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Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas! Enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom”! Please follow along through Christmas day as each post shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year. AND BEST OF ALL … there’s also a giveaway! Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET AND EARRINGS!  Pearls – a tangible reminder of God’s grace to us all.
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Gift List
by Tricia Goyer

I’ve been thinking lately how hard it must be for Oprah to Christmas shop. I mean if you were on her “gift list” wouldn’t you expect something really, really good? The woman gives away cars and trips to Australia on her television show for goodness sake! It seems by the end of Christmas Day her friends and family would look at the pile of presents and think, “Is that it?” I mean if you knew there was billions of dollars she could spend on you, would you ever feel satisfied?

Sometimes I think we approach God the same way. We look around at our home, our family, our job, our free time and we still aren’t satisfied. We wish our body looked better, our clothes were more in style, our husband was more considerate and our kids were more … well, like the perfect little people we picture in our mind. Our careers don’t excel as quickly as we think they should and people don’t give us the attention we feel we deserve. We’re tired and anxious and the to-do list seems to be tacked to our hearts for all the pain it causes.

Often, we look around and don’t speak the words out loud, but think them just the same. “Is that it?” I mean, You’re the God of the universe and You have all things in Your hands and under Your control. Couldn’t you provide a little more money to help those bills disappear or make me a bit more content with the man I’ve chosen to spend my life with? And I thought Oprah had it tough.

Is there ever a time when God doesn’t hear the murmurs? Again, not with our mouths but in our heart.

I’ve been guilty of this–of not being satisfied with the gifts I’ve been given. Yes, there will always be more to want, but today–at this moment–I’m satisfied. And I look to Him with a grateful heart and whisper, “Thank you, it is enough. More than enough.”

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About Tricia: Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-six books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference in 2003. Tricia’s book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. For more information, please visit www.triciagoyer.com

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A three strand pearl necklace will be given away on New Year’s Day. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is {FILL OUT THIS QUICK ENTRY FORM}.

The winner will be announced on the Pearl Girls Blog (http://margaretmcsweeney.blogspot.com) on New Years Day!

12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit www.pearlgirls.info

Whole Foods Holiday Gift Boxes.

Heather —  November 8, 2010

I love gift boxes!! Honestly, my favorite treats are gift baskets. It is even better when the mailman comes…and you don’t know what you’ll find inside…I just love the anticipation with this kind of gift!

Anyway, suffice it to say I’m a sucker for the Holiday gift boxes and baskets. So, when I saw that my favorite store, Whole Foods, is offering Holiday Gift Boxes this season, I got, well, a bit over-excited. Those of you who know me, know that I did.

So is it wrong to have that kidlike eagerness?

Nah. Enjoy life, right?

And, if you want to treat friends and family…but not load them down with foods with artificial preservatives, flavors and hydrogenated fats, this is a great way to go. All the products inside the gift boxes meet the Whole Foods Quality Standards.

I may just order myself another one. Or two.

As you can see in my video, I got the Ciao Down Package. This is a great one for large families—A healthy, full meal, with a special appetizer and bit of dessert!

I loved the selection of Whole Foods Gift Boxes. You can choose from:

  • The Gift of Grub – Summer sausage (with no artificial nitrates!), shortbread, nuts, caramels, chocolate and more.
  • You’re Zenzational — Lotions, bath salts and other personal care products.
  • Get Warm, Get Fuzzy – Coffee, tea and cocoa together with plenty of sweet treats.
  • “You Rock” Box o’ Choc – A tremendous amount of chocolate, including bars, cookies and brownie bites.
  • Ciao Down – Pastas, sauce, pesto and other classics combine for easy Italian feasts.

I can’t decide which other one I’d really want. Shortbread vs. Coffee? Spa products? Who decided what was to be in the boxes? They are geniuses. The only hard thing about giving these gift boxes is making the choices. Seriously. (If you really cannot decide, they have gift cards, too)

Also, how often have you felt badly when you get tons of packaging? I was impressed that my package was sturdy but not overpackaged. Whole Foods says that they went green for these gift boxes. Want specifics? Here you are:

“By using a higher quality corrugated cardboard in one box instead of lower quality in two, we were able to use fewer resources. And the cardboard we did use is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (license code FSC-C101601).”And, for packing materials, they use 15% post-industrial waste shredded paper that is compostable and recyclable.

Prices range from $40 to $60 (plus shipping).

You can’t get these in-store—they are only available online. You can also check out Gift Box FAQ!

I received a Ciao Down Gift Box from Whole Foods for my Review. I have given my honest opinion.

emmacar

She's good on a trip...but she could be happier!

You know, many days, I will say to the kids, “today is a gift-let’s savor it and enjoy it, consider it a present”

But how many days do I show my child or friends the delight of a gift? How often do I hand them a surprise complete with ribbons and bows to untie, treats to enjoy?

When I downloaded Travel Kits: A Simple Way to Bless Others, I thought about this quite a bit. In all my practical, frugal homeschooling, I can be very efficient. I can make healthy meals and pay attention to my children…I can teach my children.

But, I know that, if asked, my children would not remember me as a marvelous, spontaneous gift giver.

My dad’s father died when I was very young. I remember just a bit about him. And, the one thing I remember is that he always had a surprise for me when I saw him. He would have a bit of candy or something—and would play the “which hand is it in?” game with me.  Such a simple little thing—but to a four year old, it was magical, in a world full of busy adults. Of course, Grandparents often do this. But, at some point, it seems like we often lose that ability to give a good gift. I’ll do that at Christmas, or birthday…

And, what most often stops those of us who don’t give sparkly, fun, unexpected gifts? Personally, I think it is because it takes a lot of creativity and often, money. And, I often do not have an abundance of either!

Oh well. Now, I can do better. Now, I have some creative tricks up my sleeve.

gifts2

Now, this ebook I downloaded is entitled Travel Kits: a Simple Way to Bless Others….and the basic concept is that you can do some special little baskets and surprises and such for an upcoming trip.

You can do tons of things to help keep kids occupied on a long trip and for a lovely surprise… Carpe Diem!

I think it is a magical idea. And I was really pleased to read the ebook. What really shocked me was HOW MANY great ideas were in the book. There are 93 pages full of ideas! There were pages on choosing a theme for your gifts…to making this work for large families and big groups…and so many of the ideas made me say, huh. Why didn’t I think of that already?

One little idea I especially liked had to do with candy treats. I really try to give kids healthy food when traveling, otherwise, mine get so restless…but this idea is a gem—you can give the children candy, but in little containers where they are in charge of eating a bit every once in a while…and the way you package these makes the child want to do it!

I also love the idea of wrapping a bunch of small gifts and letting a child open these at certain points on the trip. You can decide when they can open the gifts using fun criteria, like:

You could open presents when you . . .

  • Cross a state line.
  • Stop for gasoline.
  • Spot a certain type of sign (speed limit sign, McDonald’s sign, sign with a state name in it, etc.).
  • Spot the name of a certain city on a sign.
  • See the odometer reach a certain number.
  • Hear a certain song or advertisement on the radio.
  • See a particular animal (e.g., horse, cow, eagle, dog, possum, goat, etc.).
  • Can recite a designated Scripture verse without error.
  • Finish reading the next chapter in a book.

Bingo with presents!

Anyway, I recommend this ebook. Use it as it is meant to be used (for traveling) or even use it to jump start your gift giving skills, like I am!

Here is what my little one is getting next time we have a big trip in the car–I am saving it for now and will be wrapping the items and doing a real surprise! I got all the little things at Target in the dollar bin. Some were even 50% off the dollar. I did not come up with a mighty theme, but, hey, I got it started and stored…..

gift

Now, I am going with the theme of getting ready for school...and saving our memories...bubbles and headbands just because:)

OK. There really are too many ideas for me to tell you all about it. But, you can go to a sample of the ebook and check it out—and this includes the index!

Or, just go and download yours for $12.45. To download or read more, go to The OldSchoolhouse Store, here.

To see what my TOS crewmates have to say, click here!

A download of Travel Kits: A Simple Way to Bless Others was provided to me for my review and I have given my unbiased opinion.