Sunday, July 31, 2011

Winner!

We have a winner!  Number 14 - Jessica from Life Unexpected: Adventures of a SAHM (she has a great blog so check it out!).  Congratulations!  Thanks so much to all who participated.  We are off to the beach for a much needed vacation!  Hope you all have a wonderful week!


(Winners chosen by random using random.org)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Etsy Seller Feature & Giveaway: Saved By Grace Designs

So this week Justin and a bunch of teenagers and a few more adults are off to Costa Rica to spread God's love on a mission trip.  They are doing everything from feeding the homeless, vbs, hygiene distribution and of course sharing the gospel wherever they go.  I just received a little mini report from Justin and it sounds like they have had a wonderful time today, Justin is so proud of the students and their eagerness to share Jesus with others.  


I'm so excited about our etsy feature and giveaway today.  Andrea Anderson of Saved by Grace Designs is sharing some beautiful insight into her shop and also her faith.  She is a sweet, sweet person whose love for God is evident in what she does.  She is offering two handmade reversible headbands (of your choice) to one of our readers - but that's not the coolest part.  She will also send two of her headbands to two girls in the Dominican Republic (a place her parents go on mission to every year).  And, even cooler yet, each time anyone makes a headband purchase with her she will send a headband with the Dominican Mission - how awesome!  (She loves custom orders so if you have something else in mind, don't hesitate to ask her!)  She has a heart for missions and I think it's so cool that this happens to fall during the week that Justin and our students are off on a mission trip themselves.  So take some time to get to know Andrea, I know you will enjoy reading her feature.  The giveaway starts today and a winner will be announced Saturday morning!

Where are you located? Cleveland, Ohio





What do you create? So far...reversible aprons, reversible headbands and hot/cold packs filled with dried cherry pits, but I have a few other ideas in the works too ;)

Tell us about your blog: 
"Whispers in the Silence" refers to God's voice, quiet, yet there, just waiting for me to listen to Him. I love writing about what God whispers to me and can feel a difference in my writing when He is speaking through me versus when I'm just writing for fun. "Whispers" also provides a creative outlet for me - in writing, projects and photo styles - and a way to honor the creative spirit God placed inside me. 





Are there any charities you support? I give to a number of charities as I feel led. I especially have a heart for organizations which help woman and children - especially when it comes to basic needs such as food, water, sanitation and medical care. Currently, my husband and I are planning to do a triathlon in honor of Charity:Water which brings clean, safe water to people in underdeveloped countries. There is a link the donation page on my blog if you want to check it out.

Why is missions important to you? As God has grown me in knowing Him, He has opened my eyes to the suffering His children face around the world. I often feel the tug to go and help. So far, God hasn't opened the way for me to physically go to another place and help, but He has made it possible for my husband and I to provide financial support. Last year, when I started making the reversible headbands, I thought it would be fun to make headbands for girls in the Dominican Republic - my parents have led an annual construction mission there for the past six or seven years. As I made the headbands, I thought of the girls who might be wearing them and loved how this was one more way I could participate on the mission. 





Where do you create? You can see
 this post on my blog for a tour of my "workshop." I'm dreaming about a sewing room however...

Why did you choose your shop/company name? "Saved by Grace" is a reminder to me that everything I have, is because God loves me as His child and chose to have His Son die for me. As someone who struggles to break free from a legalistic way of thinking, I need this grace reminder daily, otherwise, I would easily fall into the trap of thinking that what I do in my life and my shop is somehow earning my way into His kingdom. And, perhaps, if there are others who are seeking God's love, but have yet to encounter it, God may use this shop name to point them to His message of salvation.





What have you learned in the process of growing your business? Making sure all the "i's" are dotted and "t's" are crossed. I used to thinking selling handmade items was as simple as making the item and slapping a price tag on it. However, I've come to learn there are regulations which need to be followed and that it's helpful to have a lawyer review marketing language and policies. For new products which I want to sell, I also need to budget in extra time for testing patterns and products to ensure the end product is of high quality and durable (I'm tired of buying this which break 2 seconds after I buy them and I imagine my customers are too :) )


What do you do when you are not creating? Loving my husband, raising my children, homeschooling, writing, training for my first triathlon (yikes!) and setting time aside in my day to listen to God.




To Enter to win two of these headbands of your choice from Andrea:

Just leave a comment below with your email address!


This Giveaway is now Closed!!

Extra Entries and chances to win (Leave another comment for each additional item for extra chances to win!):

1. Follow this Blog
2. Leave a comment stating your favorite item from Andrea's Etsy Shop
3. Share this Giveaway on Facebook and Twitter!

You have through Friday, July 29th to enter!  Winner will be announced Saturday!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Deep Impact - Bladen County Mission Trip

God is always at work around you.  Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." John 5:17.  That is the phrase I would use to describe our last week of serving God alongside a great group of students and adults on our mission trip.  We had the privilege of taking a group to Bladen County, NC last week to participate in a week-long mission trip through Deep Impact (a ministry of the NC Baptist Men's Association).  I'm not sure what our expectations were for this trip before embarking - but I will say I think most of them were blown out of the water.  Our students were put into various ministry teams and grouped together with other students and adults from other towns across NC, all consisting of different projects and service.  Our team was called the Servant Evangelism team and we did everything from handing out free water, organizing food closets to helping out the local library.  All along the way we were meeting, talking and praying over people we met to spread the good news of Jesus.  It's amazing the way God works, the divine appointments he sets up.  We were able to talk to and meet so many kind and wonderful people, many of who blessed and touched our hearts as well.  There are so many amazing and selfless people who are serving God in Bladen County - many of them who serve in the crisis ministries are volunteers and they are impacting their community in awesome ways for God and we are so honored to have worked alongside of them last week.  Here are a few snapshots from our week and a few stories to go along with them...


Our first day there our team was tasked with organizing the local crisis thrift store.  This is a great ministry that works together with the crisis food bank in Elizabethtown.  Not only do they provide affordable clothing and household items and jobs in their store but the money made is used to purchase food for the food bank - pretty cool.  The need is so great that both ministries are looking for greater space and is in search and in prayer over a larger facility that could house both ministries.  Please be in prayer for them. 



Just a few of us from Salem in the Servant Evangelism Team.


We also set out on a prayer walk across the town our first day.


In case you don't know, there is a pretty big wildfire burning in Bladen County.  It takes a lot of firefighters to keep it under control - many of which are from different states.  The firefighters are there, away from their homes and families serving this community diligently, working to keep it safe.  We had the chance to visit the disaster relief center and to serve these firefighters.  One of the ministries they have set up there is a clothes washing station.  These guys are working very long days and nights and don't have the time to go to a laundry mat to get clean clothes.  Also, the hotels charge upwards of $50 a load, which is not doable for most.  Many of them will wear their clothes twice and then inside out twice just to get through.  We were able to spend the day washing their clothes, folding them and packing them up for pick up at this site.  We also helped clean and prep their dining area - which is manned by one awesome lady who provides a clean place for them to come and eat a hot meal every day.  She works 7 days a week there - and does it with joy.  It was a humbling day and we loved every minute of it.  Back at the church where we were staying, all of the students helped to decorate the bags the clean clothes were going into - a little ministry in itself.


We also had teams that were serving children while providing a vbs at different apartment centers across the town.  It was cool to see more and more children join each day.  


Some our students were in sports ministry groups during the week.  The first few days were tough as it was blazing hot, reaching 100 degrees and more but as the week went on and the weather cooled down these groups grew and grew.  We enjoyed hearing their stories of sharing Jesus with the people they met and praying over them.  


As I mentioned previously, it was hot and these students were troopers- building wheelchair ramps for those in need.  I know these students and adults worked hard and were so full of joy when they were able to watch their homeowners use their new ramps and see the happiness over their faces.


We also had a group who visited different nursing homes and assisted living facilities each day.  They spent hours playing Bingo, listening, talking and sharing the love of Jesus with these precious people.  We had the chance of visiting one of the nursing homes on the last day in which we met one of the sweetest couples ever.  As I came to the front after visiting with a resident I see my husband, Justin sitting next to a man talking and crying.  If you know Justin, you know this is pretty unusual for him (the crying part).  When I walked up, I too started crying before I even knew what was going on and Justin introduced me through his tears.  The couple was the Royals.  They had a beautiful story of love and how God had brought them together, blessed them with a beautiful family and devotion to one another.  Mr. Royal's wife had suffered a stroke a few years back and was pretty much a shell of what she once was.  Every day Mr. Royal arrives at the nursing home early in the morning and sits with his wife all day long, until she drifts off to sleep.  He talks with her, although she doesn't talk back.  Kisses her, rubs her back, takes care of her.  He told us he won't leave until she is asleep because he would never want her to see him turn his back to her.  Such a precious, precious couple.  Mr. Royal was so appreciative of the few moments we spent talking and visiting with him.  We prayed with them and left in tears - being forever changed.


It's amazing how you can see God working when you are looking.  We go away for a week with one thought in mind - God.  And, we experience Him.  We get caught up in everyday life - have more on our minds, think about other things, worry and fret.  We aren't looking.  What could God do in our own little communities if we woke up each day in anticipation for what God was going to do - to meet Him where He was.  I believe our lives would be different - and that is what I will be praying for.  We learned so much, grew so much and will always cherish these people and this town in our hearts.  God is working in Bladen County and He is working all around us, wherever we are, every day.

Giveaway Winner!

Thank you so much for participating in last week's giveaway!  The winner of Maxime's watercolor is Meagan!  Congratulations!  We will be sending you an email soon with details.  Look for another giveaway coming soon!  Have a great week!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Verse of the Week July 17th

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  
Joshua 1:9

Friday, July 8, 2011

Etsy Seller Feature & Giveaway: Kirameku

Today we have a really great etsy shop feature and giveaway!  Maxime is truly one of the sweetest etsy shop owner's I have met.  She has been super busy with college and exams and still found the time to create a special art piece just for this giveaway!  Also, she has generously offered our readers a 10% discount for her etsy shop - just use the code: AUFEMININ.  She is so talented and I'm really excited about sharing her talent with you!  I love her watercolor artwork and my favorite is definitely Revised Columbine - in love with that one!  Check out how to enter the giveaway below and enjoy!


A little bit about Maxime: My name is Maxime Pagé and I am the proud owner of Kirameku, nice to meet you all! :D I am situated in the city of Montreal, in Quebec, Canada and I have a wonderful shop full of colors and sparkling pieces! I sell handmade jewelry and original artworks.




When did you start creating?  I started drawing as far as I can remember and the creative aspect of it somehow it translated in a lot of what I do, from decoration to cooking, you name it! I started to take concentration classes 6 years ago and have two degrees in my domain, one in Fine Art and one, now completed, in Illustration and Design. My mediums are very wide, I can paint with any medium and do digital illustration. Along my favorites mediums, you will find graphite, watercolor and acrylic paint. I have explored many venues in the last ten years and I am always seeking out new approaches and new medium to widen my knowledge and abilities. I am in love with anything colorful and archival! :D I spend about 8 to 35 hours on a piece, depending on the theme and size, so I want to make sure it will last a long time! :D I usually choose my mediums on the type of effects that I want to create in a piece or the deadlines I have to meet.





What is the most time consuming part of your art?  I
would say that the most consuming part of my work in not to actually do the research and all the thumbnails development, but to make all the color variations samples to achieve the color palette that will depict as closely as possible the feeling I want to translate in my work. And after that you have the actual coloring, which in my case is thin layers of paint added one after the other. So first thing I know, ten hours just went by and I barely start to see my volumes appearing. But let me tell you that it is so worth it! :D




Where do you create?  I create mostly in my small atelier at home, surrounded by tons of references book and a hard drive packed with inspiration from all around the world to study the compositions and coloring techniques from different cultures. There I have my precious drawing table and mabef easel.





Do you have any advice on how you have made your business grow?  My piece of advice to painters that are beginning would be to keep reading on their medium and favorite artists. The technical aspect of your medium is as important, if it is not more, than the practical aspect of it. You will learn so much about colors and conservation and you will be able to make crucial choices in your palette simply because you now know which type of color mix is better or which color is not archival and will disappear within two or three years. You will be amazed on how much it is important! :D







Maxime is giving away this beautiful original watercolor that is named Spring Dream, and it is ink on yupo paper, about 5x7 inches; signed on the back.  



To Enter to win this beautiful watercolor by Maxime:

Just leave a comment below with your email address!

Extra Entries and chances to win (Leave another comment for each additional item for extra chances to win!):

1. Follow this Blog
2. Leave a comment stating your favorite item from Maxime's Etsy Shop
3. Become a follower of Kirameku on Twitter
4.  Become a follower of Maxime's Blog
5. Share this Giveaway on Facebook and Twitter!


You have until Sunday, July 17th to enter to win this giveaway!  Winner will be announced Monday, July 18th so check back!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Caswell

We had an amazing week last week at one of our most favorite places on the earth, a little place called Caswell.  Caswell is a beautiful retreat off the coast of North Carolina which at one time served as a civil war fort and now serves as our youth camp each summer.  Justin and I have been going to Caswell since we were students and it holds so many special moments and memories for us, we love taking our students there now.  This year was quite different for me since I was now going as a mom with an 8 month old in tow.  Even though I didn't get to experience every single moment with the group I still had an amazing time and I cherish the moments I did get to spend with them.  I am so thankful for the ladies who graciously watched Silas for me at different times, so I could do more.  Initially, I was a little nervous about how things would go and how Silas would do but God truly answered by prayers.  While there I met another mom who was there for the first time with her 13 month old and feeling the same way I was, we got to talk often and share about mom stuff and even had playtime with our little ones - who knew all those needs would be met at youth summer camp?  Well, God knows.  God was definitely at work and we are so excited about the decisions made by everyone while we were there.


I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  Galatians 2:20

Our whole group on one of the forts.

One of the barracks where our group stays while there.

Before Hatch (Worship) one night

We got to take Silas to the beach for the first time while there, he absolutely loved it and we all enjoyed watching him discover this new little world!
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