Some thoughts on shopping small…. <3


I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. I know it was different and I know some of you were feeling very alone. My prayer is that in the midst of whatever Thanksgiving looked like, you were able to be thankful. One thing about this pandemic, it has opened our eyes to what we do have and to be grateful every day. 

Now we move on to Christmas. 

In case you have not been absolutely flooded with emails today, it the national holiday of consumerism known as “Black Friday.” Which in true American marketing fashion we have actually been treated to since early October. 

So in light of the fact that we suddenly are aware of multiple opportunities to save tons of money on things we didn’t even know we needed, I am offering a few little insights and tips that might prove helpful. I also want to share some encouragement to shop small and shop local. 

Here we go:

Delete all emails with promotions unless you specifically had planned to purchase from that store. Don’t let mass marketing dictate your Christmas list. Think and pray about what you are gifting and then shop rather than shop the ads and overspend. 

Constantly remind yourself that a gift is just a token of love. You can gift your people all year long with little acts of kindness so don’t feel like all the love you have needs to be expressed in wrapped packages under a tree one day each year. 

Think about how you can bless small businesses in your area while you are blessing your friends and family through your gifts this year. If your family/friends live in another city, consider supporting a business that is local to them and order though that store for their gift.

Yes, you can probably save money ordering online from Amazon, but in the long run you will be hurting the local economy of our home communities. 

Give less and bless your neighbors who own stores, restaurants and businesses. 

Perhaps you have been burned by purchasing gift cards from a restaurant that closed before the card was redeemed. How about treating a young family or couple who can’t get out to a meal from a local restaurant NOW..instead of a gift card, pick up dinner for them and deliver? And leave a nice tip when you pick it up. Blessings abound on that one. 

I saw the following post on Instagram #shoplocal and I couldn’t amen it enough. Having worked for corporate retail and then a small, locally owned shop I can’t tell you how much your support means to our local businesses and economy. 

Here are some ways your “word of mouth” can help defer the cost of advertisement and boost local shops and services:

Write a positive review 

Tell your friends and family – you can do this verbally and in a post on your social media feed.

Follow them on social media

Engage in their posts- make comments, answer their question. Tag a friend in your comment.

Give them a shout out – tell about the great service or the cute stocking stuffer you picked up.

Sign up for their newsletter.    

Post from @goodjobs_eu

Your “likes/loves”, shares and comments of a post from a local business helps bring that post into the feeds of other people. Your post giving a shout out to a restaurant, shop or service in our community is huge. You speaking positively in conversation with people you know about where you shop is so helpful. If you are on Facebook locally there is a page called “Support Decatur IL small business.” You can share your own experiences with local business and find others to support. 

Friends who sell products are also a great place to shop. You bless them with business and can find practical gifts for your family that will be used up instead of just things to add to the clutter of their home. 

If you have family who tend to ask you what you would like for Christmas, point them in the direction of a local business you want to support. 

I know this is not my usual Friday encouragement, but with all that is happening in our world and with a focus on global issues, we need to remember we live in a community among people whose lives are interwoven into our own. Prayerfully consider how you can invest locally this holiday season. 

Okay…I am done…thanks for considering shopping small and local.

Just know you are loved…that’s the main thing. 


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Thankful for LIFE that swallows death <3
one of my fav pics of my mom and dad <3

You all know I am reading through my Bible this year if you have followed this for any length of time. 

You also probably know that, for me, God’s timing is so spot on it gives me joy, tears mixed with giggles and fills my heart with praise for the intimate ways He chooses to remind us He is with us. 

It just so happens on this day before Thanksgiving in the year of 2020, with no planning on my part to land in 2 Corinthians 5 today; God knew I would be reading the words that brought me such great comfort twelve years ago. 

For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality should be swallowed up by life.

2 Corinthians 5:4-5

That mortality (death) should be swallowed up by LIFE.

On January 30th of 2008 I had read this passage and marked in my Bible “Revelation! It is LIFE that swallows/destroys death.” 

The year progressed and I can’t say this discovery of truth made much of a difference beyond that morning when I felt compelled to pen those thoughts in the margin and decorate with several hearts for emphasis.

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving that same year, I got a call in the wee hours of the morning that my mother had been found laying beside her bed. She had struck her head on the nightstand from a fall. Apparently she had used her slipper to knock on the wall as best she could and a neighbor finally heard on waking, alerting the staff in the independent living center. 

The ambulance was on the way and I quickly dressed and headed to the hospital. Entering the ER treatment area, I could hear her monotone voice through the curtain as the nurse emerged from her room. Only God could have the nurse on duty be one of our former teens from church. His eyes confirmed my fear. She had followed the steps of her own mother and suffered a massive stroke. 

Later the doctor pulled me out and explained there were three areas of bleed and because of the extensive damage, location, and her age there was nothing to be done except make decisions for life support. 

My parents had requested a living will and so I knew my only decision was to advocate her desire to not prolong life on machines. 

We had good conversations in the next few days and abundant blessings and kindnesses of God; more then I could relate to you in the space I want to take for this today. She knew she was dying. She released me from any guilt that I hadn’t been there. Her last days were a gift from God as she told me she loved me and she was at peace. 

She slipped into unconsciousness before they transported her to a nursing home. She had always feared going to one and by God’s grace she never had to experience it as she lay, for the next seven days, seemingly reaching for Jesus or resting comfortably with the most peaceful look on her face that you could ever imagine. 

The staff cared for her so tenderly, keeping her skin moist with baby lotion. 

I would sit by her bed and just read my Bible for a while between running kids to things and caring for our home and it was on December 1st that my eyes fell on this passage I had marked ten months before. 

Death…swallowed up by LIFE.

As my mother was passing from this life, smelling like a newborn baby, I heard God whisper to my heart…

From your side, it looks like death is swallowing her life, but from My side…My LIFE is swallowing her death. 

She was not dying, she was being born into her eternal life. All smelling like a newborn of all things.

I cannot sing “Oh death, where is your sting?” without thinking of her being born into her eternal life in front of my eyes. 

We have had a hard year. We have listened to death tolls daily since March. We are aware that the fears we have are global. Our plans have died, businesses are dying, death seems to hang over us.

But so is God. 

He is LIFE and no matter what takes us out of this world, for those who belong to Him, this was never a place we were meant to stay in forever. 

Yes, these are serious times. 

Perhaps it is time to take God seriously. 

Blessings on you, sweet reader, who may have happened by today. 

If you have lost someone and are grieving, I pray you can take comfort in knowing God’s eternal love is holding that one and will carry you through. I pray you to know the deep love of God through Jesus Christ that saved us. 

We have, it would seem, much to be thankful for <3

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Because just getting the regular stuff done isn’t keeping me busy enough <3

No matter what your Thanksgiving plans look like, I bet you are busy this week. We have Christmas breathing down our necks, and we either are quarantined, just got sprung or are waiting it out to see if we are next. 

Gifts need to be bought, we want to decorate the house even if it’s just for ourselves, some kind of something has to make Thanksgiving fun so we are hunting down recipes. 

We might be ordering cards, addressing cards, or thanking the good Lord He released us from the annual Christmas card sending and we are doing some other kind of something that is our tradition. 

I wonder if there is any one like me who in the midst of all of the making of menus and grocery lists and trying to figure out where the tree will go this year and dreaming about the perfect gift for every single person on the list, has these hair-brained ideas to knit someone a hat or design a photo book as a special gift or hand paint something. 

Maybe it is just me but there is something about the extreme pressure of a too-short week with a holiday planted smack dab in the middle and then the launch into the Christmas season that turns me into my own version of Walt Disney. 

Creativity is oozing out of me and it is only enhanced by all the pretty Christmas trim in the stores and on my feed. The ideas are popping like corn in my head and spilling out under the lid. 

All of this leads to a kind of stress that is really so pointless. I have more ideas than are humanly possible to make happen and I start to feel like I “failed” when they don’t all pan out. Or any pan out for that matter. 

Today I caught myself driving and plotting and planning and my blood pressure was starting to increase a bit. So I intentionally chose to stop it. Stop the over thinking. Set aside all the ideas that were just blossoming up out of my over-stressed brain. 

I took some deep breaths and acknowledged that it’s most likely too late to knit a hat…and the vision that danced in my head was a fair isle design, which help me, which would be a challenge in the best of times.  

If we have learned anything in 2020 it is to enjoy the present moment and not bank too much on what we think our plans are in the next week, or day, or hour. I need to give these marvelously creative ideas freedom to flow in on side of my brain and out the other. 

I am setting about to just embrace what Christmas 2020 will look like. 

The Advent season has my undivided attention.

Once I get the egg casserole made for Thursday morning and figure out the sides to go with our dinner….of course…because reality. 

How are you doing the holidays this year? 

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