How’s Your Tinsel Looking This Year?

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So, is your tree up and decorated? Ours isn’t. My husband is pretty anti Christmas-before-Thanksgiving. I told him I was going to put up our tree Monday, before we left for Thanksgiving … but with all the preparations and to-dos, it simply didn’t happen. If I’m lucky, it’ll probably be up by the 15th.

But anyway. Trees. Decorations. It’s so easy AND SO FUN to get wrapped up (ha) in all the decorations and shiny things involved with the Christmas season. Like my 5-year-old daughter, anything that sparkles and is exciting catches our eye.

Over the years I’ve found that Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands has been one of the best ways to keep the kids – and myself! – focused on the simplicity and wonder of the true Christmas story.

My sweet friend Amanda created this ebook out of years of experience doing the same sort of thing with her own two children, as well as experience as a children’s minister. Amanda has such a heart for leading parents to teach their kids about Christ at home, and every word in this ebook speaks to that. She’s now sold more than 13,000 copies of Truth in the Tinsel! People all over the world are using it and loving it. She’s developed it into church curriculum and had it translated into Spanish!

Through Truth in the Tinsel, you will lead your kids from the prophecies in Isaiah to the angels’ proclamations, through Christ’s birth and even to the Cross. Yes, it’s a sacrifice of your time and energy to do this with your kids every day. But can you think of anything more important? {Please remind me of that when I start getting lazy about it …}

If you haven’t purchased Truth in the Tinsel yet, you can get 20% off with the code VANDERBILT right now! {Only e-book, not ornaments or curriculum.} And if you have done it in years past, I’d love to hear about your experience.

Don’t forget, with Thanksgiving being so late, Advent starts THIS SUNDAY!!!! {I can already guarantee we won’t be doing anything until Monday. Just FYI. We’ll play catch up.} So get your craft supplies ready and let’s teach some Truth!


Any affiliate money I make from Truth in the Tinsel this year will be donated to helping victims of Typhoon Haiyan through Samaritan’s Purse. Thank you for using my links and helping me be able to donate to some wonderful places


Leave Your Opinion at the Virtual Door

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This post has been a long time coming. I don’t do a whole lot of ranting here, except about my crazy kids and bad mothering.

Nestle trip photo stolen from Amanda, because she loves me and I don’t think she will care. 😉

But it all started a thousand Internet years ago when my sweet, pure-hearted friend Amanda went to the Nestle headquarters in California with a bunch of bloggers. They all came absolutely under attack by the mommy-blogging “community” (isn’t a community supposed to be a good thing?) for supporting Nestle when Nestle sells baby formula in third-world countries or something like that.

I was flabbergasted at the mean-spirited attack on them. I mean yes, you can have your opinions. No one is going to deny you that. But is it really worth hurting other people to express them in such a rude manner?

Since that day, I’ve wondered if social media doesn’t give us overinflated views of our own opinions.

Lately, I’ve noticed on Facebook several instances where a friend has asked a question and rather than answer the question, this person’s “friends” have responded by criticizing their choices.

One friend asked her page’s followers when they started swallowing pills, as she had discovered—from her own pediatrician—that her child was large and old enough to swallow a small adult painkiller or something of the sort.

I think 75% of the answers were, “Don’t you dare give your child any adult medicine! Or any medicine at all! You’re evil! You’re going to kill him!” Or, you know, something like that.

Um, is that what she asked?

Then yesterday I saw where another friend posted about trying to bake fluffy bread at home. She was asking for tips, and mentioned adding vital wheat gluten to the dough.

And again, half of the comments were “Gluten is evil! Gluten is bad for everyone!” One commenter compared gluten to soda in terms of health.

REALLY? I’m pretty sure she wasn’t asking for commentary on her health choices or whether or not she should be eating gluten-free. I was glad when my friend politely called out the commenter for being rude. She was nicer than I would have been, I think.

Look, friends. We all have our opinions on everything, whether you realize it or not. But just because social media allows us to put these opinions out there does not mean you have to supply an opinion, especially when it’s not solicited. I find that most of the time, feeling like you NEED to express your opinion on something at every turns shows an insecurity about your own choices and feelings. If something really gets you uptight, maybe you need to dig deeper into what your issue really is with that topic.

What I am not saying is that we shouldn’t condemn the ungodly, unbiblical things … although I don’t think social media is the place for that, either. Privately, with much prayer, confront those issues.

But as I’m pretty sure it doesn’t say anything about baby formula, gluten intolerance, or swallowing Advil in the Bible, could we maybe choose to let some things go every once in awhile? I think relationships should always win over feeling like you’re in the right.

What do you think?

Guest Posting at OhAmanda

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While she’s living it up at Disney World, I am guest posting over at OhAmanda today on something very serious and dear to my heart … perhaps one of the more important things I’ve written. Please go read it! And if you’re visiting from there, welcome. 

The topic was stewardship, and the question referred to the “do not worry about tomorrow” passage in Matthew.

The question, from a study on Mission, asked something like, “How would you live if you really trusted God to take care of your basic needs?” … (Read the rest.)

 (You should go read OhAmanda anyway, if just to see her beautiful new design!)


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Saturday Linky Love

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Many the Miles from Home Sanctuary – a beautiful post for those of us with little bitty children

How to Set Goals with Your Children from Inspired to Action – I am in awe of Kat. Always have been. I so desperately want to be the kind of intentional parent that she and Amanda and others are modeling for me.

This birthday wreath from How Does She…? is SO CUTE! Maybe I’ll make one for my own birthday (May 26. Feel free to send presents). 😉

I think these homemade bath bombs may be a good Christmas present to make this year! (From Petit Elephant)

I guest posted yesterday at Once a Month Mom about how to make yummy Maple Cinnamon Apple-Pearsauce. Yeah, usually I make it for Libbie … but I’ve been known to eat it myself it’s so yummy!

Speaking of birthdays, OhAmanda‘s is today! Go leave her happy comments or Twitter love.

Read anything good this week? Leave a link in the comments!

Added to Saturday Stumbles at It’s Come 2 This.

Things I Love Thursday: Online Friends

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You want to know something really fun?

Friday night I am leaving the hubby and the girl here, driving 2 hours, and staying the night with Amanda–yes, THAT Amanda. We’ve met several times in real life (two years of Blissdom) but have never been able to spend that much one-on-one time since there have been so many other people to meet.

Then–oh then–on Saturday afternoon we are going to get together with Bee from Will Blog for Shoes and Candance from Twiggie Makes, whom I have never met. I’m not sure I could be any more excited.

Gorgeous Amanda (front) with someone I don’t know. Photo by Mishelle Lane.

Even a year ago, I might have laughed at the prospect of going on a road trip to meet blogging friends–and staying at one of their homes! Despite the fact that Amanda and I have been reading each others’ blogs “forever,” it’s just been over the past few months that I feel like we have grown very close. A lot of it is my constant solicitation for parenting advice. She is a former children’s minister and has a plethora of amazing advice and the reason why she believes a certain thing. I will be the first to admit that I’m just making it up as I go along most of the time. I need the help!!

I had this discussion at Blissdom or immediately after about those bloggers who live for blog conferences. That’s when they see their friends. This is not the kind of blogger I want to be, ever. Trust me–you need friends you can see face-to-face. You need to remove yourself from the computer OFTEN and live real life!

But there is a special blessing in online friends. I’ve known this since I was a high-schooler and found myself in a community of Hanson lovers. We communicated through guest books. Awesome.

I’ve always been able to explain myself better through writing than speaking. (Hence, blogging.) There is something about speaking face-to-face and hearing someone’s voice–but there is also something about being able to write out what you feel without struggling through tears to put the words together.

Especially in the past few months, I’ve clung to my online “sisterchicks.” I can only call the same two people to hang out with in Chattanooga so many times before I start to be clingy! Everything’s been a whirlwind of emotions and it’s so helpful to have those women to talk through situations with before I bombard my husband with a flurry of nonsensical verbiage and gasping tears.

All friendships are precious. I’ve realized the true gem of some of my online friends in recent months, and for that I am thankful.

Added to Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries.