Jitney's Journeys : Take Hope | Share Hope GIVEAWAY with Shattered Magazine!!

The day is finally here!!

We're partnering with Shattered Magazine to host our first true giveaway ever!! We're calling it the Take Hope | Share Hope Giveaway. And we're pumped. So pumped, in fact, that we have been working the last few weeks getting these custom goodies ready. Prepare to have your knee-high socks knocked off.

The winner will receive ALL the custom designed goodies by Jitney's Journeys pictured here, including TWO subscriptions to Shattered! Why two? Because we know you love to SHARE and you can keep one subscription for yourself and give one away! Plus we're pretty sure a friend or two would love to be encouraged by a couple of the other goodies in the bag too. So enter to #takehopesharehope as we continue to #celebrateShattered!

Each product included in the giveaway (with the exception of the Shattered Magazines) has been created and handmade by the Jitney's Journeys team. Whoop whoop!


Here's an up-close look of what's in the bag:

 (1) Large "Take Heart" Burlap Tote (John 16:33)

(1) Large "Take Heart" Burlap Tote (John 16:33)

 (1) Small Barnwood Hope Sign

(1) Small Barnwood Hope Sign

 (1) Hand-etched "Take Heart" Leather Beaded Bracelet

(1) Hand-etched "Take Heart" Leather Beaded Bracelet

 

Side Note: This is also a semi-celebration for new products that we are adding to the Jitney product line. Most of these products will be available in the Etsy Shop in July. Can't wait to place a special order? Email us at jitneysjourneys[at]gmail[dot]com or message us on Facebook and we will begin working on your order as soon as possible. Why are we waiting until July? Read about it here

 $10 Credit towards your purchase in the  Jitney's Journeys Etsy Shop

$10 Credit towards your purchase in the Jitney's Journeys Etsy Shop

 (2) Subscriptions to  Shattered Magazine

(2) Subscriptions to Shattered Magazine

 (1) "LOVE" Banner with flowers on each end

(1) "LOVE" Banner with flowers on each end

 (1) Coffee Cuffee

(1) Coffee Cuffee

Feel free to share the giveaway on your blog, Instagram feed, Twitter and FB pages! Be sure to post the giveaway with #takehopesharehope and #celebrateshattered. Enter below and good luck!!!

The Todd Nest : Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt & Brunch

Sneak into our garden and check out the Easter Egg Hunt we had with our neighbors this year...

As most of you know, we inherited an amazing backyard garden when we bought this house. The lady who lived her before us spent most of her days cultivating the lovely flowers that bloom year-round. We couldn't think of any better way to enjoy it than to enjoy it with others. 



Decor: We used the potting bench JD and dad made for us as the drink and dessert table. It worked superbly! We displayed chalkboards which proclaimed the glory of Christ, that He is risen! Unfinished quilting squares were used as tablecloths and we placed our snowball hydrangeas in old tins and a large vintage teapot. They bloomed just in time for the brunch. Mom and dad gave us their super sweet vintage cooler on wheels so we served ice out of that and filled with side pocket up with little glass Coca-Cola bottles (not pictured).


JD and I put together a mass of these "Jelly Bean Story" favors with the help of our next door neighbors. My friend Katy Jo told me about the poem she found online but I rendered it a bit to give it more diversity in the rhyming. :) The design matches the invitations we delivered to our neighbors. My genius husband had the idea of placing a couple of our barnwood boards on the arms of the island chair to create another table. Gosh, I love that man and his creative brain. We set a watering can and a few other vintage items on it. One of our neighbors brought us a lovely spring bouquet we set in the watering can.


All of the neighborhood kids came over, with baskets in tow. 


They started wandering the backyard garden as soon as we said "go"! 
{did you like the rhyming there...?}


Since we're planning on hosting this Easter Egg Hunt and Brunch annually, we asked the kids to return their emptied Easter eggs to a basket so that we could use for next year. (Thanks to my parents, we ended up having a total of 600 eggs!!! And thanks to our church small group, we had several hands willing to stuff tiny prizes in each one. Wahoo!)


The kids emptied their baskets and sorted through their eggs to find lots of little surprises....


And we even hid six golden eggs (a few with half dollar coins and one with a $5 bill). One of the kids found two golden eggs and sweetly gave his second one to Lilianna. She opened it only to find the one rolled up $5 bill. Cha-ching! 


This was, by far, my favorite moment of the day. I loved watching JD help little Ava open all of her eggs. While we're incredibly happy in the season we are in (married without kiddos), these moments certainly make my heart anticipate the day that we have some little Todd-lings running around. He's going to be an amazing dad one day. ;)

Ok... retreating from the sappiness, each family brought a delicious brunch item which varied from homemade cinnamon rolls to cheesy grits casserole to homemade biscuits with the fixins to sausage pinwheels to fruit to cute cupcakes. It was incredible!! 


Look at all of these beautiful faces!!


What an absolute joy it was, to see relationships being built and families gathering together all while worshiping the resurrection of Christ through joining in community!



We loved, loved, loved getting together with everyone... but having my parents with us made this celebration priceless. My mom is the master of hosting and making all things lovely. Seriously. She is the person I call before typing "how to" into Google. 

I thought she was going to help me organize everything and give me a checklist of things to be done. On the contrary, she made dad turn into an estate sale early Saturday morning instead of coming to help us. Before you start judging her and thinking that this was a terrible thing for a mom to do, please know that in hindsight, I couldn't be more grateful. I'm incredibly dependent on her and she knows it. She wanted this to be an event that JD and I put together all by ourselves, to show that we could do it without her and dad. 

It's the same way I learned to ride my bike... My dad was always there guiding me but when he knew I could peddle on my own without falling off, he stepped back. He let me ride freely, with my hair flowing in the wind (or stuffed under a fat helmet). He trusted that I learned all that he taught me and that I listened well. And you know what? Sure, I fell off a few times after that, but I always got back up. I learned from my mistakes and developed into a really great biker that only falls off her bike rarely now (instead of often. Yes, it still happens occasionally).

And so it went with the party. It made me flip out at first, but at the end of the day, I learned SO MUCH MORE!! She and dad stepped in when they were absolutely needed but stepped back at all other times. Thank you for teaching us your skills, your tricks and your creativity. Thank you for trusting that we learned those things and learned them well enough to do it all on our own. Thank you for letting us go forth on our own, but still coming to support us and celebrate with us. We are so deeply grateful for you both, mom and dad. 


The entire event was a massive collaborative effort. Thank you to everyone who helped us prepare / brainstorm, brought food, and helped clean. We couldn't have done it without you all!!


Jitney's Journeys : Seven "I Am" Statements of Jesus

TRUTH.
There was a heavy overflow of Truth coming at me as I worked on this piece. 
For every new canvas, I was reminded of who Jesus was and is. 
I loved every second of working on it.

The best part of the piece was how the idea came to light...


My friend Judy came over to pick up a few custom Christmas presents I put together for her in December. She shared an idea with me about creating an art piece based on the seven "I Am" Statements of Jesus they would want to display in their home. We discussed a few ways we could make that happen and she said, "Well, just be thinking about it. It will be a while before I'm ready to place an order for it."

Fast forward about a month...
I received an email from Judy's husband, Jeff, saying that he wanted to request an art piece from me for Judy's birthday, and that "I think a good one that would be meaningful to Judy would be the seven "I am" statements of Jesus from the gospel of John." He literally went on talking about the exact ideas that Judy and I bounced off each other for this same multi-canvas idea. 

Keep in mind that Jeff and Judy had never talked about this idea with one another. It was an idea that the Lord placed on both of their hearts. And I was able to see their love and oneness reflected for each other in such a way that their thoughts and ideas of bringing the Gospel to life were right on par with another. What a testament to God's hand in their marriage!

One friend came by the studio, looked at the pieces, shook her head and said, "I'm sorry, Whitney. But this piece did not come from you. This piece is completely God-inspired and I'm not sure you can take any credit for it..."

And you know what? 
I am SUPER okay with that. 
In fact, that is probably the best compliment I have ever and could ever receive. 


So, here's the breakdown of the design.

Seven 6" x 6" canvases stating the statements.
One 12" x 6" canvas stating "I AM".
The 6 x 6 canvases have stripes on three sides and the fourth side (on either the right or left side of the canvas) has the corresponding verse to the statement. The verse is facing the outside. 

The front of the canvas has a base covering of hymns and topped with the statement. 


These are a few of the designs I liked the best...


I couldn't think of a better way to finish this post than to leave it to Judy. This is a poem she wrote, inspired by the "I AM" statements...


I AM 
by Judy Webb

The Word Made Flesh
Alive, In touch
The Word Made Flesh
Among us,Now in Us
The Messiah, Salvation
Rescue from sin
Messiah, Salvation
Our peace deep within
The Light of the World
Exposing the darkness
Light of the World
Revealing God
Bread of Life,
Satisfaction,Fulfillment
Bread of Life
Delicious and sweet
Bread of Life to meet every need
The Gate
To the kingdom of God
The Gate
Beauty adorned
Heavenly desire is born
The Good Shepherd
Strength and provision
The Good Shepherd
Nurture with vision
The Resurrection and Life
An empty grave
Death is defeated
The Resurrection and the Life
Eternity conceived
For those who believe
The Way
Unique, Only
Narrow and few
The Way
Fellowship with God
For those who would choose
The Truth
Nothing False
Complete and whole
The Truth
Word of God
Light to the soul
The Life
Abundant
Joy, freedom, and grace
The Life
Shout out, Worship,
Run with me in this race
I AM
I AM
I AM

you can find more of Judy's writings and poetry here.

Jitney's Journeys : Joys of the Job {Working with Scripture}

My favorite part of the creative side of Jitney's Journeys is having the opportunity to envision really cool pieces with inspiration from my friends. Judy asked me if I could make a couple of Christmas gifts for her in December. One being a heart piece for Emma, personalized with "Emma... God's words for you"and Jeremiah 29:11-13; and the other being a diamond piece for Kim, personalized with "Kim, you are worth far more than diamonds" and Proverbs 31. With Judy's enthusiasm and inspiration, it didn't take much more for me to design these pieces...

It's such an encouragement to design custom work with scripture. I haven't even had the pleasure of meeting Kim and Emma but they have been poured over in prayer in the hours worked on those pieces. The words of God have dwelt deep in my spirit and settled gently into my heart. It is my prayer that God's words will penetrate their hearts in the same way. Working with scripture is a constant reminder of God's love for us, His mercy and His longing to know us.

I need that reminder.

Constantly.


Jeremiah 29:11-13






Proverbs 31








The Best of Etsy, Huntsville Edition : Why It Fueled Us

You would’ve thought that Jitney’s Journeys had been announced as the Top 100 young businesses to watch. We were that excited. The honor was basically the equivalent for us. As far as we know, this is the first list (outside of Etsy treasuries) that someone has recognized Jitney’s Journeys in some form or another for our products. [We should really put a marketing strategy in place for 2014.]

AL.com included Jitney’s Journeys in “The Best of Etsy, Huntsville Edition” earlier this week. We were one of twelve companies featured. Even though we’re the last photo in the list, our placemat photo headlined for the article when the author posted to Facebook. That counts for something, right? We wouldn’t have even known about it if it had not been for my sweet friend Rebekah who texted me with, “Jitney’s Journeys was featured on AL.com!!!!” Haha!

This announcement fueled me.

I began writing out 2014 goals (personal and for business), class lists, mixed media ideas, even Christmas products for next year’s line, all in the midst of finishing current orders for Christmas.

Encouragement fuels us to move forward faster and with more stamina, a clearer mind.

I keep a file of encouraging letters and emails from past customers (doesn’t everybody?). 
Those letters and emails fuel me.

You know why?

Because those letters and emails… and even this article… they’re not about us.

The majority of the letters and emails include gratitude, not as much about the placemats or the actual product. The words of gratitude are targeted toward the small piece of cardstock we include in every package with a peacock feather on one side and a verse on the other:

But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. - 2 Corinthians 3:16-18


It is so not about us.

This article... that was Jesus. As far as we're concerned, Jesus led her to our page and that's the only explanation of her finding us in order to announce us as a "Best of" candidate. 

Jitney’s Journeys was featured.

While, yes, it is “our” company; it’s first and foremost Jesus’ company.

That’s the reason we can boast (1 Cor. 1:31).

It is not about us, has never been about us, and never will be about us.

It’s about Jesus and bringing glory and praise to His name.

If we ever lose focus of that, it is our daily prayer that He will take it away from us.

He’s the reason we have what we have - from talent to skill to creativity to tangible materials to accolades.

He’s the Creator, the Lifeline, and the Sustainer of our marriage and our business.

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.

To Him be the glory forever and ever. (Romans 11:36)

An Adoption Story : Journey to Ethiopia with the Long Family

Meet our friends, Andy and Bethany Long. They have two awesome kids, Carter and Piper, and are currently awaiting the arrival of a new addition from Ethiopia. As they were introducing themselves to some new friends in our small group last week, Bethany said they had three kids but one just happens to still be in Ethiopia. 

I love that. 

Their anticipation and excitement for the child they haven't even met yet encourages faith and hope in everyone who hears their story. 

Get ready to have your world rocked by Jesus and the amazing things He is doing across the nations. 

{photograph by Ginny Webb @ Sleepy Fox Photography}

{photograph by Ginny Webb @ Sleepy Fox Photography}


This is their story:

Our story starts the same as any other family's really. We wanted a baby. We had two children and we wanted another child. We had been trying to get pregnant for about three months before we stopped and reassessed the situation. Something didn't feel right. We weren't excited. We were nervous and unsure. This was not the way we had felt with our first two children. So we decided to take some time to think and pray. As we did, the question came up: What about adoption? 

I had a lot of reasons why we should not adopt: I was not a super mom. Only wise godly parents can adopt and I was not in that camp. I was scared. There were too many things that could go wrong. Even with all my objections, my husband and I could not let the question go. We kept talking and thinking and praying. Over the course of the next 6 months or so, God began to take away all of my excuses. 

He began to show me that I didn't need to be a super mom. In fact, there was no way that I could be. I am a sinner. I will fail my children. My hope for parenting any of my children has to be Jesus because He will never fail them. I did not need to be scared because I am not in control. I am also not alone in this task of parenting. Jesus has given me His Spirit. And so slowly everything I had been pointing to and saying, “See, there is no way we could do this,” slipped away. On April 11th, 2011, it dawned on me, that after my fears had been stripped away, all that was left was a little boy who didn't have a mommy - a little boy who needed to be loved. In that moment, I knew that I wanted to love him. It was that simple. There was no turning back then. 

I did not say yes to adoption because I became the mom I thought that I should be or had because I had no uncertainties, but because I saw that Jesus would be enough. My fears didn't need to control me. 

Jesus was bigger than all the “what if's”. 

So, six months of paperwork and 22 months of waiting... here we are. We have had ups and downs in the process. It has taken much longer than we had hoped. But during that time I have seen Jesus provide money through people who love us. I have had to trust that God is good even when it feels like He has forgotten us and our son. I have had to believe that He is working even when I can't see anything happening. Even though it has been hard, it has been a rich time. Hopefully in the next couple of months we will get our referral; which is an email that says “we have matched you with a child”. It will have a file with some facts and a couple of pictures. It may not seem like much but I have dreamed of that moment for 28 months. It will be the moment I see my son for the first time. All the paperwork, all the waiting, will be worth it. I am not going to pretend that adoption will be easy. I have read too many books to be that naive. But I am convinced that this is what I want to do. I want to walk alongside this boy. I want to weep with him over the brokenness of this life. I want to love him. I want to be his mommy. 

And that is the story of our third child. It is different than I imagined it would be. It is a bigger plan than I dared to dream on my own. God is weaving our family together. I know it will be beautiful, not because we are amazing- we are just normal people. No, it will be beautiful because Jesus is doing it.

-Bethany


{photograph by Ginny Webb @ Sleepy Fox Photography}

Jitney's Journeys has created a set of chatter tiles to express the story of their hearts with the scripture of their choosing that has carried them through the adoption process. Half of the proceeds from each chatter tile purchase will be donated to the Long Family as they continue to follow Christ in obedience and come closer to bringing their child home.


We recommend buying a set directly from us (via email) or from Andy or Bethany. However, you can also purchase a set from our Etsy shop here which we had to bump up in price because of fees and shipping costs. However, if you live in Huntsville or are friends / family of the Long's, you can enter coupon code JOURNEYTOETHIOPIA and receive free shipping [in other words, you can pick it up from them or The Todd Nest (the in-home Jitney's Journeys "boutique")]. 

For Life Ministries : Shop with a Purpose

Last week, we had the honor of setting up a table at For Life Ministries' annual Shop with a Purpose. For Life Ministries' mission is "to equip, educate and empower the next generation to meet the needs of the many orphaned, widowed and oppressed through various avenues and programs". The ministry aims "to teach and nurture them in the truth of Christ's unconditional love applied in all situations, regardless of gender, color or nationality." The event was held at an absolutely - breathtakingly - gorgeous home. The home is so beautiful, in fact, that they will be a stop on the Huntsville Tour of Homes for Christmas (which is why they already have a few Christmas decorations adorning the home).

The purpose of the event is to bring awareness to local and international orphans, and to offer opportunities for sponsorships for those children. When the event ends, each vendor donates a portion of their proceeds to the ministry as well. To learn more about For Life Ministries, you can visit their website here or their Facebook page here

We've been keeping late hours and early mornings to ensure that we had everything in place for our booth this year...


We still didn't finish everything we wanted to have out, but I think we had a pretty good selection for customers to choose from...


{The Todd Nest customizable wooden board}
{1 qt. double-sided glass-etched jar}
{Proverbs 3:3 mixed media}
{monogrammed placemats}
{glass-etched mason jars with chalkboard lids}


{single and quadruple wrap bracelets}


This lovely family is the Long Family. They're in the process of adopting a sweet little child from Ethiopia. When they mentioned that they were thinking about starting to raise support soon, we began brainstorming and praying about ways we could help. Thus, the Journey to Ethiopia Chatter Tiles came into being. We sell them in sets of 4 ($20 each) and each chatter tile has a verse that has been instrumental in their adoption process. Jitney's Journeys will give $10 from each set sold to the Long Family as they continue to follow Christ in obedience and come closer to bringing their child home. 

You can read more about their story here

Please email me if you'd like to buy a set of the Ethiopia Chatter Tiles. We can ship them anywhere in the U.S. but we will have to charge a little extra for shipping. The tiles are pretty stinkin' heavy. ;)


{12 x 12 "Hebrews 6:19-20" anchor mixed media art piece}
{our nest chalkboard}
{home sweet home pillow}
{chatter tiles}


{handwritten merry Christmas and gift tags}



{Proverbs 3:3 mixed media art piece}


{12 x 12 "Hebrews 6:19-20" anchor mixed media art piece}


{Proverbs 4:23 mixed media art piece}

Thank you so much to For Life Ministries for allowing us to take part in such an amazing event! They will be hosting a few more Shop with a Purpose events before the year ends. If you'd like to come, email us and we'll give you the details {or you can follow our Facebook page here for updates}.


Easter : For He Has Risen



Risen.

There is no sweeter word to celebrate this season of resurrection and redemption.

"And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquakes and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said,

TRULY THIS WAS THE SON OF GOD!"

But wait. 

The Father and the Son were not done.

The angel of the Lord appeared to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary and said, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.

He is not here, FOR HE HAS RISEN, as He said."

Matthew 27:51-54, 28:5-6

Not only did He rise from the grave... He walked back to Galilee to chat it up with the disciples and a few other folks. Well, "chat it up" may not be the best phrase to describe His conversation with the disciples, but you get the point. 

Jesus is. 

No word could possibly convey
 the greatness
the love
the character
the justice
the wisdom
the sweetness
the compassion
the grace
the power
the Truth
of Christ.

We pray that we are all able to grasp a mere portion of the magnitude of Christ's sacrifice and atonement for His children this Easter. 


Check out our post about walking the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross or Way of Suffering) in Israel here

Germany : Heidelberg Christmas Markets

It's cold in Germany.

Many of you may not think it's cold, but for a couple of newlywed kiddos from the Deep South like us... it was cold. 

But Germany has Christmas Markets.

So the cold was easy to overlook.

Each town hosts at least one Christmas Market in Germany. "Amazing" cannot even describe it. Most people are cheerful, friendly and inviting. "Merry Christmas" banners hang on sides of the buildings, and guess what? People don't protest them or rip them down. In America, people try to protest nativity scenes and anything that says the word Christmas; but not in Germany. They believe in Christmas and they celebrate it like no country we've ever seen.

This particular Christmas Market was in Heidelberg, Germany. Five different markets lined the main street of the town: Kornmarkt, Markplatz, Universitatplatz, Anatomiegarten, and the Bismarckplatz. 

See the line of lights in the photo below? Those are the walkways between the Christmas markets....

Before we shopped, we had to make one crucial stop. 

Food.

Check out the Fuerwurst that I grabbed at the Christmas Market booth above.

Delish.

JD got the steak with onions.

Are you a Nutella fan?

If so, go to Germany. Everything is Nutella there, including the special crepes.

Ok - so we realize that kissing pictures are cheesy and a lot of people don't think they're very cool... but how can you resist when there is a store right in front of you called Coffee & Kiss? 

I mean, you really have no other choice, right?!

Below you will see a gigantic Christmas Pyramid - life size, at that. 

I could've stood and stared at this thing until it got dark. 

And maybe we did...

(Haha - kidding, we walked back to it after we finished touring the markets and it just so happened to be all lit up.)

How beautiful is that!?

When we realized how big of a deal Christmas Pyramids were in Germany, we just had to get one for our own Todd Nest. Each tier displays a piece of the Christmas story - except Baby Jesus isn't on there. We like to think that the candles display who He is - the Light.

Have you ever seen one of these in person? It's super cool. The heat from the candles rise and spin the propellers at the top, which in turn spins each tier. It's one of our favorite Christmas decorations.

What is your favorite Christmas decoration?