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)

October 28: Capernaum

We placed the map below to help you envision the country of Israel. The big star is Tel Aviv (our home base) and the little star is placed on Capernaum, near the Sea of Galilee. 


We only drove through Capernaum so we didn't do much sightseeing. It was beautiful though. JD and I would like to go back and actually spend time there, reading different parts of scripture together and walking around.

Capernaum is a pretty epic place.

It was Jesus' next destination after leaving Nazareth. In fact, Capernaum was the central location of Jesus' ministry for the last 18-20 months of His life on earth. It was here that Jesus told Simon and Andrew, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men." In other words, this is where Jesus gathered His group of disciples and called them to action (Matthew 4 and 9).

Jesus performed more miracles in Capernaum than any other location, including:

  • Healing a man with an unclean demon in the synagogue (Luke 4:31-37)
    "Be silent and come out of him!" Jesus rebukes the man who is mocking Him. We love when Luke describes the witnesses by saying, "They were amazed and said to one another, 'What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!'" Luke says that Jesus' word astonished the crowd, for it possessed authority. Instantly, the grapevine started growing into every place in the surrounding region with people talking about what they had seen. That is Jesus. Our Savior with power and authority. Is your soul stirring yet?
  • Healing Simon's mother-in-law, and then many (Luke 4:38-41)
    How beautiful is this story? It seems to be early morning ("and he arose") when Jesus walks into Simon's house and finds that Simon's mother-in-law has a high fever (Jesus probably knew about Simon's mother-in-law prior to walking into the house, since it's Jesus and all). Jesus heals her and "immediately she rose and began to serve them (vs. 39)". No recovery phase or anything like that. She just gets up and actually begins serving them, offering them some hot tea and crumpets (well, the latter part may not be 100% accurate). Then the sun is setting (a full day) and people began bringing sick and demon-possessed friends and family to the Son of God. And He touches and heals every one of them (vs. 40). That is Jesus. The ultimate Healer.
  • Healing a centurion's servant (Matthew 8:5-13)
    In case you're wondering, a centurion is the commander of a century in the ancient Roman army. But seriously? Have you read this story lately? Here comes the centurion, asking Jesus to heal his servant who is laying in bad - paralyzed - and suffering terribly. And Jesus is like, "Sure. I'll come to your house." But no. The centurion says he is not worthy of Jesus entering his home. Instead, how about Jesus just say the word and his servant will be healed, with miles between them. Even Jesus is marveled by this man's faith and tells the centurion, "'Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.' And the servant was healed at that very moment. (vs. 13)" That is Jesus. The One who responds to our faith by being faithful. 
These are a few among many accounts of Jesus' miraculous healings. Here are a few more miracles that Jesus fulfilled in Capernaum in case you want to check them out:
  • Matthew 9:18-26 - Jesus raises a woman from the dead
  • Matthew 9:20-22 - Jesus heals the woman who suffers from a discharge of blood
  • John 4:46-54 - Jesus heals an official's son


Thoughts...


In many of these stories, Jesus responds to believers by saying, "Take heart, your faith has made you well. (Matthew 9:22)" We are baffled and encouraged by these believers with such immovable faith.


Has Jesus ever responded to your prayers in this way? 


When you talk to Jesus and ask Him for healing (not just physically, but emotionally or spiritually), do you have absolute faith in Him that He will heal you? 


What's holding you back from surrendering completely to Him and trusting that He will be faithful to your needs? 

October 26: Chuck Norris in Israel, Adoption and Sappe



Yes. This guy. Chuck Norris. While dozing off to sleep, JD was flipping through the telly when he turned one channel too far. And there he was. Chuck Norris dubbed over in Hebrew. Needless to say, we didn't watch very long (language barrier), but we felt sparks of patriotism just by seeing his face.




Today has been a beautiful day! The past couple of days have been cloudy with a little breeze so it's been somewhat unbearable to lay out.


Today was perfect though. I laid out until the sun began to set, and oh, was the sunset lovely!


I'm really enjoying the book I've been reading. The storyline follows two families: (1) a family from India who gave their daughter to an orphanage because they couldn't afford the dowry to pay her off to a good suitor and (2) the American couple who adopts her. Since JD and I are interested in adopting one day, it's eye-opening to see how both sets of parents deal with the decisions they have made and how the daughter deals with being adopted.

After enjoying the sunset, I sat in the room until JD and Adam got back from work then we went to the Executive Lounge for dinner.

The coffee here is extremely strong!! I always add hot milk and sugar which tames it down a bit. Even JD needs to add a little sugar and he always drinks his coffee black!


Adam says we must try the refreshing Aloe Water here called Sappe.


We will probably get a few bottles tomorrow because the bottled water they serve here tastes tainted, kind of like lukewarm store-brand water. I am embarrassed to admit that I have a terrible habit of being a picky water drinker. Dasani is about the only one I can handle. I have now initiated JD into the water snobbery club. We have found a cheaper solution which I will post about later. Basically, we just bought a Brita water pitcher and use the filtered water in another pitcher. We then add rosemary, mint and cucumber. Mmm. Fresh and delicious!

We're going to try to go to sleep a little earlier tonight because JD and Adam have to leave for work at 9:30 in the morning! It's going to be a long day for the both of them, but I have a feeling that it's going to be a SUPER long day for me! :) We've made some plans to tour up north in Israel Friday and Saturday. It will be nice to get away from the hotel for a little bit. More importantly, JD and I will finally get to spend time together, doing what we love. Exploring. And in this case? Exploring the same steps that Jesus walked. How cool is that!


So friends, we want to know... 


Craving some Chuck Norris jokes now? Click here for a Top 100 List. What is your favorite Chuck Norris joke? 


How do you feel about adoption? Have you ever adopted a child and/or do you feel called to? Want to follow a real life blog about adoption? Follow this Finding Our Way Home. I met LeAnn when my friend Barbara invited me to a Woman's Bible Study in Huntsville. JD and I are both baffled by the way God is moving in LeAnn's family, and we're sure that their story will be an encouragement to all who read it. 


Have you ever tried Sappe? What's the verdict on behalf of your tastebuds?


And... are you a water snob? Which brand do you choose?

Be Still: Facing Fear Prior to Traveling into the Promised Land

Preface to our trip to Israel, written the week prior to leaving in October...

You know those nights where you lie awake under the covers, endless thoughts colliding in your head without hesitation?

The Lord says in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.

That beautiful verse is one we hear over and over again; yet the repetitiveness may sometimes develop a callous over our hearts, creating an antithesis against it.

“Just be still and be silent, Whitney,” I remind myself.

God echoes back with, “Yes, Whitney, let even your thoughts be still.” 

God knows that it is merely impossible for me to be still. He created me as a woman with passion and determination. I feel guilty if I take a lunch break and watch TV or even when I’m down for the day with a migraine. As I am a stay-at-home-wife, I feel a deep burden to ensure that our home is constantly moving, and it must always stay clean in the process. Because God programmed me this way, I once thought He understood why I didn’t take time to journal while seeking out His Word or why I didn’t continue to journal my prayers as I did in high school. Serving as a busy housewife – cooking, creating, sewing, cleaning, writing blogs, making videos – this is my responsibility now.

Did I fail to remember my covenant between God and my new, handsome groom at the altar? God first. Husband second. Home third. How naïve was I to forget that?

Our God is a God of Truth, not excuses. He is a God of Conviction; and that God of Conviction spoke to me with a peaceful voice, the kind of peaceful voice you hear from your parents that go beyond the spankings, beyond the yelling. The soft voice of disappointment. God wouldn’t take His creation of the “passionate Whitney” as an excuse for my busyness. He reminded me of my fear. He reminded me why He created me to be a passionate woman, not only a passionate wife.

Be still. It’s a tough feat for some, including myself. Yet, sometimes God speaks to you and you have no other choice but to be still. We’re frozen – nay, paralyzed - in awe of what our Savior just said.

I experienced that feeling last night.

As my husband and I prepare to leave on our journey to a war-endangered territory, both of our minds and hearts have been a bit uneasy. He has been quite restless the past two nights. I’m not sure if it is out of worry for our safety on the trip or out of protection of our home in case the creepy photographer taking pictures from his car outside of Barnes and Noble may have actually been a spy. [Just kidding.] I feel his uneasiness - his restlessness – the same way he feels my emotions and knows that something is up.

However, I have also been somewhat restless with the typical “what if?” thoughts: We’re Americans - what if everybody will have a plot against us? What if we are captured and persecuted? What if we never see our families again? What if a foreign enemy bombs the hotel and my husband isn’t there with me? Or worse, what if something happens to my husband and I lose him forever?

Over a course of one week, our excitement and expectancy for God to create miraculous movements in our lives and in our marriage transpired into a dark cloud of fear.

As I lay restless in bed at midnight, God spoke. I had no choice but to be still.

My daughter, I know you’ve struggled in the past with understanding what it means to fear Me. Rest, dear child, and know that to fear Me is much different than being afraid of Me. I know your thoughts. I hear you. You are afraid of what will happen if you continue to follow me with steadfast perseverance, especially in this nation you are about to enter. You hear people remind you that when you follow Me, the enemy will try to destroy you. Why are you afraid of that? Do you not remember My Power, My Strength? Do not lose sight of that. Do not lose sight of My Love and My Hand over you. I am your Protector. All that happens to you will reflect My Glory. We’ll talk more about this during our time in the morning, shall we?

You better believe I woke up this morning on my knees in prayer. As I sought out the Lord and asked Him where to start in my study of His Word, He led me to Jeremiah. I grabbed our family's ESV Study Bible and started reading the introduction to Jeremiah’s writings.

Many authors have called Jeremiah the “weeping prophet.” While he does occasionally weep for Israel’s condition, and this depth of concern speaks well of him, this emphasis on his weeping may mislead readers regarding his toughness. Jeremiah was a determined, dedicated, longsuffering, and visionary follower of God. His courage and stamina serve as examples to even the most faithful of all God’s embattled servants. The apostle Paul certainly viewed his own ministry as being like Jeremiah’s. Thus, Jeremiah’s weeping hardly summarizes his character. He could perhaps more accurately be called ”the persevering prophet.”

Well, God, here we go...

______________________________________________________________________


We are truly excited to share our stories and adventures from Israel with you over the next few weeks. From anticipation to exasperation and joy to fear, an ebb and flow of emotions presented themselves throughout the entirety of the trip. Please don't criticize our moments of weakness and fear, for those were the times where God truly proclaimed Victory as His Power succumbed all. The documentation of this trip will most likely create a very transparent image of vulnerability. It is our prayer that, through what Christ revealed to us, you will be encouraged and draw nearer to Him.




Photo taken on our way back from the Mount of Beatitudes. Can you see the Presence of God declaring Himself in the clouds and the sunset, reigning over all creation? Amen to that! 





To live by these promises for all eternity...

For JD's birthday this year (Feb 17th), I decided to finally paint him something special. It was unbearably difficult for me to keep it a secret. I ended up surprising him with the paintings the night before his birthday because I was about to burst!!

As we wrote our own vows for our wedding, I thought it would be cool to paint them in celebration of all that has come and will come! The tree is meant to be a replica of the tree growing elegantly beside the aisle in the garden where our wedding ceremony took place (at the Carl House). And the birds on my vows are a replica of the sign we have hanging on our armoire (Love Birds Nesting).

Work in Progress:



The finished product:



I, James Darwin Todd, take you, Whitney Taylor Adams, to be my wife. I am exponentially excited that I will be enjoying the rest of my life with the most beautiful woman that I know on both the inside and out. I cannot wait to show you love and adoration every second of every day. I promise to encourage you and support you in all of your goals and to strengthen you in your walk with Christ daily as we glorify Him in all that we do. I promise by God's Grace, as He enables me, to love you as Christ loved the church; to daily make sacrifices for you and to speak the Truth to you in Love; and to show you Love and Grace as He has shown me Love and Grace. I will trust Him with all of my heart and lean not on my own understanding. I will acknowledge Him in all things, for I know He will direct our paths. I will be peaceful, content and joyful in every situation, knowing that He is guiding our paths and that He will strengthen us at all times. Gosh, I love you, Whitney... I am so thankful for this moment, moments passed and moments that will be. Knowing that I will be spending every precious moment with you forever makes me the most joyful and jubilant man. It is an honor and a joy to live be these promises for all eternity.
You can imagine my heart was about to beat out of my chest when he said those words - yes, from memory. I am daily baffled and blown away by the man God has set in my life to be my sweet husband. A man of God's Word and desire to follow His will. What more could a woman ask for?
I, Whitney Taylor Adams, take you, James Darwin Todd, my man, as my husband. I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with my soulmate who I truly find is the most attractive man I know on both the inside and out. I promise to shower you with Love and Respect every step of this journey we are about to embark on together. I will try to speak beyond my sassy-ness and instead speak to you only in Truth and in Love. I promise to encourage you and support you in all of your goals and to strengthen you as you walk with Christ daily, and to honor Him together. With our Savior's Strength, I'm putting my full trust in you, knowing that you will guide me and our family in the way of the Lord and the directions that He gives us. I promise to honor you be being Faithful, Trustworthy, Serving and Submissive, while especially honoring you in my speech. It's my utmost goal that people see just how beautiful and incredible you are and how incredible our marriage is just by the words that come out of my mouth. I love you. I cherish you. And after that past ten years of praying and knowing that God would provide me with an amazing husband, I can't imagine standing up here with any other man but you... and I am so thankful it's you. It's an absolute honor to promise you all of these things and to live by them for all eternity.

The Todd Health Campaign

Have you ever seen the Hanes commercial where the dad is dipping his kid in the "special paste" to replace socks? You know, this one...?



Don't you just love this commercial!?

Well, we're not exactly inventing anything new during our health campaign but we were moved to begin the campaign because "we're sick of it." We're sick of living a lifestyle where I have migraines and stomach problems several times a week because of what we eat. We're sick of living a lifestyle where we buy groceries that do not add substance to our health. Moreover, we're sick of not fighting for a lifestyle where we can honestly better ourselves daily by encouraging one another in our actions and habits.

Prior to sharing our campaign goals and happenings with you, we'd like to share certain steps we have already taken towards a healthy family and lifestyle (because we all know that a healthy lifestyle isn't simply eating healthy; rather, it's striving toward healthy living habits in all areas of our lives).

We are certainly not experts on marriage, finances or healthy eating but we at least hope that some of our habits will encourage your family through our future blog posts.

STEP 1: FINANCES

It's a beautiful subject, right? Well, it is if you have similar beliefs about money and how it is handled. JD and I started seeking financial advice from Dave Ramsey. Whether your family is overflowing with what seems like endless debt or is at financial peace, we encourage all couples to seek out his wisdom on all things finances. The church we've been visiting here offers his Financial Peace University class. This is a fantastic class to take, especially when building the foundations of your marriage! However, I believe we could all learn a lot from it, even after 40 years of marriage.

Budget

During our engagement, we collectively decided to be financially sound and to never be in debt. We owe a lot of that to our parents. Both of our parents blessed us and also our marriage when they paid our ways through school. Because of them, we were able to lay a foundation of hope rather than struggling to pay off debt in our first years of marriage.

It hasn't been until we moved to Huntsville that we really needed to begin budgeting because of rent and all of the bills that normally come with becoming one. {And we owe that to our grandparents for blessing us with the opportunity to live in the bungalow for a year rent-free.} Oh, how the Lord continues to bless His children through others. We have such a gracious and merciful Savior, as well as family members!

Thus the time has come to figure out our budget. It truly has been quite tough to figure out. If you're in the beginning stages of allotting your budget, we highly recommend Dave Ramsey's suggestions:
  • Giving: 10-15%
  • Saving: 5-10%
  • Housing: 25-35%
  • Utilities: 5-10%
  • Food: 5-15%
  • Transportation: 10-15%
  • Clothing: 2-7%
  • Medical / Health: 5-10%
  • Personal: 5-10%
  • Recreational: 5-10%
  • Debt: Hopefully zero, otherwise 5-10%
Of course, these percentages are taken from your household monthly income. "Don't spend more than you earn" is our family motto. Dave suggests the envelope system which is an extremely wise choice (put only the allotted amount of cash in individual envelopes and don't spend more than what's in the envelope).

We follow his suggestions for the budget yet JD and I take a different route for the envelope system... mint.com. If you have not used this program, you are missing out!!! The website is free and 100% secure. Basically, you connect your bank account(s), debit card(s) and credit card(s) to this program and it categorizes all of your expenditures. You set up your budget for each category and it displays bar graphs and pie charts (sigh!) so that you can see where you are on your budget. Sometimes I look at it simply because the organization of the site is absolutely impeccable and it makes my heart happy. :)


The goal is to obviously stay in the green and to never let the bar go red! You can also set goals for yourself (i.e. buy a home or emergency fund). We're currently in the midst of building our Buy a Home fund. :)

That's the sum of our finances post. We hope that you receive inspiration and hope from the programs we suggested above.




The Todd Nest : Apartment Livin'



Wherever we are, we love making a place our own. This means lots of character, lots of distressed items but most of all, lots of objects with stories behind them. Enjoy the tour of our Nest!


--> Please note this is from our apartment. We have not updated the blog for our house...


If you walked up to our door, this would be the first thing you would see. :) I was inspired to make this wreath after seeing a similar one on Pinterest. You should check out the tutorial here. This would make a wonderful "welcome to your new home" gift for newlyweds or a neighbor!


Our Bedroom:


The bedroom. We just got this comforter from Macy's on sale! It is absolutely stunning and makes it nearly impossible to get up in the mornings because it is just so comfortable! One of my favorite parts of our bedroom is the banner going across the headboard. My mom and I made this together. I'm thinking about selling a few on Etsy... would you buy one?


We bought this cool lamp and the little grass jar from Pier 1. It adds a contemporary flair to our vintage nest. I made the "I Would Be Lost Without You" piece as a surprise to JD. It was super simple: a wooden canvas, paint, sandpaper and vinyl. The "TODD" letters were a gift to us from my brother and his wife - also one of those unique wedding gifts that you proudly set out for everyone to see. The seashell has an image of the Philippines sketched into it.



Our Bathroom:





The jewelry board: I have always hung my jewelry on large nails I nail into the wall. I figured we may need to find an alternative to that... so we went to Target, found a bulletin board and I painted / distressed the edges. The jewelry hangs on beautiful pushpins my mom gave me and I filled the rest of the board with my wedding hanky, art, vintage items and commemorative objects for JD and me.



My Office: 








{another sigh} The stationery held in a vintage suitcase my grandmother gave us. I remember the first time I saw this suitcase... I fell in love with it. When we moved from the bungalow, she gave it to me so I could bring it to Huntsville. Along with many other memories, this suitcase will always remind us of our grandparents and the times we shared with them at the lake.


Our Kitchen:


I absolutely LOVE old bottles and glass of any kind!! When we were packing up from college, I realized JD is a collector as well (his is more of the labeled kind from different countries). It's been fun combining our collections. Fortunately our apartment kitchen has an open area between the top of the shelves and the ceiling, thus making it the perfect little place for all of my collection. This plethora of bottles, glasses and vases come from various antique stores, friends and family.


These canisters are from Bed, Bath & Beyond. They were originally plain and white but mom and I spiced them up with customized vinyl lettering.


Due to lack of storage space, we place all of our kitchen accessories - tools, mitts, towels and recipe box - in a basket so we can easily move everything if we need access to the plug.


{sigh} Ahh. The coffee basket. Our friend Shannon gave us this basket as a wedding gift and I couldn't think of anything more fantastic to place in it than our morning / dessert coffee supplies. As JD and I had our first conversation in a coffee shop, we all know that the Todd Home would not be complete without an overflow of delicious coffee in an elegant display.


 

Oh, what's this? More glasses, eh? Yes, more glasses. Seriously though - don't you just love them!!?? The colors, the tints, the shapes. So perfect. This fantastic vintage pie safe was a gift given to us from my mom and dad. Mom made sure it was refinished before they gave it to us though. It was a little rugged prior to the refinishing but now it's amazing! The lamp on top is an old Mason jar filled with marbles. 

And you were wondering how it all began...?

OK... I admit, we have been a bit behind on editing videos and posting them up on our awesome blog. We've surprisingly had a lot going on though! We realized the other day that we had not posted any content about how we met... so for all of you romantics out there, this should satisfy any existing cravings you have for a love story (and it will give some of you hope that love does happen when you least expect it):


Our journey began in a small classroom of about 100 students at Auburn University’s Lowder Building of Business…

JD, the graduate teaching assistant for my [Whitney] Management class, walked into Room #19 to pass out quizzes. As soon as class was dismissed, I immediately called my five closest friends and said, “Wow. I have just seen the most attractive man in my life.”

I honestly thought this guy would be a complete jerk because no guy that looks THAT attractive could have it all together... or even be nice.

A few weeks later, I was sitting in Cambridge Coffee talking with Laura Oliver and JD’s friend, Brandon Eidson. All of the sudden, a fluffy-headed hunk of meat pulled out the chair at Brandon’s table and sat down. He looked over at my Mac and saw Facebook open on my desktop. “Hey. Nice profile pic,” said the guy with the Pac-man shirt on.

He was referring to this awesome pic that my brother took.

I giggled and said, “Well, I’ll have to add you as a friend so you can look at it anytime you want.” And that’s where it all began.

A few days later, JD walked into the classroom again to pass out more quizzes. I of course shouted, “Hey JD!” from the middle of the 100-student classroom. He smiled back with a “hey Whitney” and waved. My professor handed me the quiz and whispered, “How do you know him? You have my approval! He is such an intelligent and well-mannered gentleman… and so handsome!” I giggled as the professor walked away. Weeks went by as we passed in small conversations at Cambridge, JD continually challenging me to a game of Tic-Tac-Toe. The Thursday before Chase [my brother] proposed to Jackie in late April we finally played the game… JD dominated the game, but I dominated his heart. :)

Final exams arrived. I stayed in Auburn but JD departed from the loveliest village on the plains to spend a few weeks with his family only to come back for five days to complete his certifications for his master’s degree. Our first date was exactly one year ago from our wedding day {May 29, 2009}. We went to see the movie Up, cooked for each other and laughed uncontrollably – nothing short from what our relationship is now. Four months later, he proposed… and the rest is history.

Coffee-Mate Baking Bistro Party

Many of you knew that I hosted a "Coffee-Mate Party" on Friday but you were probably really confused as to what that meant. Well, Coffee-Mate is awesome at marketing and asked their customers to spread the good word about their products. What did those special customers receive? Since I wanted to host a Baking Bistro party, they sent me all of these wonderful little gifts:

[free samples of Taster's Choice Instant Coffee, free samples of Original Coffee-Mate creamer, a muffin pan, cups, napkins, coupons for FREE Coffee-Mate, recipe cards (my favorite was the Biscotti), a cookbook and my absolute favorite... a STELLAR red Coffee-Mate apron.]

In the official terms of Coffee-Mate, Free Flavor Friday is:

On Friday, February 4th, 2011, COFFEE-MATE® is saluting its entire roster of flavors, and the people who love them with FREE FLAVOR FRIDAY! A special celebration filled with free product giveaways on Coffee-mate.com and on Facebook, FREE FLAVOR FRIDAY is an opportunity to savor your favorite flavor or try a new one for FREE!

I chose to host the party for the wonderful volunteers, board, and staff at the First Call Pregnancy Center in Greensboro. The women (and man) involved in this organization are solid individuals who have a strong compassion on other women in need. They pour so much love on the women who come through the doors, I just don't know how they have any love left... well, it does make sense that they would because that love comes from Christ... but hopefully you get what I'm saying.

Margaret, a director at the Center, helped me set everything up Friday morning. She had some awesome ideas to carry out the theme of "Life Is Sweet" beyond playing Baby Bingo and the Ultrasound game... we used a clean baby changing table to set the fruit and utensils on and then set the Coffee-Mate station on a high chair. :) Thanks Margaret! She also made a delicious mushroom, ham and cheese casserole. A few of the volunteers brought in cinnamon rolls, hot tea, muffins, fruit and an apple and cheese dish. Thank you everyone!!

Also a huge thanks to Coffee-Mate and to all of my precious friends at the Pregnancy Center for attending the party! Here's a video from the day:

Music by Copeland (Coffee)


WE RTR



"WE RTR" means "War Eagle, Roll Tide Roll"... not that our entire family cheers for Bama. :)

Believe it or not, even though JD and I both graduated from Auburn University*, JD is a HUGE Bama fan. This Friday will mark our second Iron Bowl together. Last year, Bama was the obvious choice to win but this year, I think Auburn has a much better chance.

Most of yall are probably surprised that I actually care about this Iron Bowl. I cheered for six years and went to Auburn (a fanatic football school) for four years without an inch of interest in football. By my sophomore year in college, I despised football... thinking it was a waste of time.

However, when you get married, a lot of things that weren't important to you become important because you know it's important to your spouse. I've even taken an interest in video games again (granted, it's not Call of Duty or anything like that... more like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mario Cart). I've learned to appreciate things as he has for me. JD doesn't sit down at the sewing machine with me but he is the most encouraging person in my life whether it's with sewing or spiritually (he has cut some fabric for me though...).

The beauty of marriage is so fascinating to us (I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the fact that I have such a remarkable husband though). During our engagement, we listened to a sermon / wedding ceremony by Paul Washer and he said:
The world will tell us that marriage is a 50/50 relationship. And then, years ago, Christians came along and said, "No it's not a 50 / 50 relationship. It's is a 100 /100 relationship." I disagree with both, marriage is a 100% / 0% relationship. You give 100% of everything you are to this woman even if she returns nothing of the sort back to you because you have been called by God to lay down your life for her. There is another sense, sister, that you have been called to do the same.
We highly recommend anyone in the season of engagement or marriage to listen to this sermon: Destroying Pop Views of Marriage. We wish we could just write out the entire sermon and post it, because it is overflowing with biblical wisdom. I am thankful that we both strive to give 100% even though the other may sometimes give a little less... regardless of the conditions.

*Disclaimer: JD graduated with a Master's Degree so that makes it less of a big deal. :)