Giveaway: the Time Keeper

Hello dear people. Look what I have…

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I’m happy to announce that we have a giveaway opening today, for a 2015 copy of the Time Keeper! Anyone who has used this planner before probably loves it enough that I could skip the advertising and cut straight to the giving, eh?

This year’s version is crazy gorgeous.

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And you should be proud of me for taking such cute pictures, considering the shaking going on beneath my set, and the difficulty of keeping his tail off the photos…

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…and this distracting darling in the background.

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Where was I? Oh yes, right here. Sans animals and cute humans.

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For those of you who don’t know, the Time Keeper is a yearly planner designed by a Mennonite mom of four, Starla Kreider. It’s beautiful inside and out. I love its simple, practical design—I’ve experimented with more complex planners and I keep coming back to this one. There’s a full-page spread for every week of the year, as well as monthly calendars, brainstorming spaces, inspirational quotes, note pages, and enough perforated blank shopping lists to last the whole year.

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I’m so excited to give a free copy to one of you. (The other copy is my own. Not available for anyone for love, money, or chocolate.)

Better still, we have a back-up option for the not-winners of this giveaway! Starla is offering a $1.00 refund {on her website} {to my readers} for every Time Keeper purchased before midnight on October 9. That gives you three days after the giveaway closes. When you place your order, watch for the option to “Add special instructions to the seller.” Leave Starla a note saying you’re ordering from the Confessions giveaway, and she’ll enclose a dollar refund with every brand new planner!

They make beautiful gifts.

More good news?

For anyone who’s local to the Meadville area, our favorite bookstore Christian Learning Resource is also offering the same discount: $1.00 off any Time Keeper purchased by October 15! Yay! So stop by and make sure to mention the Confessions giveaway for your special rate. You’ll have a full week and a half after the giveaway closes.

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This calls for some champagne to celebrate, but I’m not a drinker so I’ll have to pour it out on the ground like David with the Bethlehem waters. I hope the Lord enjoys it.

What do I want out of you in return? Hmm. Let me think about that one. Someone told me I should ask you to share a link on social media for either Christian Learning Resource, the Time Keeper, or this blog. But I hate arm-twisting promotions. “Boost my boat and you just might win a chance…” Blech. So use your own judgment. But share the joy. If you know of someone who’d love a chance to win the Time Keeper, or buy it with a discount, please share the link or drop them an email. The more the merrier.

And drop me a comment here if you’d like to enter the giveaway. Let’s have some fun.

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Giveaway ends in one week: Monday, Oct 6, 2014 at 12:00 noon.

Open to US residents only. I know this is not fair and I’m sorry; someday I will do a giveaway I can send anywhere in the world.

Winner will be chosen by random.org.

The mayhem and the macabre

We had a lot of drama this summer.

You wouldn’t think it, since the walls are still standing and the sunlight is slanting gently down on the goats’ pen. But we did, in our small way.

Once in our yard we found an unfortunate starling—as Dickens would say, dead as a doornail. We trust he died of old age, peacefully in his sleep, although his posture was not necessarily one to encourage hope. Regan, who hardly allows us to kill flies in this household, was quite upset. But he thought, seeing the damage had already been done, perhaps he could keep the corpse? No, no, and again no! We were firm on this.

We should have gotten our first clue that evening, when as we put the boys to bed we sensed a slight twinge of old septic in the air. Sometimes our innocence, like our hope, is not warranted. It was the next night, when the ghost of the bird cried out for revenge, that we went hunting, and found a certain Walmart bag, knotted up, in a certain son’s drawer of treasures…

I will spare you the rest. It was vile. For days.

And then [this one is not macabre] there was the time that Kelly and Regan were playing tug of war with a blanket in the upstairs hall. He let go, and she tumbled backwards down the steps. Her father was also in the hall, and made an amazing lunge that saved her halfway down. She was still bumped up quite a bit, and screaming. We comforted, soothed, and settled… then carried her the rest of the way downstairs and laid her on the couch. She went ballistic—a piercing shriek that drowned out thought—and we found we had laid her down on top of a bee.

That bee, it turns out, was the forerunner. First he was just one, and easily dealt with—and then we found another, several days later… and now on these warm sunny days our upstairs windows are swarmed by them. Two to five on a single pane. Where are they coming from? Almost I would take Jehoshaphat back instead.

Almost.

It’s been a little wild, these last six weeks. I’ve been canning and editing and writing titillating descriptions of pickles. Not joking. I’ve been weeding flowerbeds and harvesting from the garden, and celebrating the warm rekindling of an old friendship and the sparkling addiction of a brand new one. I’ve planted those poppies and hung the wall art and sewed the desperately-needed dresses for my daughter; taken a sick son to the doctor and sat in the classrooms and made the fellowship meal food and pulled off the birthday party.

I’m dreaming of a very quiet October. But you know, I really love my life. Drama and all.

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

I’m two weeks late on this post, I know; I’ve been bizzy.

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Confession: On September 11, 2001 when my big brother called the office to tell me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, I didn’t even know what the World Trade Center was.

In my defense, I was an 18-year-old Mennonite girl; although considering the fact that I had visited some fifteen countries of the world in my brief and sheltered life up to that point, it’s not much of an excuse.

When he called me back half an hour later to tell me the second plane had crashed, I felt mildly irritated with him for making such a big deal of this and keeping me from my work.

In my defense, this was the brother who hovered above me all my growing up years, and watched for cars and chased away dragons and in general made himself a pain in the neck when I wanted to be adventurous and independent; although considering the fact that I had survived to adulthood I should perhaps have realized by then the debt of gratitude I owed him.

In short, my world did not stop turning that September day.

It stopped turning seven days earlier, when a boy in my youth group left for a brief test run on his motorcycle and did not come back. They found his body in the ditch and his loose-strapped helmet thrown several yards away; they found the shaken driver of a small red pickup truck, who said “I couldn’t miss him. He didn’t make the corner.”

That was when my sheltered little world stopped turning, not because of that boy but because I realized with a sudden and deadly shock, as all Americans realized one week later, bad things can happen to us.

When you encounter this thought for the first time in your life, it leaves quite a mark. Until then you sort of know that the people you love will always be there, and that bad things happen, out there… somewhere… The day it bites you hard is the day the world stops turning. It was months before I could kiss my baby brother goodbye without thinking Is this the last time I am going to see you? He was two years old that fall, and adorable.

I always think of Hank this time of year. He was quiet and easy-going and after he was gone we realized we didn’t know him as well as we could have. But his cousins were some of my dearest friends, and it hurt; not one of us in that youth group will ever forget.

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Sept 2001. Henry Wengerd, front row far right, the weekend before his death.

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Where were you on September 11? What kind of a mark did it leave?