Getting Carded & Caring for My Friends

A few weeks ago one of my friends and I were chatting on Skype – like we do pretty much every day – and she said she felt like a bad friend.

I argued with her (LIKE A GOOD FRIEND), but she held her ground. She said she’d been thinking about how rarely she takes time to show her friends that she cares about them. So for the rest of the night, off and on, we brainstormed ideas for remedying the situation.

(Side note: “remedying”? Is that a word? I DON’T KNOW.)

Anyway, I suggested that she pick one day a week to do something nice for a friend. Just one thing for one friend one day a week. Easy enough, right?

But then I started thinking about how often I go out of my way to show my friends that I care about them. After all, I certainly don’t make it a point to reach out to a friend once a week. Maybe I’m not a good friend either!

I decided that I’m not a terrible friend, but while I make a point to get together with friends on a fairly regular basis, I don’t take time to connect with individual friends and tell them I love them. Girls night out? Done. Dropping a note in the mail to a friend who’s having a bad week? Well . . . notsomuch.

So what do I do about this? I can’t keep neglecting my friends. I love doing nice things, and I love my friends. I need to remedy this situation.

(YES. THAT is the right way to use that word.)

Enter Hallmark Cards.

Hallmark is hosting a Get Carded Challenge, a fun way for people to connect with seven loved ones in seven days – with a greeting card, of course.

This week – in between packing for a trip out of town and installing a thousand programs on my new laptop (woohoo!) – I’m sending cards to several friends to let them know I’m thinking of them, missing them, loving them and feeling thankful for their friendship.

Would you like to “Get Carded”? I’m giving away a 10-card pack of Hallmark greeting cards so you can tell your friends and family that you care about them, too. (You can also use the code BLOG30 at for 30% off cards through the end of the year! Sweet!)

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling me either who you’d like to send a card to or how you show your friends you care about them. The giveaway will end at midnight CST on Friday, March 22.

Jeremy Camp Christmas CD GIVEAWAY

Very few issues are agreed on universally. Election week is a pretty obvious time to make that claim, right? But one thing brings us together, every time: The belief that hearing certain songs can evoke intense emotions and memories.

Right?! Some songs just take you back. And none more than Christmas songs. Sure, holiday music might not transport you to your family vacation or middle school dance or college dorm or that wedding reception or that funeral. Or, actually, maybe it does. But I think Christmas songs can be even more powerful than other music because holidays themselves are more emotionally poignant than the other days of the year.

These deep thoughts occurred to me when I listened to Jeremy Camp’s Christmas CD for the first time. Annalyn had spotted the CD sitting on my kitchen table and asked, “Mommy, when can we listen to that tree CD?” So on our way up to Des Moines a few weeks ago, I popped it in the stereo.

I don’t think I was particularly emotional or hormonal that day. But I could not stop reminiscing and misting up as we listened to that thing! Mostly, the songs on the CD reminded me of holidays spent in the choir at church. I really, really miss being in the choir. So, yeah, maybe that had something to do with my deep thoughts.

Luckily, the next 74 times we listened to the CD didn’t mess me up. On the contrary! Annalyn and I have listened to that thing pretty much nonstop over the past few weeks, and honestly? I’m not even tired of it yet. And I don’t normally DO Christmas music before Thanksgiving!

Christmas: God With Us is Jeremy Camp’s first full-length Christmas project, and it is worth the wait. He sings several classics like Joy to the World and [Annalyn's favorite] Jingle Bell Rock, as well as an original song called God With Us. It’s all very sing-along-able, and the vocal and instrumental twists make the classics fresh. It’s fun. And we like it a lot.

I think you’ll like it a lot, too. That’s why I’m excited to be giving away a copy of Jeremy Camp’s Christmas: God With Us today!

To enter, leave a comment telling me your favorite Christmas song.

This giveaway will be closed at 7:00 pm CST on Tuesday, November 13. Also, affiliate links are used in this post.

(in)spired deals :: Gift of Grace

Every month, (in)courage features a line of products on their site, hosting link-ups and giving you a special discount code. DaySpring offers the most beautiful – and meaningful – products, and I’m excited to tell you about this month’s featured items. They are just perfect for the Easter season.

To celebrate Easter and the gift of God’s amazing grace, DaySpring has special deals on items focusing on grace.

Throughout this month, DaySpring is offering 50% off the Wonderful Grace carved wooden serving tray, and $10 off Studio JRU’s Everyday Faith Cross and SDG Grace Hanging Tiles. In addition, the entire By Grace Alone jewelry set is on sale for just $39.99. And last but not least, if you spend $25 or more, you can receive FREE SHIPPING with the code SHIPDEALS.

Sale Prices:

I don’t have a place in my house for those hanging tiles, much as I love them. But that tray will go anywhere! (the dining room table, the coffee table, a guest room – assuming it had not been displaced by a nursery three years ago and never returned to its former glory…). Seriously, trays are so handy and this one has a message that is undeniably true and beautiful: wonderful grace ~ simple joy ~ unending hope ~ authentic peace ~ unfathomable love.

I love that!

What reminders of God’s grace do you have in your home?

This post includes affiliate links.

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By Grace Alone  - Pendant, Cuff Bracelet & Earrings Jewelry Set
By Grace Alone  - Pendant, Cuff Bracelet & Earrings Jewelry Set
By Grace Alone  - Pendant, Cuff Bracelet & Earrings Jewelry Set
By Grace Alone  - Pendant, Cuff Bracelet & Earrings Jewelry Set

By Grace Alone – Pendant, Cuff Bracelet & Earrings Jewelry Set

(in)spired deals :: Life to the Full collection

dayspring shopping

Did you know that every month, (in)courage is featuring a line of products on their site, holding giveaways and giving you a special discount code? I wanted to make sure you knew about this, because hello! Have you seen the beautiful products DaySpring sells? I just might be a little biased, but I just love so many of the items they sell, from notebooks to dishes to vases to books.

I’m not about to turn this into a “deals blog,” but because I love DaySpring and love you all, I want to make sure you know about the great deals you can get each month. And this month, my favorite DaySpring collection is being featured. Here’s what you need to know:

Life to the Full Giveaway: For a chance to win the bright and beautiful pitcher from the Life Collection, write a post about what living life to the full means to you, then link up at (in)courage! The deadline for linking and entering is Wednesday, March 16.

Wouldn’t that pitcher look gorgeous on your table full of daisies and tulips? (What? You’d use it to serve lemonade? Right. I’m the weird one…)

dayspring dishes

No matter how you use it, the Life Collection pitcher would brighten up any table. And so would the dishes from this collection. I don’t often serve meals elaborate enough to need four different plates, but looking at this festive set makes me want to! Right now, the Life Collection’s four-piece place setting is on sale for $40. It’s been quite a while since I registered for my wedding shopped for place settings, but I remember enough to say this is a great deal! And really, wouldn’t those cute and colorful dishes look so good in my red dining room next to my yellow kitchen??

Life to the Full Discount: Those deals get even better when you add this month’s (in)spired deals discount! All month long, (in)courage is offering 30% off any Life to the Full item with the code LIFE30. (That makes the place setting just $28!)

dayspring dishes

Much as I love the multi-colored pitcher and place setting (and, oh, they would look so nice in my dining room!), I’ll be honest. I’m currently saving up for several of the red and black items because, well, red is my favorite color. Because it’s the weekend and I’m nice (right? RIGHT?), I went ahead and did the math for you. Check out the savings you can get with this month’s discount!

The Life to the Full collection is bright and beautiful, but more importantly, it shares the message of Life. And I love that. Now, I’m off to order a set of those breakfast plates and bowls! Which item is your favorite?

Organized Simplicity {giveaway}

Just look at that book up there. Even the product shot looks peaceful . . . which is how I imagine my home – and my life – would be if I could just get organized. I have not read my fellow (in)courage writer’s book yet, but I can’t wait to dig into it. And what better time than the beginning of spring?

Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider (of Simple Mom) is a practical look at why living simply is good – and how to apply that approach to your own life and home. It actually tackles each room of the house and shows you how to truly get your home in order.

Organized Simplicity’s aim is to convince its readers that simple living is the absolute best way to live. Be it with house cleaning, family schedule management, personal finances, and managing the “stuff” you allow within your four walls, the only way to live well is to do so intentionally and simply. The first half of the book delves into the why behind realistic simple living, giving the reader a nail to then hang the how of living simply discussed in the second half. And by redefining the too often-used phrase “simple living,” a busy home manager living in the real world can then make practical changes that work for the whole family. There are chapters for cleaning and organizing the home room-by-room, and future project ideas will inspire readers to turn their house in a haven they love.

Tsh Oxenreider is a wife to Kyle and a mama to Tate, Reed, and Finn, and her book, Organized Simplicity, is in bookstores now. She and her family are currently “in between” countries, having moved back to the U.S. from the Middle East before heading off to their next adventure (her 5-year-old has been on 49 airplanes and counting). She writes about simplifying life at home at Simple Mom.

Her blog was nominated for Best New Blog of 2008, and has been mentioned on Apartment Therapy, HGTV, Better Homes and Gardens, Food Network and more. In early 2010, she founded the blog network Simple Living Media, home to five blogs about simple living.

I’m excited to tell you that I’m giving away two copies of Organized Simplicity. This contest will end on Friday, March 18 at midnight (CST). If you’d like the chance to win, here’s what to do . . .

How to enter to win Organized Simplicity:

  • Leave a comment telling me what part of your house is in most need of organizing. (Mine is the desk in my dining room, hands down!)
  • For an additional entry, join the Facebook page for Giving Up on Perfect and leave a separate comment telling me about it. (And if you already “like” this blog on Facebook, then just leave that separate comment telling me that!)
  • For another additional entry, join the Facebook page for Organized Simplicity and leave a separate comment telling me about it. (And if you already “like” this book on Facebook, then just leave that separate comment telling me that!)

Affiliate links are used in this post, and the book description and bio are courtesy of Amazon and the author.