Weekend Links, 12.21.13

This will be the last Weekend Links post for a while. My very tentative plan is to share something year-end or best-of next weekend and then What I’m Into the following weekend. But from there on out, I’m going to have to take a break.

After all, a baby is coming in just a few weeks! And even though I can barely remember life with a newborn (it WAS six whole years ago!), I suspect I’ll be a bit too busy – or tired – to read and record the very best blog posts in the ‘sphere.

{Can we do that? Shorten “blogosphere” to “sphere”? I don’t know. It felt right, but it could still be wrong…}

Anyway, I didn’t even read many posts this week – and many of these I shared on my Facebook page. I might still do that during my kinda, sorta maternity break – so join us on Facebook, why don’t ya? (Because hello! We talk about all sorts of fun things over there, not just our favorite blog posts!)

Here are my favorite posts from the past several days:

And a couple places I wrote this past week outside this blog:

What are the best posts YOU’ve read and written lately?

Weekend Links, 12.14.13

Considering I just “marked all as read” for about 150 unread blog posts sitting in my Feedly reader, I might NOT be the best person to turn to for the latest and greatest of the blogosphere.

And then there’s the fact that I haven’t shared a links post the past few weekends . . . which means I have a big old long list of bookmarks saved in my Delicious account.

But I’m going to share anyway. Because I know how much I love links posts from other bloggers. I always find something awesome to read, something I missed or never would have found. So just in case you missed these great posts . . . just in case something here can move you, inspire you, comfort you or entertain you . . . I’m going to share.

Some Posts Making Me Think:

To the Mamas of Littles During the Holidays :: Vita Familiae
You have all the reasons in the world (imagine me pointing to those sticky little fingers that even now are exploring your nose while you read) to say “no” right now, even to yourself when you want to do something fun. If it makes you yell, it’s a No. Every time.

The Rhythm of Thanksgiving :: Kayla Aimee at (in)courage
Many thanksgivings have left my lips but none so full of truth than the day that I whispered it over you softly, so as not to overburden your yet unformed ears with the sound. Then they draped a blanket back over your isolette and I couldn’t see you, but I could see your heartbeats on a monitor and I counted every one in thanksgiving to its unsteady rhythm.

What My Mother Taught Me :: Shauna Niequist
Watching my mother while I as a young teenager gave me a front row seat to a hard, messy, important, beautiful transformation. I watched my mother become herself. I watched her come alive. I watched her discover her gifts. I watched her eyes sparkle when she returned from a meeting or a trip. I listened to her bubbling over with passion about what she was reading or learning.

Consumerism, Christmas & #FairTuesday :: Amy J. Bennett
And it’s not just chocolate. It’s our coffee, our clothes, our shoes, our purses—so many things. And y’all, it makes my heart so, so much. My purchases are hurting God’s people. I don’t care if I never look them in the face or know a name. My purchases matter. We hold so much power in our hands as consumers and what is our power doing? Making slaves of others. There is no other way to say it. It’s not being dramatic. It’s not guilt-tripping anyone. That is the truth.

Why Putting Christ in Christmas is Ridiculous :: Loved Like the Church
Celebrating Christmas isn’t a command. Nowhere does God tell us to celebrate Jesus’s birth with a holiday. Nowhere does God say that Jesus is the reason for the season. Actually, if we want to become pedantic, Jesus is the reason for ALL seasons. Perhaps {and this is a super radical thought} rather than harping about celebrating Jesus at Christmas, we could, I don’t know, celebrate Him all the time? Whoa. Mind-blown.

Some Posts Taking Care of Business:

Some Posts Making Me Laugh:

Some Posts Featuring or Written by Yours Truly:

Some Videos You Might Like as Much as I Did:

Danny & Mindy (from The Mindy Project) and Harry & Sally (from, well, you know) – SO CUTE. Almost as adorable as Danny’s gift of dance in the Christmas episode. (What? You missed it? WATCH IT NOW.)

You Shall Not Pass, Dog. And this is why I feel so safe at night. I have not just one, but two, fierce guard cats. (What’s that, real-life friends? You want to talk about the other night when I freaked out because my cats heard something – or SOMEONE – making noise in the backyard? HUSH. Just…hush. Go watch the kitty video.)

I get it. Some of you weirdos might not love cats or FOX sitcoms as much as I do. So tell me what videos…or posts…you’re loving right now! Share your favorites in the comments!

Weekend Links, Updates & Deals, 11.23.13

Thank you so much for your kind words after my [lengthy] update last weekend! We’re headed on a one-day road trip to visit some friends today (and trying not to freeze in this WINTER weather!!), but first I have a few more updates, some great posts and all the deals I can find in my inbox!

Updates to my updates:

  1. I do not have gestational diabetes. Thank God, I passed my second glucose test. I’m not going to say I passed with flying colors, because, well, the nurse didn’t say that when she called and I’m well aware that’s probably not the case. [See: obsession with oatmeal cream pies] But I’ll take it!
  2. We talked to our realtor about taking our house off the market. She sent us the form to fill out. I procrastinated like I do. And now we have a showing on Sunday. I HAVE NO WORDS.
  3. How FUN was Giveaway Day?! Thank you to everyone who participated, and congratulations to Mary Borgman, the lucky winner!!
  4. You only have about one more week to get my ebook, Plan a Fabulous Party {without losing your mind} for FREE! Simply join the Giving Up on Perfect community on Facebook, and it’s all yours!

Seriously great posts to read:

Also, in case you missed it, this post of mine seems to be resonating with many: When the Holidays Make You Sad.

Deals you don’t want to miss:

If I were a better blogger, I might make this a separate post. With fancy, pinnable photos and flashing lights. But you guys don’t come here for deals, I know that. However, I’ve heard about too many great deals and sales this week, and I just can’t keep all these things to myself. Here are some outstanding sales that will save you money and time. Who can argue with that?!

DaySpring - Of course you know I’m going to tell you about DaySpring’s big sales! Since I wrote about the first eight super deals, they’ve added 16 more. So you can save two ways – with the Super Deals (seriously deep discounts on the store’s most popular items!) and with the 30% off discount on everything else. I’ll probably write about this again next week with more details, but for now, I wanted to make sure you knew about the 30% discount. {What’s better than a Black Friday deal? Oh, I know – one that starts a week early!}


What’s in the Bible - So I don’t mean to be super vague, but I do know What’s in the Bible is offering a GREAT deal on Black Friday. Until THEN, though…the entire DVD series of musical puppet Bible stories (I know what it sounds like, but you guys? My daughter ADORES these videos!!) is 15% off. Normally $179.88, the collection of volumes 1-12 (covering Genesis through Philemon) is now only $155.99.

And shipping is always free on orders over $25. So…if you ordered two copies of Why Do We Call It Christmas (one for you, one for a friend), you can get them shipped right to your door without an extra charge!

Save 30% with code Cyber

eMeals – If ever there was a time to get a little help organizing your meals, it would be now, the holiday season! eMeals offers every kind of meal plan you could ask for – lowfat, small family or big family, paleo, classic meals, slow cooker, gluten-free and MORE. It’s also Dave Ramsey endorsed (if that matters to you), and costs as little as $5.00 a month.

The way it works is that you choose a meal plan based on your eating style, family size and favorite grocery store. Then, each week, you receive an email with seven simple, family-friendly recipes and a detailed grocery list.

And until December 2, you can get 30% off your subscription with the code CYBER. Meal planning made simple – and super affordable? Count me IN. (For real. I’m in and love getting my eMeals menu every week!)

truth_in_the_tinsel_250

Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands – You can still get 20% off this incredible Advent experience for your family with the code GIVINGUP. And remember, if you’re not so crafty or anticipate too many busy days to complete an actual handmade ornament with your kids each day, Amanda has super simple printable ornaments for you! Just read the devotion, print, cut and color – and hang on your tree! No matter how much or how little you do, your kids – and you! – will undoubtedly find new meaning for Christmas with Truth in the Tinsel.

Lisa Leonard DesignsDon’t forget you can take 15% off your purchase at Lisa Leonard Designs with the code VERYMERRY15 until December 25. That means you can order the new adorable personalized ornaments for just about anyone on your list!

Better Than a Box

Kitchen Stewardship – If you’re trying to eat more whole foods and wondering how to do that for Thanksgiving (also known as the Holiday of Cream of Something Soup Casseroles), Better than a Box can help. Katie’s ebook includes lots of resources for a real food Thanksgiving meal: some gluten-free stuffing recipes, plenty of casseroles, an awesome party appetizer and the free download “Stovetop Stuffing Chicken w/no Stovetop.”

Today through Thanksgiving, use the code TDAY50 for 50% off Better Than a Box and enjoy your real, guilt-free dinner!

Okay, that’s it for now. I’m all out of updates, posts and deals! Tell me what’s up in your world – share an update or the best post you’ve read or written recently!!

Weekend Links & Updates, 11.16.13

6301398924_4e96910e10

That’s not my belly. I told you. I don’t really DO pregnant belly pics. Maybe before this is all said and done. But not today. STILL, I thought it was time to update you on a few things pregnancy-related, and this lovely photo seemed fitting.

[Over-explaining, party of one!]

Yesterday I spent three and a half hours at the doctor’s office, taking the long glucose test. That’s because last week – in the midst of a sinus infection, insomnia and plumbing problems from hades – I failed my initial test. So it’s quite possible I’ve developed gestational diabetes – something I’m going to blame on going into pregnancy overweight, genetics (turns out my mom had it with all three of her pregnancies) and FINE, a months-long love affair with Little Debbie Cakes.

I should find out Monday or Tuesday if I’m spending the next two months without carbs. Until then, I’m assuming I need to make some diet changes regardless and avoiding [most] carbs. Well, maybe not MOST. But way more than normal.

Other than that, though, this pregnancy is going really well. I think I’ll breathe a huge sigh of relief on December 10 when I hit 34 weeks – one week longer than I made it with Annalyn. But so far, my blood pressure and weight have stayed stable – both good signs after my scary experience with pre-eclampsia last time.

I’m scheduled for a C-section in mid-January, which – to be honest – terrifies me! We haven’t picked out a name yet. And I’m dreading how much laundry I need to do to wash up all the bedding and clothes we saved from when Annalyn was a newborn. But I cannot possibly complain about any of that when so far, baby and I are relatively healthy. (Diabetes thing aside, because I don’t know for sure yet and because it can be monitored and controlled.)

This past week was about a trillion times better than the three before it, as I finally got rid of the sinus infection, as well as the insomnia and heartburn. I realize those last two might return before this is all said and done, but I am incredibly grateful for a reprieve!

I don’t know if it was nesting, procrastination, my control freak tendencies or simply a reasonable reaction to 10 days without proper plumbing, but I was CRAZY productive this week. I caught up on laundry and dishes and then – surprise! – stayed caught up for the most part. It’s like a housekeeping miracle up in here.

Just in time to decide to take our house off the market, funny enough. With the amount of money we now owe the plumbing company for repairing our collapsed sewer – not to mention the very low interest buyers have shown in our house this fall – it just doesn’t make sense to keep the sign in our yard and the uncertainty hanging over our heads. So, we’ll try again next spring – and we’re converting our tiny third bedroom back into a nursery!

Yeah. Nesting might be going on here.

So there you have it. Not a totally comprehensive report of this insane past month and exactly earth-shattering to anyone but me, but I thought I’d share a little in case you all were wondering!

Now, let’s talk about the great posts we’ve read recently! (And tell me what’s going on in YOUR life, too, if you’d like!)

And don’t forget to enter my giveaway!! Get Ready for the Holidays with GIVEAWAY DAY.

What are the best posts YOU’ve read – or written – in the past week or two? Share them with us in the comments!

Photo by xlordashx

Plan a Fabulous Party FREE in November

The Key to a Fabulous Party

Two years ago this week, I launched my first ebook, Plan a Fabulous Party {without losing your mind}. It’s part how-to manual and part manifesto for avoiding the crazy, Pinterest-driven meltdown so many parties can create. I’m obviously a little biased, but I think it’s pretty great.

But hey, don’t just take my word for it! Here’s what a few others have had to say. (And keep reading, because the FREE part is coming up!)

Mary combines expertise that can only come from experience, practical tips and just the right touch of humor to put all party-throwing anxieties at ease. Her warm, friendly voice makes her a wonderful hostess for this book who will help you be the same in your home or wherever you throw your next party. I’ll return to this helpful book as a reference and guide—especially during the holiday season!
~ Holley Gerth, Heart to Heart with Holley

I have no idea – seriously, no idea – how to plan a party. I can host a gathering, but planning a party freaks me out! I’m one of the party challenged, but this book is returning my heartbeat to normal as I face the holiday season.
~ Deidra Riggs, Jumping Tandem

Mary’s book is written to all of us “normal” moms . . . the ones who need just a little help planning a fabulous party and the assurance that we don’t need to plan the “perfect” one. It’s a book I know I’ll turn back to again and again.
~ Kathy Hill, House of Hills

No matter what kind of event you have coming up over the next two months {because, really, who doesn’t have at least ONE event to pull together over the holidays?!}, Plan a Fabulous Party will walk you through the process with ease and confidence. It might even be a little fun.

To celebrate the two-year anniversary of my book – and because I want you to have this resource in time for the holidays – I’m giving it away FREE to anyone who joins the Giving Up on Perfect Facebook community in November!

{Obviously, if you already like Giving Up on Perfect on Facebook, you’re in like Flynn. The ebook tab will work for you right now, so go grab your book! And tell a friend!}

Simply go to my Facebook page, like it, and click on the “Download Free Ebook” tab. You’ll need to right click to open the book in a new tab or window – and then it’s all yours to download, print out and hold your hand through potlucks and reunions and showers and dinners and parties and more!

What holiday events are you looking forward to planning (or attending…or both!) this year?