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Picture Book Giveaway

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I’m the mom of two, precious little girls. They are spunky, they are cute, they are uniquely different. I try often to point out their unique qualities to them and celebrate the ways God made them different. I try to point out to Nora that God made her a leader, strong and determined and that I truly believe He has great things awaiting her someday. I tell Evie that if she can learn to use her combination of sweetness and stubbornness, it can be a powerful tool someday in influencing others. We try to point out to them how God, in His perfect design, brings families together in different ways. We celebrate adoption and how special it is and point them to Christ, and how in His love, God adopts us as His children.

Despite all of this, our oldest daughter seems especially aware that her skin is not “peach” like mine and her daddy’s. I will never forget one day last summer when she looked at me and said with excitement,” MOM!! Look!! I think my skin is getting peach from being in the sun!!” It broke my heart. Often times she has told me she longs for peach skin.  Though we try to allow her to interact and play with children of her ethnicity, in the area we live in, she is definitely a minority.

Out of our two children, she often gives us the most trouble. She seems determined at times to test us to see if we are going to prove to her that she does, in fact, belong in our little family. I see her struggle, and it makes me sad as her mom to witness it trouble her heart, especially at such a young age.

One day I was close to tears myself dealing with her antics and I sat down and wrote this story for her. It’s really simple, but I wanted to make the message to her very clear: she belongs in our family, right where God put her and she is dearly loved, no matter her background or color of her skin. I read her the story when it was done, tears streaming down my cheeks, hoping she would catch the significance of it’s message. She knows it’s her story; OUR story.

This Christmas, I really wanted to be able to give her a real book to hold and read. Now that she is in first grade, she reads very well and I wanted her to be able to read the words for herself. So after the story was written, I drew pictures to go along with the story and put it into a book for her.

My post on adoption etiquette (that I honestly just wrote one day to get out some frustration) got much more attention than I expected it to, being shared almost 500 times on Facebook by people I don’t know. That told me that this issue is important and hits home with a lot of families that might be struggling like ours does sometimes. So, I wanted to be able to offer you a copy of this book.

It’s about a little brown bunny named Bonnie who feels like she doesn’t fit in with her family of all white bunnies. Her mama tells her a tale of a sad Mama who waited so long for her special bunny. It resolves itself in the end with the Mama bunny thanking God for adopting her as well as His child. Here is a preview. If you are interested in a free copy, you can comment below. I will try to choose a winner next week so it can be sent out before Christmas. If you are interested in ordering a copy, please let me know that as well. I would love to share this with you! For each book it would be $25 (which includes shipping fees). I’m so nervous no one will be interested at all, but here it is anyway!

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These are obviously not all of the pages, and not necessarily in the right order, just a sampling.

*This is a friendly reminder that I do own all rights to the story and pictures and none of them may be copied or reproduced without my consent. Thanks! 🙂

UPDATE: In case you missed it, this contest is over and I chose a winner, though it was a very tough decision to make! You can see the winners and information for ordering by clicking here. Thank you all so much for your support and for those who entered!

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Confessions of a Christ Addict

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“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, O, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.”

“Come Thou Fount” was penned in the 1700’s by a young convert to Christ. It is said that Robert Robinson walked away from his faith as the last stanza of this song suggests he feared he would. It is rumored that many years later, while riding on a stagecoach,a traveler with him began singing this song. When asked if he liked her song, he replied, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.” It is debated about whether he ever returned to his faith before his death in 1790.

This hymn is one of my absolute favorites. I have the words written on the wall in our dining room. “O to grace, how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be, let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee…” It is one of my favorites because it is often the cry of my own heart.

I stumbled out of bed at 3:30 this morning, careful not to disturb my peacefully sleeping husband or the cat curled at my waist. I woke up in a panic, knowing I needed my “fix”.

Hi. My name is Courtney. I’m a Christ addict. It’s been… Three days since I last read my Bible, gave more than a cursory prayer or applied Scripture to my life.

If this really were some therapy group, I would tell you that I wasn’t a full blown junkie. I’m more of a social Christian, really. I just really go to God when I need a quick fix; a temporary high. Nothing serious.

See, I just need my quick fix every once in awhile. I need it when I’m frustrated with the kids. I throw a prayer toward the ceiling, a brief plea for wisdom, just something to get me through the next hour. I read my bible when I know I have a half hour here or there, but only if my day allows, and even then my mind is wandering about my to-do list. A temporary high, so I can feel good about myself and my “dedication” and have something else to check off my list for the day. I hurl a verse at my girls when convenient, when it helps me make my point to them. A quick fix.

This time of year can be especially distracting for me. Every year, I feel like I’m chasing the white whale of Christmas, the stuff Bing Crosby songs are made of; the charmingly decorated house, filled with Nat King Cole carols, pine scented candles, homemade, personal gifts, a tree sagging with tacky ornaments, gingerbread houses and freshly baked cookies. I am longing for the feeling I had when I was a child, the feeling you only got at Christmas time. I lost it somewhere around age thirteen, when I thought I was obviously too old for such childish behavior and have tried to find it ever since. In my search, I have lost the true joy of Christmas, of everyday, 365 days of the year living, that comes from a true relationship with Christ that satisfies like nothing else in the world. In my search for it, it’s only robbed me if my joy, thankfulness and contentment. It’s made me cranky and discontent, always searching for something better: more Christmas spirit, more Christmas movies, more parties and traditions, more presents to make or buy, more CDs to listen to. I’m always on the hunt, but in my search I’ve only found that Joy is not something that can be bought at Target.

I woke up with the sweat of this verse on my brow: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but forfeit his soul?”

In my own way, I’ve gained the world. I have this house that may not be a mansion in the Hamptons, but it’s prefect for me, with it’s ornate fireplace, wrap around porch, claw foot tub. I have a cozy, warm bed to crawl into every night next to a faithful, loving, adoring husband that I don’t come close to deserving. I’m the mom of two wild, rambunctious, strong-willed, sweet girls. My husband has a job where I get to work beside him and both do what we love. I have friends and family who love me, somehow. I eat everyday, often more than I should. In worldly possessions, I really lack nothing. Still, what does it profit me, even as a daughter of the one true God, if my life is dedicated to these things rather than to Him?

See, I don’t want to just be a social Christ addict, I want to be a full-blown, all or nothing, go big or go home junkie. I want to be like this pastor we met in NYC who holds bible studies in homeless shelters in the Bronx and hands out care packages to people in AIDS facilities. I want to be bold enough to stand the ridicule he faces when he sings on the subways and ferries in Manhattan, when at times he has been openly mocked, kicked and been threatened bodily harm. He still peaches with boldness, with love and with joy. You see, the thing about pastor Jeff is that he is always smiling. Always. The joy of Christ oozes out of him; it runs through his veins. It is his life blood. I want to be so addicted to Christ that I can be called, as he does himself, “cross-eyed and crazy” for our Savior. I want to be crazy out of my mind, totally hooked and overflowing with a love for God that can never be satisfied, a thirst that can never be quenched; an addiction that always has me on my knees crying out for more. I want to be that kind of Christian. I want to be able to say I am living out I Thessalonians 5:16-18 that says, “Be joyful always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus, or Lord.” I want to be able to say:

“Hi. My name is Courtney. It’s been…. Well, I haven’t stopped praying, giving thanks or worshipping Christ…”

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24 Days of Christmas: Day Four- Vintage Christmas CD

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I usually try to make myself wait until Thanksgiving Day to start listening to Christmas music. It takes a lot of self-control, which apparently I don’t have because by the second week of November I had made this Christmas CD and have listened to it almost every day since.  Since I love all things vintage as well, I like to call this my “Vintage Christmas List”.

I started by searching for songs by my favorite members of the Rat Pack and also honorary modern-day members like Norah Jones and Micheal Buble. I looked for songs by Burls Ives and Doris Day. I grew up listening to Bing Crosby every Christmas, so he is my absolute favorite when it comes to Christmas songs.

I found them, downloaded them, and burned them to a CD. Pretty complex, right? But I wanted to share my list with you. Oh yeah, I also added “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas”, another classic I loved growing up, which my kids love now, too! Every time we get in the van, they request it.

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