Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Shepherd's Treasure-- A GIVEAWAY!!!!

Jack and Margaret missed out on the whole Elf on a Shelf thing, because by the time the book came out, they were well past the Santa stage.

It was probably for the best.

I don't know if I ever told you, but we downplayed Santa in our home because my husband Tim was kind of traumatized as a kid when he found out the truth about the big guy in red. He felt betrayed and manipulated, and it caused some trust issues/faith issues that took a while to work out. As a result, he asked if we could have a "Santa-lite" home, and we did.

One result was we found ways to integrate more Advent rituals into our home instead.

Last year, with a little one in the house again, I came across something that I knew would be a fun  tradition to start with Andrew, and a GREAT FIT for our family.

It's called The Shepherd's Treasure and is the sweetest way to prepare our hearts and home for celebrating Jesus's birth. 

Each box comes with an adorable plush Shepherd and Baby Jesus, and a big, beautiful hardcover book.



The book shares the story of a young Shepherd looking for Baby Jesus, and is super encouraging and uplifting. It helps kids know just how special they are.

Each day in December, the Shepherd moves somewhere new in your home looking for the baby, culminating with his finding Jesus in the manger on Christmas morning.

The kids have fun searching for the Shepherd each day, and anticipation builds for Jesus's birthday.

Hiding places can be simple (ME!) or elaborate (Pinterest). There is even a calendar full of creative ideas available on the website if, unlike me, you want to take it up a notch.

You can also order (optional) Advent Cards with Bible verses on them that  provide ideas of things your family can do together each day to share God's love with someone else.

The Shepherd's Treasure is a sweet and meaningful tradition for a family wanting to find a way to focus on Jesus as the very best gift of all!

I contacted the creators of The Shepherd's Treasure and they have agreed to give one An Inch of Gray Reader The Shepherd's Treasure (book and plush figures). It comes in a great keepsake box so it is easy to store year to year. If you don't have little ones at home, considering entering anyway and giving The Shepherd's Treasure as a gift.

Entries in the Continental U.S. only, please.

Easy ways to enter using this entry form :
1)Visit The Shepherd's Treasure Facebook page (mandatory)
2)Leave an email address for (VERY RARE) emails from me such as info about my book or speaking engagements (optional)



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Always Rockin' It

I went to my 30th high school reunion Saturday night. It was hard to get motivated to put on fancy clothes when I'd spent Andrew's nap time snuggled in bed with a good book, but I rallied and had a wonderful time.

There were lots of hugs from old friends, and I even danced for maybe the second time this millennium, throwing my hands in the air and trying not to wonder if I looked like a doofus.

The next morning, I hopped in the shower. My showers have to be fast, because there's usually a pint-sized observer outside the glass door, either wailing or trying to climb in. I have the routine down:

1) Wash key areas.

2) Take the razor and do a swipe in each pit, 3 swipes for each leg, below the knee only.

3) Wash hair as needed, which considering I am a gym dropout, is not often.

When I got out of the shower and put on deodorant, I thought, "Good grief! Somehow dog hair must have gotten stuck on my deodorant.  WHY is there not a single dog-hair-free zone in this house?!"

I grabbed reading glasses from the counter for closer inspection. Dear Lord. That big tuft of hair was not from the deodorant. Or the dog. It was firmly attached...to my armpit.

I'm guessing that months and months of careless shaving left me with quite the overgrowth in one concentrated area.

Clearly, a single swipe of the razor was not enough.

BTW, I  thought you might like to see the SLEEVELESS dress I wore Saturday night. I will NOT zoom in. I will NOT zoom in. 


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

So (NOT) Together

Hey, did you vote today?

I did.

It's big election year in Virginia, and people are coming out in droves despite the rain. I love the quiet orderliness of our polling place-- an elementary school gymnasium. People there may be on different sides of the political aisle, but there are just quiet hellos and hugs for neighbors you may not have seen in a while, and the chance to buy items to support the local high school's marching band. It's civil, and weighty, and dignified.

After I checked in, a polling volunteer said to me, "Be sure you put your ID away. You don't want to lose it." I nodded, because of course, that's what I was planning on doing next. When I didn't get my wallet out fast enough, however, she continued, in a sincere voice, "Yes, take your time. It's that important." After I'd tucked it away under her watchful gaze, I headed over to the table to vote, then exited the gym.

The whole process took 5 minutes, and as always, it felt like a privilege.

When I got in the car and secured my seat belt, I thought of how the woman, while unfailingly kind, didn't seem convinced I would take good care of my ID. I mean, after all, I'm pushing 50 and have never lost my driver's license. Sheesh. Perhaps there'd been a lot of lost ID's so far that morning.

I glanced over at my center console. On it sat my very favorite pair of earrings-- sparkly silver feathers from Pandora. I may not have showered today, but I was well-accessorized and even had make-up on, in case I ran into any long-lost friends on my one big outing for the day. On the drive over, however, I'd felt one earring fall off, the back disappearing somewhere in the car or down my shirt. I'd placed both earrings on the console while I went inside the school.

Now, still wondering why the poll lady didn't think I could take good care of my personal property, I backed out of the parking space to let a waiting car pull in.

Clink. Clink.

Both earrings flew off the console into the depths of the car. An hour of searching turned up just one earring, a Littlest Pet Shop dog, a tube of hydrocortisone cream and two gummy bears caked in dog hair.

I think I need to go back and tell the polling lady she had every right to be concerned.