat in the floor looking at me.  He was cute, but truthfully, this was no love at first sight kind of thing.  We played on the floor for a while.  It was fun, but I really didn't know if I was ready for the commitment of a dog.

For one night.  That was the deal.  One night.

One night has now turned into close to four years of endless love, joy, yelling matches, bites, scratches, spot cleanings, baths, and thunder storms.  But there is one thing I can attest to.  Every moment has been worth it.

Pet adoption is such a wonderful activity.  Do it as a family.  Do it as an individual.  But when you open your life to a dog I know you too will see the excitement they can bring.

To read some of Jackson's adventures you can find them hereherehere, and here.


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always thankful {free printable + desktop}

We are, yet again, entering the holiday season.  Personally, I have so much to be thankful for, but sometimes I get distracted.  I forget all of the many blessing God has given me.  For example, I take my family for granted.  I forget to make time for my friends, or other little, but important things I should be grateful everyday I live.

I am so thankful for God's many blessings, but I have to remind myself to stay thankful...to always be thankful.  It's in these little reminders around my living and working area that help me remember to be always thankful for life, for love, for family.

DESKTOP




PRINTABLE


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On the Night Stand

Normally, I wouldn't call myself a big "reader" but I'm beginning to discover a strong disdain for television which leaves much time for television.  Here's a few of the books I'm reading now.  I strongly endorse them all.  Below are the links where you can find these books too.


Here's where you can buy these books.
the Jesus-Hearted Woman



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When I Was a Child



I always find it interesting when God begins to speak truth to my heart--interesting and sometimes annoying.

Usually it strikes at the most inopportune times.  You know, like when you're about to unload a massive amount of wisdom unto a poor unsuspecting and uncaring soul.  Right there.  Right as the words are being formed on your tongue...You've already thought them.  You believe them in your heart and mind.  And you know that if you could just be heard by this person their life would be better.  You just know it.

And then the Holy Spirit compels you to stop.

You weren't going to say anything bad.  Actually, it was probably quite good.  And in your heart you would never want to hurt anybody's feelings, but sometimes (and this is extremely difficult for me to admit) it's better to not say anything than to say everything you know.

So, with the words on your tongue, hand in the air, you (or I) find yourself frozen in time left with a choice as the words of 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, come scrolling through your mind.

"Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others more than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trust God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back.
Love keeps going to the end."
Love never dies...
When we were children we used to think like children, talk like children, act like children, but now we are adults and we must put our childish thinking, talking, acting aside."

And then that's when you realize.  The more perfect form of love doesn't have to say anything or be right or even be heard.  The most perfect form of love just needs to be there and observe...be quiet and pray.




That's one of the most difficult tasks God has ever asked me to do--to be quiet.  I finally found a voice and now He wants me to be quiet.  But more and more that's exactly what He's asking me to do.  It's humbling to admit that sometimes the greatest demonstration of love is just growing up and shutting up.  It's realizing that you might be right, but that's not going to change the situation.  Words mean nothing unless they are backed by action.

I'm so not there, but I'm learning to be.  I'm learning that there is a powerful elegance found in quietness.  And that quietness is a part of growing old.  And that sometime quietness is heard more clearly than the loudest voice.

I desperately desire that powerful elegance to increase the effectiveness of my testimony because in truth, my testimony (my life, my actions, my example) fall short of it's capabilities.  I'm capable of more, but only when Christ's love in me has the ability to shine through me.  And usually that's through a quiet, consistent love.

An adult kind of love.

When I was a child, I spake as a child.  But now that I'm a woman, and I'm learning to be quiet.
5

My Paris-Part 2


Here are a few more pictures from my trip to Paris.  I'm sure you will notice my sisters in many of these pictures with me.  You can check them Dalayna out at Pointing Up Blog.  Destiny blogs at a Destiny in Sight.  Make sure to visit them!
















7

My Paris-Part 1


I've walked many streets of large cities in the United States: New York, Los Angles, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington, just to name a few.  But none of these cities have had the history or impact of Paris.

The stories of this town dripped off the walls of every building...every street.  And I drank them in making them a part of me.










More pictures to follow tomorrow so stay tuned!


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the pointier the better

Let's face it.  Fewer things in life make a girl feel more like a lady than a good pair of black pointy toed shoes and red lipstick.

They're simple.  They're classic.  They're very nearly perfect.

And what lady doesn't honestly, deep down, want perfection?...That's what I thought.


Not a single one.







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Guest Post from Aubrey of Oh So Lovely

When Danette asked me to guest post, I knew immediately that I wanted to design and share some free wall art printables.

So I came up with this set of adventure prints (available in 3 different colors). Perfect for anyone with a sense of adventure!

All you have to do is click on your desired print(s) below and drag to your desktop (mac) or right click and save (pc), open and print to your desired size on a color printer.

These prints are sized to 8" x 8" at full size, but can be printed at any size by choosing the print % size on your printer. 

I personally like to hang wall prints in different sizes and odd numbered sets like the example below:


For these prints and many other free printables head over and check out my blog


Set #1




Set #2





Set #3 

                               

                         
                              







I hope you enjoy these (and have an adventure or two in your future)!

xo
Audrey
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