Friday, November 23, 2012

Strangers at the Table

Seated around the Thanksgiving table, smiling sincere but tight smiles. We are family--it shouldn't feel awkward, but somehow in their presence any social polish I have acquired is stripped away and I revert to a gawky twelve year old.  

Say something. We've already talked about how much the kids have grown, work is going well. Um, now what? Not the elections. Definitely not the elections. We didn't spend the last three months politely ignoring each others' political posts on Facebook for it to all blow up now.

Sports. Hunting. Cars. I don't even know enough about those topics to ask intelligent questions.  I'm pretty sure I should avoid parenting stuff.

 Another bite, another strained smile. Could you please pass the rolls? Wow, your turkey is delicious. What did you put in the dressing this time? We sit at the table together, while I frantically construct a Venn diagram in my mind of topics that we are both interested in.  The areas that overlap are ones where our viewpoints are diametrically opposed.  I suck at small talk.  And underneath it all is so much love and fear of hurting them or of being rejected, but we must not quite be doing it right because perfect love casts out fear and there is still fear here.

Join me at A Deeper Family for the rest of the post!  :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Adorned by Crystal ~ Review and Giveaway ($20, Worldwide, 11/19/12) Closed

OK, before I get to the actual review, I have to tell you how excited I am about this.  Some people go wild for superstars.  I really don't.  When I worked the Olympics, one of the directors was surprised that I had never once acted the least bit star-struck by the athletes, and even offered to get me any autographs I wanted.  In retrospect, I should have milked that and then sold them on Ebay or something, but while I appreciated their talent, they were just people for me.  However, when the package arrived from Crystal Lutton, I danced around the room squealing and pretty much acted like a teenager with a crush over the gracious card she enclosed. 

Why am I so impressed?  Crystal literally wrote the book on Grace Based Discipline.  Eight years ago, when I was agonizing over the thought of having to spank my baby in order to obey the Bible, I was directed to her site and found both Truth and Grace.  Her teachings changed our lives in ways I would never have imagined.  Her book, Biblical Parenting, gave me a brand new paradigm for discipline.  Then I read Grace Based Living, and began to see how God's grace applied to marriage and other relationships.  Crystal is also a rabbi/pastor, and her ability to share Hebraic perspective has enriched my understanding of the Scriptures.  Along with all of this, she regularly serves as a Titus 2 woman to many, giving practical and loving help to other moms.

Crystal's talents extend far beyond writing, however.  She also creates lovely hats and jewelry for her Etsy shop, Adorned by Crystal.  She offers a wide variety of custom knitted hats as well as fun steam punk jewelry.  After some of her delighted customers commented on how much they loved the baby hats, she began to offer them in adult sizes, as well.  I was so happy to receive one of these for the review!  The intricate work and the variety of colors and materials are lovely and so festive.

I had one slight qualm, however.  I love the look of hats.  I love the warmth of hats during winter.  I also hate anything scratchy or itchy near my ears or head (and I seem to consider many things scratchy or itchy that don't bother most people).  This one was so soft and fit so perfectly that I was actually comfortable wearing it.

Crystal's hats are beautiful and unique.  They would make a fabulous holiday gift, too!  My grandmother adores hats, and I know that one of these would be very special to her.  The softness makes it ideal for someone who has undergone chemo, and their loveliness would complement both women and children.

Lately, I have become more mindful of where my money goes, and supporting someone who is helping families to find freedom and grace makes my heart sing.   Each of these hats is knit with love and prayers from a woman of valor.

So, how can you get one of her fabulous creations?

Win it!  Crystal is offering a $20 store credit as a giveaway.  To enter, leave a comment telling which hat you like best, and be sure to include your email (winner at mail dot com).  For a bonus entry, like her Facebook page for updates on new designs and products and leave a separate comment.  :)  The winner will be chosen by a random number generator on Tuesday, 11/20/2012.


Buy it!   Be sure and check out her full selection, and remember that because each one is custom made, you have an incredible array of options!  This is a perfect way to keep both your head and your heart warm this winter.


Disclosure:  I received a hat for review purposes.  All of my opinions are given honestly.