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Tuesday

The Blog Party Continues - Let's Talk About Dreams!


Before I do anything else, I want to announce that the winner of last week's giveaway is...

Lindsay Harrel! 

You can thank the random number generator for the win. :) Congratulations, Lindsay! I hope you enjoy this book and the teas.

Today I want to keep the party going by talking about  dreams.



I've been listening to an audio sermon by Ransomed Heart ministries that's all about dreams, and let me tell you, it has been so mindset shifting for me. Next Wednesday, I'm going to chat a little bit more about what I'm learning and what it means to have a vision for the unseen... to believe in dreams that are yet to be. I can't wait to dive into this topic!

But before we do, I thought it'd be really neat if we could all share some of our dreams.

So here's what I'd love to hear from you! Would you share...

1) A dream of your heart you're currently striving toward

and

2) One of your all-time greatest bucket list dreams. I want you to think big.


Source: Uploaded by user via Jill on Pinterest





Here are mine. The dream I'm currently striving toward is publication. This is a huge dream of mine that I daily have to depend on God for. Every time I try to shrink this dream down to what feels like a more manageable status, I find God re-inflates it and reminds me that with Him, nothing is impossible... no matter how impossible it may sometimes seem.



Photo from http://www.halekulani.com/style/photo_gallery/


My bucket list dream is to stay at the Halekulani in Waikiki. The Halekulani is pretty much the greatest hotel in the world... and no, I haven't stayed there yet. But the past few times we've been to Waikiki, we've got to the Halekulani for frozen lemonades to watch the sunset, and let me tell you, there's nothing else like it. Someday, I'm going to stay here, even if it's only for a few nights.

Can't wait to hear from you all!

Monday

Garden Time: DIY Project Week 12

I was thrilled so many of you participated in the blog party last week! Thanks for stopping by and introducting yourselves. I'll be announcing the winner of the giveaway on Wednesday, so be sure to check back. Also, the party was such a success that I decided to throw another one this coming Wednesday. So be sure you drop by and say hello!
 
 
 
For this week's DIY project, I set out to conquer my garden. If you want to call it a garden. See, flowers and I have this very loving relationship. But watering them in the heat of the day with wasps flying around my head... erm... not so much. This year, I am deterimed to do a better job about that. I just have to keep repeating... I will not let the flowers die. I will not let the flowers die.

For this week's DIY project, I decided to spray paint some of my pots black. The pots I have on my back patio are black, and I love how the black color makes the flowers really pop. Since I already have many pots for the front and didn't want to buy all new ones, I came up with an idea. Spray paint.

Now, as it turns out, spray painting flower pots is much easier than I anticipated. However, the clay ones take up a whole lot more paint than I expected! I'm going to have to buy some more. But in the meantime, I thought I'd share a picture of how one of the pots turned out!

 
 
I had to share this picture... it isn't one of the black pots, but aren't the flowers just the cutest? I found them at Walmart of all places!

 
 
What about you? Do you have a green thumb? What sorts of flowers do you like to plant in the spring? I need some recommendations!


Wednesday

Blog Party!







Welcome to the party!!!







Source: issuu.com via Kelly @ Hair Fairy Clips on Pinterest


Welcome to my blog party! Y'all have been quiet around here lately, so I figured it was time to do an official meet and greet. Whether you've been reading the blog for a while or this is your first visit, welcome! I'm so glad you stopped by.

What good would a party be without cupcakes and tea, though, right?

Well, there's not much I can do about the cupcake situation.

BUT I can help with the tea! So just sit back and join the party. Introduce yourself, and if you're a writer, tell us what you're working on. If you're a reader, tell us what you're reading, or your favorite book . And be sure to check back throughout the day to see what others have said about your stories!


One lucky participant will win this loot... a free copy of Nobody's Child by Austin Boyd, and assorted teas! To be eligible, all you have to do is leave a comment. Be sure to leave your e-mail address if we aren't already Facebook friends so I can contact you if you win!

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has to say! 

Monday

Felt Bookmark: DIY Project Week 11



This project was so simple and fun to make! It would be a great project for older kids, and also is valuable practice if you're wanting to work on sewing stitches. The variations are endless with different stitches and colors. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

To start, you'll need a piece of felt. You can find these for about a quarter at your local craft store. You'll also need some yarn, and a yarn needle. I had a three pack of yarn needles that I use for crocheting and knitting when it comes time to weave in the ends. I found that one of these needles was too large to pierce through the felt, but the middle size worked perfectly. The nice thing about using yarn needles is that they are fairly blunt, so you're not going to poke yourself like you would with an embroidery needle.

This bookmark is so easy! Just cut off two corners of the felt, then trim them until they look like hearts. Make sure they are the same size/shape, because you're going to sew them together.


Next, thread your needle with the yarn color of your choice, and sew the two felt pieces together, being sure to leave space for where the bookmark will slide onto the page.



Continue by adding more embellishment. Try different stitches and different color yarn, and get creative with the design you choose! Little flourishes, hearts, flowers, etc. all look cute. You may even want to consider adding a button!

Now tie up the ends inside the bookmark so the knot isn't visible, and you're done! I hope this little bookmark brings a smile to your face each time you use it to mark your place in a story! These also make great gifts, because they are easy, economical, and can be personalized. Just imagine how cute this would be with an initial on it!

Tuesday

That's Right, Jack: The Success of Duck Dynasty

If you haven't seen an episode of Duck Dynasty, you're officially out of the loop. Did you know the show's premiere this season actually beat American Idol that evening in ratings? And the number of viewers just continues to grow.

Something big is happening with this show. It's undeniable. Competing with shows that have the support of major television networks and huge budgets demonstrates there's something special about Duck Dynasty that has people talking.

I'll be honest. I'm a vegetarian. I like to feed ducks at amusement parks. When I first heard about Duck Dynasty, a bunch of rednecks who make duck calls for a living, I was horrified. I hadn't even known what a duck call was until I heard about this show, and let's just say, I wasn't impressed by the concept.

Then I actually watched it, and I found myself laughing so hard. Now, there are still some episodes I don't watch (i.e. anything involving the deaths of squirrels and frogs), but I've even found myself quoting the dialogue. That's right, Jack!

So what is behind this phenomenon? Why are so many people all across America tuning in each week to watch a group of group men making (or more accurately, not making) duck calls?
  • Family values. Think about it. The guys in Duck Dynasty may be . . . well, colorful . . .  but when it comes down to it, they all have very healthy family dynamics that are portrayed in the screen. They aren't divorced with a new spouse half their age. Their kids aren't high half the time. And some of the things Phil says to Mrs. Kay are enough to make anyone blush. The Duck Dynasty guys present traditional family values in a non-abrasive way, which I think we haven't seen in the entertainment industry for some time.
  • Life is slow, tea is sweet, and friendships matter. Duck Dynasty presents too-busy Americans with an alternative lifestyle that I think appeals to many people. So many Americans are overworked, underpaid, and emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally exhausted. That's why the idea of building a makeshift water park at the lake sounds pretty darn appealing.
  • Moral value. Every episode ends with a nice little takeaway concept for the audience, and I think viewers like that. It makes us feel as if our time watching the show was not wasted, but rather, in even a very small way, we learned something. Modern Family also does this often . . . leaving viewers with a nice tie-in of all the story lines, and I think that's one of the reasons for its success as well.
  • Relatability and likability. I never thought I'd call redneck duck call makers relatable, but really, these guys are. They feel comfortable, and come across as the kind of person it'd be easy to have a conversation with. Plus, they're pretty funny.
  • Uncle Si. Let's face it. Without Si, there'd be no show. I'd be remiss not to mention the uncle who I get the hunch doesn't need any scripted lines. He's kooky enough all on his own to keep us laughing. Isn't it funny how someone who would probably scare you a little in real life can be your favorite "fictional" character on TV?
  • Their faith. These guys are serious about not backing down from their faith. They're definitely not aggressive about it, but they make no apologies for what they believe. And frankly, I think America sees and respects that, even if they don't agree. I think America likes to see someone believe in something for a change.

I wanted to share this video from Phil. I think it just goes to show what a big God we serve... so often, when we envision "the lost," we think of them looking like ourselves. But God cares about everyone--those in other countries, Ivy League professors, and yes--even rednecks.

Love what he says at the end. "If you're not a believer and you don't believe God exists and at all, about the only hope you have is that He's not there. That's your hope. What we're saying is, we trust that He is."

That, folks, is why people like Duck Dynasty. Maybe, just maybe, these rednecks are going to change the world.





I want to hear your thoughts! Have you seen the show? What do you think of it? Why do you think so many people are watching?



Monday

The $1 Scrapbook Picture Frame: DIY Project Week 10


This week's project was so much fun to make, and very easy! Even the "craft-challenged" will find this one doable. :)

Best of all, you may be able to make it for about $1, depending on how many supplies you already have at home! You'll need:


  • Some kind of clear-drying craft glue or Mod Podge (I used Aleene's)
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Some kind of paint brush (I got a $1 multi pack of sponge brushes from Walmart)
  • Scissors
  • A wooden picture frame base (I got one of these for $1 at Walmart, but you can also find them at craft stores like Michael's or Hobby Lobby)

Now, you'll first want to start with your scrapbook paper. You can either pick one solid color or multiple colors. Be creative with your combinations! I chose three different patterns--one stripe, one floral, and a solid green-- but you can use any configuration you like. I'd recommend that you get creative and try putting different papers together than what your initial impulse tells you to do... you just might find an unexpected combination that really pops.




Measure your paper and cut according to whatever pattern you want to use. You could even use a pencil to draw a cutout on the page. I cut my paper to the general size and then ripped the edges to give it a shabby chic sort of look.




Next, you want to put a lot of glue down on the wooden frame. Spread it out with your brush, and while the glue is still wet, configure your paper however you want the pattern to look.




After your pattern is in place, add another layer of glue to the top of the paper to seal it and give it a glossy effect. Don't worry about mistakes... remember that you can always reposition the pattern as long as the glue is still tacky.

And wha-la! You're done! Hope you enjoy this DIY frame, and get creative with the details! Add ribbon, a bow, beads, or paint to give it an even more personalized touch. These make excellent Christmas and wedding presents because you can make them to match a particular person's taste. 

*Tip: You can also use any type of paper, so things like extra wedding invitations, important newspaper clippings, and comic books all make for great sources of inspiration! :)




Wednesday

Ombre Nails: DIY Project Week 9








This week, I tackled something I've had on my DIY Pinterest page for a while... ombre stained nails! I'm pretty happy with how they turned out, given that this was my first try.


I found a wonderful blog tutorial that really helped me out. You can find it here: http://thebeautydepartment.com/2012/04/pretty-polish-idea/
This gal's blog is fabulous and definitely worth a visit!

But for now, let me tell you more about what I did and how they turned out.

First, you pick out three or four similar colors that will look good together. Then, you want to take a couple makeup sponges and soak them in a cup of water. This helps the polish look more blended later on.



After you've got that set up, squeeze out the sponge and paint a good amount of polish on it. You want to stripe the colors, going from darkest to lightest. This order will help with blending, as I discovered.


Then, you just have to sponge it on! Be aware that this will leave a mess on the side of your nails that you'll need to remove after they've tried. Also, if you make a mistake (as I did!) don't worry! It's very easy to "stamp" over your mistake with the sponge, or even paint the darker color directly on the top of the nail, using the sponge to blend it out.

As your last step, apply a topcoat, and you're done!


You can see that I still need to go through and remove the polish from the sides of my nails, but overall, I really like the way the topcoat helped blend the colors even more.

What do you think? Have you ever tried any kind of nail art?

Monday

Welcome Pam Hillman!




I'm so excited to be welcoming Pam Hillman to Everydays today. Always great to have a visit from one of the Seekerville ladies! I just loved this story she has to share about raising puppies, and the perspective we can get from a growing awareness of God's beautiful creation. Besides, let's be honest, who doesn't love puppies? :) Be sure you pick up a copy of her newest release, Claiming Mariah, and look at the end of the blog for more information about your chance to WIN a Kindle or Nook! Thanks for visiting, Pam!

__________________________________________________________


The puppies were born on August 28th, 2001, two weeks before September 11th. Of course I was proud of them and visited the barn almost daily to talk to Ruby, our chocolate lab, and to cuddle her brood of satiny black puppies.


            But after September 11th, the puppies became more than just seven little squirming bundles sent to entertain us. They represented life and peace and safety: all the things I felt had been torn from our country in a senseless act of violence. Many days I escaped the harrowing news accounts by wandering down to the barn to visit the litter of puppies.
            Even minor details about the puppies still stand out in vivid relief. When the puppies were born, their little faces were squished in to the point that they didn’t even look like Labrador retrievers. Their tiny ears were soft as velvet, and when held close, they would snuffle softly until going to sleep in my arms.


            When nursing, survival of the fittest ruled. Of course, I kept a wary eye out for the runt, positioning her so that she got her fair share of milk. As their stomachs grew full, they would curl into a ball, snuggle together, or simply roll away from Ruby, so satiated they didn’t even know they were in the world. Little pink tongues stuck out between tiny pearl teeth as they dozed off to dream of fields of rabbits and squirrels and quail.
The puppies all thrived on Ruby’s milk and grew healthy and strong. Many times my children would join me, and we’d laugh at the puppies’ roly-poly stomachs, their comical attempts to walk, and Ruby’s quizzical expression as she kept an eye her litter of pups.
As the puppies grew bigger, they began to explore their world among the hay bales we’d fashioned into a makeshift pen. We’d call to them, and they’d come running, tumbling over themselves, sending us into gales of healing laughter.


The puppies even got manicures at one point. When Ruby wouldn’t let the puppies nurse, I was concerned that she might have milk fever. But I soon discovered that the puppies were clawing her, leaving painful welts on her tender underbelly. I tried making little socks out of the fingers of gloves, but when that didn’t work, I took the fingernail clippers and gently clipped off the tips of their claws. Ruby, the puppies, and I, were all much happier after that.
            My family and I spent many hours with those puppies, letting their exuberance and love of life heal our hearts and souls. For a moment in time, life became crystal clear. It’s not about the hustle and bustle of the outside world, but about family, about laughter, about being delighted by the simple gifts life has to offer.
            It’s about puppies. 
Our puppies were a gentle reminder of what’s good and right in this world, and I’m glad my family experienced that reminder at a time when we needed it most.


Pam Hillman was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn’t afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove the Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn’t mind raking. Raking hay doesn’t take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that’s the kind of life every girl should dream of! Claiming Mariah is her second novel. Pam loves puppies, kittens, newborn calves, foals, and babies of all kinds. Almost without fail, she includes at least one or more in her books. www.pamhillman.com

~

Pam is thrilled to announce the release of her second novel,
Claiming Mariah



Claiming Mariah Amazon link: http://tinyurl.com/apnzl5n
             Claiming Mariah B&N link: http://tinyurl.com/ays6fq7
             Claiming Mariah CBD link: http://tinyurl.com/bvjx3m7
Claiming Mariah Goodreads link: http://tinyurl.com/d9u2k6j
Claiming Mariah 1st Chapter: http://tinyurl.com/ageh54r


To celebrate, Pam is giving away two eReaders
(choice of Kindle Wi-Fi, 6" Display, or Nook Simple Touch)
Two Winners: One on facebook. One through Pam’s Newsletter.

Registering both places is not required but will double your chances of winning. Also keep in mind that you will receive updates more often being connected on facebook than through the newsletter. Just sayin’

Contest runs from January 1st until March 31st, 2013.

And....that’s not all! There will be prizes offered randomly throughout the tour.

(3 Pewter Bookmarks from Deirdre’s Handmade Jewelry PLUS 40% off coupon at Deirdre’s online store. Click link to register and for coupon code)

PREVIOUS STOP ON TOUR:
March 1st: Audra Harders

NEXT STOP ON TOUR:
March 5th: The Borrowed Book