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Friday Faves: It’s ALL ABOUT YOU Edition

27 Jan

OK, it’s Friday afternoon.  I’m not feeling so hot (TMD, rainy gloom, sinuses).  BFF Sarah came home from work early.  And I’ve got less than 25 minutes to sneak in a blog post.  Why 25 minutes (or less), you ask?  Because I’m dying my hair! (Even we natural blondes need to rely on a bottle to get us through the lack-of-sun winter months. Don’t judge me!)

(My pics won’t post right, so I’m typing something here to fill up the space. La-dee-dah!  Doesn’t JOSH WILSON rock?)

If I ever try online dating again, I should use this at my main profile pic.  Love me as I am!!!

Being a woman on a schedule, Friday Faves is going to be ever so brief this week. So, why don’t you share some of your faves in the comment section?  Share a post from your blog, someone else’s blog, an interesting news article, or a silly video (go ahead and Rick Roll us!) 

Not only did DaySpring cards make me smile this week (read post), so did my friend Mel Brown, who send BFF Sarah and I some snazzy eco-friendly necklaces.  Mine is green, of course, and BFF Sarah’s is a pretty purple.  Doesn’t my necklace look fab with my 1000 Reasons perpetual desk calendar? (BTW, I got Ann Voskamp’s book for a friend AND the desk calendar at the DaySpring Online Store as a bundled deal cheaper than I would’ve paid on Amazon.)  Don’t forget to enter my giveaway to win a $20 gift card to the DaySpring Online Store, which you can also use on (in)courage products. (Check out Shari’s giveaway, too! Shari’s ends tomorrow so enter NOW!!!)

Look at all the faves I managed to sneak into that intro.  It’s time to wash out my hair dye (BFF Sarah says I’m five minutes overdue!!!), so share, share, share your faves so this post isn’t a total flop!

Cards Still Make a Difference & Giveaway!

26 Jan

{More info on these cards}

We have more excuses than ever not to send cards for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions: The price of stamps just increased.  Again.  Cards aren’t eco-friendly (even though they can be recycled and are often made out of recycled materials).  And, of course, there just isn’t enough time to buy a card, address it, and pop it in a mail box.  Besides, e-card are often free…and nothing says, “I love you, Mom” like canned music and a mouse jumping out of a birthday cake.

In our tech savvy society, do conventional cards really make a difference?  That was the question I sought to answer with my brand new DaySpring cards—the Hope & Encouragement by (in)courage’s Holly Gerth  My test subjects?  The ladies in the Monday night Bible study that I lead.

First, I needed a control card to ensure that each member of my Bible study received a card that is equal in value and appearance.  I chose “Thank You For What You Do” from Holley Gerth’s collection.  What better want to tell the ladies in my flock how much I care about each and every one of them and thank them for the support they offer me weekly, as their fearless shepherdess.  As I addressed each card, I asked God to help me write a pithy message to each lady.  Despite using the same card, I didn’t want to express exactly the same sentiment to the varying personalities present at Monday night Bible study. 

Second, I wanted to give my Bible study a chance to spread the blessing to others.  I went through all my DaySpring cards, picked out about 12 (admittedly, it’s hard to part with any of my beautiful cards, but I was on a woman on a mission!), and placed them on the table at Bible study telling the ladies to pick a card or two to send (or give) to someone else.

After receiving their personalized cards from me, the ladies were more than delighted to choose cards for their own use. I overheard comments like, “Wow, these are really nice cards!”  “Amy, did you buy all these cards for us?” “They sell DaySpring cards at the local Bible bookstore!”   Most of all, they were excited that cards geared towards Christian women were relevant, beautiful, and affordable!  Someone remarked that the cards were great for anyone—Christian or not! 

One lady asked us to help her find a card that would be appropriate to encourage a friend whose mother just died.  Another wanted to use her card to uplift a co-worker who is going through an incredibly rough time.  A few ladies picked out cards and didn’t disclose how they would be used…yet.  Since one member of our group was unable to attend our “card shower,” we decided to sign and send her a card to let her know that we love her and she was missed!  Naturally, the choice of card was a group decision!

{This card, featuring a crown and a bookmark, was my favorite.  Oh, how I need to remember these words!}

While my experiment was wholly unscientific, I can safely say that greeting cards are still relevant.  There’s something about the tactile sensation of opening a card, especially when unexpected, knowing that the sender thought of you!  I like to save my cards and read the messages again and again—a reminder that people do love me when I feel unloved and unlovely or celebrated when I feel defeated. Will a card change the world?  Probably not.  But it can make someone’s day, and I’m grateful that DaySpring cards gave me the opportunity to bless others, who in turn, will use DaySpring cards to bless even more.

Yes, friends, cards really do make a difference.  Get a book of forever stamps, make a list of people who could use a beautiful card, and head over to the DaySpring Online Store to nab a few cards of your own. And, ladies, check out (in)courage for uniquely feminine musings as well as the fabulous (in)spired deals to get cute cards like mine!

Win a $20 code to use at DaySpring’s Online Store!

And I’m going to make it even easier for you to bless others with DaySpring cards, simply enter my giveaway to win a $20 coupon code to DaySpring’s online store,which offers a bounty of cards as well as other inspirational products.  To enter, simply fill out THE FORM.  For an extra entry, leave a comment about how a card cheered up your day OR how you used a card to bless someone else.  The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM EST on January 31, so get entering.

*If you really want to win, then head on over to my friend’s blog, Shari’s Sentiments, for another chance to win a $20 gift code.  Imagine if you win both of our giveaways…$40 can bring a lot of cheer!

*To my dearest FTC, I selected and was provided with the Holley Gerth Hope & Encouragement Pack from DaySpring, free of charge for review. These opinions are my own and do not reflect those of Dayspring in any way.* (P.S. I totally copy/pasted this disclosure from Shari’s blog.)

Friday Faves: OK to NOT be OK Edition

9 Dec

How are you doing?  By that I mean, how are you *really* doing?  Yesterday the receptionist at one of my doctor’s office (two appointments with doctors in one!!!) asked me this question and I was tired, tearful, and a plain ol’ mess.  I thought about saying, “OK,” which would have been a bold-faced lie.  I was clearly *NOT* OK.  I told her that I was having a rough day. She smiled sympathetically, talked to talk to me about my dogs (usually a great topic), but I wouldn’t budge.  I was not OK, and I couldn’t pull it together to have fake cheerful small talk.  Sometimes small talk just seems so, well, small. 

I needed someone pastoral to talk to, and since I don’t know the pastor at my new church that well, I decided to call my buddy, Brently, at First Pres in Bethlehem.  He was OK with me not being OK, listened to me, and then he prayed for me.  He told me that I totally need to check out the Christmas rock concert at the church next weekend and promised to give me two of the worship bands CD’s (I’m holding you to that, Brently).  Thank you, Brently!  After praying for me (over the phone, nonetheless) , I felt the Peace that surpasses all understanding–all because Brently took the time to listen to me when I was not OK.

Therefore, I want to offer a bit of advice for you when you’re not OK:

1.  You’ve heard “fake it until you make it.”   If I’m truly glum, faking it just makes it worse.  Be honest.  “Today I am not OK.” “Bad day.” “Dealing with some stuff.”  And remember, if the person asks you if you want to talk, you aren’t required to talk.  Just say, “No, thank you.” 

2.  God’s OK with you not being OK.  He longs to comfort His child.  Not being OK drives us to His arms.  The world is brutal; we need God’s comfort.  I like to journal my little heart out and read Psalms.  All of them. 

3. Talk to a safe person.  Don’t give away pieces of your heart to people who can’t be trusted with it.  Find someone who’s OK with you where you’re at and just let loose.  It’s one of the best things you can do–to find God’s peace. (If you don’t have a safe person, pray that God will provide someone…or take a risk on someone you think could be safe.  I mean, you could fall flat on your face.  That will hurt, but it’s worth risking to find that person that will point you to God.  And it’s not easy at all.)  Be wise about this, though.  Talking to the wrong person can be horribly painful.

4.  Listen to Bebo Norman, lots of Bebo Norman.  I’ve said in previous posts that Bebo Norman’s music has this incredible quality to calm me down and provide peace in many different moods.  Find your “Bebo Noman”–an artist, a book, a Bible passage, whatever, that comforts you and draws you into the heart of God, that calms your spirit, that helps you with not being OK.

I know these tips aren’t earth-shattering or anything.  They probably won’t change the world.  You probably know and utilize them already, but this is what’s on my heart.  And maybe, just maybe, there’s someone out there who needed to be reminded that it’s OK to NOT be OK as much as I did this morning.

I’m thankful to report by my NOT OK has returned to OK, thanks to the prayers of faithful friends.  I love you, guys!

Now that we’ve had our little affirmation session for the week, let’s get on to those Friday Faves, shall we?

*Last week I told you about the splediferous Jason Gray CD giveaway I’m doing here on Backseat Writer to celebrate “Remind Me Who I Am” hitting #1 on iTunes.  Apparently, you didn’t get the message, so I’m extending the giveaway a little bit.  GO ENTER THE GIVEWAY FOR AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF A WAY TO SEE IN THE DARK!!!  Even if you already own the album, enter if you know someone who NEEDS this album.  Seriously.  I want this album to go to a person who needs it.  Enter so we can make that happen.

*Earlier this week, Jenny Jones posted this video from Preston Leatherman I just had to re-share it here. The videos this character does are hilarious. Check out his version of “Footloose.”  Looks like he’s at Target, Wegman’s.  The mall.  And wearing Tom’s Shoes, which I can’t wear because I have wide feet, but I’m glad Preston can wear ‘em. And getting folks to dance with him.  Preston reminds me of Sue Heck’s “boyfriend” in “The Middle.”  This just makes me smile–might be a good thing to watch on those not OK days.  You gotta give Preston Leatherman mad props for the creative promotion of his music, which I kind of like.

*’Tis the season for FREE CHRISTMAS MUSIC!  Amazon always offers free downloads (25 days of Christmas songs–a new one each and every day), but there is a plethora of Christmas selection, including MXPX’s “Punk Rawk Christmas.”  While I’ve outgrown my punkish MXPX days, maybe you haven’t!  (And if you have, there are lots of other songs to make your days be merry and bright, like Leigh Nash’s “O Holy Night!  How I adore Leigh Nash.  You can also snag Eisley’s version of the songIt’s my very favorite carol, so I can never have too many copies of it.).  Also, my favorite site for checking out new artists, NoiseTrade, has a bunch of great music, which you can get for exchanging information, telling your pals about what you’re downloading (and leave a tip if you enjoy the music, so that artists can keep doing it).  Personally, I’m enjoying Folk Angel’s three-song sampler as well as Merry Christmas, Good Night, which is a smattering of various artists, and A Child Is Born by Sojourn (though somehow I obstained Advent Songs, which I can’t find on NoiseTrade right now).

*Musician Shaun Groves wrote an excellent post on his blog called, “Fan Mail,” about how he thought he was going to save the Christian music industry, but then realized how music, even the music some disdain, has the power to change people’s lives because of God.  Great post!

*My friend, Amanda Danziger, makes indie documentaries about the plights of impoverished people.  So far, she’s talked about street kids in Africa, women living in the slums of India, and now she’s taking on the City of Brotherly Love with her latest project,The Backyard Philly Project.”  The video above explains what the project is all about, and I’d like you to consider giving to this project.  I know I will!

I have more to share, but our attention spans are so short in this day and age.  I know I’m already tired of reading this post, so have a wonderful weekend and do leave a comment because it makes me more than OK. (And you don’t have to answer all of the questions, or any of them.  I just write them to invite conversation.)

What is something you read, saw, encountered that intrigued you this week?  How do you deal with not being OK?  How’s the Christmas shopping going?  What kind of cookies are you making?  Would you dance in the mall with an iPod?  Are you ready to fall asleep from exhaustion? (I am!)

I am LOVED by Plumb!!!

3 Dec

Look! Look!  I’m loved by Plumb!  And not just “loved” but “hearted”!

Lately, I’ve been overwhelmed (in a good way) by the exciting things happening in the Christian music world–the undeading of my beloved Five Iron Frenzy, Jason Gray’s “Remind Me Who I Am” hitting #1 on iTunes (don’t forget to enter the giveway!), discovering that my buddy Josh Wilson’s song “I Refuse” is on WOW Hits 2012 (I told him on Twitter that my dad used to get me WOW Hits for Christmas every year when I was younger.  I can just picture a younger “Amy” getting that album and discovering the awesomeness that is Josh Wilson!), AAAAND listening to Plumb’s AMAZING rendition of “What Child Is This.” (Seriously, go “like” Plumb on Facebook, get these Christmas songs, and win me, I mean, you, a Kindle Fire!)

I thought things couldn’t get better, unless a Kindle Fire or iPad arrived at my doorstep, but they did get MUCH better because Plumb (Tiffany…do I call her Plumb or Tiffany?  Are we now Twitter friends?  P-Tiff?  Plumb-T?  Your highness? Plumb/Tiffany, if you read this you gotta let me know how to refer to you!) posted a picture of herself holding a sign saying that she loves (hearts really) Backseat Writer.  If that’s not a celebrity endorsement, I don’t know what is!  (So I know you won’t mind at all when I post it on my sidebar under “Celebrity Endorsements.” Or just because Plumb is one of my favorite artists. Ever.)

While I did request that Plumb-T wear her feathery wings from her “Send Angels” performance at Creation ’97, she is wearing feathery plumage on her head, so I guess that’ll do.  Beggars can’t be choosers after all.  But, seriously, how awesome is P-Tiff?  Yes, she’s *that* awesome!

I know I’m God’s beloved, but sometimes it’s nice to be “loved” by an artist who’s made an extreme difference in my life, too! I *heart* you, Plumb!

Friday Faves: Snow Globe Living Edition

2 Dec

I’ve been going back and forth on bringing back Friday Faves.  Am I ready?  What if I do it this Friday and not next Friday?  I mean, do I even have any readers left besides my mother? 

Then I thought, if you write it, they will come.

So I fooled around on Facebook for a while (yes, those games I used to think were stupid are highly addictive and somewhat entertaining), scoped out Thursday’s online deals, goofed around on Twitter, played some more Facebook games (The wheat needed to be harvested).  And here I am, staring at my computer screen thinking of all the great things I read, saw, and experienced this week.

How could I keep all this awesomeness to myself?  Why, that would be selfish!  I don’t know what’s going to happen next week or the week after or the week after, but I’m sure God does.  I’ll keep the future rightly in His hands and focus on the matter at hand—this week’s Friday Faves.

I seem to listen to a lot of music or read a lot of books—not usually at the same time, though occasionally my loves do intermingle.  Currently, I’m in a music phase and with so many exciting things happening in the industry (like the GRAMMY Award Nominations…congrats, everyone!), there is much to share.

*I can’t stop singing “Snow Globe” by Matt Wertz, even though I don’t know all (or most) of the lyrics.  Mostly, I just prance around singing, “Sometimes I wish I lived in snow globe,” mumble, and then pick it up again on the “la-la’s.”  Therefore, I need to share this song with y’all.  And, as luck would have it, Matt Wertz was kind enough to make an enchanting music video for us to enjoy together. (Amy’s note: Matt Wertz must be very secure in his masculinity to wear long-johns in that video!) 

I always wished I lived in a snow globe, and I’m glad I’m not alone.  I’m sure someone’s going to form a Facebook group about this very topic, and I’ll probably join in. But under no circumstances will I be appearing in any music videos in my PJ’s.  Some things are just private, know what I’m saying? You’ve got to be a good friend or family member to see me in my scrubby night duds. 

For a limited time, you can download “Snow Globe” along with his album 23 Places FOR FREE on NoiseTrade: GO DOWNLOAD IT!!!  And while you’re out there LEGALLY downloading music, hop over to your fave music buying site, and check out Matt’s brand spankin’ new-this-year Christmas album called…wait for it…SNOW GLOBE!!!  I only wish the album came with a FREE Matt Wertz snow globe.

But, wait, you can head over to Matt Wertz’s website and get your very own snow globe necklace for $40, complete with an 18” sterling silver chain.  Cute idea, but kind of pricey, especially since I have to assemble the mini-snow globe myself AAAND I prefer 22” chains.  Now you know what to get for the person who has everything—a snow globe necklace!

Only 5 BUCKS, baby!  Like dollars, not male deer!

*While we’re on the topic of legally purchasing music…have you checked out some of the $5 digital music downloads on Amazon lately?  The “regular” album choices for December are pretty paltry, but the special Christmas music section is great!  For ONLY five dollars, you can treat yourself to some of my favorite albums including Christmas Spirits by Straight No Chaser, Wintersong by Sarah MacLachlan, A Very Merry Christmas by Dave Barnes, Christmas by Rebecca St. James (which I got as a Christmas present in 1997.  I love this album!), and one of my most loved Christmas albums, Let It Snow Baby… Let It Reindeer by Relient K.  Since I already own this great music, I’m thinking of purchasing Mindy Smith’s My Holiday–what do you think?

Jillian Edwards = one of the many reasons I love Noise Trade!

*NoiseTrade co-founder Derek Webb (he sings, too!) wrote a tantalizing post this week about why he’d rather give his music away for free than allowing it to be streamed on Spotify.  Check out, “Giving It Away:  How Free Music Makes More Than Sense.”   I’m a habitual NoiseTrade download junkie.  I mean, what won’t I do for free music?  Plus, I can discover amazing musicians without feeling pressured by a publicist. (Darn my people-pleasing tendencies!)  In fact, I recently discovered Jillian Edwards on NoiseTrade, and I think you’ll love her!

I might wear Long-johns in a music video for a Kindle Fire…

*Because we’re all about the free, I mean, all about the music, I want to you how to get FREE MUSIC from Plumb!  Ever since Plumb released her first album when I was in high school, I’ve adored her and her music.  Well, you can download TWO Christmas songs when you like Plumb on Facebook, and then if you tell your friends about Plumb’s awesomeness, I mean, her music (and how could you not?), then you will be entered to win some cool prizes like a Kindle Fire (drool!), an iPod shuffle, Plumb-y gear, or a personalized profile pic of Tiffany holding a sign thanking you!!! (I want one of her thanking me while wearing the wings she wore while singing “Send Angels” at Creation ’97!)  Now I’ll refrain from entering this contest (probably) because I’ll blow you all out of the water with my gazillion Facebook friends.  I mean, it wouldn’t even a fair contest.  But I really, really, really want a pretty Kindle Fire, uh, I mean, the other prizes that aren’t a Kindle Fire.  Love, I mean, like Plumb on Facebook, download the songs (Plumb’s version of “What Child Is This” gave me chills.  Beautiful), and WIN [me a Kindle Fire]!

Wowser!  If I didn’t already own one of these…

*You know what makes a great Christmas present? Jason Gray’s latest album, A Way to See in the Dark!!!  Know what makes it better?  If Jason Gray personally autographed it!  Know what makes ME the best ever?!  I’m giving away a copy of that very autographed album for FREE!!!  All you have to do is enter!  Deets hereYou know you want to enter!

Welcome back, Friday Favers!  Hmm….we need to work on a better name for you guys. 

Who wouldn’t want to go sledding with an eReader?

Amy’s Update:  I just learned about another great deal…a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble for only $15 at SaveMore.com (This is my unique referral linkage, BTW.  I get $5 for every new person who signs up!)  Because I’m a first-time user, I got a $10 sign-up bonus, meaning that I can get my gift card for $5 (I think).  If not, I’m totally getting those Fandango tix (two tickets for $12, or rather $2 with my $10 bonus.  Woot!  I can see Breaking Dawn in theaters.  I mean, a mature adult movie that doesn’t involve werewolves and vampires.  Actually, your credit can only be applied to certain purchases and Fandango is not one of them.  Boo-hoo).  And in case you didn’t know, Barnes & Noble dot com has WAY cheaper books and like Amazon, they offer free shipping when on spends $25 or more. (I like to check out the after-Christmas sales at B&N to get pretty journals so I can write down my most private thoughts) Do the deal! (Take note that your gift card won’t be available until 12/12 or 12/13.)

Be honest–do you ever wish you lived in a snow globe?  Do you ever think you *do* live in a snow globe? (If so, I have a counseling degree; I  can help you.  Or at least run the peer support group!)  Would you wear an adult onesie in public, even if you were a TOTALLY famous musician like Matt Wertz?  Do you want to win a Kindle Fire?  Do you want to win ME a Kindle Fire?  Isn’t Plumb a fantastic dresser?  (If I dressed like her, I’d just look silly.)  Do you use Spotify?  NoiseTrade?  Buy a $5 Amazon album?  Breathe?  How is your Christmas shopping going thus far?  Are you thinking about getting a snow globe necklace for anyone on your list?

GIVEAWAY!!! Jason Gray’s “Remind Me Who I Am” is #1 on iTunes!

30 Nov

Wednesdays are killer, right?  Last weekend is a distant memory and this weekend seems like it will never arrive.  And to make matters worse, we’re in the holiday season—shopping, decorating, baking, avoiding Salvation Army bell ringers. I love the Salvation Army and all they do, but I could do without the bell ringers.  I wish you could give them $20 to stop ringing the bell for five minutes or at least until you make it to the car.

But this morning whilst performing my daily ritual of checking out what happened in the cyber world as  I slumbered, I learned something VERY EXCITING from Jen RoseJason Gray’s single, “Remind Me Who I Am” is #1 on the Christian & Gospel charts on iTunes!  Now “Remind Me Who I Am” will always be one of my favorite songs because of the impact it had (and continues to have) on my life,  so I would love to see it get stay at #1. (Note: I like Casting Crowns’ “Courageous” and Laura Story’s “Blessings,” too.  But neither song has hit me in the heart like “Remind Me Who I Am”).

Did you hear *that*, er, read *that?!  I’ll type it in CAPS for emphasis:

JASON GRAY’S “REMIND ME WHO I AM” IS CURRENTLY #1!!!

Personally, I believe you should buy “Remind Me Who I Am” because it’s a great song AND it’s only 69 cents on iTunes, but to help you in your music buying decision, I’m gonna back up this song with a  giveaway.  If you purchase “Remind Me Who I Am” on iTunes, you will get a chance to win an autographed copy of Jason Gray’s latest album, A Way to See in the Dark (and, yes, this is the album “Remind Me Who I Am” is on!) 

Maybe you already own the song or just can’t afford it right now, that’s OK.  I would never exclude anyone from a giveaway.  So everyone gets one entry, BUUUUUUT, if you buy the single on iTunes or gift the single to friends with an identity crisis, you get TWO extra entries for EACH purchase, and if you review the song on iTunes (I’m talking at least two sentence here, not “This song rocketh.” Put a little meat in that review), you get another TWO entries.  That means, you get ONE entry just for being alive, and TWO entries if you buy the song for yourself and TWO more if you leave a review of “Remind Me Who I Am” on iTunes, which gives you SIX chances to win!  (Or if you enter and buy the song for your Aunt Mabel, you have EIGHT your chance of winning A Way to See in the Dark!)

I funkified the photo because it looked subpar due to my messy desk background.

Just fill out THE FORM, tell me how many copies of “Remind Me Who I Am” you purchased on iTunes, write a smashing review, and [hopefully] win!  Remember, you get an entry just for being alive, so everyone can enter, but only one can win.  I mean, maybe I can get Jason Gray to send each one of you a hair follicle or something (by the way, JG did not ask me to run this contest, but I watched him personally autograph the CD, so he has foreknowledge that a giveaway would happen!)

Here are some links in REALLY BIG LETTERS to help you:

1. Buy “Remind Me Who I Am” by Jason Gray for 69 cents. 

(Or don’t and enter anyway.  But you get TWO extra entries for each copy of the song you purchase. (You’re on the honor system.  I mean, I love this song, but if you tell me you purchased 109 copies, I’m going to need to see that iTunes receipt.)

2.  Write a short, but meaningful review of “Remind Me Who I Am” on iTunes for another TWO entries.

(By the way, you can review the song without buying it on iTunes, so by being alive AND writing a review, you can get THREE entries.)

3. Then enter to win an authographed copy of the WHOLE album, A Way to See in the Dark by Jason Gray, right here!  I’m instituing use of THE FORM!

*FILL OUT THIS FORM*

The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on December 7, so you have a whole week to snag this deal.  The winner will be emailed and if he/she does not respond within 3 days, a new winner will be chosen.  I am not responsible for prizes that are lost by the USPS, though it would be very sad and I would cry with you should that occur.  Oh, and if you buy more copies of “Remind Me Who I Am” or decide to write a review AFTER you’ve already entered do come back and tell me so I can give you even more extra entries.

Even if you don’t win this amazing album, and I hope you do, you still win by getting a copy of “Remind Me Who I Am” by Jason Gray.  And I do encourage you to purchase A Way to See in the Dark, for it is a phenomenal album…and it makes a great Christmas present! (I heard Aunt Mabel really wants a copy!)

Still not sure about the song?  Read WHY Jason Gray wrote “Remind Me Who I Am,” find out why I’m thankful for Jason Gray, and read a little about how “Remind Me Who I Am” has helped me (though I only mention the song as an afterthought, I realize it really helped me to come to terms with my identity in God and inspired this post). Learn more about Jason Gray and his awesome self at JasonGrayMusic.com.

Amy’s Random Aside:  I believe in Jason Gray and his music so much that I changed my Twiticon and my Facebook profile pictures to “Remind Me Who I Am.” (I added “Beloved” to the Facebook pic because Amy means “beloved.”)  If you just love Jason, his music, or what people to remind you who you are, email me and I’ll change your Twitter or Facebook book to look similar to mine. (Text may be different.  We are all unique creatures.)

(Click on my image to follow me on Twitter for tantalizing updates!)

OR


(Feel free to friend me on Facebook, too!)

Tell me, once again, why you like this song, why you like this song? (Sing that to the chorus of “Remind Me Who I Am”)  How have you deal with a spiritual identity crisis?  Jason Gray has great hair, so why do you think he’s wearing that hat in the music video for “Remind Me Who I Am”?  Do you recycle your cardboard boxes, make signs from them, or just throw them out in the regular trash?

Friday Faves: Happy Birthday BFF Sarah Edition

19 Aug

This weekend I’m going to celebrate a very important event—BFF Sarah’s birthday!!!  While some people are content to blow out a few candles and scarf down cake, I like to make a big deal out of birthdays.  Now BFF Sarah is an introvert, and prefers to allow others to soak up the spotlight.  However, today’s “Friday Faves” is dedicated to Sarah because she is my closest and dearest friend.  She is the sister I always wanted and the best friend I prayed for.  The gift of her friendship is one I thank God for every day.  So to celebrate Sarah and her life, I’m going to share 32 wonderful things about Sarah.  OK, maybe just five because 32 is an awful lot (not that finding 32 things would be hard…).

1.  Sarah is superhero.  No, she doesn’t wear a cape, have a secret lair, or super powers (at least none that I know of), but Sarah saves lives in her job as a social worker.  Relentlessly working to find homes for sometimes difficult kids, Sarah’s job as an adoption and permanency professional isn’t easy.  However, whenever she puts on her “going to court” shirt to attend an adoption, I smile a little when I see her head out the door.  It’s another happy ending in the life of a superhero social work.

2. Sarah’s favorite color is orange, but she likes purple a lot, too.  Not a lot to elaborate on here, is there?  Except purple and orange together have a Willy Wonka sort of effect, ya know?

3.  Sarah is a great baker and cook.  Her love of orange and cooking is paying off this birthday thanks to Rachael Ray close-out sales.  Hmm, perhaps I’ve said too much…  But, wow, you should taste her chocolate cake with peanut butter icing.  It. Is. So. Good.

4. Sarah loves music, and even plays the trombone.  It’s hard to pin down her favorite artist, but she enjoys Casting Crowns, Bebo Norman (good choice!), Josh Wilson, Jars of Clay, and Caedmon’s Call.   We have similar tastes in music, which I would argue, is exceptional taste.

5. Sarah’s favorite movie character is Sam from Lord of the Rings.  Maybe it’s because he’s the chief cook on his little camping trip with Frodo or because he’s an unlikely hero, but Sarah just loves Sam.  And it makes sense, doesn’t it?  She’s the Sam to my Frodo (I do tend to wander about foolishly clutching my “ring.”)  Together we fight my “Gollum” and carry “the ring.” Plus, Sarah seems to really have taken to gardening this year.  Coincidence, I think not!  (Thankfully, she doesn’t have hairy hobbit feet.) P.S. I love the random Chinese captions in the video, don’t you?

Now onto some delightful faves, which may or may not be Sarah-inspired…

*Sarah loves a good book deal as much as the next person.  In fact, when our own Border’s closed in April, she had a jolly good time at the closing sale.  Normally, Sarah doesn’t let loose like that.  However, both Sarah and I are closely monitoring the Border’s bankruptcy sale discounts at Borders.com because when the majority of books start to slide into 70-80% off brackets, we’re going to plan a little road trip.  It’s sad that Border’s is closing, but we might as well make the most of it with the best deals. As of today, the Border’s merch is now 40-60%.  But is saving 50% off a regularly priced book *that* great a deal? Maybe, but a lot of the prices are the same or better on Amazon.com. I mean, right now Saving CeeCee Hunnycutt by Beth Hoffman is 60% off at Amazon, making it a mere $6.

*Since Sarah and I are both single ladies, I found this Christianity Today article, “John Stott on Singleness” particularly interesting.  Stott argues that Scripture calls both singleness and marriage “good,” and therefore, one should not be elevated above the other.  As single gals, Sarah and I both find it difficult to mesh with the church culture, which seems focused on marriage and motherhood.  I appreciate Stott’s article because it reminds me that I’m truly not a second-class citizen in the church.

*On our plane ride to Florida, Sarah, my mom, I saw the movie, Up and even got to meet the cast at Disney Hollywood Studios.  Who can forget the classic moment when my mom took the paws of the costumed dog character and said, “Oh, I loved your movie!  You were so good in it!”  Yeah, Mom, the costumed dog was the actual actor in the animated film. You gotta love my mom.  Well, now, we can go visit the real, life Up House in Utah on our next vacation adventure.  No word on whether this house will take flight if millions of balloons are attached to it.  Grumpy old man is optional. The house will sell for just under $400,00.  Anyone have $400,000  I can borrow?

*Jonalyn Fincher is never one to shy away from tough, even heart-wrenching topics.  This week, Jonalyn reviewed a book called When the Man You Love Was Abused (read review.)  Written by Cecil Murphey, the book helps women understand the men who live with the demons of sexual abuse and molestation, and always offers insight on how to help her loved one.  It sounds like this book would also offer insight to counselors and others who work with abused men.  Jonalyn’s treatment of the topic is thorough and delicate.

*Jen Rose and I just love Jason Gray’s latest album, A Way to See In the Dark, which releases Sept.13 from Centricity.  This week the video for the album’s first single, “Remind Me Who I Am” was just released this week.  This song is an amazing reminder to me about who I am in God, not the world, not my friends, not the scoffers, but to God.  My identity in God because of Christ is what truly matters and I’m thankful that Jason Gray “reminds” me about this in his new song.  Take a listen and let me know what you think in the comments section.  Honestly, this whole album is exceptional. (By the way, Jason is also featured in the latest Centricity U. video.  Check it out here!)

Don’t forget to do something special in honor of Sarah’s birthday, like bake a cake, buy something orange, adopt a kid, etc.  And, do be a favor, wish my very best friend a happy birthday in the comments section!

Did you wish BFF Sarah a happy birthday?  Do you want to live in the Up House?  What do you think of Jason Gray’s “Remind Me Who I Am” video?  What are some great qualities in your best friend?  Are you single?  Do you know a Jesus-living 30-something guy that could help me become unsingle?  Did you wish Sarah a happy birthday yet?

Pre-order Shaun Groves’ THIRD WORLD SYMPHONY to help fund adoptions

9 Aug

Musician Shaun Groves is releasing a brand spankin’ new album on August 30 called Third World Symphony.  I met Shaun Groves years ago when I did a bit of grassroots promotion for his first album and thought it was a very nice musician, but since them I moved on with my life.  I was glad to be introduce to Shaun and his music by a friend who sent me a link to this post: “This Much I Can Tell You.”

In the post, Groves talks about raising funds to adopt a sibling group from Ethiopia from sale of his upcoming album.  Groves writes, “So, we’re not asking for donations. We’re not having a garage sale. (Yet.) We’re simply asking that you continue to champion this record, Third World Symphony, across the internet and in the real world too. It won’t be in stores. It won’t be on the radio. So, you are our marketing strategy…and now you are our adoption fundraising team. There’s not a better one in the world!”  Awesome, right?  I love that Groves has produced a product to fund his adoption and he’s asking others to help him.

I bought three albums–one for myself and two for a future giveaway (see, you benefit, too!)  But don’t wait for my giveaway.  Pre-order the album NOW.  If you read “This Much I Can Tell You,” then you learned that Shaun and his wife were asked to adopt a four year-old boy immediately, and of course, the Groves’ welcomed him into the home.  Quite an adjustment for all.

Another thing I appreciated about Groves’ post is this–he’s realistic about adoption and its after costs including time off from touring to help the new kiddo adjust and gain stability.  He’s being real about it and not asking for a bunch of donations–just to buy his album, which by the way, is awesome!  You can listen to the whole album on his site or on SoundCloud.

Personally, I’m glad to take in a grassroots promotion for Shaun Groves again;  it’s been far too long.

{Also posted on Backseat Reader for maximum exposure}

Two Fandango Movie Tix for $9 (Today Only!)

9 Jun

Like going to the movies?  I know I do, but the price of tickets is ridiculous, especially at night.  That’s why as soon as this Living Social deal, two Fandango movie tickets for $9 buckaroos, appeared in my inbox, I snatched it up right away.

Last time Living Social has this wondrous promotion, tickets sold out within hours—so get your tickets now.

In fact, I just used my tickets to take my best friend for a Saturday Night Girls’ Night.  We went out to dinner a wonderful Mexican restaurant (On The Border—swoon worthy salsa and tortilla chips) for under $20 and then saw “X-Men: First Class” with swoon worthy James McAvoy.  My best friend used her tickets to take me to see “Red Riding Hood” on my birthday.

And get this, we didn’t have to scramble to get to the $6.50 matinee; we could actually go whenever we want, reserve our tickets ahead of time on the Fandango website, print out our confirmation, and just show up at the theater box office to pick up the tickets for our show.  It could not be easier.

A lot of great movies are coming out this summer, including the final Harry Potter movie, and imagine what a fun date night that would be—for $9 total (unless you spring for dinner, which you should really do on a date.  I mean, c’mon guys!)  And, yes, I do think Harry Potter is the perfect date movie.  Is it any wonder I’m still single?

Hurry over to Living Social (you can even use this handy dandy link) and get your tickets NOW!  I can vouch for this deal having used it in my past.  Finally, going to the movies is affordable again.

By the way, if three of you sign up via my linkage, I get this deal for free.  I mean, if you’re going to sign up for this offer, you might as well use my link,  right?  Then get three of your pals to do the same.  Thank you so much! (Note: You may have to sign in to your Living Social account, then come back here to click on the link.  The same goes if you are signing up for an account.  You know I’d do it for you!  You rock!  In fact, I’ll even go to the movie with you–that’s how appreciative I am.)


Amy’s Note 6/10: To all of you who used my referral link, thank you so much!  I did end up getting my tickets for free, which is the best price of all!  Anytime you need a referral for a service like Groupon or Living Social, know that I will return the favor. :)

So, did you do it?  Did you snag this deal?  If so, what do you plan to see? Who are you going with?

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