Saturday, October 29, 2011

Going Big By Going Small

Autumn yesterday, after building a huge maze on my floor using masking tape.

I was just thinking yesterday...about all the wonderful experiences I've had this year with my family and with you.  


In January, we helped our children memorize the Family Proclamation using the ABCs.

During February, we thanked people who've mentored us in Service Boot Camp.

In March and April, we crafted along to my Easter Book List.  (Best Easter ever!)  

Then came The Month of Me...in which we made some new friends in Japan, re-enacted our first three dates, and discovered this amazing book.

This summer was a beautiful heartbreak at times, but way more beautiful than heartbreak...and an amazing period of personal growth and discovery.

In September, we Celebrated Family, in conjunction with Chocolate on My Cranium and two other wonderful bloggers.

In October, we gave out 30 copies of The Book of Mormon in 30 days and along with 60 other bloggers formed The Book of Mormon Forum.

As I read down this list of activities, I can honestly say that I felt prompted by the Spirit to embark on each one of them.  And I am so glad that I did. I have grown as a person.  My children have benefited and we've made good memories and shared special moments together.  I think my husband has enjoyed it too (mostly).

Yesterday, as I was contemplating just how I was going to accomplish the big giveaway that I have planned of November (remember the Santa's Helper Giveaway from last year where I gave away $130 to a lucky reader to help a family need?  Yeah, that.)...Helping others is something that I believe in, and last year's Santa's Helper Project was really meaningful to me.


See look, I even have a button made up and everything!

...Anyway, as I was pondering how I was going to pull all of that together again this year, the Spirit weighed in again.  


Ever so quietly, he planted the thought in my mind..."...Or you could just show your gratitude for your life by serving and doing special things for your family in November, instead of trying to orchestrate something on such a grand scale..."  


It was a quiet prompting, but the message came through loud and clear.  The message was "You've done enough.  And what you have done is pleasing to the Lord.  Rest now and enjoy your biggest blessings...your family.  These days will not last."  


It was a poignant reminder and a rare pat on the back. I thought about what I had heard for a moment, and as soon as I accepted the thought that I would forego the giveaway....I felt completely at peace.

So, I am going to do something truly revolutionary next month (for me, anyway)...I'm going to go big by going small.  And that means that unless a miracle happens between now and November 1st, there will not be a Santa's Helper Giveaway this year.  Knowing you guys, you'll still serve others just as much without my help, anyway.  This also gives me time to do lots more fun things for my husband and my babies, and to enjoy our quiet moments together, and I'm going to enjoy that quite a lot.  Don't worry, I'll pass our fun plans on to you too.


Now I've got to go tell all the generous sponsors who were willing to contribute to stand down for now, but there is one prize that I'd like to pass on to you, as a thank you for your loyalty, support, encouragement, and hard work this year!  


(Keep reading to find out how you can win your Christmas cards this year!)



Remember how beautiful our Christmas cards turned out last year?


Shutterfly did an amazingly high-quality job...and last-minute too!  I ordered them really late in December and received them in time to mail them before Christmas (and share them online with all of you.)


The inside of our Christmas card from last year.

The colors were bright and the images were crisp and clear.  I really was impressed with Shutterfly.  And that is saying a lot...considering what a seasoned Christmas Card Connoissieur I am!  (It's no joke...remember this...my extensive, museum-quality Christmas card collection!)...I'm welcoming additions to my collection, by the way!!  Hint...hint! :)


Now to be completely honest, I wasn't even considering going the photo card route for Christmas last year (as I never had before), but Shutterfly made me a believer with their blogger promo. (“Are you a blogger? Want a chance at 25 free cards this holiday season? Register here.)  

Anyway, their site is very easy to use.  It only took me a few minutes to create my card.  Then I got to just sit back and feel like a rockstar!


My friend Allison keeps attempting to get "one good shot" of her kids together for her Christmas card.  It makes me laugh whenever she posts her failed attempts on her blog, but to me they look great.  

And maybe that's why I think this card is so wonderful--because of the people on it!  I'm sure you'll have a similarly wonderful experience.

Want to try Shutterfly out for your Christmas cards this year?

As a thank you to you, my dear readers, 
I am giving away 25 free photo cards from Shutterfly!


THREE OF YOU WILL WIN!


How to enter:


1.  Be nuts enough to have read this entire post...
Congratulations, you've already done #1.


2.  Tell me what your favorite post was this year and why.


3.  Tell me what your favorite Christmas Book is...
I'm looking for new ones to try out for my Christmas Book List.


4.  Tell me one thing that you accomplished this year and are proud of.
(Did you actually clean out your closet?  
Congrats, you deserve a pat on the back too!)


Please leave a separate comment on this post for each entry!


I will announce the winner next week.


XOXO



PS - As if this post wasn't long enough already:  Yes, we are thinking about Christmas.  We are expecting 6-10 inches of snow this afternoon.  While I wrote this post, Scarlett was marching around outside singing "Oh, Christmas Tree", and now we are having hot chocolate.  She also drew this picture of Jesus, Mary & Joseph.  What a good girl!

51 comments:

  1. I am so glad I'm not the only one with Christmas on the brain. And it hasn't even snowed here yet. But I frequently hear my girls singing Christmas songs while they play and they pretend the vacuum is a Christmas tree and "decorate" it. I love this time of year!

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  2. I'm glad you followed your own inspiration and decided to forego your Christmas project. It's important to listen.

    I don't need the cards, as I just send a poem around every year, but I do want you to know how much I enjoy your blog. And I have loved so many of the posts that I couldn't possibly pick a favorite.

    But I can tell you that you are one of my favorites.

    =)

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  3. Definitely spending time focusing on family is a worthy cause - the most worthy!

    (Don't enter me in the giveaway either as I have the same one going on in the next week or so)

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  4. How divinely inspired! After a rather eventful October I took a bit of a hiatus. Back in august I did this Although I did not follow up. your example has inspired me to follow up on this daily and to also look for other ways to fulfill what I believe is my divine calling in serving willingly and joyfully my family. You are right, these days do not last long and my goal is to make them solid in the foundations of the gospel teachings and enjoyable in their bonding as a family. Thank you for your inspiration and for sharing who you are!

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  5. Sometimes simple is best, especially at this time of year. I have enjoyed your blog this year, all of the monthly "themes" have been helpful to me and my family. We have been getting snow today, too. We just relocated north from Georgia, so snow of any sort is a big deal for us, my kids are having so much fun!
    My favorite posts were your Easter posts, they were a wonderful resource to my family this year as we celebrated Easter in our new home surrounded by boxes and chaos, except those quiet moments we stole to do some Easter activities we found here to make the holiday special. Thank you!

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  6. Our favorite Christmas book is "Beloved Savior" a book of paintings and poems by Simeon Dewey. It chronicles the life of the savior from the nativity to the second coming and helps my children connect "Baby Jesus" to "Easter Jesus" to "Prayer Jesus" which can sometimes be confusing to young children.
    And for some simple Santa fun, we love "Max's Christmas" by Rosemary Wells. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers with short attention spans why like to ask why.

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  7. My biggest accomplishment this year: I made it through it! I think I can say that I am a little better, our family is closer, and our faith is a little stronger than it was at this time last year.
    We had a baby, changed jobs, moved a few states away, had a financial trial or two, made it through and extended family sticky situation, had a child diagnosed with a chronic life changing illness, and went through my own trial of fiath. But we made it!

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  8. That sounds wonderful, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season :) I know a lovely book (or rather series) you and your children might enjoy--I grew up reading them, or rather admiring the beautiful illustrations. They're in French unfortunately, but the pictures really do tell the story. It's called "Martine, la nuit de Noël." Have fun sipping hot chocolate!

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  9. I don't need the cards, either, but I wanted to let you know Yay - on the thought to go big by going small.

    By small and simple means are great things brought to pass.

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  10. I read the entire blog post - and I enjoyed it too :)

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  11. My favorite post this year was the one about the October general conference. I love hearing others' perspectives on the lessons and the experience of conference.

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  12. My current favorite Christmas book is Polar Express - I have a baby girl and I'm excited to read it to her.

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  13. One thing I accomplished this year that I'm proud of was having a baby. It may sound silly, but I didn't get married until I was 30 and it was my life's dream to marry and have a family. This year, that dream came true!

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  14. This is definitely the season to spend with family. I hope that you enjoy all that time.

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  15. One of my favorite Christmas stories is An Orange for Frankie, by Patricia Polacco. It's such a sweet story about giving and sharing. And it's a true story about the author's grandmother's youngest brother. I hope you like it as much as I do.

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  16. I have only recently found your blog, so I can't really say what my favorite post this year has been. I do want to tell you how much I enjoy reading your thoughts and encouragement. It inspires me to be better and do better. Thank you.

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  17. I would have to say that the big project that I have done this year is to really come up with and stick to a cleaning schedule. That includes daily, monthly, semi-annual, and annual tasks. They've all been assigned days and months. So now, I don't have to wonder how long it's been since I cleaned under such and such. It's been working for 4 months and I hope it will continue.

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  18. You don't need to enter me, I just wanted you to know how jealous I am that you have snow, and I don't. (I know, I shouldn't covet.) I'm glad you're going to take next month just to enjoy your family, you all deserve it! And don't forget, you need Snow Angels. :)

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  19. I went trick or treating with a friend and her children today and there was more than one kid singing carols around the mall in their costumes. Luckily the snow will hopefully melt tomorrow, leaving us some fall.

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  20. My favorite christmas book is "Number the Stars" by Lois Lowry. Now I know it isn't really about Christmas but I remember constantly reading it as a kid in winter and thinking that if Annemarie Johansen could do all that for a friend, I should be able to serve my family and friends. It was the first memory I have about thinking of others before myself.

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  21. The post from this last year that have prompted me to do the most and therefore are my favorite are the ones about writting letters. I have now contacted quite a few people from my life who I'd lost contact with but reconnected through real mail.

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  22. This year I have made some big decisions and stuck with them, not something I am usually good at. I have stuck to my gun and voiced my opinion, big steps for me.

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  23. wow you really do have snow-it's still 70 degrees here. hurrah! sounds like a good plan to focus on family a number one priority...

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  24. My favorite post was when the children in Japan wrote thank you letters to your family for the care packages you had sent to them. They were so sweet, and a reminder that there are really little people there who were really affected by your service.

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  25. Something I accomplished this year...I (with my Ben) decided to follow that prompting we'd had, even though it changed plans, and we're now expecting baby #6.

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  26. A favorite Christmas story (I know it as a movie, but there's a book out there, too--but I don't remember the name--By Pearl Buck?) is about a boy who decides to wake up very early to do all the farm chores for his father so that his dad can watch his daughters come down for Christmas morning for the first time.

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  27. Love this post! You are amazing to have accomplished so much! :-)

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  28. Christmas is on my brain too, already ordered quite a few things and have been busy planning quite a few more.

    I love when you get those pat on the back moments, they are so sweet and special.

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  29. My biggest accomplishment was surviving a surprise c-section to bring my little girl in the world.

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  30. I have been thinking a lot about Christmas, trying to think of ways to bring out the true meaning of Christmas. I look forward to reading about your funtivities with your family.

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  31. The post that stands out the most is the princess party. I actually had to buy the paper bag princess book to read to my children.

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  32. I love your thoughts on Christmas- Keeping it focused on family can be hard with all the hustle and bustle around at that time of year but it definitely is worth it- We will being doing our best to do the same here!

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  33. The post that really stands out in my mind is a the Lego Book of Mormon scenes- It may sound silly to pick that out as a favorite but I have to tell you it really got my mind sparked as to thinking about teaching the scriptures in a new way. We are very good at reading as a family every night but I think we have often not done as good a job as we could be at bringing it to life for our four year old and making it something real not just a bunch of words. He is a lego fanatic so we will definitely be replicating a few scenes at our house to help him understand it all better.

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  34. Our favorite Christmas Book is A Thingamajig Christmas by Irene Keller- It was originally published in the early 1980's and while it has been re-released recently as a board book the original is still the best if you can get a hold of it!

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  35. I don't have any huge accomplishments this year but I have been working on getting my YW Personal Progress along with my girls and have made lots of little accomplishments- My favorite was keeping my garden weed free this year (mostly) and growing enough for the first time that I actually had some to store!

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  36. Favorite posts.....I believe I liked best the pictures and stories of your children. To watch them grow and change. I like to see them smile and be happy.

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  37. Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo

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  38. I proud that I am more at peace about the potential for future children. It is better than being angry...

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  39. I'm really glad you posted this post. This and and the one about conference is my favorite. Sometimes after reading posts I kinda feel pressured to go big and try to be this awesome mom but sometimes it's the small quiet moments that are the best so thank you for the reminder.

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  40. My biggest accomplishment this year is that I made it through another prenancy and have a cute little HAPPY baby. My little ones are definitely my biggest accomplishments.

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  41. Good job listening to the Spirit! Going small is a great idea!

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  42. I think my favorite post was "reading the B. of M. backwards" by a guest poster. That story has just stuck with me.

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  43. I actually loved all the August Posts on Family... couldn't pick one!

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  44. My favorite Chistmas Book is "The Christmas Box".. love it.:)

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  45. One thing I am proud of this year is cleaning out the hall closet.. It had become a huge catch all and no one could find a thing in there.. ( imagine opening the door and things coming out! ) Now.. it looks so good.. I love walking past and opening the door - just to look!

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  46. It's hard to pick one favorite post. Your blog is continually inspiring. I did really like your recent post about your Mom's consequence for the outfit you wore to school, and also the post about being rich/how you spend your money. Book lists are also always favorites.

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  47. Accomplishments? Hmmmm... well, I gave birth to a 9 lb, 8 oz baby with NO pain meds. That was pretty cool. Also, it was really hard for me, but I sent my five-year-old to Kindergarten for the first time. And-- I even let him go back! ;)

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  48. Favorite Christmas books include How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect, The Three Trees, and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. My little guy loves Olivia Helps with Christmas, although it is entirely secular and just funny.

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